About the Pact act and Republican lies

This is a LONG thread. Feel free to link to it in any discussions of the #PACTAct or the GOP's betrayal of our vets, because here's the TL;DR: There's no "slush fund" in the bill, just paying for the care it mandates. And there's nothing unrelated to vet health in the bill.

The GOP is lying to their constituents, because they know their voters won't want to believe that the God-and-Country GOP just fucked over our veterans. So if you come across someone like that, point them here, and ask them to find the slush fund or pork in this bill.

Originally tweeted by Akiva Cohen (@AkivaMCohen) on August 1, 2022.

OK, folks. Republicans are insisting they voted against funding Veterans' healthcare last week because there was a secret 400M "slush fund" in the bill (that they somehow missed when they voted for it weeks earlier). So let's just read the bill.

Yes, all of it.

Boring GIF

You can find it here. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3967/text. I'm skipping the amendment to the short title ("This bill can be referred to as …") and the table of contents

Start with sections 101 and 102. 101 is literally the "Short Title" and tells you how you can refer to the bill; it was amended from the "COVENANT ACT" to the "PACT ACT" in that amendment I skipped.

102 edits the definitions in 38 U.S.C. 1710. Let's take those 1 at a time

The first change is to 1710(a)(2)(F). As you can see, the government MUST provide hospital care to veterans who qualify under (a)(2)(F). They've replaced the old language "who was exposed to [various toxins]" with "who is a toxic-exposed veteran"

Looks like a small, semantic change, right? Don't think so (this is my first time tracking these changes through, so I hope I'm reading this right).

Here's the point of this bill. As of now, a vet looking to claim benefits under this section has a burden to prove they are

suffering specifically due to their toxic exposure during service. That is, they need to be able to trace their cancer or other illness to a specific toxic exposure.

As you can imagine, that's almost impossible

This bill is intended to replace that system with a simple rule: If you were exposed to burn pits (and thereby various toxins) the government covers your care. Period. "toxic-exposed veteran" is a status, and I assume that's how they accomplish that goal.

So what's a "toxic-exposed veteran"? That's what the next set of definitions tells us – anyone listed in 1710(e)(1), and man is that a metric fuckton of volunteers we exposed to some horrible shit in a variety of terrible ways

Last (in this first set of provisions) the bill expands the definition of "toxic exposure risk activity" with some technical gobbledygook that I don't have the time to understand, but pretty clearly covers burn pits.

About the Pact act and Republican lies

OK, on to the next section – which basically adds "served in operations where burn pits were used" to the list of "toxic-exposed veterans" under 1710(e)(1)

Next we have some provisions delineating the covered time periods; I'm not going to review them in detail because they don't matter to the purpose of the thread, but I'm not going to skip them because I promised screenshots of the entire text. So here it is.

Next, the Bill instructs the Secretary (of Veterans Affairs, I assume but am not checking because it's irrelevant) to come up with a plan to make sure veterans know about these benefits

Next, Congress instructs the Secretary (of VA, yep) to figure out whether they have what they need to actually make this happen, and report back. And then annual reports from 2025-2033

Next we have a provision that expands the coverage universe and eligibility. It's probably worth understanding what that does if you're looking to advise a vet, but since we're just looking for a slush fund, I'll just note the expansion exists

Next there's a process by which the Secretary, after a notice-and-comment period, can establish presumptions that particular categories of vets were toxic-exposed. Basically, a procedure for updating the eligible categories as toxic exposures occur moving forward

A whole lot of detail is given on how this process must work.

Like, really a lot

No, seriously, a lot of detail here, including "how do we communicate this stuff to our vets"

And "what if things change, what happens then?"

Still no slush fund, though

Next: "How do we show a service connection" and "yeah, burn pits are definitely connected to illness, cover that shit" – basically, you're presumed exposed unless the VA can prove that you weren't

Also, if there hasn't been a medical nexus established between the illness and toxic exposure, the VA has to provide an examination to see if there is one

Next we have other presumed "yeah, we fucked you up with this we're sorry" service types

And the "here are some of the diseases we KNOW we're responsible for"

Look, for those of you used to fun, meme-heavy breakdowns of legal shenanigans, I'm sorry.

Whether you like how the armed forces get used or not, we're talking about people who volunteered to serve, and are suffering for it. Nothing fun about that at all.

This isn't anything to joke about. We owe every volunteer better than this. If you get hurt serving the country, the country should be taking care of you. Whatever it takes.

That this shit is getting tripped up in politicking pisses me off. Should piss you off too.

Next we have some changes to a compensation scheme. Could this be our elusive slush fund?!

No. It just says "we're going to stop time-gating illnesses; if you end up with one of these conditions and served in the Persian Gulf, we'll presume it's connected. Full stop"

Next we have the murderers row of cancers and other diseases associated with burn pits

Next we have a rule of construction that basically says "make sure every vet who could benefit from this does – no technicalities preventing benefits"

Next we have sections on research and reporting.

A whole bunch on this.

Still. No. Slush fund.

Again, they want fulsome research and reports on how our veterans are doing

Here's a section on "improvement of resources" – could this be our slush fund?

Nope. Literally "publish a list of resources that vets can rely on" and "train people"

Next we get to "Resourcing" – the dollars and cents. So lets see what we have

So, this says that there's going to be a "Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund" added to Title 38 (Section 3 currently stops at 323) and that the Secretary can use it to pay for needed infrastructure. Let's see what 805 says

Jumping ahead to 805: It sets up a new fund to cover these programs, and appropriates for it new funding, over and above the VA's 2021 funding level, needed to implement these programs.

Basically, what this says is this: This is a new program, and we're going to pay for it with new money, not try to make the VA cut elsewhere to make this happen. That new money is mandatory, not discretionary spending

And for this year, they budget 500M, but provide that the Secretary can't spend any of it without committee approval of specific plans and expenses

So look, this pretty much has to be the "slush fund" they're referring to – it's just a provision that says "yes, we're actually going to pay for the obligations we're taking on"

Holy fuck.

OK, let's chill for a sec and go back to Title VII, because maybe it's something else.

Where were we?

Right.

What can the Secretary spend money on, in addition to paying for care? Modernizing the VA claims system. The bill also appropriates funds for facilities, but that's a separate pile of cash

Some more provisions on facilities leases

And more on leasing

And then appropriations for the VA's major facilities leases

And that's it for "Resourcing". So yeah, we found the supposed "slush fund" the GOP is trying to use as an excuse for torpedoing taking care of our veterans: "But this bill would pay for doing that with new money, instead of stealing from a different part of the VA budget"

Did You Have To Pay Extra For That Dan Levy GIF

For completeness, the rest of the bill: first, various recordkeeping matters

Next, allowing vets injured by apparently toxic water at Camp LeJeune to sue for their injuries, followed by the "Cost of War Toxic Exposure Fund" we already covered

Then a provision that allows for electronic notice for anything that requires notice

An annual report on burn pit claims

Last we have the final Title of this bill – Title 9, focusing on the VA's workforce: rural hiring, including by buying out existing contracts with other employers,

HR qualifications, paycap modifications, housekeeping hiring, wage and hour rules, employee awards

More on that, pay limitations, bonuses, and recruitment

And more on recruitment.

And that's it.

You've now seen the entirety of the PACT act.

Is there ANYTHING in there that's not relating to veteran health care, that's pork? No.

Is there ANY "slush fund"? No.

Bottom line, the GOP *defense* of torpedoing veterans' health care is "look, we're all in favor of taking care of our vets, unless we have to pay for it"

But the truth also is that they were FINE with paying for it until Manchin swung his deal on reconciliation.

Suddenly, once that happened and without any warning, they changed their minds.

Because to them, a wounded vet is a political toy. No more, no less.

Fuck em.

Originally tweeted by Akiva Cohen (@AkivaMCohen) on August 1, 2022.

