Hasmo Legends XIII: A Legend (Osher) Strikes Back

[Followed by Hasmo Legends XIII: The Background]

Someone has told me about the Hasmo blog.  I haven’t seen it for myself and, considering what it is supposed to be like, I don’t think I want to, either.

After all, as far as I can ascertain, the fellows who are obsessed with this hatred of Hasmo have more or less wasted the last 20 or 30 years doing nothing much for themselves and even less for the world.  The owner of the blog, who calls himself Mike Something-or-other, as far as is known, lives alone, unmarried, in a flat in Tel Aviv, together with his four dogs.  Most of these people who say that Hasmo did nothing for them spiritually, etc., etc., moan, groan, moan, groan, are now grown men but are unfortunately the drinking companions of ingrates and malcontents and suchlike others who are pretty much the dregs of society.

Osher Baddiel (March 2009)This site is a shame on all of us normal people who have a great deal to be thankful for to Hasmo.  If Mike and Co. won’t close it down themselves, or at least remove the offensive comments about teachers and Rebbes and start to be more positive and grateful, then the rest of us should not give it any support by contributing any comments to this site.  It is a disgrace to all of us ex-Hasmos!  Let’s silent this scab!  After all, most of us ex-Hasmos know full well that wherever we go in the world, Hasmo is known and its ex-pupils are looked up to – and with good reason!  But these malcontents want to spoil all that.  For why?  Of course we all know that there were/are areas that could have been better.  OK, so what?  Does that cancel all the good that is Hasmo?

Let’s have a bit more pride in our school and gratefulness to those teachers and Rebbes that have given us so much opportunity and advantage.  Malcontents and failures should not be allowed to define what is a true Hasmo product nor besmirch our name and reputation!  Hasmos of the world – unite!

As a Limmudei Kodesh Rebbe at Hasmonean for well over thirty years and also a teacher (I also taught bookbinding and for a time I taught also woodwork and even calligraphy) I am saddened to hear about this website about the Hasmonean.  It is so unfair.

But you know, it’s rather sad to see grown men (some of them must be about fifty years old by now, if not older) who are so absorbed with themselves and so vindictive that they have to try to besmirch, denigrate and ridicule people, sometimes using language and expressions which are shamefully foul and dirty and not at all fitting for Jewish people to use, just because – more than thirty years ago! — these people were their teachers and, according to their childish perspective, they treated them unfairly.  These overgrown babies think that they can now take their revenge against their teachers (but like the cowards that they are, of course hiding behind the cloak of anonymity) for what they perceive to be “unfair treatment” – referring to things which happened twenty or even over thirty years ago!

A number of points to remember:

1.   After all is said and done, people become teachers because they are idealistic.  They are generally more intelligent than your average person and could probably do quite well out there in the world of money and material gain.  But no.  They have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping youngsters make their way in the world, to give them the equipment they will need to do well.  Nobody, but nobody, has ever decided to become a teacher so as to make life for children a misery.  All teachers start out with the best intentions.  Sadly, the treatment that they receive from their pupils can sometimes make them regret deeply their chosen vocation, but if they have become embittered it is because the children, who can be clever, manipulative, nasty, cruel and quite vicious, have made them so.

2.   The self-pitying, vindictive, spiteful, foul-mouthed, overgrown babies who contribute their spiteful remarks about their teachers were in all probability pretty rotten kids who quite deliberately intended to play-up and ruin, both, the best efforts of their teachers and also the learning opportunities of their classmates.  If their teachers were nasty to them, they probably brought it upon themselves by trying to make their teachers’ lives a misery.

3.   And even if they were completely innocent, so alright!  The teacher made a mistake!  Because the real culprit was clever, the teacher mistakenly picked on you and punished you!  And you, of course, protested your innocence but would not snitch on the real offender.  So the teacher made a mistake!  Is that a valid reason for insulting him so foully thirty years later, publicly and mercilessly?

4.   These 50-year-old overgrown babies, some of whom have managed to make their way in the world and, by the sound of it, have managed to feather their nests quite nicely, thank-you-very-much, should consider that these teachers whom they vilify so pitilessly are in fact the ones who gave them the wherewithal to make their fortunes, and they should show a modicum of gratefulness.

5.   They might also consider that their memories of things that happened so long ago might be more than a little distorted by time and bias and imagination (and possibly drink).  Nevertheless, they are willing to vilify people and spread their own malevolence to others, just so that they can glorify themselves in the hurt and insult of another.  Maybe this is what it takes to be popular in the crowd of mean and nasty people that make up this social circle.  As I recall, there used to be a place with people like that not far from where the Dead Sea is today.

Giving a shiur in a Moscow yeshiva, March 2009

Osher Baddiel in familiar mode, Ohalei Yaakov Yeshiva, Moscow (March 2009)

6.   As I used to say to my young pupils many years ago, “Your being disrespectful to your teachers says more about you than it says about your teachers!” (I also used to point out that when children behave nicely they fulfil the Mitzvah of honouring their parents because people say how well they have brought up their children but that they do their parents a dishonour by being disrespectful because their parents are ultimately responsible for how their children behave and interact with others.)  And that is said to pupils who are, after all, children.  So, I ask you, what does this ungratefulness to a school that provided a pretty good education, and vindictiveness towards teachers, say about a supposedly mature 50-year-old?

7.   If this is their attitude towards their teachers even now, as grown men, twenty or even thirty years later, one shudders to think how they have allowed their nastiness to fester and grow in their minds and how they have infected their own children to feel and relate to their teachers.  And the viciousness doesn’t stop there, either, because now their children have probably got the same jaundiced view of teachers.  (And of Rebbes, of course, and of authority generally, no?)  It is very much the same as the cruel damage done to children and grandchildren and even beyond, when parents divorce (or split up) amidst rancour and bitterness.  If you have to, divorce.  But do it respectfully and if at all possible, amicably, for the sake of the children.  Just because you two misled each other or made a bad choice of partner, is that a reason for ruining your children’s and grandchildren’s view of marriage and family life and spoiling their own married lives?  Or that they will not marry at all?  How selfish!  So, just because this person has had a bad experience with one or two teachers (probably brought on by himself, as said) is that a reason to blight the school experience of his children?

8.   Let these people realize that it’s high time they grew up.  They should stop wallowing in self-pity, looking for scapegoats to blame for having such a rotten character.  They should remember that they are big boys now and how they choose to develop their character is up to them.  They can’t go on forever blaming others for their own failures (but of course patting themselves on the back if some things pan out alright).  Whether to be gracious or nasty, thankful or ungrateful, forgiving or vengeful, respectful or insolent, kind or cruel, scoffing or admiring, all these are their own making.  As I have said: What they choose to be says much more about them than it does about the ones that they denigrate.

9.   Any decent person understands that it is unfair that a thug should beat someone from behind a bush, without giving him any chance of self-defence.  Yet these people hide behind the cloak of anonymity to attack their victims, who can never defend themselves, who can only hope and pray fervently that their close families and friends do not get to read these vicious lies and childish rantings of warped memories and biased imaginations.  The person who runs this website should close it down immediately.  There is no excuse for it.  He should remember that there is no such thing as innocent fun at someone else’s expense.  It’s a shame and disgrace to him, not something to laugh about.  I insist that there are enough good people who went to the Hasmonean who know that such a website offends against all the noble and good teachings of the Torah and Chazal who could exert pressure to have this maverick close down this site as it is at present.  It’s a great pity that this website could be such a Kiddush HaShem, showing that Jewish people are truly grateful, Makkir Tovah, and repay good with good.  Instead, it’s made a laughing stock of a venerable institution and a fair number of good, hard-working, dedicated, well-intentioned people, Jewish and non-Jewish, and shown a nasty side to Jewish people.  In short, is this website something to be proud about or does it make you wince with embarrassment?  (After the initial guffaw of laughter, of course.)  To what purpose, please?  To what benefit?

10.   And I haven’t even mentioned yet the Torah, the Halochoh and the Mussar aspect of this shameful website.  But I don’t suppose the person responsible for this enterprise is interested in what the Torah’s attitude is towards his obsession to defame his teachers and his school.  He can’t be particularly religious, anyhow.  Oh, I don’t mean that he doesn’t keep Shabbos or wear Tefillin.  He probably does.  Which just makes him a pious hypocrite.  And not only is he a hypocrite but he’s a cowardly hypocrite, too, who hides behind the anonymity of a website.  I say that he’s not a genuinely religious person.  He knows that in the Torah it says, “You shall love your friend like yourself,” and he wouldn’t want these things said about him, even as “a bit of a laugh.”

Osher Baddiel (March 2009)Well, I’ve gone on for long enough.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have come down so heavily but I know that some of the comments about some of the people are most unkind and really have hurt the feelings of the people concerned, Jew and non-Jew alike.  Every human being has feelings, and if he hasn’t, then he’s not human.  Which makes one wonder about the person who runs this site, does it not?

Please feel free to make known what I have said in this email.  But please, all of it, not selections from it.  I say that the site as it is now should be closed down, with sincere apologies to all those who have been hurt or harmed by it.  Start again.

And, in future, be thankful and grateful for what the Hasmonean gave you all.  It’s a mighty good school and all its pupils should all be grateful for all that it has given them, the rough with the smooth.

Osher Y. Baddiel, Stamford Hill, 17 August 2009.

[Photographs by “Benjamin”, picasaweb.google.com]


Hasmo Legends XIII: The Background

To satisfy the steady flow of enquiries . . .

In the early hours of Monday morning, on checking for rogue comments to melchett mike from sly ex-Hasmos trying to catch me off my guard (i.e., asleep!), I was mildly amused to discover a comment – to Hasmo Legends I: An Introduction to an Institution – consisting of the first few paragraphs of the above post (though shorn of their more incendiary elements) from an “Osher Baddiel”. It was prefaced:

This was received from Osher Baddiel and he seems to have a point.

The Israeli e-mail address began “RAVI59” and an IP search located the e-mail’s source as Hod HaSharon, a fairly mixed – but predominantly non-religious – city south of Raanana and Kfar Saba, and most definitely not a place that one would associate in any way with a certain Hasmo Legend of said name.

So, I deleted the comment and the one response thereto, from the ever on-the-ball Dan Gins:

There’s simply no way that the last comment emanated from Reb Osher Yitzchok, someone for whom I, for one, have substantial respect and affection. He is a man of sufficient culture and substance, to use the word “gratitude”, not some kindergarten pidgin dialect substitute such as “gratefulness”.

Before nodding off, I sent “RAVI59” a curt e-mail, reminding him that Hasmo Legend ‘rules’ prohibit anonymous comments. On waking up some hours later, and fearing that I had perhaps been a little too brusque, I sent him a further, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, e-mail:

Pursuant to my earlier message, I would also be happy for you to post your own views – which I take it these are – even if they are not those of Mr. Baddiel . . . but, again, with an authentic name. If Mr. Baddiel wishes to post in his own name, I would love to have him on melchett mike . . . as would, no doubt, hundreds of other readers.

Shortly thereafter, I received the following response from Ravi Shahar (whose name, which now appeared in full, I vaguely recalled from his previous comments to melchett mike):

Rabbi Baddiel sent me the message and told me to post on the blog, they were HIS words not mine. He said I could do so in his name. They were not my views, but his. He does not wish to associate with melchett mike because he claims that the views posted are evil gossip, slander etc. He does have a point. Many but not all, are slander and badmouthing.

I asked Ravi for Mr. (that’s how I remember him) Baddiel’s telephone number, so that I could “call him to verify”. By early Monday evening, I had received that number and the ‘green light’:

He is willing to talk to you by phone.

I was rather apprehensive, however, about making the call. Mr. Baddiel didn’t teach me for all that long, but I clearly recall him as a rather daunting figure and – even though 24 years have passed since I left Hasmonean – found it strangely difficult to get that picture out of my mind. But, after failing to persuade (in true Hasmo style) Dan Gins to make the call instead – the soft lad “bottled” it! – I gingerly dialled the number provided at 9:20 that same evening. A woman I presumed to be Mrs. Baddiel picked up the telephone.

“Is Rabbi Baddiel there, please?”  [I thought I’d go with “Rabbi” this time . . . just to be on the safe side!]

“He’s at mincha.”

I had a 20 minute stay of execution.

The 45 minute telephone conversation that followed, however, was extremely interesting, oddly uplifting spiritually (not a word that you will hear me use often in reference to my personal experience), and somehow took me back a quarter of a century to the classroom in which I always picture Osher Baddiel . . . the one on the other side of the narrow staircase (leading up to the Staff Room) next to the Computer Room (that of the brilliantly original name).

Mr. Baddiel confirmed his authorship of the comment posted to melchett mike by Ravi Shahar (who lives in Jerusalem, and not Hod HaSharon, after all). As for the details of the remainder of the conversation, I leave those for another time. I took detailed notes, and Mr. Baddiel agreed that I could use them to provide an accurate account of the conversation, though not to ridicule (and, of course, I will respect that).

The above post – received from Mr. Baddiel, by e-mail, yesterday (Tuesday) morning – took me, however, by complete surprise. It was almost six times the length of the comment which I had deleted, and far more outspoken. In a further telephone conversation, Mr. Baddiel – who couldn’t explain the discrepancy (perhaps his former sheliach, Ravi, can) – informed me that he had written it the previous morning and then sent it to Ravi for posting to melchett mike.

As is fairly obvious from a reading of the post, Mr. Baddiel, somewhat surprisingly, didn’t amend it to reflect the very cordial nature of our Monday evening conversation, one in which we each expressed our very contrasting opinions about melchett mike . . . but during, and after, which he understood (I hope) that I am not – as I suspect he might have imagined – The Dybbuk of Melchett.

melchett mike, Tel Aviv, 19 August 2009.

Next on Hasmo Legends, Part XIV: Conversations with Osher [followed by Osher: The Postscript (featuring melchett mike’s Osher Poll)]


296 responses to “Hasmo Legends XIII: A Legend (Osher) Strikes Back

  1. Before the queries come flooding in . . . the above was unsolicited (by me at least), and is unedited. The title and photographs are the only elements published without Osher Baddiel’s express permission.

    Mike (“Something-or-other”)

  2. Game on…

  3. Shuli Meyers

    I totally agree with the Rabbi


    P45 on the way !!!


  4. jake rosenfield

    I think that this website is fantastic. It has brought back so many wonderful memories to so many.

    Osher has been as long winded in his blog as he was in the lines that he dished out while teaching at Hasmo.

    I must admit that when I meet an ex teacher I am usually as polite as possible with a hint of regret for giving them such a hard time while at school.

    However there is still 1 teacher who I refuse to even greet. He was part of the frum teachers who was hell bent in ensuring that as few as possible pupils from non religious homes would ever want to become religious, and often do their best to try and “turn off” the religious boys wherever possible.

    Osher, I must admit that you did have a fair crack at the whip at showing our beautiful religion in its worst light, but compared to your colleagues you were a mere amateur.

    I am pleased to say that Hasmo have a new young team of teachers & rebbes who are bringing out the beauty of Judaism in a happy & enjoyable way. Encouraging their pupils to succeed in all that they do with a smile.

    I think that the “Rebbes” of some 20 – 30 years ago should look back at their time in Hasmo and acknowledge the fantastic opportunity that they had, to bring young kids closer to their heritage & chose the opposite.

    I would urge them to repent while still on this world, because they will need to account for their missed opportunities in the world to come.

    Finally, Osher apart from your ridicules cuppel & your inappropriate views on Israel, I have some very fond memories of you.

  5. If the comments above are indeed from or on behalf of Reb Osher Yitzchok – for whom I have a deep respect and affection – or any other teacher, a large part of them are in my humble opinion, misguided.

    These comments regrettably, perpetuate the lametable”them & us” approach for which the school establishment of the 1970s-80s has been so roundly chastised throughout the blog: anyone who criticises the orthodox teachers is necessarily a loser in life, and the readers are urged to seize the privelege of aligning themselves with the establishment, and to marginalise these outcasts. Then they can be part of the winners’ club.

    Sorry, this may have worked with a bunch of pale ex-Pardes House / Menorah 12-year-olds in 1982, but it won’t wash with adults in 2009.

    Where’s the ahavas yisroel in this approach? In the unlikely event that any critics have had problems in life, perhaps a friendly word from a former teacher would be appreciated, even if it was lacking years ago?

  6. Dan, bona fide nature of post confirmed beyond doubt – it is from Osher.

  7. This ‘coward’ has left his name, and would be more than happy to come out from ‘hiding behind my pc’.
    Perhaps you would be better off remembering the background YOU came from, and be a little more humble ? – but then that was never your way. You haven’t changed at all…an analy-retentive opinionated, overbearing bully, who did a decent enough job of turning me away from anything and anyone frum.
    With your own words you damn yourself with your arrogance.
    Your petty ‘davening charts’ were a joke that we filled in with bullshit, and your pathetic attempts to politicize your classes with anti-zionist rhetoric are a perfect example of someone with their own personal agenda.
    Osher the Roshe we used to call you. Now I just call you a pathetic old man.

  8. Aw, c’mon Henry. In the words of the great Jim Bowen: “you can’t beat a bit of Bully”. And how did it continue?….. “stay out the Black and in the Red, nothing in this game for 2 smacks round the head”….or something like that.

  9. Henri, whilst I can’t pretend not to understand some of your comments, I feel that others are a little on the harsh side . . . especially since Osher is the first genuinely “heavyweight” Legend to have had the courage to come forward on melchett mike. And, as for “a pathetic old man”, we should all – on reaching Osher’s age – possess such obvious feistiness and stomach for the fight!

  10. Perhaps if he showed a little humilty, I’d agree Mike.
    But the whole bombastic, arrogant rant from him just shows that he hasn’t changed at all. His presumptions and assumptions are just indicative of a narrow petty vision of life. His demands that you shut down the blog? Give me a break. He had seven years to spread his propoganda to a mute audience. He just doesn’t like it when he gets answered back. A small-minded man who still can’t accept that his behaviour was contemptible.

  11. Wasn’t (and isn’t) he just another Hasmo eccentric? Our very own Puritan?! He was certainly more impressive from an intellectual perspective than the vast majority of his former contemporaries.

  12. Tamar Meijers

    Mike, I am in shock.
    I must admit that I have never read any of the Hasmo blogs. But, I guess that no matter what you wrote – whether amusing or harsh – it can never justify the harsh and bitter words of Rabbi Osher. And why are people in favor of you closing down your blog? Do not they understand that you are expressing your personal feelings/opinions view of life including your history and memoirs. They are entitled to their opinion and might think that you cross the line and are disrespectful towards your former teachers. But then again, they do not need to support or even read your blog.

    I am happy to hear that you are not a genuinely religious person yet a pious hypocrite. I am sure your mother will be so happy to hear that you keep shabbos and wear Teffilin.

    Who the fuck this man thinks he is……. it makes me truly sad and angry. And I guess I should start reading your Hasmo blogs yet do not envy your high school period.

  13. Michael Goldman

    I would like to congratulate Osher on his brave stand.
    He is (as far as I remember) the only teacher who has given the blog such honour.
    I personally respect his right to give his opinion , and as always he does so without fear.
    Thanks Mike for making this possible — Respect).
    My real problem with what he has written is that , as he admits, he hasn’t actually seen the blog , which is probably the reason for all the inaccuracies.
    Mike , maybe he would allow his email address to be published as he likewise won’t see any comments on his article.
    Shuli – Glad to read you’ve seen the light.

  14. Close down the website ?? More appropriate to close down the school.

    The standards of pastoral care are virtually non existent and a fairly high proportion exit the school disillusioned wanting little to do with mainstream Judaism in the future.

  15. Tamar Meijers

    Michael, I like your comment 🙂

  16. 102 ‘hits’ on the Osher post yesterday (I only posted it late afternoon) and it’s just reached the century mark this morning (a figure unheard of at such an hour) . . . the man’s obviously still a big box office draw!

  17. Daniel Greenspan


    Especially that you probably “keep Shabbos or wear Tefillin.”

  18. Eh, Daniel, even me “four dogs” do.

    Dogsmacked? 😉

  19. Mike,
    Seeing as Reb Osher doesn’t view the blog, I think that as a matter of simple courtesy you should email to him (presumably you have his address if he sent you something to post) all these responses. That’s the only way we’re going to coax some sort of debate out of him.

  20. Reb Osher, is an amazing Mechanech that has inspired generation, those that are no longer frum or never aspired to be frum are using him as a scapgoat as to why their life did not work they way they wanted it to be.

    “his rediculous cupple” come on look at the gear you wear and ask what is ridciulous.

    “Perhaps you would be better off remembering the background YOU came from, and be a little more humble ” Reb OSher’s grandfather was known as the Chofetz Chaim of England and his father was a major Rov in Stamford Hill, maybe you saw Reb Osher as a true Onov and did not releaise that his background was so illustrious.

    Reb Osher’s views on Israel- ang government that persecutes new immigrants from Yemen, Morroco, the Tehran children etc do they deserve respect. Any government that was prepared to back down of women conscription to the army when raised with Chazon Ish on the basis that they (the government) beleived that Yiddishkiet would die out within a generation, do they deserbve respect. Today we still see the arpathied where Charedi sectors are treated diffrently to Non Observant people.
    Reb Osher like all our teachers had negative traits, but are we to judge them after all, if we have to delve so deep to find these faults does this not make us petty. It would be better to reverse the website and find the good in order that we can learn from this and go forward.

  21. David, I am fully aware of that and will be in touch with Mr. Baddiel. There is also at least one reader of melchett mike who I know is in close contact with him.

  22. Avrom Gilbert

    I have only recently started reading the Blog but Mr. Baddiel makes a very interesting point and one which I have not yet seen raised before on this Blog (forgive me if it has already been discussed to death).

    Our memories of school were generated when we were 12-18 years old. We were very young then and as a result we can’t necessarily assume we did a good job of fairly evaluating what was happening at the time . This can have both good and bad implications – things we thought were acceptable / normal then are in fact actions we would not tolerate now (I would not accept them for my own kids and any school I sent them to) and vica-versa things we thought were unacceptable then were actually the correct way to handle unruly kids – even if when we were on the receiving end we did not like them.

