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Author Topic: Ask the Rebbetzin
Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Bokonon:
Especially if you get to Brookline, which has the unbroken wire surrounding it (I forget the term).

You mean an eruv, I'm guessing. Which is not an unbroken wire; it's a series of fences or "doorways."
It depends on the eruv. I'm pretty sure that the one in Boston is an unbroken wire. I know that's done in certain cases.
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Farmgirl
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okay - thanks for the answer, Lisa and Bok. I wasn't sure of the standing on that.

FG

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rivka
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Wow, there wasn't a single existing wall or natural boundary that could be incorporated? The entire things is tzuros ha-pesach? I thought that only happened with little camp/bungalow colony ones!
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Shmuel
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
You mean an eruv, I'm guessing. Which is not an unbroken wire; it's a series of fences or "doorways."

It depends on the eruv. I'm pretty sure that the one in Boston is an unbroken wire. I know that's done in certain cases.
Even if wire is used -- and I don't think it's generally one unbroken wire, but never mind that -- the salient point is that it forms a series of fences or "doorways." Stringing wire per se doesn't accomplish anything.

(Aside: Boston eruv site.)

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rivka
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How interesting. I don't think I've ever seen a city eruv with INNER boundaries before! And it is quite clear that a number of existing fences have indeed been incorporated into the eruv.
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Bokonon
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rivka, perhaps, I don't know for sure. Peeking at the web site, I find it interesting that other enclosed areas within the eruv are actually outside of the eruv. Makes sense, but how exactly does an area qualify as such?

-Bok

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Samarkand
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I think there's one in Boulder . . . and I remember reading that large parts of it are done with wire . . . oh, apparently it's about to go in. Linky.
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Shmuel
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quote:
Originally posted by Bokonon:
rivka, perhaps, I don't know for sure. Peeking at the web site, I find it interesting that other enclosed areas within the eruv are actually outside of the eruv. Makes sense, but how exactly does an area qualify as such?

From the site's history page:
quote:
All the areas to be enclosed by the means described in general terms above must be "residential areas," or areas suitable for residential areas. Specifically, two areas which do not meet these criteria are (1) bodies of water, including lakes, streams, and ponds (reservoirs currently in use as drinking water sources are permitted without modification), and (2) cemeteries. These areas must be "closed-off" (encircled) from the Eruv domain or the Eruv area is rendered unfit for use. In some cases, for example, the Chestnut Hill Reservoir (operated by the MDC), a continuous fence already exists which effectively cordons off the lake from the proposed Eruv domain. In the case of Hammond Pond (Newton) , the Eruv perimeter can simply skirt the lake, while in the case of Crystal Lake (Newton), a system of utility poles and lines can be used to completely encircle the Lake, thus sealing it off from the Eruv domain.
To simplify this, supposing an area with one large lake in the center, they'd be demarcating a doughnut-shaped area within the eruv; everything on either side (around or within the torus) is excluded.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samarkand:
I think there's one in Boulder . . . and I remember reading that large parts of it are done with wire . . . oh, apparently it's about to go in. Linky.

I didn't even know there was a significant Orthodox presence in Colorado outside of Denver. Cool.

The article is a tad misleading, though. It implies that within the bounds of an eruv ANY "work" may be done on Shabbos, not just carrying! [ROFL]

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
The article is a tad misleading, though. It implies that within the bounds of an eruv ANY "work" may be done on Shabbos, not just carrying! [ROFL]

And not even all carrying. The rabbis here talk frequently about how the eruv doesn't cover carrying things that aren't needed for Shabbat.

I'm told that when they were deciding whether or not to have an eruv in some city, one of the leading rabbis said that if he heard of frum kids using the eruv to play ball on Shabbat, he'd have it taken down.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
And not even all carrying. The rabbis here talk frequently about how the eruv doesn't cover carrying things that aren't needed for Shabbat.

Good point.
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MightyCow
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Wow. I never realized that there were so many and so complex laws. It must be pretty difficult to follow all those regulations. I guess I can see why there need to be certain situations created so that the laws are bent a little.
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Lisa
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It's not actually that hard. Imagine trying to explain the rules of the road to a man from Mars.