How Republicans came to love assault rifles

A twitter thread from Brad DeLong

I found myself casting my memory back to the early days of the Clinton administration, when I was carrying spears for the Lloyd Bentsen Treasury. We were trying to construct a coalition for a "crime bill"—tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Bob Dole in the Senate… 1/

… and Bob Michel in the House declared that we would get no help from Republicans: that they would try to keep us to zero Republican votes. The point, they said, was that they had to try their best to make Clinton look like a failure. If that meant that none of… 2/

…America's problems would be addressed unless they could be made to look like a Clinton surrender to Republicans, that was fine. This was politics, not a tea party. And, anyway, Clinton was not legitimate: a minority president, who had squeaked in only because Ross… 3/

…Perot had blown up the 1992 race.

Treasury was heavily involved. We were, after all, "the money". And the Bureau of ATF was a pretty big component of federal law enforcement. So we went on a listening tour, asking people over and over again what they thought would… 4/

…actually reduce crime, and what they thought would actually reduce the causes of crime.

One thing that became clear, from rural sheriffs and deputies and big-city police departments alike, was that the cops were starting to get scared. They were getting scared that… 5/

…they were going to run into bad guys with military-grade amounts of automatic firepower, and get killed. There was unified buy-in from law enforcement nationwide that, while people really did disagree about "gun control", an assault weapons ban made sense.

We added… 6/

… it to the bill, and we held enough of the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate to the idea to to push the Clinton crime bill, with all of its constructive and destructive elements, across the finish line.

And then Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House… 7/

…And Gingrich saw the assault weapons ban as a point of Democratic political vulnerability—as something that he could unify the Republican Party around as an unwarranted and authoritarian violation of Americans' rights. And he made it so.

And the Republicans all… 8/

…followed this pied piper into full-throated support of an AR-15 in the hands of every emotionally fragile young male with suicidal power fantasies who could up with $1000, or steal one from a relative who thought it was "protection".

And the Republicans in the… 9/

…nation's police followed him: an assault-weapons ban was no longer something that police chiefs and union leaders would say made good sense—if they were Republicans. Instead, it was every American's natural right to own one. And, they claimed, the police welcomed "good… 10/

…guys with guns" on the street.

And now all the Fox News-watching police nationwide, including those in Uvalde County, are absolutely terrified of what the Republican Party of Gingrich, Hastert, Boehner, Ryan, McCarthy, Dole, Lott, Frist, McConnell, W. Bush, McCain…

… Romney, and Trump have created.

And here we are. 12/END

Originally tweeted by Brad DeLong 🖖 (@delong) on May 27, 2022.

Artificially generated text: Seven cases of Nancy Drew and a tattered Talmud

 

 Note: The following are all fictitious descriptions, generated by the text generator at https://studio.ai21.com/playground, in respsonse to the prompt: The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this:

#1 

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: Nancy is asked to retrieve a tattered copy of the Talmud from an old Jewish man, but she soon discovers that it may contain some very valuable information.

But Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud, a new graphic novel intended to teach Jewish history, has come under fire from Orthodox Jewish leaders, who say it mocks a sacred text.

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud, which was released in April by Yen Press, makes light of Judaism, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

“It trivializes it,” he told HuffPost. “It makes a mockery of Judaism, and I think it does a great disservice to the Jewish community.”

Cooper and other Jewish leaders say the book, which is targeted at teenagers, is inappropriate because it portrays a Jewish person as a clown and trivializes religious texts.

“Teaching and upholding Jewish traditions, texts, and observances through a children’s book is inappropriate,” Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, said in a statement. “The content of the Nancy Drew book should never have been approved for publication by any Jewish publisher.”

Dratch’s organization, which serves as the modern rabbinical arm of Conservative Judaism, is calling on booksellers to stop selling the book.

“The Jewish tradition is replete with stories of wonderful Jewish women whose deeds and accomplishments helped to shape the destiny of the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Steven Wernick, president of the RCA, in a statement. “The idea that Nancy Drew, the iconic female detective, is the appropriate role model for contemporary Jewish girls is downright silly. We hope that all Jewish retailers will discontinue selling this offensive book immediately.”

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud, written by “Hickory” Dickory Dock creator Melanie Rehak, features Nancy solving a mystery while learning about Judaism. Yen Press describes the book as “a fun way for Nancy Drew fans to learn about Jewish customs and traditions.”

“The book is a work of fiction,” Yen Press told HuffPost in a statement.

Cooper, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said some Jewish organizations are overreacting.

“‘Tattered Talmud’ is a colloquial term,” he said. “It does not mock anything. To have any intelligent discussion about this, we need to get some historical perspective.”

Indeed, the saying “‘Tattered Talmud’ is a colloquial term” has been cited in print since at least 1963.

Still, Cooper said, the book “is not appropriate.”

“If I was going to give a young Jewish person a book, I’d give them something that’s age appropriate,” he said. “I would not give them this.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified Dickory Dock creator Melanie Rehak as Melanie Rehaker and misidentified Abraham Cooper as Abe Cooper.<|endoftext|>

#2

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: A rabbi is murdered in cold blood. Nancy Drew sets out on a trail that leads her to a yeshiva. There she encounters a 17-year-old boy, a boy who’s either a psychopathic killer or an innocent victim.
And that’s pretty much it. Oh, and the Talmud.
Nancy Drew, the heroine of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud,” is America’s favorite teenage sleuth. She’s smart, resourceful, brave, and pretty. In book after book, she solves mysteries, righting wrongs and dispatching bad guys.
In this novel, published by Aladdin, Nancy Drew sets out on a trail that leads her to a yeshiva. There she encounters a 17-year-old boy, a boy who’s either a psychopathic killer or an innocent victim.
At 128 pages, “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is the shortest of 65 Nancy Drew books, and it’s the first to feature a yeshiva.
“The yeshiva community has welcomed the book,” said Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger, an Orthodox rabbi who serves on the rabbinic staff of Beis Medrash Govoha and as book editor for ArtScroll, a Haredi publishing house. Rabbi Neuburger read the book before it was published.
“The book’s depiction of Orthodox Jews and Jewish life is incredibly accurate,” Rabbi Neuburger said. “I spoke to the writer, and she said she tried very hard to get the details right.”
As the title suggests, the yeshiva plays an important role. It’s there that Nancy Drew meets Aryeh, a 17-year-old boy who is either a psychopathic killer or an innocent victim. Aryeh, we learn, is an orphan who has been raised in the yeshiva.
Nancy Drew probes Aryeh’s background and learns that he’s an orphan who has been raised in the yeshiva.
“Aryeh is a gentle, quiet boy,” Rabbi Neuburger said. “He’s a thinker, and he’s a bit introverted, but not necessarily shy.”
Aryeh, we learn, has a dark past. When he was 10 years old, he was kidnapped and held hostage for several days. During this time, his kidnapper “abused him,” said Rabbi Neuburger.
“It’s not clear who Aryeh’s kidnapper was,” Rabbi Neuburger said. “Does it have something to do with the murder? Nancy Drew doesn’t have an answer. We’re left wondering.”
Nancy Drew’s search for clues takes her to the Lower East Side, where she meets Rabbi Herschel Schacter, a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva.
A scene from “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud”
Nancy Drew’s search for clues takes her to the Lower East Side, where she meets Rabbi Herschel Schacter, a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva. Schacter, Nancy Drew learns, is Rabbi Aryeh’s uncle.
“Rabbi Shacter is a jovial, warm guy,” Rabbi Neuburger said. “He takes Nancy Drew to the yeshiva and shows her around. They have a nice conversation.”
Nancy Drew and Rabbi Herschel Schacter, a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva, have a pleasant conversation.
Rabbi Schacter takes Nancy Drew to the roof, where she takes in the scene and says, “I’ve never visited a yeshiva before.”
“The book accurately describes what you’d see if you visited a yeshiva,” Rabbi Neuburger said.
Nancy Drew (left) says, “I’ve never visited a yeshiva before.”
Nancy Drew, a 17-year-old girl from River Heights, investigates the murder of a rabbi.
Aryeh, the 17-year-old boy who may or may not be a psychopathic killer or an innocent victim.
Nancy Drew solves the case.
“Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is available on Amazon here.<|endoftext|>

#3

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: Nancy Drew is staying at a ranch in Wyoming, where her hosts, the Drews, are teaching her horsemanship. Her father, Carson Drew, has just won a case involving a group of horse rustlers, and money is being delivered to the ranch. The Drews hire a local man, George Fayne, to deliver the cash, and he arrives with a horse named Duke. Nancy, suspicious, examines the horse and discovers shackles on its ankles.