    I don’t remember many students at the school spending a second considering how their behavior would impact the lives of the teachers or the other students – we were too busy having a good time. I don’t doubt that some of the unusual behavior of our teachers then were the direct result of the students behavior which I have no doubt was 100% unacceptable. The outrageous actions which form our fond memories of those ‘crazy times’ at Hasmo – were actually unpleasant actions of kids with no respect for authority, religion and in many cases their class-mates.

    We all played our roles, the teachers tried to teach, we did our best to have a good time. I don’t blame the religious studies teachers for the style of teaching – however off-putting it may have been to many people. Teaching Judaism has changed a lot in the past 20-30 years but our teachers were not unusual for the times – that was how Judaism was taught and we can’t blame them for not being revolutionary. Sure we can wish we were growing up now with teachers who taught differently but put yourselves back 25 years and it is worth remembering that education was very different in the 70’s and 80’s.

    Either way – all credit for Mr. Baddiel to joining the discussion and thanks to Mike for publishing it.

  23. David Kornbluth

    Ola, and the plot thickens.

    Well, we have had one teacher writing to the site, no small achievement considering that they have been so derided.

    However i think it would be more interesting to have a teacher who is able to share memories and feelings of the period than a ranter who is full of hot air, no disrespect.

    And what is wrong with the Anon. ex hasmo. who is critical of Israel – if he knew anything about life in Israel and Charedi governmental pull he would be ashamed, as i am somewhat by his ignorant and judgmental comments. P.S. Zionism isn’t about supporting governments in Israel it is about recognizing the gift that Hashem has given us back control of the land that He gave us – a far better state of affairs than say pre second world war.

    With respect, i will say that “Rebbes” in Hamo. rarely inspired me at all – sadly, actually it is hard to believe that they inspired period. Some did, Rabbi Sebbag and the other Rabbi Baddiel deserve mention and praise as being passionate and entertaining but not overbearing. Certainly not those who basically followed the old school approach that made no effort to understand the pupils.

    PS i am frum – learn for a few hours every day but not as a result of Hasmo, the result of a determination to overcome, perhaps a trait that Hasmo helped, so thanks for that and lots of good memories – and plenty of bad teaching.

    P.S. those who claim to have been turned of – and far more hasmo boys seem to have become religious over time than left it….. i say think for a while about what you would have liked those teacher to be like, and be like that yourself but don’t cop out by blaming them for your choices.

  24. I have resisted commenting on this blog but seeing that picutre of Osher still wearing his flower pot I just could not resist any longer!!

    Mike you deserve a Grossa Yeshakoyach for getting a response from Osher, I can’t even imagine the amount of time and effort every Yom Haatzmaut we spent trying winding him up and infact i am sorry about it now because I know deep down he is a fervent zionist and a big supporter of the state and all its flaws.

    I have to say i used to enjoy his & other of his colleagues rantings in school. It is probably because of, or despite of, not sure which, I am a reasonably well balanced, moderately orthodox, politically left leaning Jew living in the State of Israel.

    Osher clearly has not read these posts, because I do not believe the vast majority have any malicious intent but rather a bunch of overgrown boys reminiscing on a bygone age. If Osher does read this I do feel bad for the times we held a mifkad on Yom Haatzmaut (or Yom Hashmutz as he used to refer to it!)outside his bookbinding studio and covered his car with a massive Israeli flag. Even now when I go over to friends for a BBQ on Yom H. I think back to those happy days and think how far we have managed to come.

    Mike keep up the good work & by the way make sure you pick up your dog turds cos my biggest hate about this country & especially TA is having to dodge all the dog doings!

    Kol Tuv

  25. as I think about it there are soooo many O Y Baddiel memories flooding back now so I have complied a top 10 list.

    1. NachasGrams- I never actually got one, but i do remember when I first joined the school at the age of 12 wanting one. That feeling disappeared pretty quickly and my life of Hasmo mediocrity started from there.

    2. Davening Charts- I did try and go to shachris & maariv and fill these in but then realised that everyone else in my class lied anyway.

    3. IF- enough said.

    4. Yiddishe names- My favorite name was Dovid Sroel Isser aka David Zysblat- what a great name!

    5. His register and general personal tidynes- The guy made Nachum Ordman handwriting look like your local doctor on a bad day.

    6. His sidra sheets- when I first joined the school i excitedly took them home to read to my parents at the friday night table. Then it came to parashat Bereshit and my dad saw I had 3 0r 4 pages to read. His enthusiasm to hear the Torah from Osher soon waned!

    7. Smoking cigarettes through a filter. I had never seen that before.

    8. Random tzizis checks & checks to see if we polished our shoes- To this day I am convinced the gods were looking down on me because i decided to wear my very yellowing tzizis on the day of the check. Just so happens the guy next to me was not of course he got the pleasure to write out IF poem.

    9. Bookbinding- I am not sure who did this and what it was about but still worth mentioning.

    10. Shobbos with the Baddiels- I personally was never invited but he did “find” the boys with potential and invite them to stay with him in Da Hill for shabbas. I am not sure what happened but the boys in my year never recovered and are still in yeshiva today 15 years later!

    In choosing the dream team of Hasmo Legends Osher is up there with the greats, I hope he is still at the School because if not it just would not be the same.

    Other greats I would love to see comments from would be in no particular order

    Kevin O Connor
    Eddie Versailes- the woodwork guy.
    Mr Hacket
    Mad Dog
    Soesester- Shimon please ask your dad for some contributions, especially when he was and extra in Brushstrokes
    Last but by no means least -Eggie Aka Rabbi Lebrecht.

  26. David

    We were in the same class i think (85-91)

    Zionism is not as you call it recognizing G-d’s gift of Israel back to us this is Modern Zionism.

    Yes the behaviour of some Charedi renegades in ISrael and elsewhere sickens me as much as anyone else and as torchbeareers for Yiddishkiet it is totally unexcusable- however do not confuse- mindless idiots who go against Halacha in clothing that imatates the Charedie sector any less so than saying every black man is thief or every Muslim is a terrorist.

    Mindless idiots can give everyone a bad name.

    R’ Osher and all likeeminded frum Jews are not Anti Zionist we all dream of the return to Zion in the days of Moshiach, however do not confuse the filth that currently permeates ISrael at current as the true Zion.

    Eretz Yisroel can only be built on Torah values- rememeber long before the state of Israel was declared, long before the Aliya Alef, Bet or Gimmel occoured, the Sefardim, The Talmidim of the Besht and the Gaon were all living Torah lives in Israel.

  27. “Ex Hasmo” – you seem like a pretty religiously educated guy.

    So why don’t you, and various of the old guard yeshiva stream teachers, ever seem to have reflected on (1) ohev es hatochochos (Ovos Perek vov) and (2) RamChal in Mesilas Yeshorim on the subject of Mogain Hamoshuach bashemen (a greased shield used in ancient armies to deflect arrows and spears)………

    Why does being of the black hat yeshivish persuasion (and I’m not saying to what extent I am or am not myself), mean that there is NEVER room to admit mistakes and apologise, why is criticism from the less religious ALWAYS deflected with mockery and insults?

  28. David Prager

    I would like to make 4 comments on Rav Osher’s posting, but I will preface them by stating for the record that he never taught me personally, and that therefore I have no personal issues with him whatsoever:
    Firstly, he denigrates the offensive comments made about various teachers and extends this criticism to a call to close down the blog, etc. Extrapolating this backwards, would he then call for the Raivid’s (or was it the Ritvo’s?) many harshly-worded attacks on the Rambam in many places to be censored? This is an unfortunately Haredi worldview, which requires that anything that is disagreeable to their point of view to be removed, deleted, destroyed.
    Secondly, he writes “if they have become embittered it is because the children, who can be clever, manipulative, nasty, cruel and quite vicious, have made them so”. In other words, the teaching staff did not deal professionally with these children, which is exactly the point made by the overwhelming number of responses to these blogs.
    Thirdly, he writes “if their teachers were nasty to them, they probably brought it upon themselves by trying to make their teachers’ lives a misery”. I see an eerie parallel between this statement and the canard that the Jews are responsible for antisemitism. No offence, and excuse the comparison. The question is the old chicken and egg one, who started? I reckon that since there are many examples of Hasmo teachers who by force of their personality and charisma didn’t get “mucked up”, and therefore didn’t need to react in the violent or wacky ways described, it implies that the teachers who are criticised for their behaviour were the ones who failed in their professional mission. So don’t blame the kids.
    Fourthly, he writes “the teachers…are the ones who gave them the wherewithal to make their fortunes, and they [the former pupils] should show a moodicum of gratefulness (sic).” Not necessarily. The message we’re getting from the hundreds of comments is that loads of Hasmo students have done well DESPITE the teaching staff.

  29. Dan Gins, you are 100% right, I think that the problem is a physcological one, no one likes admitting mistakes, in our own eyes we are near perfect if not perfect. We get slighted by silly things, who got Shishi, why wasn’t it me, how come ploni got this is he better than me.

    It is accepted after the murder in Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav and the boys were in hospital, the Belzer Rebbe Shlita cam to visit, the charedie world saw this as the greatest demonstration of support, the Belzer Rebbe shook his head and said he came to visist the sick and was not interested in party line- he did not differenctiate with what clothes they wore, how they pronounced Loshen HaKodesh, whether they had TV in their house etc etc.

    Not everthing is perfect about anyone, but it is easier to perfect ourselves by raising our standards not dragging down the standards of others.

  30. Daniel Tarlow

    Dont ClOSE DOWN THE BLOG!!!!!!!
    I think we should start a petition to keep the Blog alive!!!

  31. Mark Goldman

    Kudos to Mike for the Osher posting. I’d love to hear from other former teachers. Wondering if they’ve even read the blog, and what it would take to coax a response from them?
    Mike, why not email/snail mail with a link/invitation to participate?

  32. “Ex-Hasmo” – noted what you say re the horrendous Merkaz haRav incident; how, in your opinion, does that impact on Hasmonean rebbaim of the 1970-80s, and the Melchett Mike blog?

  33. Daniel Marks

    OB pours scorn and ridicule on Mike’s dogs, which is ironic because he could have learnt a lot from them. Our sages suggest that one reason that we throw non-kosher meat to the dogs might be that on the night we left Egypt no dogs barked. The moral is simple. There are times in life when the reward comes from keeping your mouth shut rather than barking. Even a fool may be considered a wise man if he holds his peace.

    If animals are to be the sub-theme (or perhaps main theme) of this blog then let’s not forget Bilam’s donkey. He was created on the week of the creation a few minutes before Shabbat, (about the time OB famously barks at his neighbors for their Shabbat sirens) http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=25931 and waited until the Exodus from Egypt to have his say.

    All those years he waited. You’d think even a donkey would have some good ideas or pearls of wisdom with so much time for contemplation. In the end, when G-d opened his mouth all he could do was to complain about the fact he had been hit. Our sages conclude with the popular saying, “An ass remains an ass.”

    I begin with a few words of Torah, which OB apparently forgot to do among his elongated ramblings. I often pondered what King David (Midrash Rabba) meant when he declared:
    “Anyone who lives outside of Israel, is as if he has no G-d”. Firstly, what about all the “rebbes” of Stamford Hill and Gateshead? They have books and tefillin and special belts to carry their keys on Shabbat. Could it be that they are Godless?

    Secondly, why not say they have no G-d? What does “as if he has no G-d” mean? Either he has or he hasn’t.

    Thirdly, and most obviously, how can a Jew have no G-d? Isn’t G-d everywhere?

    Perhaps “as if he has no G-d” refers to the man not to his maker. G-d is there, but he behaves as if he has no G-d. He chooses to live among goyim, but teaches his students, “Never trust a goy!” He reads, maybe writes books on shmirat halashon but attacks people he doesn’t know in a foul, almost anti-Semitic way. He bangs his heart on Yom Kippur but never bothers to search it to learn from his mistakes.

    My name is Daniel Marks. I’m not anonymous; I hide behind nobody and nothing. I also teach both in one of Israel’s best yeshiva high schools and in a leading Israeli college. I am not a “coward”. I don’t pick on people smaller than me and in more than twenty years I’ve never hit or threatened to hit my pupils. Among them are the current Director General of the Prime Minister’s office and the Director General of the Bet Din of Israel.

    And you know what OB? Over the course of all those years my children have met my students in yeshivot, in the army, in midrashot , everwhere and I’ve never had to feel ashamed. I don’t know if all my pupils love me but I respect them all and I believe they all respect me. In twenty years time when Netivot Yosef or Machon Lander alumni open their own blog I’ll smile and enjoy reading every word.

    A final thought Osher. The month of Ellul is here. Everyone can do teshuva, even you.

  34. it will be very interesting to see how Hasmo puts it’s own house in order as regards their admission policy which following the JFS case is clearly illegal. Melchett Mike however is not breaking the law- of either lands!

  35. David Kornbluth

    Ex Hasmo.

    Hello, who ever you are – let me start by saying that what i am saying shouldn’t be taken too personally but may hopefully lead to some cheshbon hansefesh.

    I find it ironic when anti-zionists insist on telling me what Zionism is, my great great grandfather was one of four hard core Charedim being a chassidish rabbi at the very first world zionist congress which most other (charedim/orthodox) didn’t join – and those that did mainly left.

    However academic history of zionism and debate of same is meaningless, as all things in this world change, so call it modern or not i find it strange and (being a little harsh admittedly disgusting) that “orthodox” jews ignore the gifts of Hashem and insist on looking at the bad.

    If you recall, Hakaros Hatov is a main theme of Judaism as all comes from Hashem look at commentary gemara Shabbas story of man who asked to learn torah on one leg.

    The only “mindless idiots” that i mind are the ones that cant think for themselves and realize when something is a bracha and appreciate it!
    Now there is danger everywhere including Israel but that is no excuse to vilify it and ignore the gift – lest you fall pray to the sin of the Meraglim.

    Calling my fellow country men filth was wrong – there are many good people in Israel from all walks of life. I think that you need to perhaps concentrate more on your love for your fellow jew and allow less of your judgmental side.

    I am sorry to say that what you write is simply and i am trying to be polite “mindless”, you say
    “Eretz Yisroel can only be built on Torah values” –
    brother jew there is a thriving country here with tens of thousands learning Torah and living real “Torah values” lives far more so than can be done by any Jew anywhere else – now that will be disagreed with, but its my opinion.

    Everyone who finds fault “kol haposel” finds his own fault, so don’t slam a country instead look at your brothers and admire the hardship they suffer, which in some few may take a toll but how can they be blamed.

    PS just in case you are not clear zionism is an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel. Now when Moshiach comes we will all be happy that however has nothing to do with this at all! Then we will live by Torah law but in the meantime i would humbly be thankful for the blessing that Hashem has bestowed or why call yourself a Frum Jew at all?

  36. See new addition to Hasmo Legends XIII – Hasmo Legends XIII: The Background – below Osher Baddiel’s post above.

  37. I believe one thing I took from school was that after being exposed to so many mad and extreme situations and teacher views I developed a love for balanced moderation.
    One point to balance out views on Mr Baddiel: those davening charts motivated me in going to shul every morning on my bicycle in those cold, damp dark wintry Golders Green mornings.
    Thanks to Hashem I now live in Israel.

  38. Howard Singer

    Has the obvious question been asked? Is our esteemed teacher any relation to a certain David B. ?
    I detect just a hint of psychosis in the former’s (frummer’s ?) ramblings. Evidence of a familial link might prove illuminating.

  39. They are definitely related. Evidence of this was provided when David Baddiel appeared on the BBC Geneaology programme ‘who do you think you are?’

  40. Daniel Tarlow

    I would just like to agree with Avrom Gilberts comments above that most pupils of school age are incapable of accurately recalling the events that they have taklen part in.
    I know this because of the many tens if not hundreds of times that as a teacher i witnessed pupils doing something wrong and then heard their version of the events I had just witnessed being retold to myself or another member of staff.
    most times the facts were so removed from the truth it would make a reporter for ‘The Guardian’ on Israel and the war in Gaza look like an accurate, well balanced and journalist. At that age kids still are not able to remember exactly what happened – so i would agree with the point that OYB made about some of our recollections. However that only applies to details of how something happened who took part, etc. However, our general consensus that the teaching was on a generally low standard is correct. Another point that OYB has clearly got wrong is the academic levels attained by most pupils which he still may not realised is achieved through a large amount of private lessons.

  41. Michael Goldman

    Daniel Marks
    In spite of your high morals , do you think you could please give the Director General of the Prime Minister’s office a flick on the ear each time Netanyahu doesn’t keep his word ?

    Tamar Meijers
    I thank you for your praise.
    At least one reader of the blog appreciates literary genius.

  42. Daniel Marks

    He was in Sayeret Matkal and he has a dodgy heart.

    I’m a man of peace and I abhore violence in all its forms, but if I have to clip ears I’d rather it be those of aged Stamford Hill bullies.

  43. What sort of teacher (any adult) calls children – his own pupils – “manipulative, nasty, cruel and quite vicious” or “rotten kids who quite deliberately intended to play-up and ruin”?! And what sort of teacher blames children for his or her own shortcomings: “the treatment that they receive from their pupils …”?! I am shocked by these comments. It is fair game to say what you like about adults, even if Baddiel really goes over board (eg the comment about Mike’s marital status), it is even OK to call for the censorship of the blog. A teacher who insults children should choose another profession! I was in Hasmo just for VIth form and never really understood the suffering other pupils spoke of from teachers in their earlier years, from Baddiel’s comments I learn that there really were/are teachers like that.

  44. Hi all-
    I enjoyed reading OYBs letter and the following comments. I was upset by his vicousness of the blog, and perhaps if he took the time to read it (as opposed to rely on loshon hora) – he might have had a slightly rosier view.
    I was particularly upset by his assuming that anyone who opposes his view is a drunken coward. Yes, some of the comments here are quite rude, and yes, some people waited 20 – 30 years to vent out their anger at the school – so what ? Does it make them a bad person – no !! – I don’t think so.
    I do believe however, that if there had been more Johnny Boker (or Mr Claypole from RentaGhost) types at the school, then perhaps some of the irreligious people on this blog might have warmed more to being religious, and not have become as anti as they are today.
    Therefore it does reflect on those teachers, and they should now take the time to reflect on their teaching methods (even if in retirement) and draw their own conclusions.

  45. Avi Wiesenberg

    Am I the only one who thought after reading the title of this posting “osher strikes back” that this was going to be a recollection of the famous Dovi Freedman blowing out OYB’s chanuka candle and OYB Striking back?

    Oh well we all knew OYB wouldn’t be the sort to take this or that without retaliation.

    I think the key is that teachers often do not realise the true extent to how much they have effected sometimes extremely negatively their pupils and vica versa how we sometimes might just post a comment and forget that unlike a usual hasmo trip down memory lane with your mates the web opens this up to everyone including those you are reminiscing about.

    I know there are some teachers from Hasmo I will never forgive for their vindictiveness and true incompetence and some that I will always have cherished memories of. I don’t think there is anything wrong with recalling the Hasmo days of old, the good, bad and ugly side of Hasmo but should perhaps think twice about just posting abuse against old teachers for abuses sake!

    Loving the blog though !

  46. During my four years at Hasmo, OYB was one of the few teachers who never taught me. In fact I don’t think I even so much as spoke to the man, so hopefully nobody will read what I am about to write and accuse me of having a personal agenda.

    So, just a few points to consider…

    1. He begins by saying that he has never actually read the blog, then embarks on an epic diatribe about how evil it is. Not exactly the mark of an intelligent person.

    2. The whole piece is incredibly repetitious (more waffle than Bird’s Eye but then he wouldn’t know) and could probably have been condensed into something a fraction of the size. Again not the mark of an intelligent person.

    3. Early on he asserts that… “as far as I can ascertain, the fellows who are obsessed with this hatred of Hasmo have more or less wasted the last 20 or 30 years doing nothing much for themselves and even less for the world”

    This is followed much later by…”These 50-year-old overgrown babies, some of whom have managed to make their way in the world and, by the sound of it, have managed to feather their nests quite nicely”

    Err..slight contradiction there Osher

    4. He assumes that we would want to “silent (sic!) this scab!”
    Well, whilst his famously Anti-Israel rhetoric might make him a scab, I for one would certainly not want to silence the man. His post vindicates the very people it seeks to condemn and as for getting the site closed down, well, I think he might just have given it a new lease of life.

    5. Next line..

    “After all, most of us ex-Hasmos know full well that wherever we go in the world, Hasmo is known and its ex-pupils are looked up to”

    What planet is this guy on?

    6. What offends me most is his liberal use of the term “cowardly babies”

    He seems to be of the opinion that it is somehow noble for an adult in a position of responsibility to physically and mentally abuse an 11 year old purely out of spite alone, then when the child reaches adulthood and realises there was no justification for that maltreatment and subsequently vents their grievances, that person is a coward.

    And please don’t tell me that time has distorted my memory, it hasn’t.

    7. Thought I’d save the best for last…

    “After all is said and done, people become teachers because they are idealistic. They are generally more intelligent than your average person and could probably do quite well out there in the world of money and material gain.”

    So, what he’s saying is that the likes of Messrs Gothold, Abrahams and Paley (RIP) didn’t teach at the school by default because they were inept charity cases after all. No, they were actually highly intelligent people who sacrificed a life of wealth and success to ensure we all got a good start in life.

    Well blow me away.

  47. Hi Dan Ginsb

    I finish off my comments by saying
    “Not everthing is perfect about anyone, but it is easier to perfect ourselves by raising our standards not dragging down the standards of others” the connection I wanted to bring is that the Belzer Rebbe went against a lot of what his Chassidim would have viewed as correct- viz a viz Hasmo- we at the time may have viewed one thing correct when it was pum’ferkeit, those that got on with R’ Osher had positive experinces those that did not should not blame him, but look at the reason as to why they did not, was it directly attributed to R’ Osher or to something they did.

