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Nestle, Slavery, and the Festival Of Freedom

Reprinted from Jewlicious.com

Even though we don’t go to brothels and don’t own our own slaves, in the global economy, none of us are as innocent or as removed from slavery as we’d like to think.

One of the more poignant examples of that is chocolate.

Most of the world’s chocolate is made in West Africa, with 43% of it coming from in the Ivory Coast.

not so sweet now, is it?
The majority of chocolate workers there are boys below the age of 16. A number of them are trafficked from neighboring countries with promises of good work and high wages. After being sold to plantation owners for around $30 US they are held against their will, working 80 to 100 hours a week. Violence or the threat of violence is omnipresent and they receive no money. One escaped slave, Aly Diabate has testified “The beatings were a part of my life, anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”

Dear Nestle,

As Jews worldwide observe Passover, the Festival of Freedom, it was brought to my attention the evils of slavery that still persist in the world. Children and others are caught in a web of slavery on cocoa plantations in Africa and elsewhere.

I have since learned that Nestle promised to make their product slave-free by 2005, and have not done so.  

Please heed the call of freedom. Stop purchasing cocoa from plantations that exploit and enslave children.  Invest in sustaina

ble cocoa industries that heal not destroy lives.  Urge competitors to abide by anti-slavery commitments. 

I will inform all my congregants, thousands of people that read my websites and listen to my classes to avoid buying your products until Nestle takes action that is independently verified.

We must act now to stop suffering and make the world a better place.


Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

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“Demographic Propoganda,” the latest incarnation of “Jihad of the Tounge”

One of the claims that has been repeated consistently by a leading member of Muslims Student Association of Long Beach State, parroting the conspiratorial, anti-Semitic cleric Abdel Malik Ali, is that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States.”? [We have this on videotape.]

This statement is false on all accounts. Yet, it helps provide insight into the MSA, their proselytizing agenda, and is a form of “demographic propaganda”,? the “Jihad of the tongue? that they often refer to. By getting Americans to think that Muslims in America are a major political and religious force, they inflate their power.

According the American Religious Identity Survey 2001 (ARIS), the fastest five growing major religions in the USA are: Sikhism (+338%), Hinduism (+237%), Baha’i (+200%), Buddhism (+170%), Native American Religion (+119%).

While Islam is growing, at 109% according to the ARIS study, it remains 0.5% of the American population. Judaism is 1.3%. There are as many Buddhists as there are Muslims, 1.5 million.

The most significant statistic for me was the number of Americans that classify themselves as secular, 13.2%, which is an increase of 110%.

Hinduism, which had about 1 million adherents in 2001, and a rate of increase of 237% between 1990 and 2000, are poised to make a huge increase in the USA. Go India!

So why are the MSA and Ali telling lies? In order to intimidate you and scare you and get you to do things their way. In order for you to think that there is something great about Islam that people are lining up to join it. To get you to shut-up, feel stupid, and submit to their will.

aris study.jpg

The following note says it all:

ADDITIONAL NOTES:In recent years Muslim leaders in the United States have optimistically estimated that there were approximately 6.5 million Muslims in the country (Aly Abuzaakouk, American Muslim Council, 1999). In 1998 a Pakistani newspaper even reported that there were 12 million Muslims in the United States (4.2% of the total population)! After the events of September 11, 2001, many newspaper accounts included an estimate of 8 million American Muslims. This would equate to 3% of the U.S. population, or roughly 1 in every 33 people in the country. No comparable figure has ever been confirmed by independent research similar to the Kosmin or Glenmary studies, or the Gallup, Harris, Pew, Barna polls. Currently, surveys consistently report less than 1% of people surveyed identify themselves as Muslims. Muslim community leaders say that many American Muslims are relatively recent immigrants who either do not have telephone service, do not participate in surveys or are afraid to identify themselves as Muslims for fear of anti-Muslim discrimination. Researchers generally agree that the estimate of 300,000 Muslims in the Kosmin study (1990) and Kosmin’s adjusted estimate (to 500,000) are too small to reflect current (year 2005) numbers of American Muslims. In 2004 the National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (sample size: 3,370 teens nationwide) found that less than one half of one percent (0.5%) of American teens were Muslim, a proportion right in line with the adult Muslim population, based on other studies. Tom W. Smith of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago is a nationally recognized expert in survey research specializing in the study of social change and survey methodology. Smith published “Estimating the Muslim Population in the United States” in 2001. This is probably the most thorough academic study of this topic in recent years. This study concluded: “The best, adjusted, survey-based estimates put the adult Muslim population in 2000 at 0.67 percent or 1,401,000, and the total Muslim population at 1,886,000. Even if high-side estimates based on local surveys, figures from mosques, and ancestry and immigration statistics are given more weight than the survey-based numbers, it is hard to accept estimates that Muslims are greater than 1 percent of the population (2,090,000 adults or 2,814,000 total).”

Seeing Miracles Everyday

There have been several articles recently that have piled up in the back of my brain. And listening to Matisyahu rap about the world and spirituality, it seemed an appropriate time to bring these articles to your attention.

Researchers have found:

Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging, Yale researchers report in the journal Science.

In other words, the program in our genes that controls when and how we die is all wrapped up in our DNA. When you say someone has good genes you are not kidding. And could it be that people in different ages have lived for different amounts of time based on altered DNA?
And closer to home, the story of a man stranded at sea:

A battered, bruised and lucky yachtsman described in a tearful news conference Friday how he used his newfound faith in God to survive nearly six hours alone in the chilly Pacific off the coast of Southern California.

It was the 23rd Psalm that he said was his deliverance.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….

You have to read these to believe this amazing story! And from another article:

A Newport Beach man who fell off his 60-foot powerboat into the ocean Thursday prayed and clung to life on a 2-by-4 before being rescued five hours later.

Craig McCabe, 59, was found shaking and hypothermic, his body temperature eight degrees below normal, when he was rescued by family and friends two miles off the Port of Los Angeles.

“Just when I was about to drown, my brother showed up,” McCabe said Friday.

And the most eloquent part of the story is, that if the boat had not travelled 26 miles into Catalina Island, no one would have known he was missing until it was too late. The chances that the boat would on its own pilot towards the Island, a speck in the vast ocean, is miraculous.


My Conversation with Pastor Rick

I recently read a facinating article in the New Yorker about Rick Warren and the Saddleback Mega-Church. It was a great article, really delving into the success of this modern day Jesuit. But one thing hit me.

You know it is an instinct as a Rabbi to check references, especially when a reference is used to substantiate something that is not usual. So I did nome back checking on Psalm 72 that forms the backdrop of his new mission. Then I saw another article in Newsweek today:

I was reading the Bible one day and I came to Psalm 72, Solomon’s prayer for more influence. He asked God to make him famous; he said, bless me and give me power. It sounds like the most egotistical prayer until you read his reasons. It was so that as king he could defend the defenseless, speak up for the poor, the disabled, the marginalized. I realized the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. That was a turning point. That’s when we came up with the PEACE plan.

After the first article I wrote to him:

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