George is cavalier about Nancy’s questions, but when Nancy threatens to report him to the sheriff, he confesses that he has been stealing horses from ranchers and selling them to Mexican horse thieves. She promises not to turn him in if he promises to reform. Oh, and — spoiler alert — he serenades her with a song.

The book, published in 1950, is typical of the more than 200 Nancy Drew mystery novels that have been published since 1930. The stories follow Nancy and her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne as they investigate crimes, crack codes, and uncover secret passageways in stately houses. Written by Carolyn Keene, who died at 92 in April, the novels have sold 85 million copies and been translated into 40 languages.

Nancy Drew is an enduring mystery. Her popularity has endured despite scant critical attention, a paucity of character development, and a dearth of racial diversity. Her 21st-century fans are passionate, if a bit defensive. When the author Sarah Weinman wrote an essay for The New Republic in 2012 criticizing the novels, Nancy Drew aficionados took to Twitter to slam Ms. Weinman.

Nancy Drew is “a classic example of a female character that had to be perfect in order to be loved by readers,” Ms. Weinman wrote. “She couldn’t show fear, or vulnerability, or uncertainty, or anything less than supreme confidence.”

Photo

Nancy’s fans, though, were having none of it. “I hated Nancy Drew as a child,” one wrote. “She was bossy, rude, and demanding. She was always totally in control.” Another said: “I just think it’s a shame when anyone who’s writing for children today has such low expectations of their readers.”

The exchange was telling. Nancy Drew’s fans, who include me, often seem as invested in defending her as they do in reading her. What does she mean to us? Why do we care so much? And why is she so widely beloved, despite her flaws?

Nancy Drew is, at 90, as popular as ever. Her publisher, Simon and Schuster, claims that she is currently its best-selling teen-fiction author. In 2012, a Nancy Drew computer game sold 100,000 copies in its first three weeks and became a top-ten bestseller on Amazon.

Part of the appeal, no doubt, is that Nancy is preternaturally smart and organized. She excels at solving mysteries and cracking codes. But she is also a social climber. She is always well dressed and coiffed, and is never shown doing domestic chores. In an early novel called “The Secret of the Old Clock,” she goes to great lengths to befriend her rich, snobbish neighbor, Helen Corning. Nancy’s character has been described as “aloof and indifferent,” “a sort of patrician,” and “a cold fish.”

Nancy’s fans, though, see something different. To them, she is a “modern girl” who defies categorization. “She’s not girly, she’s not tomboyish, she’s not prissy, she’s not ditzy, she’s not a know-it-all,” Nancy’s most recent editor, the novelist Jennifer Fisher, said in a telephone interview. “She is, I think, a girl with gumption, and she just takes on things.”

Nancy’s integrity has been another source of appeal. She takes to heart her father’s exhortation, “Be honest, be truthful, be fair,” and declines to accept gifts, lest she be accused of bribing witnesses or withholding evidence. (When a friend gives her a mink stole, she returns it.)

Nancy Drew’s fans also value her pluck. “I always admired her determination and her courage,” Ms. Fisher said. “She’s not afraid to do things. She will go after the bad guy, and she will solve the mystery.”

Nancy’s humble origins have also endeared her to generations of girls. In her first appearance, in 1930, Nancy lives in a boarding house. She drives her own car, in which she carries a gun. Her mother is dead, and her father is a traveling lawyer. She pays for her college tuition, and pays for all her own living expenses. This independence has given her a mythic quality.

“Nancy’s life is very different from that of your average girl growing up,” Ms. Fisher said. “I think that appeals to a lot of girls. She’s not in the popular crowd, she’s not in the rich crowd, she’s not in the smart crowd. She’s sort of on her own.”

Photo

But although Nancy is a loner, she is never friendless. The books feature a recurring cast, including Bess and George, who are always there to support Nancy in her adventures.

“Bess is Nancy’s best friend,” Ms. Fisher said. “They’re like her right and left hands.”

Nancy’s relationship with Bess, in particular, is a source of comfort. “Bess is loyal,” Ms. Fisher said. “She’s always there. She would never betray Nancy. That’s always there, and that’s comforting.”

Nancy’s relationship with George, her beau, is less comfortable. “George is Nancy’s boyfriend,” Ms. Fisher said. “And people complain that this relationship is unequal.”

“The relationship is worth criticizing,” Ms. Weinman wrote in her essay. “George, with his good manners, his equestrian good looks and his expensive cars, provides Nancy with (aside from the occasional ride in his roadster) little in the way of emotional support, respect, intellectual stimulation, or money.”

Despite George’s shortcomings, Ms. Fisher said, the romance endures. “The romance is there,” she said. “George and Nancy are a couple, and people care about their relationship.”

“It’s comforting,” Ms. Weinman wrote, “to know that even a girl as clever as Nancy has someone, somewhere, who loves her.”

Nancy’s fans seem to agree. “It’s nice to have a happy ending,” Ms. Fisher said. “It’s nice to have a boyfriend. It’s nice to know that other people care about you.”

Women have long loved mysteries. “Nancy Drew’s appeal is not a mystery,” Ms. Weinman wrote. “She is a genre.” The Nancy Drew mysteries, she added, “are formulaic. The books never end with a resolution of the crime, and, in fact, the reader is often ahead of the detective.”

Yet Nancy Drew has appealed to generations of girls. “She’s been around so long,” Ms. Fisher said. “She’s been through some terrible times and some great times. She’s been through war and peace, through depression and prosperity.”

Nancy’s enduring appeal, Ms. Fisher said, is her ability to be all things to all people. “I think she appeals to everyone,” she said. “She appeals to readers in the ’30s, she appeals to readers in the ’50s, she appeals to readers in the ’80s, and she appeals to readers today.”

Ms. Fisher’s words made me wonder: Did Ms. Keene, the writer who invented Nancy Drew, know what she was doing?

“I really don’t know if Carolyn had a specific reader in mind,” Ms. Fisher said. “I suspect she did, but she’s a mysterious person. She doesn’t give interviews, she doesn’t do signings, she hasn’t given any master classes, and she’s never spoken at any conventions, so it’s hard to get a feel for her.”

One thing that is certain is that Ms. Keene had herself been an avid reader. “She loved books,” Ms. Fisher said. “She loved mystery novels, and she read widely. She collected English mystery novels, and she had a set of Shakespeare, and she had a set of Dickens, and she had a set of Trollope.”

Nancy Drew’s fans have their own theory about the books’ appeal. “We think it’s the character,” Ms. Fisher said. “We think it’s Nancy. She’s a role model, she’s a friend, she’s a confidant, she’s a sleuth.”

Ms. Fisher also said that Ms. Keene had imbued Nancy with her own values. “I would guess Carolyn was a feminist,” she said. “She wrote about a feisty girl, and she wrote about a girl with gumption.”

Nancy Drew’s fans also love her because, unlike the protagonists of so many contemporary female heroines, she is not “more than a girl.” She is, Ms. Fisher said, “just a girl. She’s not a superhero.”

“She’s just a normal, everyday girl,” Ms. Weinman wrote. “She’s not special. She’s just like you.”

And that is why readers adore her. “We all want to be Nancy Drew,” Ms. Fisher said. “But we can’t.”

But we can read about her, and follow her adventures, and imagine ourselves in her gleaming roadster as she speeds toward the next mystery.

Ruta Rimas is an editor at The New York Times Book Review.<|endoftext|>

#4

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: The Jewish community is burglarized and the book from which the rabbi reads the Torah is stolen. Nancy Drew, the teenage detective, has her own mystery to solve: Who is trying to frighten the Jewish community and, more importantly, who is behind the theft of the sacred book?