    And yes I did have to write out Rudyard Kiplings “IF”

  48. Ay, Terry, Osher may have given my Hasmo Legends series “a new lease of life” . . . but not melchett mike. I’m a tad sensitive about that. In fact, if one more person describes this as “the Hasmo blog”, I’m telling my mum. 😉

  49. David- I am unsure but think you have missed the point, what is or is not Zionism and who and who is not Zionist in unimportant,
    When did R’ Osher every try to impose his views on Israel on anyone and when did certain boys try to impose their views on him whether it was posting a flag of Israel on his door or spraying blue paint in his direction.

    Of course Yidden living in Israel in a Brucha which we should be grateful for as we are grateful for the freedom we have in the UK and the US and France and Italy and………
    Living in Israel as I said earlier was not dependent on the Modern Zionists and never will be. The early Zionist were happy for Uganda to be a homeland and in fact Herzl only visited but never lived in Israel.
    Every one can and should live side by side, after all we are all share the same lineage.
    (btw when I said Filth, I was not reffering to people in anyway Chas VShulem but to certain aspects of peoples behaviour- whether it is gay clubs, mixed beaches etc)

  50. Daniel Marks

    If we’re just slagging, did anyone notice that the only Jewish thinker Osher Bad-deal quoted (paraphrased) was Karl Marx:

    “Hasmos of the world – unite!”

    Grandfather Baddiel would be so proud.

  51. Henri Berest

    Couple of points here.
    Am I the only one who is laughing at the irony of Baddiel accusing us being cowardly by posting anonymously? The only person supporting his rant is ‘ex-hasmo’. Come on out of the closet and have the guts to identify yourself! It’s what the ‘great’ OYB seems to want.
    Having had a couple of days to digest about Baddiels rant, I can only agree 100% with everything that Terry posted above.
    Baddiels response is a joke, a complete mess. A sign of a disorganised mind and a lack of personal discipline.
    How can he attempt to respond to something he has never read?
    But thinking back, wasn’t this always the way the Hasmo teachers reacted? Rather than try to understand any given situation, it was always to lash out disproportionately with no thought or logic. Tough luck on the innocent kids who got the full force of their lost tempers – “they probably deserved it anyway”.
    It’s just disappointing that after all these years, he is exactly the same blinkered, institutionalised tool that he always was.
    In a religion that is supposed to treasure rational, well thought out arguments & solutions, we see the other side of the coin with Baddiel and his fellow bullies.
    The saddest thing is that he sees nothing wrong in what happened, and seeks to blame the victims rather than the offenders. There is no thought or compassion other than for himself and his assumptions about what is said on here.
    I must be a skint alcoholic by his reckoning. He desperately wants reality to match his narrow bigotted world, so that he can feel some personal justification for his own behaviour.
    Nothing changes – the arseholes just get older and no wiser, but the children aren’t children anymore.

    “When did R’ Osher every try to impose his views on Israel on anyone”
    Are you having a laugh?
    One of the first lessons I ever had with him was as an 11-year old. He was ranting about the ‘evil Roshoh ‘Hertzl and the other Zionists.
    At that age I hadn’t even hedard of Hertzl, but that never stopped him trying to poison our minds at that young age.
    This position was 100% against my parents’ political and religious views and I clearly remember my dad going nuts and demanding an explanation from the school as to why they were politicising classes and trying to indoctrinate impressionable young minds.
    His job was not to push his own personal agenda – something else that a responsible teacher would not do.

  52. Hi my name is Moshe Cohen, or is it, you can not possible know, I post anon for no other reason that on this site I always have, My memories of Hasmo are not all that wonderful with a few exceptions, I always found that there were several groups, you either had to be a BAnick or Sinia, live in GG or daven at Hendon Adath, there was a complet lack of ACHDUS amonst the boys of the school, not the teachers. My first question to ex teachers and rebbe’s is to ask if the remember me very few do, R’ OSher was one that did as was Mr Posen, Rabbi Abrahams. As someon who has been in Chinuch (yes in the past tense- read into that what you may) I remember the names of every child I taught, though they may not number more than 200 kids. (I only taught small classes for about 7 years) To me being rememebered shows a respect for the person and therefore this respect is reciprocated.

    I was in R’ Oshers class on I think 3 seperate year groups and also in his form for Year 3.

    I rememeber his kindness- one prime example, we had a boy who stuttered in class, who so much wanted to daven from the Amud for Mincha. that afternoon, R OSher asked the boy to get the register and whilst he was gone told us that this boy was to be the Shatz and not one of us were to laugh or embaress the boy- no one did and he prevented a possible unconfortable situation.

    On anti Zionism, I was in the school in the 1980’s, maybe R OSher no longer spoke out against Israel publicly then, but the boys continued their abuse of him.

    I even rememeber a morning Shiur on Independance day, when I was one of half a dozen boys that did not go to the celebrations (Pita and falafel after davening- I was always curious why boys that used to skive Shul on a re gular basis would always be at this event including the davening) not once did R Osher bemoan the state of the State nor did he deviate from the Shiur in hand- this though would have been an ideal oppertunity to a captive audience.

  53. Henri,

    Seeing as I beat you to it last time, would you like the honour of responding to the above?

  54. Henri Berest

    ‘ex-hasmo’…or Moshe…or ‘is it’,

    remembering someone is a form of respect?
    I remember lots of teachers from the late 70’s…and by the same token I am sure they remember me. I base that on the fact that when my younger brother joined the school, certain ‘teachers’ took great pride in reminding him that they would base their views of him, entirely on their experience of me. Nice.
    No opportunity to make his own mark or be judged on his own merits or failures. Their minds were already made up. How you equate this to respect is bewildering to me.
    Back to Baddiel. He was utterly outspoken in his overt criticism/contempt for Israel. A bombastic bully who would never respect anyone who held a different position to his own.
    I just find it interesting that you remember his ‘moment of kindness’ when I remember him in an entirely different light.
    His assertions of the teachers choosing their carreers through altruistism, at best related to a very tiny minority such as Johnny Boker and Rabbi Lewis. The vast majority were untalented misfits who would have been unable to earn a living in the real world. Instead they chose the easy option of a job for life at Hasmo, with the added incentive of having as many victims at hand as necessary in order to assuage their own frustrations at their own lack of talent or ability.
    Generally this came out as physical abuse, but mental upset and taunting wasn’t beyond them as well. The JS ‘teachers’ and ‘rabbis’ in particular would look and treat boys with contempt if they weren’t frum enough to meet their standards.
    There are a very small number of teachers from those days who I have any fond memories of or any gratitude for. Any success I have achieved in life has been entirely in spite of any efforts of the school, and I just find it hilarious that the blinkered fool feels that the school can take any credit for anything I have achieved.

  55. Michael Goldman

    Terry and Henry Great Stuff !

    You have however all missed the point.
    O.B was in fact a Mossad agent who was put into Hasmo to increase Zionist awreness.

    Just imagine what would have happened had he expounded the virtues of Zionism ….There wouldn’t have been a Zionist left in the place.

    A perfect solution was found whereby he posed as an Anti-Zionist and in no time the students became felafel eating Pro-Zionists.

    The years , however have not been kind to our hero and when hearing about OB’s lack of success in the tough world of counter espionge, Mike came up with a plan to help good old OB and also increase the hits on his blog.

    As we can all see the plan was a total success !

  56. Henri Berest


    What you say makes perfect sense. The picture of Osher looking a little like Worzel Gummidge in one of the photos makes perfect sense now – A Mossad disguise.
    They were trying to make him look less ridiculous.

  57. Ex hasmo,

    You write: “Today we still see the arpathied where Charedi sectors are treated differently to Non Observant people.”

    After receiving said sentence back from the translators, I could only snort contemptuously at your naivety, ignorance, and/or stupidity. The only “apartheid” (I think that’s what you meant) suffered by the haredim in Israel – who, like you (see below), choose to ignore the rules – is self-imposed (see The Good, the Sad and the Ugly).

    You continue: “Living in Israel as I said earlier was not dependent on the Modern Zionists and never will be.”

    Are you, Ex hasmo, rather more in favour of marching – in single file, of course – to the gas chambers than having a State enabling Jews to finally defend themselves (even if not all Jews, as we know only too well, actually participate in said “defend[ing]”)?

    Of course you haven’t given anything up for that State, Ex hasmo, but don’t dare rubbish “Modern Zionists” – religious or not – who have paid with their blood making your place and status in the world as a Jew a damn lot securer than it was 70-odd years ago.

    Even ignoring your (arrogant?) failure to respect my request that comments to Hasmo Legends not be anonymous (the fact that you “always have” posted anonymously is hardly a reason), should you not – as a mature adult – have the courage to stand behind your beliefs and statements thereof?

    The only reason that I haven’t deleted your comments is because they have provided another point of view, especially since Mr. Baddiel is unlikely to respond himself.

    The irony of course, Ex hasmo, is that you are the only “coward . . . hiding behind the cloak of anonymity” Mr. Baddiel wrote of.

    Good shabbes, all the same.

  58. Jonathan J Bernstein


    I cannot believe this post that is both arrogant and naive at the same time.
    To say that some teachers may have acted in a certain fashion in response to student’s behaviour seems to belie the fact that Hasmonean was home to perhaps the strangest group of faculty ever assembled. How do you explain the fact that every teacher (with a few notable exceptions) acted in the same way. Some saints like Mr Joughin (G-d bless you sir, wherever you are) channeled his frustration into sarcasm and did not take any crap (no homework sir, it’s chol hamoed). Why did the rest of them have to resort to victorian discipline, molestation and effusive paper wasting?!
    Secondly, how can anyone be surprised by the fact that 40 and 50 somethings still dwell on this issue? It is the job of a school to set students up for life. I am sure the school is quite proud of its alumni that have gone on to take up jobs as scholars in residence and captains of industry, but if it wishes to bask in that glow then it must also accept the responsibility that it did not do so well by all of its students. Every student whose tefillin gather dust is a wasted opportunity and every student who did not get the education they deserved because they were in the C group (or lower) and did not get into the uni or poly of their choice is to their eternal shame.
    I never had the pleasure of being in Reb Osher’s class but I met him a few years ago on a summer holiday and discovered that he very well may be one of this generation’s lamed-vavniks. I can understand the frustration teachers feel (I lecture part time myself) and it is only understandable he would want to respond to the vitriol that is sometimes contained in your posts and related responses, however justified it may be.
    ….and Mike, no tefillin on Shabbos (unless there is a chutznik minyan in your Shabbos cafe)

  59. Good Shabbes? Isn’t it Thursday today?

    ‘Moshe Cohen’ (not a very imaginative pseudonym that one) would have been the perfect candidate for a job at Hasmo back in the day. Why?

    A) He has taught Jewish Studies
    B) He is Anti-Zionist
    C) He is ignorant
    D) He is illiterate

    Is it any wonder his sympathies lie where they do?

  60. Howard Fertleman

    In response to Mr Baddiel’s comments regarding our treatment of the teachers and our angst towards the school, may be he should remember the following .
    1. A lot of pupils were physically abused by certain teachers.
    The above point would today I beleive, be actionable by criminal proceedings with Social Services involvement in the school.
    2. A lot of pupils were emotionally abused by the teachers.
    The above 2 points can leave lasting mental scars on children/young adults in their adolecent and formative years. This is probably why a lot of ex Hasmos have such an angst against the institution
    3. A lot of the pupils, I believe contaray to the Torah, MR BADDIEL, were embarrassed in public by the teachers especially some of the religious teachers. Therefore how does he expect pupils to react and to feel in such situations then and now.
    4. Mr Baddiel’s comments that teachers start off their careers with the best of intentions , I beg to differ as some within this blog have come to the conclusion, that if you cant get a better job in the real world due to your own inner failings become a teacher. Obviously this doesnt apply to the vast majority of teachers. But Mr Baddiel needs to take this into account before he makes such comments about an individual’s reasons for entering the teaching profession
    5. Some of the teachers’ behaviour made some pupils lose respect for them. The teachers’ weirdnesses, their obsessions, their inability to relate in any way shape or form to their pupils and in some cases to the real world. Therefore to blame the pupils for all the above and for a teacher like Mr Baddiel not to accept any of the above and blanketly blame us malcontents speaks volumes to me.
    5. Certain teachers like Mr Joughin, Mr Lawrence received the respect of their pupils, were not played up to, nor did they receive any disrespectful behaviour as far as I can remember. So prehaps Mr Baddiel could explain why a lot of the other teachers did not get such respect. Mr Joughin received respect even when the slipper was banned , so respect for him cannot be put down to the threat of physical violence.
    The absurd thing is I had Mr Baddiel for 6 months in the second year (1978) and I found him an incredibly intelligent and knowledgeble man and even enjoyed his shiurim. But we stopped having him as a teacher after I beleive he alledgedly made certain disparaging comments against the victims of the Tel Aviv -Haifa Highway bus massacare (because they were on a bus on Shabbos),where a number of innocent civilians were massacared on the bus by terrorists on Shabbos. I remember their being an uproar in the school regarding this.
    This terrorist attack I beleive led to the Litani Operation because of its seriousness and the loss of innocent life.

  61. Mike

    sorry for posting incognito
    sorry for my lack of clarity (though I did do English A Level and passed, though who would beleive or need it now)

    On your point of marching in lines to the gas chambers.

    Why did Hitler want to exterminate the Jews- one reason given is that he felt that Germany was a pure race being sullied by the Jews. Why was it being sullied, Jews were intermarrying, Jews were converting and in general you could not tell a Jew apart from a Non Jew (save the big nose).
    At the time of Rabbi Shimshon Hirsch in Frankfurt his Kehilla numbered barely 200 families and he fought against these trends and other new trends that were a net result of intermarrying and conversion.

    What was the net result? Reform- What did Rform advocate initially regading Israel & Zionism? They removed all mention of Zion and Moshiach- Why? because they beleived that Germany was the motherland and there was no alternative.
    I am not saying that all Jews in all areas lived a frum life, we only need to see examples for the Tenach and Shas to see this certainly was not the case and trends have always changed.

    But in our modern time- Zionism has hurt the Yidden the most, we have forgotten that it was not our might nor our brains that won wars and executed declarations of independence, but Hashem, why is it after the 6 day war, there was a mass reawakening of Yiddishkiet, but after the war of Independence there wasn’t?

    As an “anti Zionist” ( boy I hate that phrase, as it is not a true reflection on the ideals of those that disapprove with the state) I will and have defended Israel to the hill, if ever attacked by Goyim in the workplace.

    I do not want to impose my views on anyone, if you support Israel, that does not make you any worse than me nor any better, just the same way that I do not agree with the philosphy of current day Chabad, it is no reason to look down on them.

    I do not and would not hold up placards saying Palestine for the Arabs (in fact I am sure the people that do that do not realise the Chilul Hashem they cause nor appreciate that demnstrating on Shabbos for this is MeChalel Shabbos as it is Uvdei Chol that has no bearing on Skana Nefoshos)

    And gut Shabbos to you , you never know one day, Bimheira V’Yomeini we could be sharing the Korban Peasch together

  62. Henri

    Remembering someone for the postive is surely a sign of respect, this means you have left a lasting impression the person.

    If you a rememebred for negative reasons, again a lasting impression, but also not something you would be proud of.

    I rememeber an incident with my English teacher during A Level English that I would rather forget, however no less so than the comment made by a boy in the class, that left a lump in my throught as it was so hurtful.

    at ant given time there were nearly 600 boys in the school, people do not express gratitude as this is taken for granted,as we have been taught by these Rebbeim and are duty bound to respect. However a small minority of teenagers had a negative experience and are bitter and if we look hard enough we can always find something to be upset about and have gone public in a rather below the belt way.

    Rememeber the saying “it is easier to hurt someon close to you” I suspect Hasmo has a special place in your hearts and therefore it is easy to hit out at it. Or has the train arrived at its destination before I even got to the station.

  63. Some European Jews – a minority – assimilate. So, “our” God brings Hitler and the Nazis to power to wipe out 6,000,000 predominantly observant – or, at least, traditional – Jews.

    Yup, that makes a lot of sense . . . that’s “our” God!

  64. David Kornbluth

    Just for the record there was no Moshe Cohen in my year. There seems to be some doubt as to the authenticity of the name so i will remove all doubt.

    Sorry but your other comments have been repeatedly shown to be laughable, so i will not comment more merely ask you Ex Hasmo.

    Where is the Hakaros Hatov and why be “poresh” from the tsibur if you are in israel, regarding military service.

    As for your shameful finding of blame in the jewish community for nazism – there was much more chillul shabbas in America than Europe so please how DARE YOU try to rationalize the holocaust with irreligiousity (my world).

    Finally are you mad! I fear that you are totally insane or just crazy – Zionism has hurt the jews the most. REFUA SHELEMA. Have you any idea about jewish behavior in america and elsewhere do you read a paper ever? In israel a jew can lead a torah life in relative peace and elsewhere he can perhaps as a result of this!

    Hope to see you at the korban pesach.

  65. this is a repeat of history,

    Golus Mitzrayim was a punishment for a minority action

    Moshe not being allowed into Eretz Yisroel

    Purim- Mordechai refused to bow down

    Chanukah- The Hellenists were a minority of the Yidden

    Churban Beis Sheini- Sinas Chinam of a minority

    Talmidim of R Akiva death caused by one small infraction in their middos.

    When someone loves you so much and your behaviour is so intolerable your punishment is greater.

    You ask the age old question “why do the wicked prosper”

    We are in Golus…..

    When the Munkatsher Rebbe pre warned of disaster in Europe in 1930 and told people to do Teshuva he was laughed at (was not Noach also laughed at)

    History does repeat itself we have to learn the lessons.


    please re read my comments as you continuously mis undersand and pick out phrases within sentances.

    If I was not in you year perhaps it was one of your brothers and I have just not remembered the first name correctly (apologies for my lack of respect.

    David- I am sure you know Hilchos Milchama, regarding who goes to war.

    I am glad I have had the oppertunity to give you Simcha, but is not that the beauty of Hasmo, the diversity.

    If we all agreed would that not be sad aswell. Though I have not lowered my level to hurl insults at you for your views, please do not insult an opinion different to yours, argue it.

  66. Henri Berest

    Ex Hasmo.

    Sorry…but there’s a strong smell of fish here. A-Level English? Either you don’t use the language very often, or perhaps you’ve forgotten basic spelling and grammar as Terry has already pointed out.
    I find you firstly to be a coward. Anonymous posting? Who’s to say that you’re not one of the teachers yourself?
    Secondly, your smug & judgemental attitudes towards fellow jews whether orthodox or non-orthodox are simply the rantings of a small-minded bigot. You are from a minority community within a minority community, and rather than looking for the goodness in all Jews, you stare down from your high-horse pontificating about Nazis and how jews brought it on themselves by their support for Zionism and assimalation.
    You are exactly the type of Jew that I detest. I look back at the millions who were exterminated and wonder what they died for. I’m bloody sure it wasn’t to give you an opportunity and platform to slag them off when they are unable to respond.
    Even the ex-hasmo teachers have been given that dignity – should they have the testicular fortitude to take advantage of it.
    Shame on you, you spineless muppet.

  67. Michael Goldman

    I would just like to say that while I disagree with much of what Ex hasmo says and agree that he may not be the most articulate of men, he is conducting his arguments in a most respectful manner and as such deserves our respectful replies.
    Yes , the state has done many terrible things (making me pay income tax etc) but has also many wonderful things to its credit.

    I have no problem with Jews who believe that the Jewish people would have been better off without a state as their belief stems from Ahavat Yisrael.
    I don’t agree with them but I accept their view as perfectly valid.

    All the trgedies which have befallen Am Yisrael are a result of our misconduct.
    When however , we try to explain which misconduct it usually results in angry and useless arguments.
    While many rabbis were telling their congragants to stay in Germany , Jabotinsky (not the frummest of men) was urging them to leave.
    We can only try to understand whilst being careful where we air our views.

  68. Henri/ David

    please re read my comment, I never said the reason, I said “one” of the reasons.

    “Why did Hitler want to exterminate the Jews- one reason given is that he felt that Germany was a pure race being sullied by the Jews. ”

    Again apologies if I have appeared smug- this certainly was not my intention, I am only trying to articulate my views not make enemies.

    And yes A Level English at Hasmo though

  69. Daniel Marks

    You’re right Goldman. We categorically disagree with everything they (Haredim and Reformed alike) say, but we defend with our lives their right to say it.

    As far as Ex Hasmo is concerned, he seems like a really nice guy, trying desperately to be nice to everyone. If he wasn’t so damn anonymous I’d give him a hug.

  70. David Kornbluth

    Suggestion, can all desires to hug men be kept to the blog on homophobia? 🙂

    Ex Hasmo, i asked you very basic questions, namely how does anti-zionism even come close to being in keeping with the most basic midah of Hakaros Hatov.

    Please just answer that from an orthodox anti-zionist perspective. Do not talk about the bad of said Zionism, as frum people know that we should bless the bad and the good as we just dont know the Chesbon,… So even if there is bad there is certainly plenty of good, e.g.

    Jews have a home.
    Jews can make a national Kidush Hashem
    Have you ever thought what a chillul hashem Galus is?
    Jews can live globally safer.
    Torah is thriving in Israel b”h
    Jewish values the like of which are not found in galus are thriving.
    Jews can act like a people. (as you may know Judaism is both a race and a religion according to our tradition/chazal)

    Finally if you bother to take the time to look at the Rambams Hilchos Milchama, there is absolutely no exception for anyone to fight due to learning torah!
    Furthermore the exceptions are only.
    anyone who has planted a vineyard but has not harvested its first crop, or anyone who got engaged but has not consummated his marriage, is free to go home – perhaps not obliged to!

    Also someone afraid is free to go home –
    However all this only applies to a war of desire not a mitzvah, where all must fight! YEAH.

    Interestingly i think – Nahmanides in his commentary on the Book of Commandments (Rambam) ” entitled Commandments that the Rav left out of the positive commandments according to the Ramban’s opinion”
    no. 4 of the mitzvot, opines that the conquest and settlement of the Land of Israel lies in the category of obligatory war (milhemet mitzvah). It is a positive commandment for all generations obligating every individual, even during the period of exile.
    p.s. he ends with a story from of R’ Yehuda Ben Besera, R’ Machia Ben Chorush, R’ Channanya Ben Achi, R’ Yhosuah and R’ Natan who said settling in the land of israel is “shokula” all the mitzvos. 🙂

    Pretty hefty words my fellow Jew and i fear outweighing those of Achronim who argue.

