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Hey, rabbi, got any advice on how to make our skin look healthier?

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One of Brooklyn Heights’s most-influential Jewish leaders fought back against an anti-Israel rally last Friday by doing what influential rabbis do in such situations: he bought cosmetics.

Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Congregation B’nai Avraham picked up some Ahava products at Ricky’s cosmetics shop on Montague Street just a few days after the store was picketed by protesters claiming that selling the West-Bank-made lotions supported Israel’s “illegal” occupation of the West Bank.

Raskin said he did his shopping simply to “make a stand” against the protesters. He also e-mailed 2,000 congregants and friends urging them to support Ricky’s and Israel by buying Ahava goods, which are made in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

“It is inescapable to see [the protest] as anything other than an expression of anti-Semitism,” Raskin said in the e-mail.

On Tuesday, he made his purchases and even blessed the staff of the hipster cosmetic store on the way out.

“Anyone who buys Israeli products, including Ricky’s, will receive many blessings,” he said.

Perhaps, but one of the original Ahava protesters disagreed with the rabbi’s take on the issue.

“We are definitely opposed to Ahava, and opposed to the Israeli settlements,” said Charlotte Phillips. “But to jump from that to calling us anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic is a gross misreprese­ntation.”

Raskin was unapologetic: “How come they don’t go out and protest China, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, who are all violating human rights for tens of millions of people? Instead they are complaining about some mud that is made in a small country, that we rightfully own.”

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Reader Feedback

Raina from BH says:
Give me a break ... Buying expensive body lotions, hand creams, anti-aging stuff and luxury spa products now = supporting Israel peace?
July 19, 2010, 1:04 pm
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
Any time anyone tries to hold Israel responsible for its actions, it's anti-semitism. What does Israel have to do for people to take its transgressions seriously?
July 19, 2010, 2:07 pm
Brooklyn from brooklyn says:
I am sure you are really from bay ridge...... by way of Palestine
July 19, 2010, 4:08 pm
Brooklyn from brooklyn says:
I bet you were you one of those "Palestinian" bay ridge folk that were in the streets cheering on 9/11 too
July 19, 2010, 4:12 pm
Allen from Heights says:
Hey, 'Brooklyn' - 'I am sure' and 'I bet' that you're a sicko.
Bayridgite asked a reasonable question. It didn't merit your sneering bigotry.
July 19, 2010, 4:22 pm
Brooklyn from brooklyn says:
Sure it did deserve my honest and truthful comment Allen. It was a anti semetic comment. The Palestinians are terrorists who deserve no sympathy AT ALL. They can't wipe their own ass's without the help of the Israeli's. Even the egyptians want nothing to do with them. Why can't they grow their own food or build their own economy, maintain their own utilities?You sound like another moronic liberal with his head in the sand. Go back to sleep.
July 19, 2010, 5:18 pm
Allen from Heights says:
Brooklyn: "Honest and truthful" and "sneering bigotry" aren't mutually exclusive.

Keep it up -- IF you want to damage the cause and make supporters look like rabid crazies who'll pitch fantasy smear-attacks at anyone who disagrees.
July 19, 2010, 5:30 pm
A O from BKLYN says:
Hey Brooklyn How can the Pali's do anything you mentioned-

"Why can't they grow their own food or build their own economy, maintain their own utilities?"

when every day they are constantly getting bombed by Israel so if they try to grow crops or build something Israel says there is a terrorist some where and starts shooting bombs and if we question it were Anti Semites. The real terrorists are the Israeli's, dont forgot who is occupying whom...
July 19, 2010, 5:37 pm
Jay from Also Brooklyn says:
Uhhhh, brooklyn ... it's "asses" not "ass's," and it looks really really bad when you can't spell your key issues correctly: It's "an anti-Semitic," not "a anti semetic" ... and it's "Israelis," not "Israeli's."
July 19, 2010, 6 pm
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
Ha ha ha!!! Totally western European! Raised Episcopalian in the suburbs! And still looking for a reasonable answer to a reasonable question.
July 19, 2010, 6:08 pm
Marve from Brighton says:
The taking of resources from an occupied land is illegal , that's why the boycott of Alhava is appropriate. It's called stealing, just like taking Palestinian property is called stealing. I never thought this was supposed to be a Jewish value, has it become one?
July 19, 2010, 7:05 pm
Jay from Brooklyn Heights says:
"Bayridgite" ..."raised Episcopalian" is typical, though not the only type who can't get over Jews with political power, let alone self-determination. They can no longer safely sneer from their "no Jews, no dogs" country clubs so they seize on Israel as the Jew among nations.