At 15, I am not the target audience for the book, but I read it anyway. I read it because “Nancy Drew” is an iconic book series that spans generations, and because “The Case of the Tattered Talmud” offers a rare glimpse into the nuanced relationship many Jews have with their religion.

“The Case of the Tattered Talmud” was published in 1954 and is the seventh book in the “Nancy Drew Mystery Stories” series. It was written by Mildred Wirt Benson and originally illustrated by Walter Popp. Benson wrote 25 of the “Nancy Drew” books and wrote under the pen name Carolyn Keene.

Advertisement

Benson was Jewish, and while her religion is not overtly mentioned in the books, her Jewish identity permeates the plots of many of the books.

As a child, I read the “Nancy Drew” book series, but at the time, I did not realize they were written by a Jewish woman. As I grew older, I began to read Benson’s books as Jewish texts.

“The Case of the Tattered Talmud” is one of the earliest books Benson wrote. It reflects the values Benson held as a girl growing up in a Jewish family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Benson’s upbringing was fairly typical for a Jewish family living in America in the 20th century. Benson’s father, Sol, ran a department store, and Benson and her older sister, Rhea, took piano lessons and participated in Girl Scouts. Benson’s mother, Sarah, was an avid reader who taught her daughters to love books.

Advertisement

However, Benson did experience anti-Semitism. In Benson’s autobiography, “My Life as Nancy Drew,” Benson describes her neighborhood as a “good, solid Jewish neighborhood,” but says that she often felt isolated as a child because she did not play with neighborhood children.

Benson’s introduction to mystery novels came at the age of 13. While reading her favorite Hardy Boys book, “The Tower Treasure,” Benson noticed that a missing page was out of order. She and her sister had the book rebound, but Benson never forgot about the missing page.

This incident sparked Benson’s interest in mystery novels. She resolved to become a writer.

Benson’s mother encouraged her to continue reading mystery novels, so Benson read all the books in the children’s section of the public library. She began writing her own mystery stories at the age of 15.

Advertisement

Benson published her first book, “The Secret of the Old Clock,” in 1930, when she was 25. The book was an instant success.

In “Nancy Drew,” Benson uses Judaism as a way to explore themes of “belonging,” “home” and “community.”

“Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is a perfect example.

In “The Case of the Tattered Talmud,” Nancy Drew is tasked with solving the mystery of the stolen Torah, and she does so with the help of a wide variety of people, including her housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, who is Jewish, and her Jewish friend, Bess Marvin.

Advertisement

The Jewish community in River Heights, where Nancy Drew lives, is close-knit, and Nancy Drew learns the importance of community through her close relationships with Bess, Hannah and all the other members of the Jewish community.

“Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” also explores themes of “belonging” and “home.”

Throughout the book, Nancy Drew is faced with a series of anti-Semitic slurs and threats, and she learns that not everyone in River Heights shares her love for the Jewish community.

In one scene, Nancy Drew, Bess and Hannah take a train to New York City, where they visit a synagogue. A man on the train tells Nancy Drew that “Jews murdered Christ!” Nancy Drew is shocked, but Bess steps in and tells the man that Jews “have nothing to do with the crucifixion.”

Advertisement

After the man leaves, Bess tells Nancy Drew that the man’s anti-Semitism is “the reason my mother and father came to this country.”

“When you grow up in a Jewish family, you’re different from everyone else,” Bess tells Nancy Drew. “You have to have something that makes you different. That’s why I love being Jewish.”

Bess’s words reflect Benson’s own feelings about being Jewish.

“I am a writer. I am a woman. I am Jewish,” Benson wrote in her autobiography. “These are the three things I am.”

Advertisement

Benson’s Jewish identity also influences the stories Benson tells.

“The Case of the Tattered Talmud” includes several Yiddish phrases, including “oy vey,” which means “oh, woe,” and “kosher,” which means “fit” or “proper.”

Benson’s use of Yiddish demonstrates the familiarity she had with Jewish culture.

“In our family, Yiddish was the language of the Jews,” Benson wrote in “My Life as Nancy Drew.”

Advertisement

Benson’s use of Yiddish demonstrates that she was proud of her Jewish identity and that she wanted her readers to be, too.

Benson’s Jewish identity also influences the overarching story of the “Nancy Drew” series.

Nancy Drew is an orphan. Her parents died when she was a baby, and Hannah Gruen raised her. Although Benson was orphaned, she never felt a sense of loss because of the strength of her Jewish community.

“I never felt orphaned,” Benson wrote in “My Life as Nancy Drew.”

Advertisement

“I always had something to live for, and someone to love me and take care of me.”

“Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is out of print, but used copies are available online.

Jillian Horowitz, 15, is a junior at Shalhevet High School.<|endoftext|>

#5

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this:

Nancy Drew, 16, tops her school’s debate team and wants to compete nationally. But the best hotel room rates she can find are $300 a night.

Undeterred, the plucky teen sleuth and her lawyer-dad convince a local Orthodox Jewish high school to let her stay at its dorm for $50 a night.

There’s just one problem: The dorm has a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week policy of gender segregation, and Nancy is a guest of the opposite sex.

Advertisement

Nancy’s predicament is fictional, but this month, Orthodox Jewish schools in New York state are confronting a new reality: Their gender separation policies have put them at odds with the New York Civil Liberties Union, which says discrimination against women is a violation of New York law.

The civil rights group is holding three Orthodox Jewish schools in New York to account, charging them with violating state law by prohibiting females from certain classes, such as advanced math and science, held at the same campus as males.

In separate letters sent late last month, the civil rights group notified leaders of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, an all-male high school in Morristown, N.J.; Central United Talmudical Academy of Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and Beth Rivkah, an all-girls school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The letters warn that the schools could face legal action if they don’t change their policies.

The letters state that the civil rights group’s staff “has learned of numerous instances in which female students … have been excluded from advanced math and science classes that are located on the same campus as the boys’ classes,” which violates New York civil rights law.

Advertisement

Orthodox Jewish schools often provide separate classes for men and women, with women typically studying more traditionally female pursuits such as English, Hebrew instruction and history. Men study more math, science and Talmud.

The civil rights group argues that gender segregation in public schools is illegal and “dangerous,” particularly with regard to math and science, which it says “cannot be taught by teachers who lack training or knowledge of the subject matter.”

The Orthodox Jewish leaders charge that the civil rights group’s campaign is “nothing but an attempt to discredit the Orthodox Jewish community.”

“We take exception to the ACLU’s policy as their goal is to cause religious schools to lose their funding,” said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, a spokesman for Central United Talmudical Academy.

Advertisement

Silber said the academy is “in the process of reviewing our policies” and “will continue to amicably work with the ACLU.”

Rabbinical College of America and the Yeshivah of Flatbush, both also in Brooklyn, were not contacted by the ACLU.

The civil rights group’s letters follow months of negotiations with Orthodox Jewish leaders over gender-separation issues.

The civil rights group also was behind a 2006 settlement with the New York City Department of Education that granted girls access to honors classes and extracurricular activities at 34 private Orthodox yeshivas, or Jewish secondary schools.

Advertisement

That agreement, which ended a long-standing lawsuit, was the subject of much controversy at the time, with some Orthodox leaders warning that it marked the beginning of the end for Orthodox Jewish education in New York.

The civil rights group’s latest campaign “is a tempest in a teapot,” said Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesman for the rabbinical college.

“It doesn’t threaten the schools. It threatens only certain attitudes that are no longer acceptable,” Shafran said. “We think it’s shameful that the ACLU would single out Jewish schools. They are trying to stigmatize Jewish education. It’s unfair.”

Others in the Orthodox community have encouraged the civil rights group to pressure Orthodox schools to change their policies.

Advertisement

Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox advocacy group, said his organization would support the civil liberties group’s campaign “with all our might.”