  71. Michael Goldman

    Truth is that in the Z/Anti-Z debate I haven’t quite decided whose side I’m on , though David Kornbluth has gone a long way in convincing me .

    Dave :
    Jews have a home – as long as they pay the mortgage and aren’t kicked out.

    Jews can make a national Kidush Hashem – Yeah like the national footballers who visit whores when playing away , like Dana International,like the army officer who was kidnapped while buying drugs in Lebanon etc etc…..

    Jews can live globally safer – due of.
    course to the many rockets that have fallen in Golders Green in the last five years.

    Torah is thriving in Israel b”h – along with the thousands of shababnikim we see roaming the streets.

    Jewish values the like of which are not found in galus are thriving – You mean like dogs crapping in kids playgrounds while the owner looks on , pushing in fornt of others in queues , stabbings in night clubs, cursing drivers …it just goes on and on….

    Jews can act like a people – just not like people.

  72. Anthony Mammon

    I’m still not sure if this was really written by Baddiel, but then as I started to read it, I lost all interest and my mind wandered, and at that point I realised, it was DEFINITELY written by him, as it was so boring and long, It was a feeling of deja vu, going back 35 years. Just shows, that some things never change. Boring then & boring now..
    In reply to some of the writers above, I found that I gave respect to teachers who respected us, and I went out of my way to annoy & disrupt the teachers who did not. AND I think that that is probably one of the lessons I learned at Hasmo that I’ve carried with me through life.
    Anyway keep up your good work, just do your own writing as it’s much more interesting. I’m still waiting for your write up on Woody Harrison. Thanks, Anthony

  73. David Kornbluth

    Michael Goldman, get over it!
    If you think life is better in GG than Israel you are better of there, and those here are too.
    Interestingly you mention Shababnikim – supposedly Charedim, what does that say about your anti-zionism.
    Dogs crap – whoopie i live here and see plenty of people cleaning after them.
    And as for Jews around the world you really dont need me to start mentioning the scandals that have recently been brought to light.
    Israel can be an international kiddush hashem whatever small examples of individual error you may bring, and i pity your inability to look at the positive.
    P.S. I daily take my 5 year old son to the park and have never once found dog poo on the paved area or near the children’s toys.
    But if you were half the man that i think you think you are then perhaps you would be more inclined to do something positive to affect change than to make disparaging remarks!
    Shame on You, seems someone has learnt something from O.Y.B.
    If only it was something worthy of the man.

  74. Anthony Mammon

    OK, I’ve learned a lesson here. I’ve been scrolling up and reading everyones comments and it’s finally peaked my interest, so I am now going to actually go back and try to read all Baddiels comments, as they seem to have ignited a hailstorm of replies

  75. Michael Goldman

    I’m really just an arm chair anti – zionist.

    Just being a little provovative !

    Layla Tov

  76. “Every human being has feelings, and if he hasn’t, then he’s not human”

    Spot on Baddiel – weren’t the children human?
    Because enough of your contemparies didn’t treat us as such. We akso had feelings, although nothing that couldn’t be battered down by 6 of the best.

  77. Michael Goldman

    The thing I find a little strange is the divergent memories we all have of OB.

    Some remember him as a kind man and a brilliant intelligent and interesting teacher and others as an overbearing bore.

    I had little contact with the man but do remember starting an argument with him about zionism (I was pro he was anti in case anyone’s wondering)
    If my memory serves me, he patiently discussed the subject with no sign of animosity or anger.

  78. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Dear Rabbi Baddiel,
    When a man who is at least 12 to 18 inches taller than me and outweighs me by about 7 stone lays into me with his fists, or slaps me from behind with both hands, or hits me with a lump of wood, I would consider this person to be a bully.
    These would be the actions of a person who has either lost control of himself or is unable to communicate his message in any other way.
    You were one of those bullies and for you now to hide behind a cloak of yiras shamayim is an untennable position.
    In your position I would ask mechilah now in the month of ellul from all of those people both on this blog and elsewhwere who you drove away from torah by your abuse of power.
    Ellis Feigenbaum

  79. david kovler

    Any person that says that the jewish victims in a terrorist attack deserved to die as they were driving on Shabbat does not deserve any respect! Explain that one Ex Hasmo!

  80. Before I hit the sack, following an extremely busy yesterday on melchett mike, I must say I am deeply disturbed by the nonsense spouted here by Ex hasmo, because of what it tells us about the ultra-Orthodox Weltanschauung (or are Osher and Ex hasmo its only proponents?)

    Sounds to me like Ex hasmo would believe anything was the will and design of God if his Rav/Rebbe told him it was.

    It seems our fundamentalists are no better than those of other religions. Night-night.

  81. Daniel Marks


    Look on the bright side.

    At least large men approaching you violenty from behind prepared you for later life.

    And isn’t that what education is all about? (;

  82. Daniel Tarlow

    So the point of this blog is to reminisce about our days of fun and enjoyment watching a bunch of people trying to teach us, whilst understanding that it was our juob to have as much fun as we could at someone else’s expense or not!! (that is definitely one of the things i learnt which stood me in good stead to be a teacher and businessman myself!)

    So where are all the stories of deathdefying humourous events that revolve around OYB!?

    One thing let us tell these stories without reverting to personal insult of the man, without using curse words – which i believe do not need to be used – we should all by now be able to express ourselves without reverting to four letter obsenities (and which may offend people other than OYB!) even with a Hasmo education!

    So let the stories flow…….

  83. Stories..
    Like the class of 11-year-old 1st formers lined up by the external staircase leading up to that classroom waiting for teach OYB to arrive. As teacher arrived, the humming of the Israel National Anthem began. What started as a barely perceptible murmur and moved gradually but swiftly into a crescendo with all participants puffing with all their might having difficulty staying upright but at the same time maintaining that innocent “It’s not me sir” expression. I’m pretty sure even the pupils with anti-zionist leanings joined in, although come to think of it the A2 Jewish Studies class was the unofficial-official home of BA-Sinai boys, so the chances of of “ex-Hasmo” types being there was a little unlikely.

    After about 3 weeks of this, Mr Baddiel opened the morning’s shiur with what I recall to be a calm explanation of different opinions existing and to respect his . From that point on the humming lost it’s charm and we dropped it racking our brains for the next breakthrough idea.

  84. David Kornbluth

    I always found it interesting that boys could “outsmart” said teacher who did a tsitsit check.
    Said boys would cut some corners and strategically place them under shirts so that they could be dug out for inspection, rather than wear the entire garment – a little extreme. But then again it could be argued a public tsitsit check in a mixed pop. school was too.
    Only said with respect for the man and his knowledge, but disdain for teaching methods. I am sure that there were more subtle methods to encourage those who were less inclined to religiosity to be proud of their religion and heritage.

    I feel that it is correct to argue with one comment earlier defending teachers in the school, not all of whom were bad. Someone who loves something will normally have no problem showing that love and respect without resorting to terror tactics. This will in turn perhaps provide the motivation for others to follow suite. Sadly teachers at hasmo in our time were often lacking in any semblance of teaching ability.

    As for boys being boys – well the school had an atmosphere of, we all know what. It is the teachers and admin. who ultimately take the blame for that not boys who will be boys.

    Finally, Gemara discusses how often the death penalty was used and it was very rare – there seems to be some pre-occupation with some here as to potential death penalties (other blog)
    and commentators note that punishment itself rarely yields positive results normally frustration and resentment but the threat of punishment is a far better motivator.

    I think that anyone with children – no need to be a teacher for this, can attest to that (all parents are teachers after all)

    loving the blog and discussion

  85. Mike

    There is a famous story, I don’t recall its origins, however it went like this

    A person somehow found it he was going to die by drowning and so for years he avoided the sea, crossing bridges and pretty much any situation where the perils of water could get him. One day he saw an advert for a cruise and though to himself, G-d will not drown all these people just because of the gezaireh on me. So he took the crusie and the ship sank, he reaches Shmayim and asks what wrong did everyone else do that they deserved to die because of him. The response he gets is “do you know how long I have waited to get all you peolpe together”.

    We live in the times leading up to the final redemption and there are 2 ways this redemption can happen, 1, is that we are on a level to deserve the redemption or 2, that we have become so wicked that the only thing that can save us all is redemption.
    B’H the world is not a truely wicked world, so we need to be redeemed for our positive, the great R Levi Yitzhok of Beridichev was a great arguer in our favour of how good intrinscly every Jew was, no matter of their spiritual level.

    When someone dies whether it is natural or disaster it is a tragedy, Is it any more tragic when someone dies in a terrorsit attack if they are frum or not, is it any more tragic if someon dies in a terrorsit attack or if they die as a young mother of children from illness, Lo Aleini.

    What is true that whoever dies, deserves o die otherwise they do not die, we do not know the Chesbon as to why they have died, maybe they were wicked but perhaps they were so righteous that our generation truely did not deserve such a person.

    “Sounds to me like Ex hasmo would believe anything was the will and design of God if his Rav/Rebbe told him it was. ”

    Mike I beleive that everything is the design of G-d as he is the ultimate designer of the world, no Rov or Rebbe needs to let me know this.
    I daren’t say that 95% of readers of your blog beleive the same on this point.

    Fo the record the word Anti Zionist is an ugly term of phrase as is Zionist/ism etc, after all we are all brothers. HaRav Kook was the Rov in London for a period of time in the old MAchzike Adas Shul in the East End of London, this was not the most staunch Mizrachi Kehilla and in fact numbered many that allied themselves with Agudah and other groups diametrically oppsed to Mizrachi.

    I have no doubts that someone can live a frum life based on the idaels of the state, but equally someone can live a frum life whilst not supporting the state. Ultimately though these 2 factions have to agree to differ but need to find a way to respect each other.

  86. It must be so nice and convenient, El hasmo, having rote answers – and puerile stories – for everything life has to throw at you, and at us, the Jewish people. You just put your brain into autopilot and don’t have to think anymore.

    I am still trying to find real meaning in life and its continual challenges . . . instead of buying into feebleminded explanations, insulting both to us, the living, and to our martyred dead. And, the more I read your nonsense, the more reassured I am that I was, and am, right not to have “copped out”.

  87. Hi Mike

    I would have thought it was easier not to believe, thus you can attribute every entity to fate , rather than belief in G-d, by which your actions can change every element of your life and those around you.

    Don’t just balme G-d for the bad, it is easier to focus on this though, today you experienced numerous miracles, you just did not notice them.
    A little story for your Shabbos table
    A stanger to town came to a certain place where he knew he Rabbi, in fact they had been study partners in Yeshiva, he wanted to outwit and embaress this rabbi as he was jealous of the Rabbi’s fame. So he prepared a baltt of obscure Gemaro with every Kasha that could ever be asked, certain that the Rabbi would not have the answers. He arrived in town and went straight to the Beis HaMedresh where the rabbi was, he sat in front of him and immediatlt forgot all that he wanted to say. The Rabbi recognizing his old friend asked if they should learn together like the old days, they did and to the strangers amazement the Rabbi chose this bit of Gemorah and answered all his questions. The man asked of the Rabbi tell me something, we learnt together and were on an equal levele in Yeshiva how come youa re so great and I am not?, Answers the Rabbi this is true our learning is on equal levels, however our recognition of G-d is different, you see, what do you do when you eat an apple, the man answered I make the Brocho, the Rabbi says this is correct however you ate the apple because you were hungary, When I eat an apple I eat so I can make the Brocho and thus recognize G-d that He made the apple grow on a tree that he made ground in the earth that he created.

    We make Brochos but if this is done by rote we may as well say abrecadabra as a Brocho that lacks K,vuna is no where near as powerful as a Brocho with intention.

    We have to recognise all the little things that go unseen and ask ourselves what is this here for and why, how does this benifit and how lucky I am to have this. Without G-d it just happened to be there.

    Wishing you a Gut Chodesh for the Chodesh of Ani L’Dodi VDodi Li and a Gut Shabbos

  88. Is there a Brocho for a yawn?

  89. Henri Berest

    “Is there a Brocho for a yawn?”

    ROTFPMSL!!!!!! 😉

    Good Shabbos Mike.

  90. David Kornbluth

    Ex hasmo,

    Sorry to go on but i would really like a learned answer. You may have to ask someone but you write “We have to recognise all the little things that go unseen and ask ourselves what is this here for and why, how does this benifit and how lucky I am to have this. Without G-d it just happened to be there.”

    So why is there not gratitude for and recognition of the State of Israel.

    Shabbat Shalom

  91. Excuse my ignorance, Henri, but what is “ROTFPMSL”?

    And, David, you are flogging a dead horse!

  92. Acronyms are easy with Google

    I was also curious and a quick Google search reveals it as:


    Now who says Hasmo boys are not articulate.

    What was even more useful was the set of related acronyms at the bottom of the page…

    Ahhhh – the wonders of the digital age.

  93. Thoroughly enjoying reading about OYB. I sneakily hope that my calling him a c*nt (with a u not a *) on this blog just prior to his involvement was not coincidence. 😉

    Changing the subject a bit. I’m struck by the opportunity that is Mr Lawrence. A piece on him would be a great counter to accusations that all violent teachers were monsters. It could work well as I recall him with respect even fondness and no malice despite the violence. He could teach (interested me in history which I still love), had a sense of humour and would be (mostly ) warmly received on the blog if he could be coaxed on. This was a man who clearly defined his position on discipline and rigorously enforced it. I respect that and he didn’t seem to enjoy the enforcement.

    I heard he had gone into property after his stint at hasmo.

    Anyway, Mr Melchett never knew him so is there anyone on the list who could assist with drafting an ode to Mr Lawrence?


  94. I like that the Reb blamed the kids. That maturity level is sure fit for a teacher and a religious man. Here here!

  95. Daniel Marks

    Mr Lawrence

    I know the evergreen Nick Kopaloff to be an unwavering aficionado of Mr Lawrence and have no doubt that he would relish collaboration in the aforementioned scheme.


  96. Shimon Soester

    Thats it! After following the recent theological discussions on the blog, I decided not to take part. The semi-anonymous “Ex-Hasmo” has managed to, as we say in Hebrew להעלות לי את הסעיף so I have decided to stick my neck out and will no doubt be flamed because of it.

    1.Anti Zionism is soooo 1950s! The question if you support the State of not is irrelevant, because what can you do, The State of Israel is a fact of life – its here, and I hope its here to stay. You can disagree with the politics of the government (I do but for other reasons) , but to argue should we have a state or not is a bit silly, as we have one.
    2.I found myself last year in a chassidic shteibal in Amsterdam for Shacharit whilst on a business trip (If Jerry Gerber would be reading this he would shlep nachas), and was surprised to see the prayer for IDF soldiers on the wall – I asked my host (who was a holocaust survivor ) how this could be, his answer has very interesting – “Countries that were occupied by the Nazis don’t have many anti-Zionists”, this is true of Holland and Belgium , of course Stamford Hill is different.
    3.“The early Zionist were happy for Uganda to be a homeland and in fact Herzl only visited but never lived in Israel”, “HaRav Kook was the Rov in London for a period of time in the old MAchzike Adas Shul in the East End of London, this was not the most staunch Mizrachi Kehilla and in fact numbered many that allied themselves with Agudah and other groups diametrically oppsed(sic) to Mizrachi.” – Ive heard too that not all the Zionist conferences were held in Jerusalem and Rav Kook didn’t have a kippa seruga or send his son to Bnei Akiva – I would have thought that with all the money spent by the State of Israel on funding “Black” yeshivot, and the spare time the bochurs get whilst other Israelis fight in the army, the level of “black” propaganda would have got better than the codswallop we were fed by Osher and co.
    4.I think the questions of faith and meaning in life deserve something a bit more sophisticated that stories about Rabbis eating apples . Could it be that replying to a discussion using someone else’s stories is a sign of a certain insecureness ?

  97. Shimon Soester

    I’m not going to flame your neck, but agree to your every word.

    I remember hearing the Uganda crap as a child in Hasmonean too. Without ressurecting the whole historical argument it should be said:

    1. The idea was suggested at a time when the Ottomans were ruling here and there was no hope of a Jewish State in Palestine.

    2. Herzl (and Nordau) suggested the idea as a temporary shelter for Jews suffering persecution. The vote was as to whether to send a committee to investigate the possibility.

    The idea was rejected.

    3. The idea was supported by the Religious Zionists.

    I’ve never understood what ant-Zionist Golders Green/Stamford Hill teachers had against the Uganda scheme.

    1. Do they contend that Hendon is more sacred than Africa?

    2. If they think that establishing a State in Israel before the coming the messiah is against halachah, the Uganda option ought to have been ideal.

    3. Eventually when the holocaust came, wouldn’t their leaders have prefered anywhere to lead their flocks to, rather than to leave them behind and run to save their own lives as many of them did?

    Simple question Ex Hasmo.

    What have anti-Zionists got against the Uganda option?

  98. “HaRav Kook was the Rov in London for a period of time in the old MAchzike Adas Shul in the East End of London, this was not the most staunch Mizrachi Kehilla and in fact numbered many that allied themselves with Agudah and other groups diametrically oppsed to Mizrachi.”

    I’m not sure what point you are trying to make here. Presumably the members of the Machzike Hadas (not Adas) were not at all bothered by their Rav’s Zionist tendencies, or else they wouldn’t have appointed him to the position.

  99. Allan, I fear you have stumbled across the wrong post . . . intending instead to comment on Alastair, rather than HaRav, Cook. 😉

  100. That Ex hasmo is frightening… really frightening – an embarrassment to Jews everywhere.

    I read a book a few years ago about why Jews are hated – and it has nothing to do with the Reform movement. It all started when we became known as the “Chosen People”… way way back… I’ll get you the name, fascinating… and then there are the bigots like Ex hasmo, who only breed hate.

    Anyhow – just wanted to give my 2 cents.

  101. David Kornbluth

    To point at one cause of anti-semitism is i think absurd.

    However i think that two observations can safely be made.

    1. Anti-S strengthens my beliefs as there is no other logical explanation for the trend other than the will of G-d and as chazal write Esov hates Yakov.

    2. Anti-S is only strengthened by our own self hate. I believe that everything that happens happens due to a what i call spiritual cause you may prefer karma or the like. Thus with our lack of love and respect for each other it can hardly be surprising that others are no more understanding of our differences. –
    Midah Kneged Midda prehaps.

    So next time someone writes something that hints of it, please realize who your emotions are ultimately empowering. No criticism intended.

  102. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Can someone please define zionism in the year 2009?
    If it means being a Jewish patriot weather living in Israel or not , then the concept of anti zionism is somewhat irrelevant.
    If it means believing in the concept of a Jewish state then although one may have an opinion that this is halachically wrong , it is also irrellevant as the state already exists. one may as well believe that america should remit itself to the queen and revert to being a crown colony.
    If zionism means having a country that every Jew can call home and make his home then being anti zionist is self destructive and probably against the halacha from the point of view that not having a state would endager jews everywhere.

  103. Daniel Marks

    I’ll try.

    I believe that a Zionist is someone who would try and establish the State of Israel, if it didn’t already exist, and would live there.

    He would choose to live in Israel out of choice, even if faced with a more lucrative financial alternative, and would educate his children to be good Israeli citizens. Other than the obvious – serving in the army, paying taxes (when they can’t be avoided) he and they can decide for themselves what a “good Israeli citizen” means.

    He believes that ideally all Jewish people should live with him in a strong, healthy prosperous State of Israel and does what he can to facilitate this goal.

    He is a Zionist and what he believes in is Zionism.

  104. Several questions have been raised since I last commented on this site before Shabbos and I feel that the following needs to be seen.

    Mike/Henri- Brocho for a yawn- sorry you find me boring or predictable, but appreciate that you took the efforts to read my comments. On the basis of your Acronym websie the brocho I would suggest for YAWN would be HaMapil.

    David- I am not sure what you mean by learned response- is this one that would agree with your viewpoint, as it appears anything that doesn’t would not be learned.

    On Ahakores Hatov- of course I am grateful that Jews have a place to run to that is ever so safe a place where no Jew woould ever be hurt physically or spiritually. We are duty bound to have HaKaros HaTov for something that exists even if we can not see the good in it. I also have Hakoros HaTov for the UK govt even though I may not agree with a lot of the things it comes out with.

    Shimon- Anti Zionism so 1950’s and the state a reality. – the state of Israel is a reality. I am begining to think that perhaps I am a closet Zionist,
    Do I beleive that the arabs should control ISrael- No
    Did I say Tehilim for the people evicted from their homes in Sderot? Yes
    Do I get upset every time I hear of a terrorist attack? yes
    Do I beleive Israel should give up 1cm of land? no.

    So what constitues my Anti Zionist feeling? 1 issue and this is the forming of the state along non religous principles in a time prior to the coming of Moshiach. I do not think that is to radical.

    Even on entities that exist we can be for against them, are we all in favour of the governments in Zimbabwe, China etc. Do all Englishman favour the monarchy.

    Shimon, daven in the upteen Batei Midrashim associated with the Charadiem in Antwerp, Paris & Vienna all mainland Europe all overun by the Nazi’s very few who will say a prayer for the state of Israel.
    What do I have against the Uganda plan- I think the main problem was it was going to be viewed as a Jewish homeland on the belief that this would be a final home for all the Jews. Jew living in Uganda would not be a problem obviously, Jew living in Uganada as an automonous region not to dissimilair to Birobidzhan in Russia or the various farming communities set up at the end of the 19thC in Canada and Argentina.
    Karen- you are frightened by me- Why? what aspect did you find frightening, as I have not spouted hatred for anyone no matter of their belief or religous standing. Maybe my views on Israel, I think you will find that they are not that extreme- but please do let me know what fightens you, rather than putting a bland comment on all views mentioned.

  105. Not “boring or predictable” at all, Ex hasmo . . . boring and predictable.

  106. Henri Berest

    Coming back to Baddiel Mike, have you forwarded any of the comments to him, and if so is he/has he responded?

    I’d love to see his justification for some of the comments, or is his post just his personal equivalent of a drive-by shooting?