By the way, since we "stole" the Dead Sea cosmetics industry, does that mean we "stole" the Dead Sea Scrolls too? They're from the same area.
July 19, 2010, 7:11 pm
brooklyn from brooklyn says:
Still no answer as to why they can't control their own destiny? Is it that HAMAS steals all the money meant to help them? How rich was Arafat when he died? Did he own a carvel in the dessert or did he steal money from his own people? Is it they are just not capable of helping themselves? Why no answer to the questions bad grammar or not you still have no answer for me JAY from Brooklyn. Who is getting bombed AO? How many rockets were fired into Israel? How much land has Israel given back to them recently? Marve baby heres a shocker for ya.....Israel was the JEWS' first. Check the bible . Check the ruins of the temple. Do a carbon 14 analysis . DO ANY OF YOU HAVE ANY REAL AND FACTUAL ANSWERS? DO you all go to the same liberal brainwashing academy?
July 19, 2010, 7:56 pm
Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens says:
Sign the letter to Ricky's CEO urging him to KEEP AHAVA PRODUCTS ON THEIR SHELVES:

https://jsoccer.wufoo.com/forms/to-rickys-nyc-ceo-keep-selling-israeli-products/
July 19, 2010, 9:10 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
Only those brainwashed by our fine leftist colleges and grad school have a chance to reach the de-elevated moral state in which Israel is the bad guy Or, in other words:

כל מי שנעשה רחמן במקום אכזרי
סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן

Those who are kind to the cruel will soon be cruel to the kind.
July 19, 2010, 11:41 pm
brooklyn from brooklyn says:
Well said Steven!
July 20, 2010, 8:23 am
Dan from Park Slope says:
Jay from Brooklyn Heights says: "Bayridgite" ..."raised Episcopalian" is typical, though not the only type who can't get over Jews with political power, let alone self-determination. They can no longer safely sneer from their "no Jews, no dogs" country clubs so they seize on Israel as the Jew among nations.
* * *
fyi, Jay, Lord Arthur Balfour was an Anglican (Episcopalian).

But thanks for adding a new "hate" to this mix.
On the first "Ahava" thread, anti-boycotters said that the boycotters were ugly commie 'nazi' 'lesbo' 'whores.' They also bashed anyone who supported the boycott, or questioned its critics here, as depraved immoral anti-semitic nazis and pinkos. (Nazi pinkos?? Go figure!)
Now we get the usual dirt-spewing re: Palestinians plus a smear re: a whole church.
Lookin' good, guys ... in a bad way.
July 20, 2010, 9:58 am
Dan from Park Slope says:
Jay from Brooklyn Heights says: "Bayridgite" ..."raised Episcopalian" is typical, though not the only type who can't get over Jews with political power, let alone self-determination. They can no longer safely sneer from their "no Jews, no dogs" country clubs so they seize on Israel as the Jew among nations.
* * *
fyi, Jay, Lord Arthur Balfour was an Anglican (Episcopalian).

But thanks for adding a new "hate" to this mix.
On the first "Ahava" thread, anti-boycotters said that the boycotters were ugly commie 'nazi' 'lesbo' 'whores.' They also bashed anyone who supported the boycott, or questioned its critics here, as depraved immoral anti-semitic nazis and pinkos. (Nazi pinkos?? Go figure!)
Now we get the usual dirt-spewing re: Palestinians plus a smear re: a whole church.
Lookin' good, guys ... in a bad way.
July 20, 2010, 9:58 am
Jenifer from Greenpoint says:
Thank you !$&@ protesters I forgot how much I love Ahava products, going straight to Ricky's to buy some. Plus it's a great way to support Israel.
July 20, 2010, 10:45 am
Dan from Park Slope says:
Marve, about those Bible claims -- it's bad "evidence" when your proof-claim was composed solely by one interested party and is based on that party's religious belief.

By that standard, EVERYONE could claim property rights in their forebears' ancestral regions, based on our own narratives and a claimed contract with a personal deity who wants us to succeed.
Even then, we'd have to pick a starting point that favored us - ignoring those who came before, AND our own later history, defeats, etc.