“We think that the exclusion of girls from advanced classes in math and science is unconscionable,” Zwiebel said. “We think that no school should exclude girls from anything on the basis of gender. We should all be outraged about it.”

tina.susman@latimes.com<|endoftext|>

#6

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: Nancy Drew and her chums, Bess and George, are spending the summer on Nantucket, where Nancy’s wealthy Aunt Eloise is doing some research on the lost islanders, the Azores. But her research suddenly takes a menacing turn when Aunt Eloise’s prize possession goes missing — the 16th-century, 500-year-old “Talmud of Prague.” Nancy is convinced there is a mystery afoot, and together with her two best friends, she begins snooping around Aunt Eloise’s home.

But things get really creepy when one of Nancy’s sleuthing adventures leads her to a remote cemetery, where she discovers a “dead” body. The victim is wearing a talmud, and Nancy soon realizes that there are some very nasty people out to get her.

The book is part of a series of Nancy Drew mysteries that deal with the occult. The books, written by Carolyn Keene, have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into a dozen different languages.

But this latest offering in the series has stirred up quite a controversy.

“It takes this explosively violent and racist text and, using Nancy Drew, makes it seem as benign as can be,” said Rachel Neuwirth, director of the American Jewish Committee’s new center for combating anti-Semitism.

Ms. Neuwirth, who reviewed the book, said it “presents the Talmud as basically a book of good-luck charms.”

“There is a swastika on the title page, and there are talmudic passages throughout the text that say things like ‘Kill all Gentiles,’ ” she said. “It’s clear the author is trying to promote a hatred of Jews.”

The publisher of the series, Simon & Schuster, said the book was not intended to offend. “The Nancy Drew series has never been controversial,” said a spokeswoman, Julie Strauss-Gabel. “Nancy Drew is a heroine, and she’s a role model for girls. We strongly believe that she is a role model for tolerance and diversity.”

Some Jewish leaders, though, are not buying that argument.

The book, they say, is the latest example of what they see as a disturbing trend.

“The fact that this book was published is outrageous,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “If this were an isolated incident, it would be bad enough. But it’s part of a pattern.”

Mr. Foxman’s organization, along with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee, recently issued a report documenting what it calls a “re-emergence of anti-Semitism in popular culture.”

According to the authors, anti-Semitic imagery and references have appeared in such television shows as “The X-Files” and “The Simpsons,” and in movies such as “The Matrix” and “The Mummy.” The report notes that anti-Semitic imagery in popular culture often appears without comment or criticism.

“This is part of a larger pattern,” said Mr. Foxman. “The image of Jews and Judaism in popular culture today is much more negative than it has been in the past. The purpose is to delegitimize and demonize Jews and Judaism and to make it acceptable to be anti-Semitic.”

Mr. Foxman noted that some 30 years ago, “Schindler’s List” was considered a provocative movie. “Today, anti-Semitism in popular culture is even more virulent,” he said.

The publisher of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” said the book was penned by Nancy Drew’s creator, Edward Stratemeyer, who died in 1930.

“Stratemeyer was very much a man of his time,” said Ms. Strauss-Gabel of Simon & Schuster. “There were words and references in his writings that reflected that. But times have changed. We’ve gotten away from some of that, and we’ve changed some of the language and some of the references.”

Ms. Strauss-Gabel said Simon & Schuster had no plans to withdraw the book from circulation. “It has been in print for 60 years, and we’ve never had a complaint about it,” she said.

But Ms. Neuwirth said Simon & Schuster was part of the problem.

“The fact that the book has been in print for 60 years is shocking,” she said. “Why hasn’t Simon & Schuster reconsidered? Simon & Schuster needs to look at what’s going on in today’s society. Why would it think it was a good idea to put out something like this?”

Ms. Strauss-Gabel said Simon & Schuster was now reviewing its publishing policies. “We will re-look at how we handle these kinds of things in the future,” she said. “We want to do the right thing.”

JewishJournal.com is produced by TRIBE Media Corp., a non-profit media company whose mission is to inform, connect and enlighten community
through independent journalism. TRIBE Media produces the 150,000-reader print weekly Jewish Journal in Los Angeles – the largest Jewish print
weekly in the West – and the monthly glossy Tribe magazine (TribeJournal.com). Please support us by clicking here.<|endoftext|>

#7

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: Nancy Drew, our intrepid, resourceful, intelligent teenage detective, is attending a science convention at Yale, when she hears about a crime.

At a local synagogue, a rabbi’s prized 1,900-year-old copy of the Torah has been stolen from the ark. Nancy Drew, being Nancy Drew, volunteers to help find the missing book.

Like any good mystery, “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” has clues and red herrings, false leads and plot twists. In this case, the clue that the crime has something to do with a “Talmud” or “Talmud scroll” is dropped by a rabbi who talks to Nancy Drew as she is leaving the crime scene.

The next day, Nancy Drew does some research, and realizes that “Talmud” is a slang term for a “Talmud scroll.” Our teenage detective has solved her first mystery.

Advertisement

“Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is part of a series of new Nancy Drew books, written by a Los Angeles rabbi, a rabbi’s wife, and his daughter. The books are inspired by the Torah’s prohibition against writing or defacing its words.

“Our book,” writes Rabbi Daniel Nevins, “is intended as a fun way to introduce Torah values to young readers in an engaging way. Corruption of Torah scrolls is a crime that, unfortunately, still occurs today.”

The new series, which began in 2008, has met with acclaim. “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Missing Torah” won a National Jewish Book Award, and the series as a whole has been praised by clergy and educators alike.

Rabbi Nevins points out that the books’ popularity is easy to understand. “Nancy Drew is a heroine that transcends boundaries of age, gender, race and religion,” he says. “She is smart, responsible, brave and resourceful, but she’s also a normal teenager.

Advertisement

“The Nancy Drew books have been so popular for so long because they tap into universal values like justice, fairness and honesty,” he continues. “Our hope is that the Nancy Drew books will not only entertain, but also inspire readers to be their best selves.”

[For the record Sunday, April 30, 2012, 12:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Nancy Drew is 23 years old. She is a teenager.]

#8

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: Nancy Drew, the eternally plucky teenage detective, is visiting her relatives Bess and George at college. Nancy is eager to study with Bess, who is taking classes in Judaic studies, and Nancy is delighted when Bess offers to show her the “Talmud,” a Jewish holy book.

Nancy’s joy is shortlived. She opens the tomes and discovers a “code” — a list of numbers scrawled on the inside cover. Rumors are flying about campus that the tomes have been stolen and that a student’s life may be in danger. Nancy is determined to solve the code mystery and save the day!

The story may sound benign, but “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is causing an uproar.

The story begins in March, when the library at Vassar College, a liberal arts school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., removed “Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Tittering Tome,” the fifth installment in a series that has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

Some Vassar faculty members were offended by the book’s title, which they say is anti-Semitic. They argued that the use of the word “tittering” is a derogatory term for Jews and that the book’s plot reinforced negative stereotypes of Jewish people.

“I wanted the book to be available to anyone who wanted to read it, but I certainly understand and respect the concerns of the Vassar faculty members,” said Harriet B. Pilpel, a director of publisher Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. “The book has been removed from the shelves and now will not be distributed.”

The controversy comes as many Jewish students at Vassar, a private, coeducational school with an enrollment of about 2,200, are feeling increasingly embattled.

Jewish students make up about 10 percent of the student body, a smaller percentage than in many other private colleges but larger than many public universities.

“We are definitely in the crosshairs,” said Adam Bronstone, a junior from New York City. “There are a lot of antiSemitic people on this campus. I call them Jew baiters.”

Mr. Bronstone said anti-Semitic incidents on campus this year have included swastikas drawn on posters advertising a Hillel event on Jewish identity and a swastika etched into tables in the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life.

Vassar officials say that the school has punished offenders and that Jewish students are protected by the same rules and rights as all other students.

“Vassar has a Jewish studies program, a Center for Jewish Student Life, a Hillel house, a kosher kitchen, a sukkah, a Passover seder,” said Vassar president Catharine Bond Hill. “Jews are welcome on campus.”