  107. Incidentally, I pondered long why Mike’s two dogs had become four:

    “…The owner of the blog, who calls himself Mike Something-or-other….. lives alone….together with his four dogs.”

    Could it be that Osher has a spy who has infiltrated our jolly circle of “ingrates and malcontents and suchlike others who are pretty much the dregs of society” but in order to earn our trust he too has had to become our “drinking companions”?

    The end of the story you will guess. The spy who is frum, Golders Green and quite unused drinking or our permanent state of intoxication, began to see double and mistook Mikes two for four.

    If my theory is wrong I give OB 24 hours to refute it.

  108. Daniel Marks – this is not a call to get carried away but your comments have become increasingly short, witty and funny of late.

  109. Daniel Marks

    “Most of these people who say that Hasmo did nothing for them spiritually, etc., etc., moan, groan, moan, groan, are now grown men but are unfortunately the drinking companions of ingrates and malcontents and suchlike others who are pretty much the dregs of society.”

    The sentence is a tad convulted but clearly we can determine the existence of two separate factions. On the one hand:

    “…these people who say that Hasmo did nothing for them spiritually, etc., etc., moan, groan, moan, groan, ……are pretty much the dregs of society.”

    And on the other hand:

    “….ingrates and malcontents and suchlike others…”

    So we have dregs and we have ingrates – you may inquire as to what brings theses two groups together?” The answer is provided:

    “…unfortunately the drinking companions..”

    You’ve got ye dregs and you’ve got ye ingrates and unfortunately they all drink together.

    I gather the unfortunate point apparently being that the dregs are having a bad influence on the ingrates.

    This need to see people who we disagree with but cannot reply to using simple tools like facts or logical reasoning as somehow morally corrupt or generally evil is a noticeable theme in the entire Baddiel diatribe. In the very excellent “Yes, Prime Minister” Sir Humphrey Appleby explains to Jim how to deal with a report that is not to his liking but he can’t refute. “If he’s young, imply he’s naïve and inexperienced, if he’s old, he must be senile etc. ..”

    The source of Osher’s predicament is that he wants to throw loshon horoh to the wind and attack us all, but the fact that he doesn’t really know enough about Mike or his merry band of “drinking companions” is holding him back (Yes, I admit it I once drank two or maybe three orange juices with him in Herzlia – I was tea-totaling as I had to drive). Consequently he has to make do with the little information that he’s able to glean off the blog, the same blog that he maintains he’s never read.

    So what does he know?

    He knows Mike lives in an apartment in Tel Aviv – not generally classified as one of the 365 negative commandments.

    He knows that there are dogs. They’ve been extensively referenced in an early posting.

    Slim pickings so far. Now, he inserts the drinking motif.

    Now we have an apartment in Tel Aviv, full of dogs and drunken ex-Hasmos who all “moan, groan, moan, groan “. Sometimes they moan and sometimes they grown, sometimes they both.

    I could use the age old cliché that “it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.” But the truth is, it’s really very funny and certainly much more funny than sad.

  110. An interesting case study on the dangers of loshon hora . . .

    Sorry to give Osher more ammo but, yesterday evening, me, the dogs and three other ex-Hasmos arranged to meet in my “local”.

    Saul – who lives in Beer Sheva, and who I don’t see very often as a result – was the first to arrive.

    On seeing Stuey and Dexxy – and having read Osher’s post (and commented on it above) – the first thing he says to me, in all seriousness, is “Where are the other two?”

  111. Grant Morgan

    “NURSE – Mr Baddiel is out of bed again!!!”

  112. LMAO!

  113. Isaac Wahnon

    Osher taught me for a few years, and apart from his Anti-Zionist views I have a lot of respect for him.
    He was one of the few teachers that appeared to have prepared his lessons and could keep order in his class.
    He was a little eccentric, the calligraphy on the white board, Chanuka candle in a glass, that IF thing, perfectly organised piles of paper, something Rabbi Bondi could have learnt from.
    David Kornbluth, the tzizit check with a boy stuffing just the corner of a tzizit in his shirt is not the full story.
    One Shabbat in the Edgware United Shul “library” a pupil found just the corner of a tzizit ie with 1 tzitzit on it. He took it to use for one of Oshers tzitzit checks. It was a particularly manky specimen. When the time came he used this tzitzit. I remember him holding it very tightly in place whilst Osher tugged at it, commenting on how it was time to buy a new one.
    On another subject, Osher wanted to keep the individual old wooden desks in his class, a custom built model with nailed down lids. Once a nail had somehow worked its way loose. He took out a 10p coin balanced it on top of the offending nail. He raised his hand to bash it into place, and started the bashing motion. At the last second the coin fell off and he bashed the nail with his palm. Not a wince, nothing, a true super hero. Amazing the crap you can remember 20 years later.
    Why did Osher always hide in the book binding “studio”, he never “hung” out with the other teachers?

  114. Book binding. Useful life skills.

    It’s interesting that if one attempts to categorise the teachers into the simplistic nasty vs basically decent, how poor the religious staff come out.

    I’m struggling to think of a non-jewish teacher who I would describe as nasty yet having no problems at all coming up with jewish ones. Much has been printed about them in these pages.

    Violent discipline alone does not necessarily put one in the nasty category.

    Why is it that it is so easy to make that differentiation? Can it be that gentiles who were nasty to jewish boys would not be tolerated but jewish teachers would be?


  115. Chichios was as nasty as any Jewish teacher…and every bit as incompetent.

    But on the whole, yes, the gentile teachers were less violent. That’s probably because they were actually trained to do the job and had communication skills.

  116. Simon Berest

    To add my two cents to this.

    On my first day at Hasmo, OYB looked at my name on the register and and then at me, and he asked “Berest…no relation to Henri Berest I hope?”

    I responded “Yes sir, but I am nothing like my brother honest!”

    Now those who know Henri and me, would say that could not be further from the truth, but the reason I relate this, is because for the next 7 years OYB and Clive Fierstone, those highly respectable people made my life hell, along with others of their ilk. Why, because my brother was an arsehole when at Hasmo (some might say he still is 🙂 Sorry bruv)

    These are the people who have cried foul the loudest, yet treat people like shit. As for OYB stating that the teachers are highly respectable and could have gotten jobs elsewhere, thats a load of crap as well. It was well know that many teachers at Hasmo failed at whatever they did, and then were given a job out of charity.

    My memory of Hasmo is fine thanks, and at eleven I was old enough to know what a bad bunch (for the most part) of teachers we had. This is not subjective, they lacked the ability to motivate the students. It does not matter how old you are, as OYB has proved that even when older, you dont make any more sense or remember things better.

    OYB why dont you go placidy amid the noise and check whether those cigs you smoke contain any waccy baccy, as you have written the biggest load of BS I have ever read.

  117. Simon Berest

    Ex Hasmo, are you out of your head when you said “Anti Zionism is so 1950’s”?

    Do you not read the papers and see how bad the any semitism is in Europe? It is masked as Anti Zionism, and it is the worst I can ever remember it.

    Oh yes, it must not be bad as OYB said my memory was not good at age 11-18.

  118. Daniel Marks

    Yes Uri, I’m sure that was the case.

    A non-Jewish teacher had to have studied the subject he taught and know how to teach it.

    Many members of the religious staff studied a few years in Gateshead and then “taught” various Jewish studies basically by translating from Hebrew or Aramaic to English.

    The level of Osher Baddiel’s writing and his inability to put his thoughts in order or coherently express himself, even after more than three decades of teaching, bear hideous testimony to the problematic of employing teachers not properly trained.

    Tragically, he was one of the better ones of a mixed, but basically pretty untalented and uninspiring bunch. I should be careful about generalizing and mention educationalists like Richard Rosten and Rabbi Lewis who were true idealists, worked very hard and taught us much in the late 1970s. Neither was I was taught by all JS teachers so without doubt there were others deserving of mention too.

    My anger is not with those who didn’t have the tools required to teach, nor even with the laziness of countless “rebbes” who never seemed to have prepared nothing but would invariably commence lessons with the gruesome question, “Where did we get up to last time?” I certainly bear no grudges to those who used their superior size and strength to illegally perpetrate violent attacks against me.

    My anger is with those who turned so many of my friends off Torah and Mitzvot by conning them into believing that the collection of lazy, unplanned lessons, spiced with the booba meisers that they dished up was the real thing.

    “Said Rabbi Joshua the son of Levi: Every day, an echo resounds from Mount Horeb proclaiming and saying: ‘Woe is to the creatures who insult the Torah.'”

    I wasted almost a decade until I rediscovered a living, breathing Torah. Many of my friends never returned to learn Torah with me and with every page of gemara I turn I miss them, with a pain that grows ever more profound with the passing of years.

    The echo that resounds from Mount Horeb (Sinai) is not admonishing the once innocents who long ago threw off their kippot. It is for those wearing the over-sized black ones who drove them all the way there.

    “Woe is to the creatures who insult the Torah.”

  119. daniel amini

    Osher (bless him) offered me money not to go to Sinai camp? Should I have accepted?

  120. Daniel Marks

    I trust I’m not revealing too much by divulging that Daniel Amini of the early-mid seventies was thoroughly besotted by a fair young maiden of the Sinai persuasion. Amini is fondly remembered as having the looks of a Greek God and sprinting the 100 meters faster than a flying bullet.

    I assume, and very much hope, that Osher had no alternative to offer you to compensate for the company of the aforementioned lady, I would, therefore, have to say that you made the right decision by declining the buyoff.

    Bet you thought I’d forgotten that Amini!

    Anyone wishing to receive more details please send a bankers cheque together with stamped, addressed envelope to the author of this excellent blog, he will forward it to me.

  121. thanks mate! 🙂 now my wife wants to know who this woman was and why I now more closely resemble a Greek tanker.

  122. Tell the old trouble and strife to send her cheque like everybody else.

    As far as weight is concerned, I too have undergone considerable expansion of late as amazingly has Adrian Warren (see his early posting). When it comes to kilos, Kopaloff puts them on and takes them off like a cheap stripper and only the legendary Ellis Feigenbaum does not grow old as we grow old but remains his slim handsome self.

    Goldman has a large belly but turns it to good use in national arm-wrestling championship when he does to unsuspecting opponents what he has been trying to do to Gcantory – now apparently Greg.

    Mike (author of this blog) is slim and attractive so if any of the young beauties who feature on your companies home site are up to it, I believe he could be persuaded.

    Since the subject of this page is Osher Baddiel, I’ll conclude by hoping that you are wearing your Tzitsit, layed tefillin this morning and are thoroughly weaned off Sinai girls.

  123. Mike,
    Sorry to bring such an irreverent note into what is clearly a high level debate, but I just noticed something. Your pic of the Lockerbie bomber and then the second and third photos of Osher (above). Notice something in common? Yep. The same hat. What are we to read into this?

  124. Ellis Feigenbaum

    I happen to know the girl in question, oddly enough after not having seen her for 20 something years I met her 5 times in the space of about 2 months recently.
    If anyone really wants to know the answer to the question I am prepared to undercut Daniel by 15%.
    Paypal cheques and interac transfers accepted.

  125. Simon,

    It was Shimon Soester that said Anti Zionism is so 1950’s, I agree with you it is not outdated – though I suspect we come at different angles on some aspects of it.

  126. If Feigenbaum met her five times, it’s fair to assume that the market value of her name has plunged by considerably more than 15%!

    To further stimulate interest in this mysterious maiden, I should point out that I don’t believe I ever met her in person. After having heard the young Amini’s descriptions I didn’t want reality to ruin the lovely mental image he had so ably conjured up.

    If Osher B is still reading this blog he no doubt assumes that this strange conversation is in the aftermath of another drinking binge with Mike’s four dogs. Let me assure him that we are all quite sober, “overgrown babies”, taking a well earned break from our “moaning and groaning, groaning and moaning” no disrespect intended to “teachers and rebbes”.

  127. Glad to see Molly and Ellis are still up to their same tricks. Ellis – thought you only accept cash? Molly – do you still blow dry your hair?

  128. Shimon Soester

    Ex Hasmo,

    My comment about the anachronism of anti-Zionism referred only to the frummy sort. Non-Jewish anti-Zionism is of course often anti-Semitism.

    I do think that quite a few black-hatters (except of course Satmer wierdos) are closet Zionists at heart, but then again, the subject has got a bit boring – why not go back to the subject of moaning, groaning, Sinai girls and Mike’s four dogs in a pub (all at the same time)?



  129. While articulate, wonderfully and brilliantly written, I can’t believe that any of you (all of whom I am most proud of – apart from Osher’s wretched boyfriend that is) dignified OYB with any sort of response. The man was an off the scale and fully certified cretinous loon back then and has proven that time has simply let a few more frogs out of that box. Let’s stop this now and get back to great stories of being slapped in the face with a dead fish, straddling the roof rack of a mini bus hurtling up the M1 at 70mph driven by a rabbi without a license, and spending a decade asking ‘Any spare chairs sir?’ Ah, happy days.

  130. On that point, have any of you ever considered that we could raise substantial funds for a state of the art multi-gym (used not by unstable froomers but for the exclusive use of the Games master and his black bag bevested sidekick) but not the simplest of school essentials – chairs?

  131. Jonathan Bernstein

    Elbaz! Don’t Slam the Weights!!

  132. I have no doubt that some readers feel I have somewhat labored the point with perpetual references to Mike’s Tel Aviv apartment, his four dogs and his “drinking companions” as depicted by OB with true Stamford Hill-ian flair.

    The intent was not to ridicule Osher – that he did all by himself quite ably, without requiring any help from us “ingrates”. From my point of view the exercise has been a genuinely engrossing opportunity to revisit the psyche of one of those who had so much influence on our lives during those formative years.

    At some point in our Hasmonean/Yeshiva Stream careers it became known to the Jewish Studies faculty members that we, together with some young ladies (not Sinai) were organizing a party. This kind of thing was quite common, much less so was teachers finding out about it ahead of time.

    I have no idea how it was discovered, or as to how they knew who was involved, but they did. Rabbi Rodberg was called in to deal with the matter.

    We were told to be by the “long room” during the break, about a dozen of us, and when he arrived were instructed to stand in a line against the wall outside. I should preface the story by saying that though I didn’t much like Rodberg at the time, and though he was not the most charismatic of figures, looking back – I think he was quite a nice guy and I’ve heard he has done a lot of good work. Anyway, the interrogation began:

    “So, what are you going to do with the girls at your party?” The “p” of party was gently spat out in the way frummers might spit out “pig” or “pork”. There was a silence that lasted a few seconds until someone answered.

    “Well, we may dance sir.”

    Rodberg considered his reply. He was Oxbridge educated and Gateshead too, but, neither Greek Mythology nor the Michtav Me’Elyahu were responsible for his next unforgettable utterance:

    “Ah, so you bring the girls to dance for you!”

    The end of the story is unimportant, we were not punished and I’m not even sure the party took place. The point is the total inability of a staff member to understand the people whose education he is responsible for. His world is divided into good/bad, frum/not frum, Zaddik/Rasha, drunk/sober – you have to be one or the other.

    To Rodberg we were pimps bringing along women to dance for us like the aged Arab sheiks watching belly dancers perform in some old Omar Sharif movie. To Osher we are alcoholic cowboys from some old Western sitting at our poker tables in Tel Aviv with Mike’s four dogs forever moaning and groaning, groaning and moaning.

    The first job of a teacher is to understand the world his pupils live in. Not to try and rebuild it for them overnight with prayer charts and not to turn it into his own strange fantasy. The first job of a teacher is to learn. He must learn to understand and respect his students. If he can’t respect them he should go back to book-binding, there he can truly judge a book by its cover. How does he know when he’s failed? When he starts writing trash like this:

    “All teachers start out with the best intentions. Sadly, the treatment that they receive from their pupils can sometimes make them regret deeply their chosen vocation, but if they have become embittered it is because the children, who can be clever, manipulative, nasty, cruel and quite vicious, have made them so.”

  133. melchett mike Best Caption Competition

    Send in a caption for the middle photograph (in Ohalei Yaakov Yeshiva) in my Osher post above.

    The most original/amusing entry will win an evening in Tel Aviv – with me, my four dogs, and my ingrate and malcontent drinking companions – moaning, groaning, moaning, groaning . . . and, who knows, even the dregs of society (i.e., Daniel Marks and co.) might make an appearance!

    So, get those captions in!!

    Mike Something-or-other

    PS Only one entry per overgrown baby.

  134. I hope I’m not included in the dregs of society!

    Anyway here’s my go:

    “I told you Sinai camp is treif – join me this summer in Tehran for the Neturei Karta machane – you get a chance to play with some centrifuges!”

  135. Nice, non-controversial start, Daniel!

  136. If I win are return flights included?

  137. “YOU were supposed to change the mineral water!”

    “But I was busy sucking my thumb.”

    “Overgrown baby!”

  138. Oooh, it’s hotting up!

    Daniel, seeing as you should be here anyway, I’m only offering a one-way ticket. Or did you mean to Tehran?!

  139. Do you work for nefesh be nefesh? 🙂 Actually been to Tehran (spent a wonderful 3 months there in 1961!) – tell a lie I didnt actually go there but I was there!

  140. From Tehran to Hendon and Hasmonean . . . one hotbed of fundamentalism to another. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire!

  141. That’s why they call me Ayatollah Amini.

  142. Right, here’s my entry . . .

    “If you think the Rov behind me was mental, jumping around on his pogo stick, let me tell you about a certain ‘King’ Paley zichrono livrocho . . .”

  143. Ellis Feigenbaum

    “Did you read the secret dossier Chaim Yankel? Didn’t you know the plans for the destruction of the Moscow mincha list? Now we have to check everyone’s tzitzis.”

  144. My offering……

    “Rabbi Angel told me that boys who suck their thumbs are closet homosexuals! Now cut it out or I’ll grass you up to President Ahmedinnerjacket.”

  145. Come onnn . . . there’s so much material in that photo . . .

    “Listen, I knew him, I was there . . . Stalin was no DJ!”

  146. Jonathan Bernstein

    “When I told you I wanted an office with windows I did not mean just the frames!!”

  147. geoffrey hollander

    Following the theft of his “IF” poems from their frames, Osher points the finger at some Zionist infidels.

  148. I am reminded of a classic OYB moment shortly before one Pesach. Paul Kaufman, a supremely funny, well spoken and articulate young man – even in his formative years, would go out of his way to ask the teachers the most ridiculous and incredulous questions possible – just for the reaction, but always did so with a straight face coupled with a sense of honesty and integrity. For this reason alone all questions, no matter how farcical, were dignified with some sort of response.

    “Sir, what happens if during Chol Hamoed Pesach I get chametz under my finger nails?”

    Now, for all Osher’s despotic and delusional traits, nobody can deny that he was a supremely cool customer. Lord Vader never once flapped nor broke a sweat. Instead he simply responded:

    “When it happens – you tell me.”

    Kaufman was back at him faster than a Rabbi Lewis twitch with:

    “But Sir, it has.”

    And this is when OYB showed his true genius. He simply stared at Kaufman over the top of his glasses and said:

    “When it happens again – you tell me.”

    On these occasions you had to love Osher the Rosher – pure genius!

  149. Amini and Marks (of course) are cheating (Sir), attempting to enter more than one caption in gross disregard of the rules (which can be broken only by me). On the basis that the first entry is the one that counts, I will allow additional ones . . . though they’d better be f*cking funny!

  150. “So it was YOU who stole my ‘pirsum ha’nes’ candle last Chanukah!”

  151. “Shmooli, I’m asking you for the last time – did you superglue my finger to this desk?!”

  152. Shimon Soester

    “Kaufman, I’m telling you – there is no chometz there whatsover! Yossi, what do you mean it tastes like marmite?”

  153. Ellis Feigenbaum

    2 more . . .

    “You have a fingernail to eat, when my grandfather grew up in the shteitel, they were lucky to see a fingernail once a month. They had to eat soup made out of cold snow and three hairs from my boobah`s sheitl.”

    “See Chaim Yankel, I told you your ears would go red if you kept listening to loshon horo.”

  154. My refined Osh Bad Deal caption:

    “I told you to check your Tzitzit Kanfass not your tits and c*nt face.”

    And to continue for posterity:

    “Now where did we get up to last time – have we covered malcontents and failures?”
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Overgrown babies and cowards?”
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Self-pitying, vindictive, spiteful, foul-mouthed, pious hypocrites?”
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Have we covered never trust a goy?”
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Feigenbaum – is that a canoe in your pocket?”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Care to explain?”
    “Not really sir.”

  155. Michael Goldman

    Good to have you back Nick. Your rhetoric has been dearly missed.

    OK my caption:

    “Now I want the truth! How many dogs does Mike Something-or-other really have?”

  156. Jonathan Bernstein

    One more go….

    “Idiot, I told you to post on melchett mike in YOUR name!”

  157. “You may doubt me, but I will soon be sitting down with Ehud Olmert!”

    (See http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MpfvTWfwKGU/SfHTwwFD-KI/AAAAAAAAAOw/3vGUnaFY9Jw/s400/04240901a.jpg)

  158. 4 more . . .

    1. “We the black men of the inquisition demand an answer, WHERE ARE YOUR BLACK JACKETS?”

    2. “Who stuck those idiotic bits of wood on the wall? Ah, before I was a rebbe I taught woodwork!”

    3. “In this yellow file are details of Danny Amini’s ladyfriend of the 7os, but you will never see it!”

    4. “If you want a really big yamelka like mine, you must learn to wave your finger – not suck it!”

  159. Hi Mike,

    Read Osher’s bit with interest. Pity he had not read the site. Actually he was about the only frum teacher who engaged in any sort of discussion with me about Christianity – I mentioned it in the second part of my post to your site. By the way I think I can claim to be the first ex teacher to have contributed to your blog contrary to some of the entries in response to Osher. Correct me if I am wrong.

    I also met Osher about a year ago when I went to a lecture at the Jewish Learning Exchange in Golders Green about the Bible Code and he remembered me – though I think he was a bit shocked to see me there.