I remember Galactica 1980. They entered atmosphere above LA, I think, and someone commented about how remarkably disciplined and well trained (not to mention highly skilled) Earth humans must be to be able to guide their vehicles in formation in such close quarters. They were above the freeway during rush hour.

When you're used to driving, you hardly ever think about the rules of the road. It's just what you do. This isn't that different in practice.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
I guess I can see why there need to be certain situations created so that the laws are bent a little.

Working within the laws =! bending the laws
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Chanie
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
I guess I can see why there need to be certain situations created so that the laws are bent a little.

It's not so much that a rule is bent, rather that there is another "rule" that takes precedence.
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Tante Shvester
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My rabbi gave a whole harangue about the evils of not only playing baseball on Shabbos, but of seeing other people play it when you are on your way to synagogue.

[Roll Eyes]

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Theca
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Is soccer ok? They don't have to carry anything. [Wink]
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rivka
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Heh. No.
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Tinros
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I have another curious question. What do Orthodox Jews believe about spellcraft, such as Wiccans practice(white magic, as in, it will harm or control no other person, and is more like a request of the God and Goddess than "Hocus Pocus" kind of magic)?

I know there's a passage in the Old Testament about "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." And I've met Christians who've told me I'll burn in hell for casting spells. But since Jews don't believe in hell, what happens to those who practice white witchcraft, and do their best to be good people and serve God and Goddess?

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rivka
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This article has a good overview.
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Lisa
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I'm not sure I like the "sting operation" analogy. God trying to entrap people doesn't ring true to me.

Tinros, I got into Wicca once upon a time. And the Wicca I knew isn't what's being described in that link. From a Jewish point of view, it isn't the correct way, and it's easy to see how it can, over time, lead to the kind of evil idolatry that Judaism opposes so fiercely.

If the idea is not to control people (love coercion spells, vengeance spells -- things I was told you just don't ever do unless you want it bouncing back on you threefold), it isn't witchcraft in Torah terms. And if the core idea of deity is "All the gods are one God and all the goddesses one Goddess, and the God and Goddess are One", then it's probably not even idolatry for non-Jews (though it still is for Jews).

Just as Christianity and Islam, in their time, served God's plan of bringing all people to knowledge of Him, I suspect that modern Wicca is continuing that job.

It's not the right path, as far as Judaism is concerned. And there are forms of paganism today which do fit the "do not suffer a witch to live" thing. And as I said, I can see where there could be a slippery slope for some people to the really bad kinds of paganism/idolatry described in that link. But the Wicca I know is a whole different ball game.

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EricJamesStone
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Rivka,

Could you recommend a book (either fiction or non-fiction) that gives a good feel for the life of Orthodox Jews in modern America?

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rivka
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I need you to be more specific. What era? The past 20 years? The early 1900s? Just after WWII? The 60s/70s?

Which group of Orthodox Jews? Yeshivish? Chassidish? Modern Orthodox?

Are these Jews living in the NY area or elsewhere?

There are truckloads of books about Jews living in the US. There's probably a VW-bug-ful of ones I would recommend. So you're going to have to narrow the parameters a little.

Meanwhile, try the All of a Kind Family books, by Sidney Taylor. NYC, early 1900s. Amazon has 'em.

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ketchupqueen
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That article started out like a lot of Fundamentalist Christian "reasoned" articles against witchcraft I've seen, and went a completely different and much more reasoned and reasonable way, to my eyes. I liked it. Thanks for sharing (although I don't agree with the entrapment thing, either.)
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rivka
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I'm not sure I do either. But I really don't know enough about Wicca to have much opinion of my own, and I couldn't find much at the other sites I looked at. I doubt many Orthodox Rabbis know the difference between Wicca and more "traditional" types of witchcraft and/or paganism.
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EricJamesStone
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> I need you to be more specific. What era? The
> past 20 years? The early 1900s? Just after
> WWII? The 60s/70s?
>
> Which group of Orthodox Jews? Yeshivish?
> Chassidish? Modern Orthodox?
>
> Are these Jews living in the NY area or
> elsewhere?

Well, I'm not sure to what extent that matters.

Perhaps if I explain why I want the information, you can get a better idea of what would be useful. I'm an author planning to write a science fiction story that has some characters who are Orthodox Jews. The setting is a few hundred years in the future on a colonized planet (a joint Mormon/Jewish colony founded by people escaping pogroms on Earth.)