But Mr. Bronstone, who founded the Vassar Jewish Union, a student group, said that some students do not feel comfortable being open about their Judaism.

“I want people on this campus to know that they are not alone,” he said. “That there are other people on campus who support, who care about, who love them.”

But Jewish students such as Mr. Bronstone have encountered resistance.

Last spring, Mr. Bronstone and some classmates put up posters advertising a talk by Harold Kasimow, the executive director of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

“The posters said ‘Talk with Harold Kasimow,’ ” Mr. Bronstone said. “But in a couple of hours they were ripped down, and someone had drawn in swastikas.”

Mr. Bronstone said he had reported the incident to campus security, but no action had been taken.

“I felt like the administration was doing nothing to protect us,” he said.

The Anti-Defamation League’s regional director, Evan R. Bernstein, said that he has met with Vassar officials to discuss Jewish concerns and that the school has responded appropriately.

“Vassar, like other schools that host Jewish organizations, has an obligation to protect Jewish students and ensure their safety,” said Mr. Bernstein, a former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “They do take these things seriously.”

But Mr. Bronstone said that Jewish students face a double standard.

“If someone were to draw swastikas on a Hillel poster, it would be such a big deal,” he said.

Mr. Bronstone also said that Jewish students at Vassar walk around campus in fear of being physically attacked.

“They have to walk around campus with mace,” he said. “They have to self-monitor the situation. And that’s not right.”

Mr. Bronstone said that some Jewish students have left Vassar because of hostility.

“I talked to one student who transferred to Columbia,” he said. “She said that [Vassar] was just not where she thought she belonged anymore.”

Mr. Bronstone said that Jewish students need the support of administrators, faculty, and other students.

“I would like the administration to support Jewish students,” he said. “I would like the administration to say ‘This is not OK,’ to make it clear that there is a certain standard of behavior on this campus.”

Ms. Hill said that Vassar administrators are responsive to the needs of Jewish students.

“Vassar has a proud tradition of being a place where people of all faiths and backgrounds work, play, and learn together,” she said.

In addition, Ms. Hill said that Vassar has an “open-door” policy toward all students.

“Students who believe they have been subject to bias or discrimination should report it to the Office of Campus Life,” she said. “I want every student at Vassar to feel comfortable here.”

Mr. Bronstone said that he and his classmates are proud of their Judaism and that they hope to educate their peers about Jewish culture.

“We are proud of being Jewish,” he said. “We are not ashamed of who we are.”

“We are a Jewish movement, a Jewish renaissance,” he added. “We are here to stay.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.<|endoftext|>

#9

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: Nancy Drew’s friend, Hannah Gruen, is approached by a rabbi from a small congregation in River Heights because the Torah scrolls, which are hundreds of years old, are mysteriously disappearing from the ark. The rabbi asks Hannah to investigate, but Hannah has too much work at the church. Nancy Drew then takes the case.

The sleuth’s initial steps are standard Nancy Drew fare. She interviews everybody and uncovers plenty of suspects, including Hannah’s boss, who seems to have a beef against Judaism.

What follows, however, is a plot twist that drew gasps and chuckles from the 40 people in attendance Sunday at the Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch.

Rabbi Nancy Drew (yes, that’s her last name) soon discovers that the scrolls are disappearing for one reason: They are being used as rolling papers by a group of local teens who have decided to smoke marijuana.

“We wanted to pick something that kids might relate to,” said Lucy Snyder, the librarian who recommended the book for the library’s One Book, One Jewish Community project. “In River Heights, marijuana is the drug of choice, so that was our hook.”

Snyder said she borrowed the idea from a similar story in the “Blubber” series, which features Nancy Drew-like sleuths solving crimes.

“The rabbi in the book is horrified because she thinks the scrolls are being destroyed,” Snyder said. “But instead of spending a lot of time talking about why it’s wrong, the rabbi focuses on what she can do to help the kids.”

The book’s plot was perfect for a community-wide reading project, according to Snyder, because it seemed familiar enough to coax readers into the library, but different enough to pique their interest and make them want to read the other books in the series.

“I think the tie-in to marijuana was the hook that got them in the door,” she said. “But once they were in, I think the book was able to expand their ideas about right and wrong.”

The “Blubber” series, written by Judy Blume, includes six books. In one of them, Nancy Drew investigates the theft of a Torah scroll.

Rabbi Nancy Drew, who attends Temple Adath Jeshurun in Clifton, said she’s not offended by the portrayal of her faith, but she did take issue with the character who smokes pot.

“I found it kind of sad,” she said. “I thought Nancy Drew wasn’t supposed to smoke pot.”

“It was kind of an eye-opener,” said Beth Rosenbaum, 38, who attended the event with her 9-year-old daughter. “I thought Nancy Drew was this wholesome character, but she’s smoking pot.”

Rosenbaum said she and her daughter weren’t familiar with marijuana, and she thought the “Blubber” book’s plot was creative.

“It was fun,” she said. “It was kind of neat that the kids smoked pot. That doesn’t happen much in these books.”

The event drew people of all ages, including members of the Jewish community and non-readers.

“I wasn’t necessarily interested in it, but I came just to see what it was about,” said Teresa Adams, 60, of Louisville. “When I was a kid, I read Nancy Drew all the time. It was neat to see my daughter reading them.”

Adams’ daughter, Emily, 12, said it was interesting to compare Nancy Drew in “Blubber” to Nancy Drew in the book’s movie version, which was released in 2007.

“She’s not the same person,” Emily said. “There’s some differences. She’s more into fashion in the movie.”

The Louisville Free Public Library is distributing copies of the book to Jewish and non-Jewish homes.

“The goal is to get as many people in the community as possible to read the same book,” Snyder said. “I think that as we always say, ‘One book, one Jewish community.’ “<|endoftext|>

#10

The plot of “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” goes like this: A rabbi dies, leaving his priceless collection of sacred writings to Nancy Drew. But the rabbi’s nephew, jealous of Nancy’s success in solving mysteries, tries to steal the books. Nancy’s search for the Talmud takes her from New York City to Vienna, where she must discover how the valuable books became tattered.

The book was published in 1998 and has become a favorite of teachers and scholars of Jewish studies, according to Nancy Drew expert Benjamin Hoff.

“It gets used quite a bit by professors in universities, and it’s one of the books that is most likely to be cited by professors in articles about the Drew series,” said Hoff, whose book, “The Tale of the Lost

Clues: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries of Nancy Drew,” will be published this month.

Despite the book’s strengths, however, “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” is not likely to be on a lot of Jewish-American children’s bookshelves.

That’s because the book, written by Ellen Raskin and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant, is out of print.

“It’s a really tough one to find,” said Vicky Alvear, a librarian at Congregation Bet Am Shalom in Palo Alto, Calif.

Alvear, who has read most of the 85 or so Nancy Drew books, said she checked with four local libraries before finding “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Tattered Talmud” at Stanford’s Green Library.

“I don’t actually recall seeing it in bookstores,” Alvear said. “I don’t recall seeing it on tables at book fairs. I don’t recall seeing it in the Scholastic catalogues.”

“It’s out of print,” said a Scholastic spokeswoman, who added that the company had no plans to reprint the book.

A call to the Nancy Drew publisher, Simon and Schuster, was not returned.

“It’s not like ‘Harry Potter,'” said Alvear. “You don’t see it everywhere.”

Raskin, who also wrote 20 books in the popular “Winnie the Pooh” series, died last year at age 86.

“I haven’t read this book,” said Judith Stone, the curator of children’s books and young adult literature at the Stanford library. “But I know it’s very much beloved by Jewish scholars, teachers and librarians.”

The collection, which contains more than 50 volumes, is the largest in the world devoted to Jewish children’s literature, Stone said.

“When the librarian here was cataloguing these books, she met a lot of resistance because a lot of this material is out of print,” Stone said. “So the Nancy Drew book was a godsend.”