I'm sure you'd scream (as I would) if - on that basis - Egypt and Persia-Iran claimed rights to their ancient kingdoms ... the pope reclaimed his medieval-temporal power over all Europe ... or descendants of 17th-century Dutch settlers claimed historic title to your property (and said that you used it badly, anyway).
July 20, 2010, 11:17 am
wrystander from BK says:
I dont think Ahava will fade without yr help, Jenifer. It is owned by the B. Gaon Holdings megafirm which owns _many_ other and big businesses, in _many_ areas, incl. agriculture, fashion, cosmetics, hardware, auto accessories, smartphone sales, tourism, finance, brokerages and real estate.
July 20, 2010, 11:49 am
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
Tell, me, what would the Israeli government have to do for you to criticize it? If it did something that hurt American citizens? Who's side would you be on then? Israel's or the United States'? Does AIPAC have you in its pocket?
July 20, 2010, 11:52 am
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
"Tell, me, what would the Israeli government have to do for you to criticize it?"

How about something bad, or stupid?

For example, it's bad and worth criticism that the PM doesn't tell President Obama "sorry, no negotiations about anything until the Palestinian Arabs in charge stop promising to kill us all"?
July 21, 2010, 9:28 am
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
This isn't in the West Bank, but it's the same depraved morons with their lies of oppression in Gaza:
http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2010/07/where-is-this-hotel.html
July 21, 2010, 9:30 am
Bayridgite from Bay Ridge says:
No oppression. Like there was no oppression in aparteid South Africa? I've wasted enough time on this conversation. Enjoy your day.
July 21, 2010, 10:20 am
JewishLady from Cobble Hill says:
I am heading to the store to buy Ahava, thank you rabbi!!!!
July 21, 2010, 1:35 pm
WoLF from Brooklyn Heights says:
Dan from Pk Slope:
You missed the point my man: Jews have lived continuously on the land since those biblical times which you discount, so your analogies are misguided. No other people can make this claim (particularly the "Palestinian" which are not a "people" by any definition and are treated by their fellow Arabs as less than people --see the only "refugee camps", supported by the UN, any where in the world as a result of from World War II era displacements. Note" there are no refugee camps for the hundreds of thousand of Jews who were forced out of Arab lands where they had lived for thousands of years). But, since you prefer "modern" claims to property: how about the determinative factor of war; that usually does it. Particularly in a defensive war. Next case.
And yes, Dan: Nazism = liberal nationalism. Liberalism today has abandoned individualism, liberty, justice and the freedom this country was founded on and replaced it with socialistic big government control of everyone's lives and property and has fostered the intolerance we see in these blogs to the extent that liberalism = intolerance (like not letting the Israeli ambassador speak, etc.).
July 21, 2010, 2:41 pm
Jason from Boerum Hill says:
The reason why this protest is anti-semitic is simple: it only happens when it involves the JEWISH State. Have you heard of one protest against Lebanon, where Palestinians
do not qualify for health care, and are banned by law from working in a large number of jobs? Yeah, me neither. What about Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more Arab countries that continue to impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians? That's right--it's only when the Jews are involved that it matters. And THAT's why it's anti-semitism.
July 21, 2010, 2:52 pm
Ahava from Bushwick says:
off to Ricky's to buy some cosmetics for the entire fam ..and extended fam. heck, i'm doing my chanukkah shopping early this year! anyone want to start a "meet-up" group with me? we can meet up at a different Ricky's location every motzei shabbos to stock up. come on, let's do it!
July 21, 2010, 3:25 pm
Hank from BH says:
Jason - in the past 60 years, the U.S. has given more aid to Israel than to ANY other country, more than $113 BILLION in direct aid, military-emergency-immigrant funding, etcetera.
That alone should give those who disagree with you a right to an opinion, and to question or be concerned re what we're funding, without being spat at and demonized.
July 21, 2010, 3:34 pm
Jay from Also Brooklyn says:
Ummmm, I think you can quit shilling now, "Ahava."
As I said on the other boycott thread:

The Ahava plugs -- Amazing! gotta buy it! bought $350 worth! just got back from buying! Sending the wife and kids to buy it! Love Ahava! I will go to Rikys [sic]! -- look so roboty-specious that I can't imagine their purpose.
July 21, 2010, 3:38 pm
Jason from Boerum Hill says:
Hank: U.S. aid to Israel doesn't change the nature of the "boycott divest and sanction" movement, of which this is a part, or make it less anti-semitic.
Your reference to freedom of speech is ironic since Israel is the only country in the Middle East where that right exists to the extent that it does in the U.S. The same goes for freedom of religion. Under Fatah's leadership in the West Bank, Christians are regularly abused under the supervision of Fatah. An article written in the P.A. daily Al-Ayyam, by Abd Al-Nasser Al Najjar in March 2010 discusses this in more detail. Contrast this with Israel, where every individual is free to worship their own religion. Same thing with freedom of love. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where you can be gay and not be hanged, shot or beaten. And where you can kiss in public and otherwise express your affection for others. Those that want to criticize and undermine Israel undermine all of those essential freedoms and the only country in the region that gives them to everyone equally.
July 21, 2010, 4:28 pm
Dan from Park Slope says:
To WoLF,
The the nazis absolutely DESPISED liberalism, since it emphasized individualism and equality of all, regardless of race or religion, as opposed to nationalism and bigotry. (Hitler blasted the liberal press as "gravediggers" for the Reich.) The nazis blamed Jews and "Jewish influence" for that liberalism.

I'm not going to quote the nazis' texts and speeches here in order to prove that -- because that sickening, hate-filled material doesn't merit posting or repeating.
July 21, 2010, 4:28 pm
Hank from BH says:
Jason - You're overreaching like crazy.
I didn't specifically refer to U.S., or any, freedom of speech vs. government censorship.
I meant YOU, and those who react as you do.
I said that since the U.S. has given "more aid to Israel than to ANY other country," those who disagree with YOU have a right to opine, question or be concerned, without YOU spitting at or demonizing them.
July 21, 2010, 4:36 pm
Jason from Boerum Hill says:
Hank: You invoked freedom of speech with respect to these BDS protesters--not me. The BDS movement and the groups that are trying to undermine and destory Israel are doing the spitting and hating--not me. The BDS movement and the actions of these protesters are anti-semitic. Plain and simple.
July 21, 2010, 6:27 pm
Hank from BR says:
Jason - I meant ANYONE who disagreed with you, and with those who react as you do, not just the protesters.

You want to see spitting and hating? You could read the anti-boycott comments. Those here are too dull - just calling one writer a "Palestinian" who "cheered" on 9/11, and posting a mini anti-Episcopalian (?!) hatefest. Why not see what people wrote after the earlier Ahava story:
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/29/dtg_rickys_2010_07_16_bk.html?comm=1#feedback

That's where anti-boycotters said about pro-boycotters
- Wow, what a shithead she is.
- you could use some ahava stuff you ugly duck
- you are a sick depraved being
- You empty head whore, skin head anti semite
- no wonder your a lesbo cause no man would touch you
- You know you're dealing with the mentally ill when you hear "Code Pink"....
- stick to the VAGINA FESTIVAL you know what i mean
- Code Pink's called in the Code Pinkos
- you ugly sad faced human junk
and also said "pinko go home," called them communists and homegrown terrorists, Nazis and pogromists, said they should leave town, and more.

You think that made the commenters look good and reasonable? Made OTHERS look like spitters or haters? Was an equivalent response to a one-brand boycott? Didn't look like hate-on-a-stick? Would inspire and convince someone who was rational, uninformed, and undecided?
July 22, 2010, 2:39 pm
Rob from Greenpoint says:
You people want to spend good money on jars of mud, go right ahead. There's a sucker born every minute.
July 22, 2010, 2:52 pm
Jared from Heights says:
Buying expensive luxury mud and rationalizing it as a virtuous deed, as if there aren't less self-pampering ways to do good.
July 22, 2010, 5:28 pm
AO is a shagitz from the world says:
A O from BKLYN says:
Hey Brooklyn How can the Pali's do anything you mentioned-

Hey shagitz, go read the Bible. God gave Israel to the Jews. Occupation? That's a laugh.

You're a shagitz pure and simple and you're stupid, you can't even read the Bible or history books. There is no such thing as a Pal, it's just your wet dream. You'll be singing a different tune when some crazy Arab blows your family up.
July 25, 2010, 6:32 am
Disgusted from B. H. says:
TO 'AO IS A SHAGITZ,' congrats, you aced the hatefest here w/your crude, ugly, 'shagitz' post.
Guess it wasnt enough that the hatelist here covered Palestinians, Muslims in general, Episcopalians, Bay Ridge, and disagreers w. W. Bank policy. You had to include 'shagetz' (insulting term for non-Jewish guy), too.
Eccch.
July 29, 2010, 8:02 pm

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