    Reading the comments about him reminded me of some of the things I picked up at Hasmonean – the different views of Jews about Israel, God etc. Osher’s views on Israel were a bit of a surprise to me as I had (still have) the belief that the present restoration of Israel is the will of God and prophesied in the Bible – first a physical birth and then a spiritual birth – Ezekiel 36-7. I suppose I thought that generally Orthodox Jews would have roughly the same view as mine on the subject of Israel if not on the Messiah! You live and learn.

    If Israel is not all that it should be (and I guess we can all agree on that), my question for Osher and ex Hasmo is how should/could it be changed? Ahmedinejad’s way or the Messiah’s way?


    Tony Pearce

  160. Tony, I think the answer is a splendid new hotel squeezed between The Royal Beach and The Dan.

  161. Hi Tony

    Ideally through the coming of the Messia but we have to be on a level to deserve his coming.

    According to Jewish Tradition, the Messiah can come by way of 2 methods, 1 if we are deserving and secondly if we have sullied ourselves so much that our only salvation is the coming of the Messiah. The firstw ay is a way of peace the 2nd way is not.

    Ideally the coming of the Messiah should be the former thatwe are on a level to deserve his salvation.coming.

    How could Israel be changed- it is not Israel that needs to be changed but peolpes mindsets. Once people accept the yoke of Torah & Mitzvos this would change the whole moral standing of the country will experince a spiritual lift.

    Before anyone bites my head off, i am no way saying that this is because of the Non Orthodox.

    We have to bare in mind that there are some people who align themselves with Charadim but do not behave in such a fashion.

    A story (Mike I know you love them so much) someone once came to Reb Shimon Schwab who was the Rov in Washington Heights and said if it was permitted to evade government taxes of some kind. His answer to the man was on the lines of do you Keep Shabbos, Do you fast on Yom Kippur, the man said of course, to which Reb Shimmon replied do not steal/cheat is in the same Torah.
    We do not have a grading system of which Mitzvos have greater value and which Averios are lighter, Hashem has that.

    The sooner everone burries their differences and the unneeded hatred we will see a positive final redemption.

    btw Mike- I remember doing caption competition when I was in school, grown up a bit since then- perhaps R Osher was right “overgrown babies”

  162. Will he still come if you lot continue with your penchant for prostitutes? I hear that trade in Stamford Hill is booming!

  163. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Ex hasmo,
    Punch ran for over 150 years on the basis of its cartoon captioning, do you really feel its demise was due to the fact that people grew up, or just possibly because the standard of education lowered.
    Your opinion will be of interest.

  164. firstly since the CCTV has gone up Stamford Hill is no longer a red light district, but grant please refer back to my post,

    we also have to put Averios into 3 categories
    1. those that sin willfully
    2. those that sin unwittiingly
    3. those that sin because they have not reached the level of preventing themselves from sin.

    It is those in the first category that require attention more than the others.

    Not sure what you mean by my lot as are we not both Jews?

    Punch magazine closed in 2002 with only 6000 subscribers at its demise, does this answer your question Ellis?

  165. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Ex Hasmo,
    By the way, could you possibly explain in logical and sensible english, your personal view of the concept b`itah achishena?
    This does not translate as 2 options of the coming of messiah, but what it means is in its time I will hasten it.
    Nowhere does this phrase mention 2 options and in fact the phrase is so obscure that learned men have been debating its meaning for millenia.
    The phrase does not contain a timeline, nor does it contain any meaning that Israel will be set up or will not be set up before the messiah comes, nor does it mention whether when messiah comes if the Judaism we keep will be scripture based or rabbinic.
    But I will leave you with a talmudic word which should cover all arguments. Teko, an interesting word which modern Israel has taken over to mean a tie in a sporting event, but which is an acronym for Tishbi Yetaretz She`elot Vekushiyot. Elijah will answer question and problems.
    And just maybe that is the answer to all that you see as problematic in Israel.

  166. Not according to your mate Osher!

  167. Ellis Feigenbaum

    And that would be my point, the fact that Punch magazine closed has more to do with the fact that 2 whole generations of school children were badly educated under a secondary modern socialist school system, than with the fact that the content of Punch had worsened or changed over the years.
    By the way, your learned Rabbi actually called everyone that reads or participates in this blog a sodomite. I for one take offence at being called a sodomite by a Rabbi. But it does show the very high level of discussion and deep debate he is prepared to enter into.
    But maybe we can return the compliment by mentioning the boys whose lives he buggered up (pun definitely intended).

  168. With regard to prostitution in Stamford Hill, I’m not sure that would necessarily constitute sinning since, I believe, the Gemara makes a provision for this if one’s libido is distracting them from their learning. Ex hasmo pls confirm.

  169. Hi Terry
    Both the Rambam and he Shulchan Aruch say that prositiution is an Issur DeRabbanan and therefore would be forbidden this is gleaned from the Gemoro in Avoda Zorah and Sanhedrin.

    Targum Yonnason on Vayikra 18.21 aligns it as an Issur Min HaTorah, the Gemora in Megila elaborates on this as well. Please also remember in the time of the Gemora bigomy was permitted do not confuse this with prostitution.

    Ellis- perhaps we were badly educated or perhaps we just did not take in the education that we were given.
    I for one blame myself solely for any reason I did not aspire to what I could have been not the teachers.

    I did Economics A Level and found some concepts rather difficulty after several years in Yeshiva and subsequently doing a degree in which some concepts from Economic A Level was revisited I realised it was the not the teachers that mis taught me, it was my capacity for questioning and reasoning was not as developed as a 16 year old than it was years later.
    Every school has problems with teachers that can not teach the material ( I see this with my own children who do not go to Hasmo) be it secular or Kodesh. We are to close to the matter to decide whether it was the teachers or us that contributed to our success as much as our failures. We all are great at being a critic of our teachers, how many in all honesty have phoned up a teacher or for that matter a collegue, friend, spouce etc to compliment on the good they have done for us. I see a case of glasses half empty not half full and certainly not rose tinted.

  170. Ex hasmo, thanks for responding. I think the Gemara in question would have been Boba-Basra.

    On a similar note, could anyone confirm the existence of a discussion elsewhere in the Gemara, of the following, highly implausible, scenario:

    A man is mending his brother’s roof and is distracted by the sight of his sister-in-law sunbathing. As a result, he falls off the roof and in the process, somehow manages to impregnate her.

    It’s quite likely that somebody was winding me up here, but I thought I’d ask all the same.

  171. Is your name really Paul Kaufman? 🙂

  172. Ex hasmo,

    I sincerely regret that you do not consider the melchett mike Best Caption Competition sufficiently mature. Perhaps I should, instead, have instituted an Ex hasmo Puerile Rabbinic Story Competition.

    Even if you are going to continue hiding behind a pseudonym, please check your spelling and punctuation before submitting comments. They are both appalling. You don’t have to post as fast as you (no doubt) talk. If you did English A-level (as you claim), I suspect the University of London marker still talks about your paper “down the pub”.

    And one more thing . . . if you are one of the “lot” that Grant Morgan refers to, do you book into such establishments under “Ex hasmo”?

  173. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Ex hasmo,
    I have multiple teachers that I am still in contact with.
    I was in contact with Mr. Stanton after I left the school, and I am often in contact with a myriad of teachers, tutors and mentors from my misspent youth.
    However you have failed to address both of the questions I put to you, and in somewhat gcantory style have tried to make your stand acceptable, by saying who is to know etc, as if there are differing schools of thought which could be acceptable.
    One cannot put a different light on this subject, there is none. At some point in the very late 60`s the running of the school changed, this coincided with the change from Grammar school to comprehensive state aided, and the decline in the headmasters health.
    The fact that your ability to comprehend economics changed as you got older is a natural state of existence, ones capacity for studying in depth theories changes, the male species is not fully developed until at least 20 years of age, regardless of how many pubic hairs one has on ones 13th birthday.
    However specifically in Kodesh, can you explain why at the top level yeshivas it is almost impossible for boys who come from London to get accepted. And those that do find they are years behind their Israeli and American counterparts. The basic level is so far in arrears of anything seen elsewhere as to be laughable. The only reason for this is the ability of the teachers.
    Unless of course you subscribe to the belief that all boys from England are in some way inferior by birth defect.
    Blaming this sorry state of existence on the boys, is in effect condoning bad educational practices.
    I fully admit that I was a handful, so much so that I got 7 A`s at O level`s, passed bagrut in one year in Israel at the age of 17 and after Army service was accepted to study at Merkaz by Reb Avrum Shapira (the fact that I spent most of that time in Yeshivat Yamit and following that in the Merkaz Kollel so never quite got to the aspired level of studying with the great religious Zionist thinkers on a daily basis).
    And yet I was so far behind almost everyone in basics that my ramim occasionally or more often than that let out cries of despair. This reflects directly on the education that I got at Hasmonean. A school where I was not allowed to enter Yeshiva Stream by Rabbi Roberg after consulting with Rabbi Baddiel.
    So if you can actually explain to me why 2 Rabbis denied torah to a 13 year old and they still have the audacity to demand the respect the title brings, while blaming this sorry state of affairs on the boys. I might be prepared to think about it. By the way the excuse that Rabbi Roberg gave me for not letting me enter Yeshiva Stream was that I asked him during lunch break and at the time I was not wearing a tie. I think I might have pissed him off a little when I enquired if wearing a tie would make me study better.
    PS I actually do know the real reason behind not letting me into Yeshiva Stream and it has nothing to do with ties or my level or standard of behavior and more to do with petty politics.

  174. Ellis’ comment about not being admitted to Yeshiva Stream is very interesting. I witnessed an opposite phenomenon – a boy in my year was interested in joining but his parents were totally against it, and obviously wouldn’t pay for it. Nevertheless he was allowed to join in and he was assigned to me as a chavruta partner in (I believe) Rabbi Schechter’s afternoon shiurim. The interesting thing is that he wasn’t allowed to go to Yeshiva by his parents, so he went to BA Hachsharah in Lavi where they had a 3-month yeshiva program built in. Suffice to say that from 1974/5 onwards he has never left the yeshiva world and is now one of the more “vatik” residents of Hebron. So it would be interesting to know what could have been the “political ” reasons for not accepting Ellis. It does seem odd……

  175. Re reading Osher’s massive post, the following suddendly struck me . . .

    He quite clearly states that he has never read this blog and any of its comments, and goes on to talk about what he has been told that all the blog is an attack on the teachers.

    Now, correct me if I am wrong, but since his information is at BEST second hand, wasnt he basing his whole post on Loshon Hora?

    Now, we couldnt have that virtue of frumkeit listening to LH could we? We know what that leads too, Amini going to Sinai camp!!!!!!!!


  176. Ellis Feigenbaum

    It was to do with the fact that I had recently become the youngest person at that time to pass school certificate (Benjy Dorman beat that particular record the following year) and Roberg was at loggerheads with Tony Brown and the whole United Synagogue education system.
    I obviously was going to be a bad influence as I actually had passed some exams on halacha and nach and knew more than three mishnayos.

  177. Gotta love Yeshiva Stream – where else could you buy last week’s bun and an orange juice tasting of piss for only 2p!

  178. Shimon Soester

    Ex Hasmo: I can honestly say that I am still in contact with at least one ex-teacher (can any of you beat getting a wedding present from Gerry Gerber AND having Mr Walters at your wedding)!

    Terry M: The story you mentioned is in Yevamot 54a (wow! to think I started off Hasmo in the O2 JS class). I think you should note other certain details from the story: the lady sunbathing was a widow, with no children, having recently lost her husband, nebech. The mourning brother-in-law who fell off the roof (nowhere does it say he was fixing it) happened, for reasons best known to himself, to be without any clothes on (for this reason I don’t think he was fixing the roof). Also falling off the roof happened to have a certain physical effect on him, which perhaps OYB was demonstrating with his finger in the photo Mike wants us to caption.

  179. Thank you Shimon Soester for clarifying that. I have just googled Yevamot 54a. If the original scenario doesn’t strike readers as being utterly ridiculous, apparently the same paragraph contains this nugget:

    “What happens if a weasel enters a pregnant animal’s womb, swallows the fetus, and then emerges from the womb with the fetus still inside the weasel’s mouth. The weasel then climbs back in to the womb and spits out the fetus, which eventually emerges from the birth canal. Is this newborn animal considered to have come from the womb and therefore have the sanctity of a firstborn? ”

    There is also a question about which head a two headed man should put his tefillin on. I kid you not.

  180. Learned Gentlemen and people in the top 3 JS classes, whilst many of these stories in the Gemara seem highly implausible to have actually happened it should be remembered that the Gemera often creates a legal situation to discuss the theoretical halachic outcome – regardless of whether this will ever reasonably occur, as in some of the above cases in Yevamot.
    One very important implication of some of these stories and halacha is primarily for our days when issues such as fertility treatment and IVF, surrogacy, etc are real life events. It is often these very ‘wierd’ and wonderful cases which give us today the basis for halachic discussions and outcomes for these highly ‘irregular’ and unnatural events.
    So while I can see the room to view these stories as being almost impossible, they and others like then can have a serious impact on modern day halachic psak.

  181. Ex-Hasmo.
    Do you not accept the near impossibilty of the entire Israeli nation, or even those from the diaspora suddenly waking up one morning and accepting ‘the yoke of Torah & Mitzvos’?
    Bearing in mind the near impossibility of this situation arising, I suggest that you get off your moral high horse and start enjoying life. The Caption Competion is a good start, and after that perhaps Terry can point you in the direction of the nearest Red Light Area.

  182. Henri,

    It will not happen in one go, have a look around you, the reawakening for Yiddishkiet, never before have so many people wanted to return to their roots.

    I don’t know if you live in London – but have a look at Egdware, Elstree in addition to the established Jewish areas.

    Sometimes things have to get very bad before they can get very good.

    Slowly Slowly catchy monkey

  183. ….I know a great place that specialises in live weasels xD

    Daniel Tarlow, I understand that Gemara is supposed to encourage debate (and clearly in this instance, it is doing just that) but could you show me a context, future or otherwise, where the debate about an aroused naked man suffering from premature ejaculation falls off a roof whilst his naked sister-in law performs a handstand in the garden below and gets a hole in one, would be relevant?

    What I don’t get is why we always got the debates about cows running in the road or how high to build your Succah when there were such veritable gems on offer. Think of the fun we could have had!

  184. It really is a terrible measure of the inadequacy of Hasmonean Jewish studies teachers that so many of its graduates, who are otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable in so many fields, left school believing that gemara is supposed to be a practical book of halachah and should be assessed according to the criteria of the practical application of its case law in everyday life.

    It’s tantamount to a scholar of Greek Thought graduating college and asking what use “the Last Days of Socrates” will be to him:

    “Why do I need it? What are the chances that I’ll be put on trial for my life by the people of Athens? Wouldn’t it be better to learn more practical things about Athens like where I can get a good kebab there today?”

    Obviously, this blog is not the place to explain why we learn gemara but without doubt Hasmonean Grammar School was. Instead the books would be sold, handed out and boom you’re into the first mishna without a clue why.

    There were those who came from very “frum” homes who we affectionately called “fish-faces” who seemed to either intuitively know why, or maybe just never asked the question, but they were an albeit significant minority. The rest of us either enjoyed it or didn’t but had no idea what it was really for.

    In mitigation I don’t believe that the issue was ever seriously discussed at teachers meetings, if such things existed, and that many of the gemara teachers were the fish-faces of 20 years before.

    Finally, more power to all those of you who studied the now “infamous” Yevamot. We recently finished Ketubot, tried Yevamot, found it too hard and began Iruvin instead. Next time I try to tackle it I’ll take someone to help me who’s more clever than I, fortunately there are plenty – any fish-faces free?

  185. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Ex Hasmo,
    I agree with you there a lot of frum people in Edgware, its called supply side economics. It is just cheaper to buy homes in Edgware, Elstree and Borehamwood, than Hendon, Golders Green or Stamford Hill.
    As to the numbers of frum Jews as a percentage of the Jewish population in total rising, in England it is probably true, elsewhere not so much.
    The amount of frum jews in Israel hasnt changed, in America it has declined and in Europe generally it is in decline along with the total number of Jews.
    What has changed in the UK and in the US is the cultural acceptance of the orthodox in the general population.
    Whereas 40 years ago it was rarely acceptable for frum Jews to be seen in the general workplace wearing kippot now it is wholely acceptable, frummers are more noticeable and therefore seem more, but are there really more or is it just an illusion?

  186. Shimon Soester, can we surmise from your “getting a wedding present from Gerry Gerber AND having Mr Walters at your wedding” that the Commie loon considered the giving of wedding presents too bourgeois?

    Incidentally, I still get wound up by your constant reminders of your impeccable Hasmo connections and namedropping of Legends . . . when you were absolutely f*cking useless whenever I tried tapping you up for some of them!

    The last word this erev Shabbos goes to the inimitable Daniel Marks, who – while still claiming to be frum – manages to get the words “hard”, “tackle”, and (most subtly) “fish” into his comment on that Gemora in Yevamot.

    It is fortunate for Mr. Marks that the Ten Days of Repentance will soon be upon us . . . so that he may attempt to re-erect his drooping standards.


  187. Ellis has so far made modest reference on this page to his role in an elite military unit in Beirut, his 7 A’s at O’level and his unconditional acceptance to Mercaz Harav by one of the gedolei hador.

    Other things about Ellis must re main unsaid, such as his leadership of the Israeli airforce unit that took out the Iraqi atomic reactors and his almost single-handed establishment of the Yamam (Police anti-terrorist unit) but I think his role in inspiring the development of Windows Vista should be a matter of public knowledge.

    The story goes that while playing bridge with Bill Gates, Bill asked him:
    “So, El. what do you think of my operating system?”

    Ellis no alien to high level computer science pondered a moment and replied:
    “Well, it’s alright. But couldn’t you make it much better?!”

    Bill thought the matter over, returned to the drawing board and behold – Vista was born.

    Hasmonean has many reasons to be proud.

  188. Mr Feigenbaum. Where are the facts and statistics to back up your statements about the frum populations in Israel and the States? A recent article in The Economist discussed the thriving frum communities of Jerusalem. Chilonim were getting fed up with this and were leaving to be replaced by the Modern Orthodox and the Ultra Orthodox. Orthodox communities continue to thrive in places like Har Nof, Me’a She’arim, Mattersdorf and Ramat Beit Shemesh to name but a few.

    To be frum in New York this time last century was to be radical and was to go against the economic grain. Nowadays, it’s almost normal.

  189. I see the heading here is “Osher”. I hated his guts – anti Zionist piece of s–t, BUT I was in love with his niece…..

  190. “Daniel Marks, who – while still claiming to be frum”

    Just to be clear:

    1. I am not a teacher of Jewish Studies.
    2. I am not a religious leader.
    3. I have not claimed to be frum (since 1976).

    I recall that in 1976 Jacob Vecht was particularly vexed by one of the fish-faces and what he saw as the latter’s false piety and in a unrare outburst (in Rabbi Abrahams class) shouted out at him, “Boy am I frum?”

    The slogan was quite popular for a few months, I had a “Boy am I Frum!” sweat shirt made and Danny Roper translated it into Hebrew and had a kippa made with the slogan.

    On a visit to Israel I was approached by a Hozer Betshuva at the central Jerusalem post office who admired my shirt and asked where he could acquire one. Saddened to discover that I was, as usual, misunderstood I chose to abandon the slogan.

    I hate “frum” as it represents to me all that is bad about galut orthodox Judaism. Before anyone tells me that it exists here too, I sadly concede the point.

  191. Terry,

    Sorry I give up, I do not know the way to apply this case to any situation, but then again I havent spent the last few days thinking about it in the same way that several other people on this list have done. Thrilling as it may be for some of you to keep on imagining this situation over and over again in your minds.

    I am very glad that I did not have to teach that gemara and I think that it would be one of the worst experiences any of us could have teaching this to a bunch of sex starved, pre pubescent imamture testostrone filled Hasmo kids!! What a nightmare!

    Terry, i would suggest that if you want your question answered you approach your local orthodox rabbi and consult with them – alternatively you could send it in the JC ask the Rabbi section and see if they print it!!! Good luck!


  192. The fun has really gone out of this list – where are all the stories??? That is what made this such a great read all those months ago, not serious discussions about teaching!!!

    Osher had me in a detention one afternoon instead of going to the school swimming ‘meet’ day at Copthall. I had to write out some long poem – maybe If, but i dont remember.
    When I was unable to achieve this without making a mistake he eventually let us out at the end of the school day telling me that ‘my handwriting looked like a drunk spider had walked across the page!’
    Well that is one of my few memories of two years of lessons with the great legend!! Although I did actually enjoy the year of bookbinding that I did – cant imagine why I never followed it on for GCSE!

  193. Jonathan Blitz


    What you say about JS is not at all a surprise to me.

    I was in Yeshiva Stream but still remember that there were 2 levels. If you wore a black coat and kippa then you were automatically considered to be a better learner and went into the top YS class. However, if you dared wear a kippa-sruga you were automatically a worse learner.

    The fact that a large number of the so-called better learners had no idea whatsoever was neither here nor there.

    In connection with Rabbi Badiel’s original post:
    The fact is that we treated the teachers the way they treated us.
    The vast majority of the teachers looked down on us and made sure we knew that they considered us to be inferior beings. It is very difficult to be expected to treat with respect someone who doesn’t do the same for you.

    On the other hand, there were teachers who treated you like a human being. These teachers were treated well by us too. That doesn’t mean we didn’t try to have a laugh at their expense but we did so with respect.

    Funny how all the boys who were “bad, spoilt etc” in school became perfect boys overnight when they went to Yeshiva or University.

    The fact is that in both of those places we were treated like human beings and so responded accordingly.

  194. OK, you fellow Hasmos, I have to admit I am the cause of this blog on Reb Osher. I just visited him in London, and although retired, he is no couch potato. He has two rooms full of books on various subjects, a computer room for his work and he is very busy publishing and disseminating sheets on the weekly sidra in both English and Russian, and anyone can join his list. Besides that he is busy with a linear translation of Gemoro, and wants to publish that too. So give him some credit, he is still a teacher at heart and is the only teacher I really kept up with since I left in 1975. He will welcome anyone to his home and show him his publications. He was one of the only teachers who knew how to teach naturally, though many may disagree with me I am sure! He is an easy person to have a conversation with even today, ask Mike!