“It’s a bright spot of a find,” Stone said, “and it makes our collection even more useful.”

steve.chawkins@latimes.com<|endoftext|>

Bonus:

#1

This fall, Ben Yehuda Press, in conjunction with the Drisha Institue for Jewish Education, will publish the first four titles in a series of Jewish-themed Nancy Drew mysteries, under license from Simon and Schuster. The titles and plots of the four volumes are as follows:

1. The Secret of the Scrolls: Nancy Drew and her friend Hannah discover an ancient scroll and attempt to return it to its owner. Throughout, there are clues that point to the identity of the scribe.

2. The Mystery of the Stolen Painting: Nancy Drew travels to Jerusalem and assists the park rangers in the search for paintings stolen from the park.

3. The Mystery of the Hidden House: Nancy Drew, her father, and her friend Bess travel to Israel with Bess’s mother, who is accompanying her father on an art tour.

4. The Secret of the Seal: Nancy Drew travels to Israel with her father and Bess’s mother. Her father is working on an archaeological dig and Nancy is accompanying him on a vacation. Her vacation is interrupted when it is discovered that a valuable relic was stolen from the dig site.

References

External links
Ben Yehuda Press

Category:Book publishing companies based in New York (state)
Category:Jewish printing and publishing
Category:Publishing companies established in 1980
Category:1980 establishments in New York (state)<|endoftext|>

#2

This fall, Ben Yehuda Press, in conjunction with the Drisha Institue for Jewish Education, will publish the first four titles in a series of Jewish-themed Nancy Drew mysteries, under license from Simon and Schuster. The titles and plots of the four volumes are as follows:
The Dead Man’s Treasure (October 1, 2008)
The Missing Menorah (October 1, 2008)
The Matzah of Doom (October 1, 2008)
The Gold of Exodus (May 2009)

The Nancy Drew series is a long-running series of mystery novels for adolescent readers. The books follow the adventures of Nancy and her friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne, who are enrolled in a female college for detective training. Nancy, who is the only girl in the trio, is known for her clever wit, courage, and resourcefulness.

The books in this series are notable for their inclusion of Jewish characters, such as Bess’s father, Rabbi David Kraemer, and Nancy’s friend, Aaron Levy. The books also contain Jewish-themed plot elements, such as The Missing Menorah, in which the girls must search for a missing menorah.

The books in the series will be published by Ben Yehuda Press and distributed exclusively by Random House. The books will be translated from English to Hebrew by Yehudis Fishman and Miriam Shisgal.

References

External links
Official site

Category:Series of children’s books
Category:Nancy Drew books<|endoftext|>

#3

This fall, Ben Yehuda Press, in conjunction with the Drisha Institue for Jewish Education, will publish the first four titles in a series of Jewish-themed Nancy Drew mysteries, under license from Simon and Schuster. The titles and plots of the four volumes are as follows:

The Curse of the Trojan horse (October 2003)
The Sign of the Evil Eye (January 2004)
The Mark of the Raven (May 2004)
The Revenge of the Green Dragon (October 2004)

These four titles will be followed by two others in 2004.

The Nancy Drew mysteries have been translated into Hebrew and are to be marketed to the 10–18 age group.

References

Category:Book publishing companies of the United States
Category:Publishing companies established in 2001<|endoftext|>

#4

This fall, Ben Yehuda Press, in conjunction with the Drisha Institue for Jewish Education, will publish the first four titles in a series of Jewish-themed Nancy Drew mysteries, under license from Simon and Schuster. The titles and plots of the four volumes are as follows:

 

Nancy Drew and the Sign of the Scorpion

Nancy Drew and The Curse of the Scarab

Nancy Drew and the Quest for King Solomon’s Mines

Nancy Drew and The Trail of the Dancing Demon

The books will be published in Hebrew, with a reading level appropriate for 8th graders or 9th or 10th graders, and with glossary and index.

Nancy Drew, the world famous teen detective, first appeared in 1930, and has been the subject of numerous books and movies, as well as TV series. She is a smart, resourceful, and courageous young woman who solves mysteries by using her wits and relying on help from her friends. Nancy Drew is a role model for Jewish girls, who struggle with many of the same issues as she does, including the importance of studying, maintaining their Jewish identity, and being kind to others.

Nancy Drew is a cultural icon that has been a favorite of generations of readers. As the first American Jewish role model, she influenced many Jewish girls, myself included, to be confident and curious, and to want to learn about the world. Nancy Drew also paved the way for many Jewish female writers.

The first four Nancy Drew titles will be followed by additional titles in January 2012.

The Nancy Drew series will be marketed to schools and libraries, and to the Jewish and general market.

Please contact us for more information.<|endoftext|>

#5

This fall, Ben Yehuda Press, in conjunction with the Drisha Institue for Jewish Education, will publish the first four titles in a series of Jewish-themed Nancy Drew mysteries, under license from Simon and Schuster. The titles and plots of the four volumes are as follows: (1) Treasure of King Solomon (Nancy investigates a gem that is sought by a famous jeweler); (2) The Mystery of the Kosher Salamander (Nancy is caught up in the culinary world, where kosher and non-kosher meet); (3) The Mystery of the Stolen Crown (Nancy’s adventures take her to the last place on earth she expected to go: Israel); and (4) Mystery of the Missing Chalice (Nancy is pulled into a treasure hunt, and finds herself on the trail of stolen religious artifacts, all with the goal of helping to rebuild a destroyed Temple). The books are written for 8-13 year olds, and both Jewish and non-Jewish readers are welcome.

My Thoughts:

Nancy Drew, the famous girl detective, has long been a favorite among young readers. Now, for the first time, Nancy Drew is tackling serious issues and introducing young readers to Jewish concepts.

The Jewish Nancy Drew books introduce readers to a Jewish character, Nancy’s best friend, Hannah Gruen. Hannah is a Jewish girl who attends a Jewish school, and her parents have set her up with dates (she’s 13). In each of the four books, Hannah has a “big project” that she is working on – building her sukkah, baking challah, and so on. The books are chock full of references to Jewish holidays, Jewish foods, Jewish rituals, and Jewish practices. In the first book, for example, Nancy and Hannah work on a sukkah, and Nancy’s father tells her the story of the first sukkah. In book two, when Nancy and Hannah are discussing the fact that Nancy can’t help Hannah bake challah for Shabbat, we learn that Hannah’s father “hasn’t made bread since” her mother died (in the Holocaust). In book three, Nancy and Hannah are in Israel, and Nancy’s mother explains to Hannah where each place they go is in relation to Temple Mount. In book four, Nancy and Hannah are at a seder, and Hannah tells Nancy about “where the matzo comes from.”

Nancy Drew books are known for being full of suspense, but these books, in particular, end on a cliffhanger. After Nancy solves the mystery in each of the four books, she finds herself in some sort of trouble. In book one, Nancy is trapped. In book two, Nancy is locked in a trunk. In book three, Nancy is trapped. And in book four, Nancy is trapped. In each case, Nancy has to solve another puzzle or mystery in order to escape.

These books are wonderful resources, especially for Jewish educators. The books introduce Jewish concepts to young readers in familiar terms. The books are fun, and they provide a perfect introduction to Jewish topics.

Stay tuned – in the next few months, we’ll provide more information about the Jewish Nancy Drew books, including more information about the series, the Nancy Drew website, and the Nancy Drew games.

(You can see the first two books, Treasure of King Solomon and The Mystery of the Kosher Salamander, at the JudaicaEnterprises website. The third and fourth books, The Mystery of the Stolen Crown and Mystery of the Missing Chalice, will be available soon.)

Like this: Like Loading…<|endoftext|>

 

Some theology in memory of former NCSY and OU leader Rabbi Pinchas Stolper

Shmarya Rosenberg passes on news of the death of Rabbi Pinchas Stolper. He links to the report in Yeshiva World News and comments:

For decades, Stolper covered up for and enabled child sex abuse by Rabbi Baruch Lanner. No mention of this in the Yeshiva World article on Stolper’s death, tho. No matter what rabbis do wrong in life, no matter who they hurt, they’re almost always heroes in death, holy ‘tzaddikim’, when they really should rot in hell.