I understand the Mormon culture and mindset fairly well. Basically, I want to read something that will help me understand the culture and mindset of Orthodox Jews, so I can more accurately portray the Jewish characters as I write.

So it's probably best that the book be as modern as possible, because as it is I'm going to have to extrapolate into the future.

As for which branch of Orthodox Judaism, which branch do you see as most likely to escape persecution on Earth by co-funding a colony ship with the surviving Mormons?

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rivka
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urm. None of the above, actually. Given the incompatibility between basic Mormon theological/historical views and Jewish ones.

I guess the least unlikely would be modern Orthodox. I'll have to see if I can think of any book recommendations. Unless someone else has some?

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Chanie
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I like Herman Wouk's "This is My G-d," an informal nonfiction. It reads like him telling the younger generation about Judiasm. It's about 50 years old, but it holds in general.

Maybe something by Ruthie Perlman? Her novels are very readable and more current.

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rivka
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I know the name, but I'm not sure I've read any of her books. Are any currently in print?
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Lisa
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Faye Kellerman's Rina Lazarus books are good.
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Chanie
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
I know the name, but I'm not sure I've read any of her books. Are any currently in print?

Ah,I just looked and they are not. If anyone wanted to borrow one, I'd be happy to lend it out.
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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by EricJamesStone:
As for which branch of Orthodox Judaism, which branch do you see as most likely to escape persecution on Earth by co-funding a colony ship with the surviving Mormons?

quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
I guess the least unlikely would be modern Orthodox.

I disagree. In the first part of the last century, Chassidic Rebbes uprooted their entire sects from Eastern Europe and relocated to a whole new world -- Brooklyn. I put in my bid for a Chasidishe Rebbe being able to have the charisma and influence to get a colony going in uncharted territory.

I am fascinated by the idea of adapting Earthly mitzvot to unEarthly settings. Like what times do you do the prayers when you are divorced from sunrises and sunsets? If your calendar is based on Earth's sun and moon, how do you know when it is Shabbos? Or a new month? Or any holiday? Is it possible to have a mikvah on a spaceship?

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Chanie
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I once read an anthology of Jewish science fiction stories, called Wandering Stars. I'm pretty sure there was a sequel too.
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Tante Shvester
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There were some Jews in Space in Dune.

Although, by that time, the series was just painful to endure. I deserve a medal, or something, for sticking it out.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Chanie:
I once read an anthology of Jewish science fiction stories, called Wandering Stars. I'm pretty sure there was a sequel too.

More Wandering Stars.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Faye Kellerman's Rina Lazarus books are good.

They are quite good. And Faye is a lovely woman and her mother-in-law is one of my favorite people. However, the Orthodox community she paints is not one that has ever existed. She gets culture, custom, and halacha wrong (at least from the "ultra-Orthodox" view, which differs from her modern Orthodox view in rather different ways than she seems to think it does) much too often. I prefer Rochelle Krich's books.
quote:
Originally posted by Tante Shvester:
I disagree. In the first part of the last century, Chassidic Rebbes uprooted their entire sects from Eastern Europe and relocated to a whole new world -- Brooklyn. I put in my bid for a Chasidishe Rebbe being able to have the charisma and influence to get a colony going in uncharted territory.

I agree on the charisma. I do not agree on willingness.
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ketchupqueen
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rivka, have you read anything by Tova Mirvis? I loved The Outside World. The Ladies' Auxiliary was good but not as good, for me.
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rivka
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Nope. Never heard of her before. Despite the buzzwords in the synopsis (which annoy me), I might have to check that book out.
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ketchupqueen
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Yeah, ignore the synopsis. The books are not about issues, they're about relationships. Mostly family relationships. They really struck a chord with me.
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rivka
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You wouldn't happen to own this book? *hopeful*
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ketchupqueen
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Nope. Got it through inter-library loan from the L.A. library (order online, they e-mail you when it's in, you pick it up. [Big Grin] )
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rivka
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'k. I'll have to check if the library I go to has it.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
rivka, have you read anything by Tova Mirvis? I loved The Outside World. The Ladies' Auxiliary was good but not as good, for me.