  195. What an inspired notion! A trip over the oceans to Stamford Hill to watch (the now retired) Osher Baddiel disemminating in his spare room.

    I’m there baby!

  196. Daniel Tarlow,

    Hmm…….don’t think I’ll be asking the Rabbi about that one. I’m not exactly losing sleep over it.

    Just for the record, I find the thought of falling off a roof in my birthday suit about as ‘thrilling’ as your anecdote about the drunk spider.

    Did OYB teach you spelling as well as Bookbinding? …and to try and ridicule someone when they have successfully challenged something you said? I’m sure he would be proud.

    I guess I’m just an overgrown baby….

  197. I was raised in a home where the catchphrase was, “frum should not be glum,” because in too many cases it is. One trend has been for kids who were raised in ‘frum’ homes to rebel and sometimes to leave the fold because it was rammed down their throats in an over bearing way, either / or at home and in school. A contrasting trend has been for kids raised in secular; say anti-frum homes to discover the delights of Orthodoxy near the end of their schooling. Develop it during a gap year and incorporate it into their lifestyle successfully and in a balanced way.

    It’s a Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of the Almighty) to hear that Mr. Baddiel is writing words of Torah, perhaps for Russian Jewry. Russia still contains a hot bed of untapped Jewish spirituality and if this were the case I’d wish him every success. Traditionally, Jews have been schooled in 2 languages (say Hebrew and their mother tongue among others) and have long been known as “people of the book,” particularly, among Arabs over one thousand years ago. As Abba Eban wrote, Jews translated important Arabic works into Hebrew and transmitted Arabic culture to Christian Europe. Where other Jews, translated the Hebrew into Latin.

    If Reb Baddiel would disseminate by email his sidra sheets or put them on T’internet, I’d subscribe!

  198. Dov,

    Instead of playing Mr Cyberwarrior and morbidly stalking me wherever I go on the internet, why not be a man, phone me up and tell me exactly what your issue is. You know where to find me.

  199. Ex Hasmo,

    Just a quick question. You stated you dont send your kids to Hasmo.

    Now considering you have spent a lot of time sticking up for the people who made life hell for others, it begs the question why dont you send your children there?

    If it is because of the teachers, arent you being a bit hypocritical? If because of the frumness, if it was good enough for you….?


  200. Terry,
    I believe you heard my issue last year.
    Apologies for stalking. I’ll STOP now, and get on with something else. Keep fingerpicking.

  201. Heard? I didn’t hear anything.

  202. Message for Dovid Maslin:
    If you send me your email address, Reb Osher will send you his sidra sheets weekly.

  203. I once saw a documentary on a number of very kindly German gentleman (who looked not unlike our own Grandfathers), interviewed in the comfort of their nice warm living rooms, surrounded by books and pictures of their loved ones. In the early 1940’s these men were all Nazis working in the camps and, on being questioned over their previous atrocities the standard answer appeared to be – well, it was a long time ago.

  204. Thank you for that interesting recollection, Grant . . . and I am sure that you are not trying to draw any parallels from it. 😉

  205. Hi Ellis

    The price difference between Edgware and Hendon/GG/SH is not so different any more. We as a community or just moving into neighbourhoods. How many kids were there in you class from areas like Southgate, Kenton, Kingsbury, Ilford etc and compare this to today, this is b/c newly marrieds over the last 20 years prefer to live in a more traditionally jJewish area.

    Simon–Why do I not send my kids to Hasmo- good question and it has several answers.

    1. Hasmo is now different to that which has been described above. The teachers that made the school what it was are no longer there( Hasmo no longer tops the leagues in exam success as it once did. This change has taken place over the last 29 years with the natural retirement of teachers and those leaving to pastures new. Perhaps only Jonny Boker remains from those teachers there 20 years ago.
    2. My Hashkafa ios different from my parents, who were happy for me to go to University and get a degree, University has changed and I do not want to put my kids through that system.
    3. The school I send my children to will finish GCSE’s at 14, may have even less of a Bioligy text book than HAsmo does but give opertunity for my sons to go to Yeshiva earlier, then enter the business world.
    4. Hasmo has many more worthy competitors whilst in days gone by it was Hasmo or JFS.

    I do not knoe how many former pupils have written on this blog that left in the last 10 years, I suspect none, as the Hasmo we all remmeber is different to theirs.

  206. Ex hasmo,

    You disappoint me. I was sure that judging by your spelling and grammar skills; you were sending your children to a school where they’d get an education superior to yours.

    Amazingly, however, it appears that you consider yourself to be somehow over-educated and when it comes to the fruits of your loins, you aspirations are for less rather than more. All this, of course, is your business not mine, but that then you say that you do it in the name of “hashkafa”:

    “My Hashkafa is different from my parents”

    For those uninitiated, hashkafa is the Hebrew or perhaps Yiddish for World View and I gather that you meant to say that hashkafa is different from THAT OF your parents.

    I think that you owe the readers of this excellent blog some further elucidation as to which hashkafa it is that considers the general education acquired at Hasmonean to be somehow excessive or plethoric.

    Just don’t come crying to us if they end off changing the family name from Ex-Hasmo to Non-Hasmo or something of the like and break your heart.

  207. one hopes that my kids will be able to spell better than me, I guess that is down to the English dept, (Simon- your father never taught me) as mentioned before I passed English A Level as well. Perhaps with the advent of computers and auto spell my natural spelling has become phonetic or just plaon rubbish.

    Over educated no, overly put though the education system yes.

    I can honestly say that the GCSE’s, A Level and degree has in no way helped me to acheive my current position. Beleive it or not the jb I am in now was as I was headhunted from a rival company after getting my initial job through a family friend, I started literally on the lowest rung but with hard work and effort went through many promotions in a short period culminating with various other proposals to join rival organisations.

    I disagree with the notion of University TODAY as it is no longer a safe place both spiritually and physically for frum young adults.
    Ultimate knowledge comes from the Torah, many are the stories told of the Chazon Ish’s medical knowledge despite never stepping into medical school nor reading medical textbooks.
    I do not beleive I said or implied that Hasmo was excessive or plethoric ( strange use of language as both words are identiacal) though I beleive that schooling could be finished in less time than it currently take in the UK educational system.
    Many of ou grandparents were either educated through the school system leaving at 14 or came to the UK as peniless refugees, a considerable number became phenomenal business men, accountants, solicitors etc by being apprenticed and sheer hard work. The UK breed a nation of lazy people that are not prepared to put in an effort to reap the rewards of their own endeavours and the sooner you can get your children out of this poiseness situation the better their chance is.
    Not many careers genuinely need a degree level entry and therefore can be started 3 years earlier.

    There is absoloutley nothing wrong with Hasmo today the only difference is their are different schools that are available that suit the lifestyle our family live.
    My children do not know who David Beckham is nor what Manchester United is, I cna honestly say the junk that reverberates in my mind connected with TV, football, cricket.

  208. My dear Ex hasmo,

    Strange, I always believed that ultimate knowledge came from a receptive and open mind.

    By the way, the last time I said Hashkafa the bloke behind me shouted ‘bless you’!

    As a father of four, I find it fairly unsettling that your children don’t know who David Beckham or Man Utd are. Let’s pray for their sakes that they never have the need to assimilate with the rest of us on Planet Earth. Oh, and just for your reference, my kids know all the lines to both Rhianna’s Disturbia and Anim Zemirot!

  209. Grant

    my mother has never heard of David Beckham, think my Dad does, never asked noth well adjusted proffesionals working in the Non Jewish world, I do not see how them knowing this bit of info would have helped them intergrate any better.

    I have a 10 year old that can pretty much put anyone in his pocket when it comes to general knowledge trivia, histroy or geography related, but he would not know how or programme a VCR or what google is- he could hold open a pretty decent intelectual conversation with many an adult. He does not need the stimulus of english sports knowledge that I did, I could reel off the inners and scores of pretty much every fa cup final since 1901 deos mean I am more likely to be accepted in the goyshe world, it is just one way of interacting with Goyim-one way not the only way.

    btw- pretty happy they don’t know Man Utd as only Arsenal are worth knowing about.

  210. Thank you Ex Hasmo. What’s your view on hard core pornography?

    I don’t particularly want my own 10 year-old son holding an intellectual conversation with an adult. I want him to be a little boy and interact with other 10 year old’s and discuss topics interesting to his peer group – including football, Google and who has the biggest bogie ! Hashem help you when he does eventually discover Google. He will be like the kid who’s been deprived of sweets all his life and then enters Cadbury land (FYI Cadbury’s are a global confectioner based in Birmingham). Hence my question to you on hard core porn.

  211. Once, long ago, I made the mistake of describing Grant Morgan as eloquent, and both the author of this excellent blog and then Morgan himself assured me that he isn’t. I may have to concede that point but he does say things that I concur with, and I’m not referring to his implied endorsement of hard core pornography. I’m speaking of his comment about Nazi concentration camp guards, so politically incorrect but so true. Monsters do not cease to be monsters because they grow older and have grandchildren, spare rooms or even bi-lingual parashat hashavua pages.

    To be sure I’m not calling Osher Baddiel a monster; I’ve consistently said that like Noah he may even have been a righteous man, in his generation. They were a pretty lousy collection of lazy untrained bores and, among them, Osher and a few others stood out like roses among thorns. He was/is a teacher who taught Torah because it was his vocation, his calling, not his job. He had considerable charisma and was rarely violent. Admittedly, he had/has barmy political views, though no barmier than many others, and he also tends to see things in terms of black and white, good and bad, friend and enemy etc. But as an impressionable lad brought up in Stamford Hill after the Holocaust, during the Cold War even, that can be excused.

    What I find harder to excuse is, on the one hand, the repulsive way he has spoken about people he just doesn’t know, and on the other hand his preparedness to defend the indefensible and excuse the inexcusable acts of the Hasmonean staff:

    “And even if they were completely innocent, so alright! The teacher made a mistake! Because the real culprit was clever, the teacher mistakenly picked on you and punished you! And you, of course, protested your innocence but would not snitch on the real offender. So the teacher made a mistake! Is that a valid reason for insulting him so foully thirty years later, publicly and mercilessly?”

    In the 1970s (50s and 60 too, I just wasn’t there to witness it) children were illegally beaten in a variety of ways as “punishment”. Is OYB justifying those crimes? Even in cases where pupils were “completely innocent”? When he says, “the teacher mistakenly picked on you and punished you!” is it because Osher of 2009 can’t even admit to himself the gory meaning that the word “punish” had three decades ago?

    Firstly, OYB has attacked Mike personally about deeply private matters of which he has no knowledge or understanding. The rest of us he’s just labeled with all the nasty words he knows, here we must be thankful that the Hasmonean English department provided him with a somewhat limited vocabulary. I’m sure he’ll contend that we were the ones who started, but I would point out:

    1.We know who we’re talking about.

    2.Without exception every regular poster has lavished praise when they thought it was due and criticized when they deemed it was not. We supported our criticism with specific cases, recollections etc. We didn’t just fire randomly in all directions like Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the last scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

    3.We were the victims. We were the ones being hit, they were the ones committing illegal acts, not us.

    As far as OYB’s defense of his colleagues, he zealously musters up energies worthy of a better cause. Why not just say you were wrong and that you’re sorry?

    My understanding is that corporal punishment is no longer practiced in Hasmonean and the question that begs itself is, “Why?”

    If it was so necessary in the 1970s, why is it no longer needed in the 21st century? Are today’s younger generation so much better behaved, that none of them without exception need to be slapped around their faces or their legs, kicked or punched? Are they all so good that not one of them warrants being hit with various objects from rulers and shoes to canes and lengths of wire? What exactly has happened?

    Could it be that the teachers have improved so much that they just don’t need to “put the boot in” as OYB’s pals did? Is there some new pedagogic technique that didn’t exist back then?

    Or could it perhaps be that without announcing it publicly, without publishing a blog, at some point the staff at HGS just came to its senses? They decided that to carry on breaking the law could involve them in unwanted legal complications and they decided to behave like human beings instead.

    And look what has happened. Nobody is getting beaten up and the school is still there. The sun still rises in the morning and sets in the afternoon. The world can exist without corporal punishment at Hasmonean.

    The teachers who teach there today, probably some of them my classmates, with every violence-free lesson that they teach bear witness to the self-evident truth that the beatings that we endured were so superfluous, so unnecessary, so wrong.

  212. Grant-

    what is hard core pornography- don’t really want to google something I have never heard of.

  213. Ex hasmo,

    Hardcore Pornography is where the couple have known each other for less time than the standard frum shidduch.

    £15 for the first DVD, £8.99 for the next 3. (Plus P&P)

  214. I’m very sceptical about Ex hasmo. He claims not to know what pornography is, yet it’s the only four-syllable word he knows how to spell.

    He’s been Googling and I fear that he may have been disseminating in his spare room too.

  215. alright I admit it, I copied and pasted from Grant’s post, do you really think I could spell that well?

  216. I think the only way you could spell it that well was after constant practice.

    You’ve been caught googling hardcore porn, shame on you!

    Now for your penitence:

    1. Plenty of cold showers.
    2. Declare your intention at minchah and fast tomorrow.
    3. Keep out of the spare room. No disseminating.

    Good luck!

  217. Re: Daniel’s post on Osher

    Well put, mainly. But we must put to bed this reference of illegality regarding corporal punishment. As far as I know it was not illegal then and one can’t backdate laws. Sure, it was practiced at hasmo in a remarkable variety of forms. Can’t knock the buggers for a lack of creativity in that department and I’m sure certain isolated instances were simple assault (not GBH) that could have gone to court even then. But is it fair to use the general term illegal?

    Regarding Osher’s righteousness, I think there’s been enough said here to discount that small possibility. You’re being generous.

  218. Uri,

    I’m no lawyer but I remember that corporal punishment, even then, had to be recorded ahead of time in a “punishment book”. This book I recall being mentioned but never used.

    You are right that there was some legal corporal punishment available but it never included random acts of violence perpetrated without any kind of warning or due process.

  219. Uri -I read your posting last night while at a mini-Hasmo impromptu reunion at the residence of the prolific Moshe Goldman, a good time was had by one and all.

    Pondering my answer it’s not easy to find materials on the illegality or legality of teacher violence in the UK of the 1970s.

    However, this quote and the site it came from may go some way to clarifying the confusion:

    “Legal corporal punishment of school students for misbehaviour involves striking the student on the buttocks or the palm of the hand in a premeditated ceremony with an implement specially kept for the purpose such as a paddle, or with the open hand.

    It is not to be confused with cases where a teacher lashes out on the spur of the moment, which is not “corporal punishment” but violence or brutality, and is illegal almost everywhere.”


    I’m not sure when you were at Hasmonean, but I can assure you that at least up until 1979-80 when I was there the violence was very much of the latter type described in the quote and never of the former. That, of course, was no more legal then, than it is now.

    Incidentally, I’ve never claimed that this violence was caused by sadistic tendencies, cetainly not of the sexual type. I just think it was insufficently trained, lazy teachers who, when their lessons became boring and got played up, chose to lash out at their pupils rather than to ask themselves what they were doing wrong.

    This inability to acknowledge your own mistake, learn a lesson from it and move on, a concept so basic to Judaism, was so lacking among some members of the staff then, and as OYB demonstrates apparently still is.

    There’s still a week until Rosh Hashana and perhaps on hearing the shofar today or tomorrow he/they will remember that “Sins between one man and his friend, Yom Kippur does not atone for until one appeases his friend.” I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I’m long past being angry and would gladly accept a simple, “We’re sorry.”

    Shana Tova Osher

  220. Hi Daniel,

    I was there from 75-82 so it was the same period.

    I don’t claim to be an expert on the law either and from what you have said, it certainly appears as though most of what went on could be defined as illegal based on your findings.

    But if that were the case, there were plenty of boys at hasmo capable of raising that point in a formal manner. I’m not aware that anyone did.

    Maybe society has changed since then but it seems an obvious move in 2009.


  221. I would hazard a guess that depending upon who you raised the point (in a formal way) with, you’d either get slapped round the face, your sideburns pulled or your knees hit.

    I refer you to the Cyril page and the story of the terror wrought on a youth in our year whose parents dared to raise the matter.

    When it comes to our parents I believe that on the one hand there was a lot of diffusion of responsibility at work, “bystander syndrome” etc while others just assumed that if we were getting it, we must deserve it.

    There’s a good scene in “Life of Brian” where a fellow prisoner explains to Brian that “Crucifiction was the best thing the Romans have done for us. Nail em up I say!”

  222. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Isnt that stockholm syndrome?

  223. Formal is formal. I think any pupil raising a grievance through a proper process would have to be taken seriously.

    That’s probably why the Cyril incident failed, it was most probably not put in a legal context by the complainant. Without that, the school did what it wanted to. It couldn’t have done that if it had consequences to deal with.

    I agree that there were probably several factors involved as to why no one stood up to them. In general, our parents would have been right that we were getting it because we deserved it. That doesn’t work anymore in these politically correct days.


  224. Uri, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.
    I contend that we were victims of illegal violence and brutality and the perpetrators of these immoral acts are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves. Blaming the victims for not “formally” complaining is absurd. We were not lawyers or civil rights activists. We were children. Most of us didn’t even realize it was illegal. You yourself only understood that fact two days ago. As to those who still justify such acts after having had thirty years to ponder the matter, I have no words to express my contempt.

    There’s a kind of win-win logic about those who say, “We got beaten and it didn’t do us any harm.” They take their lead from OYB who says that if you “succeeded” in life, it was due to your Hasmonean education so you ought to be grateful and if you failed then you’re just looking for someone to blame your own failures on.

    Without for a moment comparing OYB to Adolf Eichman (להבדיל אלף אלפי הבדלות) maybe he could have told his holocaust survivor accusers that they shouldn’t complain as they hadn’t turned out too badly either.

    The post-modern historical argument that what is immoral today was morally justifiable thirty years ago lacks logic too. The onus is on you to explain what has changed in human nature over three decades that it was appropriate for almost everybody then but for absolutely nobody now.

  225. My mother once complained to Rabbi Roberg about chemistry teacher Kevin O’Connor having given me a “woody” (knock on the head with the knuckles – nothing to do with Mr Harrison) as my head was hurting when I got home, and she wanted to know why.

    Kevin was the nicest of people, and later became highly respected in the school, but was a bit inexperienced at the time. He took me aside the next day and told me that he’d nearly lost his job, but promised that he wouldn’t hold it against me. He was true to his word, in fact when I dropped chemistry when choosing o-level subjects, he had long chat with me trying to persuade me to continue with it.

    Yet I don’t recall him ever actually experessing any regret for the blow to the skull – on the contrary, he felt he was being generous, in overlooking my reporting of it. And I only ever regretted having mentioned it to Mum, and gained no sense of having done the right thing, once it had reached the headmaster.

    I mention all the above, just to give a flavour of what seemed normal in Hasmo in the early 1980s.

  226. Rabbi (Vicious Circle) Greenberg attempted to have me publicly flogged with a cricket bat – I insisted that any such punishment had to be recorded in the Punishment Book – he promptly backed down and as a result never got away with it again as othe pupils followed suit

  227. Dan, when you write that Kevin O’Connor “was a bit inexperienced at the time”, do you mean because – unlike many of his colleagues – he didn’t know how to dish out a jolly good hiding without you taking any of the effects home?!

    And, Daniel, don’t you mean “slogged with a cricket bat”?

  228. you’re right – sorry too many single malts at the kiddush club today! 🙂

  229. When did the incident take place Danny?

  230. if the question was for me as opposed to Dan then the answer is JS lesson in the 3rd year (I think) in the first classroom on the right as you cross the bridge

  231. Yup, it was for you Amini. Thanks. I heard this “punishment book” mentioned at the time but never saw it or remember it being used. I wonder if it really existed.

    Jonathan Bernstein, unfortunately, I received complaints this morning about an inappropriate purple kippa that you were spotted wearing this Shabbat in the mystical city. The same source assures me that your lady friend is quite charming and deserves a suitor with a more suitable head covering. Please see to the matter.

  232. Mention of the knuckle “woody” takes me back to the Menorah (commonly known as “Menoyrah”) Primary School, NW11, classroom of Rabbi Kanofsky (spelling?)

    The Rabbi (who I seem to recall was considered a very learned man) used to dish out a hard, protruding middle knuckle into the shoulder blade whenever we would have the audacity to turn around without permission. But, if a boy on the row behind was getting some “treatment”, it was almost impossible not to!

    In his broad Scottish accent, Rabbi Kanofsky always chanted exactly the same reprimand (to the first and second victim, respectively):

    “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times: I don’t stand for chutzpah . . . now don’t turn around!”

  233. Goodness Mike, that takes me back too… now that you mention it – I well remember the “middle knuckle into the shoulder blade”.

    I also remember being hit once so hard on my hand with that long, thick, wooden blackboard pointer thingie that it shattered in pieces… & that DID hurt.

    I also remember in those good ol’ Menorah days one of my classmates (whose name shall remain withheld as it’s Rosh Hashono this week) who was extremely weak at Gemorah and was unable to follow the lesson. However, whenever he was asked anything, his stock reply was, “it’s a machlokus Rabbi Karnofsky”…. & he was always correct!

  234. Jonathan J Bernstein

    Daniel Marks,

    1) I note from your superfluous use of the word “inappropriate” that there may be some purple kippot that are acceptable, please forward pictures.

    2) In Tsfat anything goes.

    Furthermore, since this has turned into a voyeur-themed post, I would like to inform anyone who thought that Daniel Amini had succumbed to “middle aged spread” due to his “Greek Tanker” comment that, having seen him at Sunday Morning Shacharis last week, we should all look so good (or indeed looked that fit at 30!) I feel like I should claim a fiver now or something.

  235. thank you for your kind words! however you should know that it is a considerable challenge to extract a fiver or even a “something” as you put it from an iranian jew!

  236. Jonathan J Bernstein,

    Mazal Tov!

  237. While many might argue that the subject of J.J.Bernstein’s grotesque, oversized, purple skullcap is not directly relevant to the original theme of this excellent page, I would reply that it only requires the most fleeting of glances at the photos of OYB (so thoughtfully added by the author of this excellent blog) to know that Osher too, is no stranger to absurd head coverings.