Recent lawsuit by survivors against Stolper's former org, the OU's youth kiruv (missionary) group NCSY, and the OU itself: https://www.jta.org/2021/11/29/ny/orthodox-union-and-its-youth-group-sued-over-past-abuse-by-baruch-lanner-rabbi-convicted-of-sexually-abusing-teenage-students

Expanded suit:

https://njjewishnews.timesofisrael.com/orthodox-union-ncsy-sued-over-abuse-by-former-new-jersey-director/

3/…NCSY award named for Stopler despite abuse coverups (lots of good links at the bottom of the article):
https://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2008/12/ou-ncsy-honors.html

Awareness Center Baruch Lanner page:

http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com/2000/07/lessons-from-lanner-case.html?m=1

Originally tweeted by Shmarya Rosenberg (@Shmarya) on May 26, 2022.

To which I tweeted out the following: 

To amplify: Stolper ran the youth group for the Orthodox Union. That's the umbrella group for most modern Orthodox shuls. And the OU symbol you see on many kosher products.

Stolper, as the quoted thread notes, ignored victims of his employee Rabbi Baruch Lanner. Why? In part, because, as is alleged to have told the victims, because the employees were doing so much good in spreading "Torah."

And in part, because as a good Orthodox Jew he had been trained to regard the word of a rabbi above that of a girl.

As an Orthodox Jew, he also — whether consciously or unconsciously — believed in the Talmudic dictum that God protects those who are doing a mitzvah.

It was a dictum quoted by Israeli government minister Aryeh Deri last year, dismissing the pleas of officials to impose safety measures on the Lag Ba'omer celebrations in Meron. The measures weren't imposed. 45 people died. Including a kid who lived one town over from mine.

My daughter was at the pilgrimage. She saw the stretchers pass by with the victims.

My daughter is named for a victim of Pinchas Stolper's NCSY.

In 1981, we were at a Shabbaton in Utica, New York. The ground was covered with snow. We were walking back from shul on a Friday night. At one spot, the sidewalk wasn't shoveled. Most of the kids walking home started walking in the street.

Safety, of course, dictates that you don't walk in the street in the direction of traffic. So I continued walking, slowly, on top of the huge piles of snow.

Safety, of course, would dictate that the advisors — college students — would have the group cross over the street to the other side. But safety was not a top concern for NCSY.

If safety had been a top concern at NCSY, the director of New Jersey's Junior NCSY chapter would not now stand accused of having sent a girl home in Baruch Lanner's car, where she was allegedly raped.

That junior NCSY director is now a shul rabbi here in Teaneck, because Torah “knowledge” always trumps demonstrable bad judgement in the Orthodox world of the OU.

Meanwhile, downtown, a political bigwig had spent the evening drinking. He drove through the group walking home. He killed three girls.

One was my sister.

At the time, I was an NCSY true believer. My family didn't sue.

At the time, as an Orthodox true believer, I looked immediately to my sins. What had I done to deserve this? That is, after all, one of the theologies expressed in traditional Judaism.

I have come to understand that what I did to deserve it — what my sister did to deserve it — was to assume that Orthodox Judaism could provide a safe environment. When, at its theological core, it can't.

Now, had my sister decided instead to spend the weekend with her Camp Ramah friends — well, Camp Ramah has its problems too, as we’ve seen this month. But it knows better than to preach fairy tales about a God who saves its worshippers.

At its core, contemporary Orthodox Judaism is a form of Holocaust denial.

See this letter to the editor from Rabbi Jacob Telushkin, critiquing someone I am proud to have published, arguing in effect that the Holocaust doesn’t keep him up at night because, thanks to God’s posthumous justice, it’s all good.

The rot lies very, very deep in the OU and its rabbinic leadership.

An excerpt from the current NCSY lawsuit, at a point when Jane Doe #3 is on an NCSY Israel trip, where Lanner is abusing her. She tells Stolper about it:

Rabbi Stolper responded, “…but are you having a good time?” He took no action and summarily dismissed Jane Doe #3 repeatedly saying, ‘He [Lanner] does so much good; it’s important what he’s doing.'”

“Rabbi Stolper responded, “…but are you having a good time?”

He took no action and summarily dismissed Jane Doe #3 repeatedly saying, ‘He [Lanner] does so much good; it’s important what he’s doing.'”

from the lawsuit

The good, of course, is spreading the true religion of Orthodox Judaism. In its OU form, that religion teaches that the study of the Talmud provides access to the mind of God, and touches on a supernal wisdom.

Relatedly, traditional Jewish observance will bring one to a greater sense of ethics.

Both of those theories have been robustly disproved, as @Shmarya documented over the course of a decade or so at Failed Messiah.

The matter of Baruch Lanner and NCSY provides a very clear example of this.

Briefly: A "court" made up of Yeshiva University's leading Talmudists was established to judge the case of Baruch Lanner.

Briefly: They botched it in every which way.

Subsequently, one of the rabbis apologized. He did not admit, however, that his ability to err so grievously undermined all of the theological claims of the value of Talmud study.

He had devoted his life to the study and teaching of Jewish law, he had encouraged others to do the same, and when it actually came time to apply it, to make a difference in someone's life — he fucked it up.

Really, the world would have been better off had spent the decades developing video games.

Needless to say, that one failing — which hurt multiple people, including the girls Lanner went on to abuse — is totally forgiven by the good Orthodox Jews of Bergen County, where Rabbi Willig is a frequent and welcome speaker.

But back to Stolper: Obviously, I don’t hope he rots in hell. Because there is no such place.

And the reason I know there is no such place is — despite what Egyptian mythology might have you believe, as would its Jewish offshoots — a life can't be measured on a one-dimensional scale of good or bad.

I mean, Stinky Pinky no doubt did good too.

And much of what Stinky Pinky did that was evil he sincerely believed was good.

There is no meaningful guidance of how to live one's life given at Sinai. We are on our own here.

It’s not always a pleasant thing to know — I remember my disappointment at an NCSY Shabbaton a year after my sister’s death when I read the Talmud’s “proofs” of the resurrection of the dead.

Spoiler: That doctrine isn't in the Torah, and the rabbis knew it.

Might as well get your faith from Bruce Springsteen.

Originally tweeted by Larry Yudelson (@yudel) on May 26, 2022.

Will Amber.org lead me to reactivate this blog?

Just discovered http://amber.org, which promises to make automatic backups of pages I link to on my blog.

I don't know whether it's a result of the breakdown of Google as a web searching business, or the decision by a couple specific publishers to remove information that looks embarrassing in hind sight, but twice this week I was unable to find articles I know I read in the past.

I guess that's a reason to start updating my blog, if only to serve as a backup location for links I share here or on FB — or links I want to remember but leave me too livid to comment sensibly at the moment.

Originally tweeted by Larry Yudelson (@yudel) on December 30, 2021.

Don’t call them kapos

So I got into an informative and I think illustrative argument on Facebook the other week. I’m republishing it here because what happens on Facebook shouldn’t stay on Facebook, and also the original thread was deleted by friend on whose page this drama took place, since he didn’t really fancy the invectives hurled my way.

But I saved screenshots. (I’ll provide links to the linked articles after the screenshots.)

It began when my friend posted an article from the pro-Trump Jewish News Service about Jared Kushner. I responded. Then things escalated. Enjoy!

Don’t call them kapos

Anyway, these are my New Jersey neighbors, no doubt hopped up on Fox News and its Jewish equivalents. But don’t call these Trumpists kapos: If they ever get the chance to throw me and my kind into the ovens, they will do so with joy and exhilaration, and maybe even a bracha.  

 

Links, as promised:

Terror stats: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/number-of-terrorism-fatalities-in-israel

Vanity Fair on Jared Kushner’s culpability in the plague that killed 4000 Americans today: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/12/jared-kushner-covid-19-mba

Washington Post on Jared Kushner’s culpability in the plague: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/politics/trump-covid-pandemic-dark-winter/