That's funny, because I liked The Ladies' Auxiliary much more. Then again, I've lived the whole "subject of gossip" thing in more than one Orthodox community, so it hit close to home.
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rivka
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Looks like I might be starting with that one first. My library has both, but Outside World is "overdue and claimed returned." So it might be on a shelf somewhere, but it may be gone. [Razz]

Then again, by the time I actually make it to the library again (as I was there Sunday), who knows.

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EricJamesStone
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> I like Herman Wouk's "This is My G-d,"

I've just ordered that, plus his follow-up "The Will to Live On: This is Our Heritage." Thanks for the suggestion, Chanie.

And I've also ordered "The Outside World," so thanks to ketchupqueen for that suggestion.

Rivka, I can see you have some skepticism about the whole Mormon/Jewish colony premise. Does it help that it's not so much freely choosing to co-found a colony with Mormons as choosing between that and remaining on Earth and hoping that the persecution in the United States doesn't progress to outright genocide? (Assume Israel has been destroyed, Europe and Africa have fallen to Islam, the Pope in Chile has approved an Inquisition to keep Latin America Catholic, the non-Islamic Asian countries are not welcoming to refugees, and the United States is politically dominated by an increasingly isolationist and xenophobic form of Protestanism.)

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rivka
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I was assuming a scenario much like the one you just painted -- otherwise why leave. I just don't understand why those two specific groups would team up. *shrug*
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ketchupqueen
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They've both got some money but not enough to get there?

Personally, I think Mormons (I can't speak for the Jews) would be more likely to try to negotiate for (and fight for, if necessary) their own territory (yes, probably Utah, but I could see somewhere in Canada happening) as a sovereign nation where they would give safe harbor to any Mormon who could make it there (and try to help each other make it there.)

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Shmuel
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It's less of a stretch if you postulate an intermediate step in which the BabaMeisah Rebbe sets up shop in Salt Lake City.
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EricJamesStone
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rivka:

> I just don't understand why those two specific
> groups would team up. *shrug*

ketchupqueen:

> They've both got some money but not enough to
> get there?
>
> Personally, I think Mormons (I can't speak for
> the Jews) would be more likely to try to
> negotiate for (and fight for, if necessary)
> their own territory (yes, probably Utah, but I
> could see somewhere in Canada happening) as a
> sovereign nation where they would give safe
> harbor to any Mormon who could make it there
> (and try to help each other make it there.)

Well, that's the preliminary step. But (as I'm sure you know) the early history of the Mormons is filled with gathering to one place before being driven out. It's just taken a little longer this time.

Anticipating the worst, Mormons secretly build a city-sized starship, covering the activity as building a giant refinery for oil being recovered from shale in eastern Utah. The plan is to take all Mormons to a new planet where they can live free of persecution.

The U.S. government, knowing the Mormons are "up to something" and interpreting it as preparation for rebellion, sends troops for an "exercise" in Utah as a show of force. (Which would not be the first time troops were sent to Utah because the government suspected the Mormons were in rebellion.) Eventually someone in Salt Lake activates a newly developed forcefield that encloses Salt Lake and everything within thirty miles behind a completely impenetrable barrier.

No one knows what has happened to the people inside the field. The Mormons left outside the field are cut off from their leadership--and most of the people controlling the funds being used to finish the starship project. But the starship was meant to accommodate the entire population of Mormons, half of whom are now behind the forcefield. That means there's a lot of extra space on board, if they can find the funding needed to finish it. So they turn to another religious group that is persecuted and might have the funds to help complete the starship in exchange for passage to a new world.

But the Scientologists turn them down. (OK, I'm kidding about that bit.)

And with that, I should probably return this thread to its regularly scheduled purpose.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Shmuel:
It's less of a stretch if you postulate an intermediate step in which the BabaMeisah Rebbe sets up shop in Salt Lake City.

[ROFL]
quote:
Originally posted by EricJamesStone:
That means there's a lot of extra space on board, if they can find the funding needed to finish it. So they turn to another religious group that is persecuted and might have the funds to help complete the starship in exchange for passage to a new world.

*snort* Isn't that a bit overused? Rich Jews? Jewish organizations very rarely are well-off. Specific individuals, sure. But there exists (to my knowledge) no Orthodox Jewish organization with anything remotely along the lines of the Mormon Church's power or wealth.
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