    In my original posting relating to the Sefat Bernstein Yamulka Fiasco (SBTF) I chose to make use of a British understatement and referred to the article as merely an “inappropriate purple kippa “. Its owner, however, could not take the hint, acquire something more suitable and just move on, but instead chose to challenge me on the semantic question as to whether it was inappropriate because of its purple color or as to whether it was an inappropriate kippa, that happened to be purple.

    It is no secret that I personally was not in Sefat for the Sabbath and have never seen the aforementioned yid lid. I do, however, have it on good authority that it was repelling, repugnant, repulsive and actually quite revolting, not because of its color but despite it. As to his contention that in Sefat, one of the three holiest of cities to the Jewish people, “..anything goes”, I would say that anything perhaps, but some things – never!

    As you will gather from the link I sent you, there are some quite lovely purple kippot around, but yours is not one of them.

  238. daniel – extra al cheyt

  239. Jonathan J Bernstein

    Oh Daniel!

    Firstly “poschin bikhvod achsania” Many Happy Returns Mike!!

    Secondly, thanks for the Mazel Tov wishes.

    Thirdly, to paraphrase from Crocodile Dundee….”That’s not a purple yarmulke, THIS is”

    Finally, despite your (much appreciated) alliterative condemnation of previously discussed headgear, I find you have no authority within the perimeter of Tsfat (PT). By your own admission you were not there this weekend and despite walking the city I did not find a shul bearing your acronym in either the Ashkenazi or Sefardi quarters. Is there a “Beit Knesset HaDUM” that we are unaware of?

    Jonathan J Bernstein

    p.s. Danny Amini, it turned out to be not so hard to get “something” from an Iranian after all

  240. I join you all in wishing the author of this very excellent blog many happy returns of the day. May he have a year of health, happiness and fruitful blogging. May all his dreams come true whether they are lavatorial in nature or not. May he carry on enjoying his two dogs and may this be the year that he adds a special bitch to the kennel.

    Now back to Jonathan J Bernstein and the continuing saga of the Sefat fiasco. I must confess that before you published the grotesque picture of your purple thing, even I wondered whether my reliable source was not exaggerating. Now I have seen it I am truly speechless. What in heavens’ name were you thinking of? Was the violet colored pom-pom supposed to in some way flatter you?

    It’s difficult to make them out, but there appear to be two cottage cheese containers, or those of some other manner of dairy product, in the background. They both look like they would make much more suitable head coverings than that purple monstrosity. Nevertheless, in the spirit of the season I wish you and your reportedly charming fiancé a happy new year from Maale Adumim.

  241. Jonathan – I was referring to fivers or other forms of money! 🙂 Shana Tova!

  242. Jeremy Cardash

    I hate to bring up Madagascar, but maybe that’s the solution to the anti-Zionist North London Jews. And they have talking animals there so they can all be King Solomon.

    I would like to thank OYB and other distinguished Hasmo Rabbis for exposing me to their virulent anti-Zionist stance. I am sure this enhanced my desire to live here which, coupled with my wife’s threat of ‘I’ll only marry you if we live in Israel’ has made me the perfect model Zionist.

    To OYB I would quote Naftali Hertz Imber “עוד לא אבדה תקוותנו”

  243. The following, from Anshel Pfeffer’s column in this morning’s Haaretz (on Rabbi Ovadia Yosef), made me chuckle to myself:

    “. . . rabbis in America or Europe are not as racist and opinionated as their Israeli colleagues. Or perhaps, living among non-Jews, they are simply more aware of the negative impact their words may have. They are the proud inheritors of a proud tradition of self-censorship . . . Over the generations, they so perfected the art of inoffensiveness . . . One sometimes wishes they were more controversial.”

    I have forwarded a link to my post above to Mr. Pfeffer!

  244. Just confirmed, by the joint chiefs of faff, at the kiosk on Rothschild . . .

    It is official: The world’s second most dangerous religious extremist is no more!

  245. John Fisher

    With breaking news that the body has been “buried at sea” (booted out of the helicopter, more like) I am reminded on this Yom Hashoa of something Churchill said:

    “We are waiting for the long promised invasion. So are the fishes.”

  246. Tashlich!

    Hamas has apparently condemned the killing. And the cheeky Pakis . . . sorry, -tanis . . . are already complaining about the disrespectful burial! You couldn’t make it up!

    To my mind, it is just pollution.

  247. Look what the wind blew in . . .

    I made it to the 5 minute mark. With difficulty. Should any of you have more patience, does the pace pick up at all?!

  248. “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink”. Hamaivin Yovin

  249. It is unbelievable: he talks and talks . . . but says nothing! I found myself longing that Norman Kahler, screaming the Hatikva from outside the room (see here), would rescue the poor class!

  250. My father refers to Mr Baddiel in a post-retirement Journal entry of 21st May 1979 in relation to his article in The J.C about Hasmonean . . .


    See also the postscript to The Witriol Diaries, Part V.

  251. John Fisher

    Dear R. Osher Yitzchok

    Despite your protestations to the contrary, my hunch is that you DO sneak a peek at this wayward blog when the muse takes you and so, in the spirit of Pascal’s Wager, I am taking my chances on you reading this.

    I have not been taught by you since I was younger than all my kids are now and some of my kids are now older than you were then, but I recall you as healthily anarchic. I well remember a conversation we had at a Hasmonean Camp around 40 years ago as you sat, topped by a regular – if fashionably large – black yarmulke explaining that you only wore that Princess Beatrice Royal Funeral Pillbox to needle Stanton. Well, judging by your You Tube video above a lot of Brylcreem has been saved since then and it has become a permanent feature.

    I watched your video and, I expect in tandem with everybody else, wondered whether the absence of any background sound – fidgeting, yawning, snoring – signified that your audience was, to a man, dead. However I, while fidgeting freely, did watch your broadcast and I hope you will not consider it impertinent of a former pupil who genuinely enjoyed the clarity and humor of your Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and Chumash Rashi shiurim, to give you a bit of advice. Man to man. That sort of thing.

    The crux of my suggestion is that Charedim should stick to Gemorroh, Mishna and Chumash and run a mile from trying to peddle philosophy. They simply are not very good at it. It was no less a personage than the Noda Beyehuda who advised Jews to avoid arguments with Philosophers because they could not win. It all stems from one basic problem that has several parallels in education – total ignorance of the subject. You might get away with it in the closed Orwellian societies of Stamford Hill and Williamsburg, but not with an enlightened (albeit, possibly dead) audience in Berlin.

    The only part of your lecture that I found really impressive was where you expressed the excitement, warmth and fulfillment of a Jewish life by becoming animated and speechless. The whole in Judaism is greater than the sum of the parts – what you were gloriously succeeding in failing to express is what Kierkegaard famously called the “Leap of Faith” – the experience is beyond description and beyond philosophy. It is the gateway to the metaphysical.

    I solidly believe that you, in a lifetime dedicated to education that, unlike others, was not driven by economic considerations (I seem to remember you are a first-rate silversmith) must have encouraged many to an Orthodox Jewish life through your warmth, sincerity and excitement (as evidenced in that marvelous moment in your video) AND your well delivered shiurim. But please steer clear of home-made philosophy. The result does not do you credit.


    J D Fisher
    3AB 1971 (Monday to Friday, first two periods room to right “Across the Bridge”)

  252. mitchell taylor

    hey,comment i usually dont but i am now! there is a lot of reterick here,but teachers like rabbi Badiel along with the right wing brigade reallly do have a lot to answer for in their day to day handling of their teachings.Ww were children and not religious robots as we were made to be! children have rights and these were not recognised at hasmo.How absurd that the boys were not allowed to converse with the girls school and pride of place given to the yeshiva stream good boys leaving us traditional kids as the unmentionables of the hasmo society!……….i am glad and proud that my israeli children are traditional modern jews infinitely more knowledgeable than any hasmo kid!

  253. Henri Berest

    I’m pretty sure that I heard the same speech decades ago. Having said that, I was mesmerised by his beard growing at a 90 degree angle to his chin.

    Still, it’s sweet that the pompous twit hasn’t fallen out of love with the sound of his own voice.

  254. As anyone who reads this blog will know, I am not one for having a laugh at others’ expense (much) . . . and, yet, yesterday evening – when I could easily have been downing Stolichnayas on Allenby with Svetlana and Tatyana (imagined, of course) – I was instead discussing Mitchell Taylor’s writing skills (see two comments above).

    And the following simple assessment – received by e-mail from a publicity shy ex-Hasmo, who enquired whether Mitchell may be “descended from the Great “take your glasses off” Mitch Taylor?” – sent me to sleep with a smile (though, admittedly, not one as large as might have been given me by Svetlana and Tatyana) . . .

    “Reminds me of a ransom note.”

    Sorry, Mitchell. 😉

  255. Mike

    It was out of character for you to let that cowardly yellow belly e-mailer hide behind a cloak of anonymity but since, through your good offices, he has broken the ice I was wondering if the mention of “reterick” made anybody else think of Roderick – wodewick the wobber and wapist – in Life of Brian.

    I admit to being somewhat less kind than your silent contributor and was tempted to ask Mr Taylor in which borstal he received his English education. But, in the name of good taste, I refrained.


  256. mitchell taylor

    yes i take my hat off to you…
    presuming john fisher was impressed by his hasmonean days,now i am smiling.most of the teachers and their methods need to be referred to the ministry of education,and those of you who thought it was a great school,quite frankly need to examine their proverbials!
    keep smiling
    mitchell taylor

  257. John Fisher


    “Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice”

    No, this is not one of your jumbled sentences but the inscription in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral to the memory of Sir Christopher Wren, its architect. The literal translation is “Reader, if you require a monument, look around” (Thank you Mr Frank and Rabbi Roberg) although it is normally represented as “If you seek his monument, look around you”.

    When you find time to take a break from knocking our alma mater I suggest you look around this incredible blog, so expertly piloted by that fellow with the dogs. If it was so bad, how come there are so many articulate old boys capable of the razor sharp analysis and wit so evident throughout these pages?

    If you are bored, go looking for Nick Kopaloff’s various bouts of verbal warfare, with the coals being stoked by Daniel Marks – pure genius (if slightly vicious on occasion). Or what about Dan Gins’s joint production with our blogger extraordinaire on Big Al? Don’t kid yourself that it is all despite Hasmo – I doubt there is another school in the world that could have produced this.

    Perhaps it is part of the Jewish enigma. I often wonder if it is because of the conflict arising from the school’s absolutely counter-intuitive anti-intellectualism that forced us all to gain knowledge and understanding by clandestine and roundabout means – DH Lawrence and Catullus (a Latin poet obsessed with sodomy) were not easy Hasmo bedfellows. In the end we all learned to “curve the ball” rather than going straight for goal.

    Looking back, I don’t think most of us would have swapped those years at Hasmo for another, more orthodox (in the true sense of the word), educational establishment. And, if we had, I don’t think you would have been able to look around you on this blog and be so remarkably entertained.

    Shabbat Shalom


  258. Contrary to the Noda Beyehuda’s advice Rambam, R. Yehuda Halevi and Ramchal were great at philosophical arguments.

    Besides or L’havdil if Frank Gallagher of TV’s shameless can do philosophical arguments, anyone can.

    Shabbat Shalom

  259. mitchell taylor

    thanks,im not jumbled o definitely not bored!
    if you bothered to read, i commented about the hasmonean school and not this blog.I am sorry that i knock your establishment
    right winged and very boring!you perpetuate that snobbery so inherent in the eashelons of that establishment.
    By the way nick kopaloff is a great friend and helped me tremendously during my aliyah.
    and you are quite right that there is no other school that could have produced this

  260. John Fisher


    “you perpetuate that snobbery so inherent in the eashelons (sic) of that establishment”

    Why exactly? Because I know how to spell?

    I hope I have not ruffled your feathers. All was (and is) meant in good humour.


    I believe the Noda Beyehuda was not talking to the Rambam who, it is blatantly clear, took the trouble to read around the subject as opposed to most modern charedim who do not (and that was my point).

    As regards the Ramchal – you should know that if I ever appear on Desert Island Discs (which is increasingly unlikely) one of the books I will take (along with a Steinsaltz Vilna Shas and the Complete Works of Dickens) will be Derech Hashem.

    Time to go. B’ald Shabbes.

  261. Jon Fisher, well said in your open letter to Osh………although one does have to bear in mind that in this video Osher B was probably addressing a quite religiously uninitiated group of youth in Berlin and trying to lay down some very basic principles, and also, inspire them with a pep-talk….agreed that it would seem ridiculously shallow stuff to anyone with a stronger Jewish background.

    And reading back over John Fisher’s subsequent parlays with his would-be detractors, firstly, glad you enjoyed “Big Al” Walters, although you probably gleaned nowhere near as much pleasure as I had compiling it; secondly, I find it hard to believe that our host Melchett M, and Shuli Myers (the Elder), are going to let his references to ‘playing the curve balls’ pass between them without at least ONE nod in the direction of a melodic ex-classmate, Rosh Chodesh Av or not…

  262. “although one does have to bear in mind that in this video Osher B was probably addressing a quite religiously uninitiated group of youth in Berlin and trying to lay down some very basic principles”

    Point taken. Dan, do you believe that first graders should be taught that the world is flat and that there is a man in the moon? I have no problem if you do. I was just wondering, that’s all.

  263. I’m more into the tooth fairy for barmitzvah boys, myself.

  264. Dan Gins, if you persist in changing the subject to “fairies” at every given opportunity – as per your last two comments above – I may have to have a concerned word in the ear of big bruv.

    Either that, or we’ll send you a one-way ticket to TA!

  265. Is it summer camp time, Mike?

  266. STOP PRESS….Osher has left Stamford Hill……..repeat:
    O S H E R H A S L E F T S T A M F O R D H I L L

    details to follow

  267. When last sighted , was he carrying a 42″ Plasma Screen down Tottenham High Street?

  268. Mike et al

    Have just been re-reading a lot of the above while on hol…….did anyone ever find out who Ex-Hasmo was and whether for real?

    Looks too much like a parody of some cloudy-thinking yeshivish wannabe, whose arguments never quite hang together but is doggedly determined to trot them out anyway?

    Jon F

    Osher may have left Stamford Hill, but it’ll take one helluva lot longer, for Stamford Hill to leave Osher.


  269. Think you mean a 42″ Colour Avoydoh Zoroh, John.

    And, Dan, pleased to see that you don’t take rubbish like books on your hols . . . only proper reading. 😉

  270. Yitzchak Landau

    Dan Gins

    As possibly the only person to have uncovered his identity having left a couple too many clues in his various comments, I can confirm that “ex-Hasmo” is indeed for real! When all the evidence pointed towards this particular individual, I “confronted” him with my suspicions and he “confessed”!

    Sadly, I am sworn to secrecy as to his real name, safe to say that I don’t think you, Mike or any of the other major contributors to this blog would know him in any event. He is actually a genuinely nice bloke and Mike’s pending wedding dinner invitation (can’t remember which entry discussed the provisional seating plan but I am sure Mike’s search facilities can come up with the goods) will, I am sure, provide everyone with the opportunity to get to know him properly!

    Hope you enjoyed Gib.


  271. Yitz…. I also know who he is now………suffice it to say that there is no smoke without fire, it takes a wise (brave) man – or three – to drive the ol’ chevy to the levy….. Auf wiedersehn pet, the more the cooks the better the broth.…Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage….better inside the tent p*ssing out….more jaw-jaw, less war-war……RIGHT? Need I carry on??


  272. Yitzchak Landau

    It wouldn’t be the first time, but you’ve REALLY lost me on this occasion!!!

  273. Think about it Yitz…. Saturn (rings)……”ein lanu al mi lehishaeyn, elah al Avinu shebashamayim” – Ford Sierra 1.6 GL (1984)….??!!

    “Does the 125 go past Hendon Bell?”


  274. Yitzchak Landau

    Nope – just don’t get it! The last offering sounds like a cross between a cryptic crossword clue and the cliched comments of an Ezra shliach!

  275. Yitz Yitz Yitz …. You’re slipping!

    Let me make it easier for you:

    What Jurgen Klinsmann would rather forget….the “silence of the lambs”…….the bee’s knees…Hasmo legends IV….Hey Nonny No and a tankard of Mead…….E. C. and the Attractions…..in for a pfennig in for a pound……[ ] Yeltsin………eddie “shoestring”…..honesty is the best policy…..PROBABLY the best lager in the world…….the Origin of Species….Steve “interesting” Davis…… Um bongo um bongo……ooooooh, Matron!


  276. Yitzchak Landau

    So that’s 4 across sorted but 7 down is still a real problem . . . !!!

    Actually, it’s all getting a bit “Pythonesque” if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink etc!! Oh and I’m still none the wise by the way!

  277. Can anyone confirm whether the rumours are, indeed, true . . . and Osher has crossed to the Green side? Has he been spotted yet?

  278. Yitzchak Landau

    SPOTTED!!! Just 10 minutes ago on the corner of Golders Green Road and Highfield Avenue.

  279. Disappointed that you didn’t go up to him, Yitzchak, and – with feigned innocence – ask him if he’s “seen the Hasmo blog” (the only circumstances under which the expression may be used!)

    Got the beytzim, Dan Gins? 😉

  280. graham summers

    Osher has definitely moved to PPA!!
    That’s Princes Park Avenue for those not familiar with GG parlance.
    Not sure of the number but was Andrew Braude’s (father of Clive and Jeremy) old house…

  281. Oy vay! A Zionist residence!

  282. I have it on good authority that Osher’s sudden move to PPA has nothing whatsoever to do with his involvement with any/all of the four weebles captured on camera in the following . . .

    Anyway, he definitely won’t encounter any crooks in PPA and its environs. 😉

  283. Bezalel (Bennie) Finkelstien

    Amazing blog, and some pretty amazing memories some people here have. I can just about remember a few glimpses of that era: OYB + Caligraphy, Bert and his “good boys”, Abbie rolling around on the floor in a fistfight with Lenny (large american student), Jerry Gerber showing how “חג שמח” is the same Gematria as “שטן” after someone wrote it on the blackboard on Yom Ha’atzmaut (yes, both are 359 – I just recalculated :)).

    Keep up the good work.

  284. I find that photo of Mr. Baddiel shocking. I never saw him smile even once during the three years I was at Hasmoneon. I also find it hard to believe that this letter was written by him. If he’s going to write something like what I just read, then he’s forgotten the Chofetz Chaim’s warning against fighting back through mudslinging.

    I remember him as being extremely cruel and sadistic. If you lost your place in the Gemoroh, he’d make you copy a poem by Rudyard Kipling in the longhand, and if you made a mistake, you had to do it again. Sometimes I wonder if his cruelty wasn’t sublimated S&M? Did he get sexual gratification from tormenting the kids?

    I also find it interesting that he’d go all the way to Moscow to bring the Torah to Russian Jews, while turning kids OFF from the Torah in his own country.

    The only time I ever saw a change in his expression was when I gave him a copy of Art Spiegelman’s MAUS. He actually read it, then handed it back to me with a VERY SAD look on his face and said “this isn’t necessary.”

    Guess what I became? That’s right, a TEACHER! Only difference is that my students don’t take shit from grownups. Baddiel would’ve run screaming from the school where I work. You can’t lead just by being the boss.

  285. Ben – with the greatest respect – anti zionist? yes – did he try his utmost (and fail) to prevent me from going to Israel machane with Sinai? yes – but cruel and sadistic? never- at least not in the years 1972 -1979 – i found the guy an extremely intelligent and kind man but we never agreed on “politics”

  286. I am with Mr Amini on this one. I knew Osher from his arrival in 1971 until I left in 1976. I have only pleasant memories of him, including his outrageous anti-Zionism which was part of the rich extra-curricular tapestry of the school (the curricular part is hardly worth remembering).

    I find the idea of anti-Zionist zealot making a pupil copy Kipling quite appealing. “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you…….you’ll be a Man, my son!” It strikes me, Mr Wolinsky, that you would have done well to learn the Gemara and the lines of your imposition but I am sure “you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”

  287. An ex-Hasmo who bumped into Osher on a recent flight to Eretz Ha’Kodesh was informed that he was “visiting [his] son in Bayis Ve’gan”.


    (33 “hits” to go, Fisher . . .)

  288. Fortunately, I never had to do one of his “handwriting punishments” myself. Some kids got them every day. But he was still a rotten piece of sh*t.

    As for Kipling’s poems, I don’t think they have any place in a classroom where you teach the Talmud. Not with Kipling’s paternalistic view of the world. I mean, come on now, this is the same Englishman who coined the term “white man’s burden.”

  289. Are you trying to get me into Osher’s bad books, Ben? I have asterisked out “shit” (in accordance with the Fisher Style Guide). He’ll never work it out . . .

  290. Even at a young age I remember OB being an anti-Zionist and more confrontational than most teachers. I don’t think I was in any of his classes but he seemed to enjoy enforcing policy around the school. Be that as it may, that’s as bad as I’ll say because he never did anything that I remember as being particularly bad. And I’ll naturally always remember the exaggerated Kippa.

  291. Rabbi Simon Harris

    The Rambam teaches in Hilchos Teshuvah that authentic Jews aren’t cruel. By this measure one would be forced to conclude that Osher was and in fact is not Jewish.

  292. Very honest of Osher, to preach anti-zionism, while travelling to Israel on EL-AL, eating foods grown by Zionist kibbutniks, travelling on roads built by Zionism, and staying in Israel under the protection of Israeli soldiers. If it weren’t for Zionism, he’d never be able to visit Israel anyway.

  293. “The Rambam teaches in Hilchos Teshuvah that authentic Jews aren’t cruel. By this measure one would be forced to conclude that Osher was and in fact is not Jewish.”

    Among all the stupid comments here, this might just be the stupidest.

  294. Good to see you’re still monitoring the stupidity, Allan! See you in the West Indies?

  295. Allan Engel,

    You may be right, but as opposed to the good rabbi, who supports his contention with an authentic source, you appear to require none. Why is he wrong?

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