Obligatory Oprah Was On Remsen Street Post

Yeah, we know our pals at Bocoaland spotted Oprah here last week. Now, the Brooklyn Paper adds its coverage:

Brooklyn Paper: Oprah Winfrey journeyed to an orthodox Jewish congregation in Brooklyn Heights to take a gander at the shul’s state-of-the-art mikvah — a ritual bath for religious Jewish women.

“It’s a very spiritual thing,” said synagogue member Ed Weintrob. “You’re supposed to build a mikvah before you build a synagogue.”

Winfrey chose the “chosen people” to film a segment of her new TV show “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” and visited both Borough Park and Brooklyn Heights to hang out with some Hasidic Jews.

Residents gathered outside to catch a glimpse of the TV baroness, though, face it, jaded Brooklyn Heights residents have seen a few bold-faced names in front of the Remsen Street shul (yes, we are talking about you, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni!).

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  • bklyn20

    This was the reason for all the cop cars on Remsen & Court last week, I bet.

  • Western Brooklyn

    Do ancient religious/tribal rituals help bring us all together, or keep us separate? Isn’t it time to move on?

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- They bring us closer together. You always seem to have a negative comment for people of faith. I’m sure you mean welll, but you aren’t making any converts to atheism, so you ought to give that a rest or people might start thinking you’re the type of person who discriminates based on religion.

  • Western Brooklyn

    I think I always seem to have truthful comments for people of faith. Sorry if the truth is often negative to you.

    Since prejudice, racism, intolerance, etc., is rooted in our ancient tribal/religious differences & the various shades of our skin, I’d say carrying out parochial rituals does NOT bring us together, it keeps us separated!

  • Ari

    The Post covered this as well:


  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- Actually, intolerance and racism is NOT rooted in religion but rooted in the individual’s fear of “the other”. This is why you get people hating each other WITHIN religions. So the religion doesn’t cause it- you can rest easy on that score. Rituals create shared experiences which bring people together.

    The truth is never negative for me, don’t worry about that. But you don’t hold a monopoly on the truth and it would be the height of arrogance for you to think you know better than every single person of faith- although that seems to be the line you’re riding. I almost refuse to believe you’re THAT foolish.

    People of faith do not need your unsolicited criticisms because they can come off as intolerant racist insults. If you have such a big problem with intolerance then don’t be a hypocrite by exhibiting the same behavior you complain of.

    Did you really need me to explain that to you?

  • David on Middagh

    Is it just me, or is Middagh St. getting windier?

  • Western Brooklyn

    @Master Of Middagh,

    If you don’t think organized religions have instigated/caused all sorts of wars throughout history, you are extremely ignorant.

    Rituals create shared experiences only among those who are sharing them, & typically create feelings of superiority over those who don’t share in the same rituals.

    Too bad if people of faith aren’t intelligent enough to realize my unsolicited criticisms are not intolerant racist insults. Also, I am not required to tolerate religious zealots & fanatics, and I don’t.

    Judging from all your asinine comments to date, there is little or nothing you can explain to me or anyone else.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Yes, Master of Middagh, in the teeth of your accusations of arrogance – oh my! – atheists do know better than “every single person of faith.”

    Enlighten me, which faith is true one?

  • Tony

    I’ll never forget the time former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni visited my block. It was like the Beatles were here.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @ Topham- There is no one true faith and most people of faith do not claim that theirs is the only way. I don’t appreciate zealots either. So I don’t know what your problem is on that score.

    Also, no- atheists do not know better than everyone else. And that IS a very bigoted remark. Perhaps you should actually study some metaphysics before you dismiss something you don’t comprehend.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- Don’t be silly. Of course wars have been started over religion. Sometimes religion was used a excuse because the real reason was money or lust for territory or racial intolerance. Should we be rid of money and property too? Your criticism- religion is divisive because people have fought over it, falls apart when you consider that people have fought over EVERYTHING in history.

    I’m not sure if rituals cause feelings of “superiority” but, in your case, it appears to create feelings of inferiority. Whether a ritual is inclusive or exclusive depends on the circumstances (remember that playing a game of “ring around the rosie” is a ritual). I find that most religious rituals tend to be inclusive- which ones were you thinking of, if you know so much?

    MOST IMPORTANTLY- Yes, Western Brooklyn, your “unsolicited criticisms” of people’s beliefs are totally racist. It’s one thing if you have a problem with “zealots & fanatics”, but your jibes are often directed at ANYONE who is a member of an organized religion.

    You do know we’ve got laws that prevent discrimination based on religious beliefs, yes? Your attitude towards people of faith is hostile and bigoted. These folks don’t come on this blog insulting atheists, now do we?

    Nobody came here and made a comment like- “Wow-I wish some folks could get their lives in gear and accept the beauty of faith!”
    No- why? Because they’re not bigoted jerks, like you appear to be.

    You may feel comfortable writing off my opinions as “asinine” but, I assure you, I will continue to scrutinize YOUR remarks and be ready to offer my criticisms of them when you get out of line- you’re welcome.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @David On Middagh- If I feel like being long-winded with my thoughts, then isn’t this exactly the forum for it? That’s how I knew you were just kidding! No one is obliged to read my remarks, but I am flattered to learn that you’ve been paying attention. Thanks, street-mate! :)

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Master of Middagh: you seem to be fond of name-calling, a vulgarity that has no place in intellectual argument. What you consider to be a “bigoted remark” I deem to be true. There is no evidence for any of the claims of any of the thousands of religions of which we have knowledge but there is plenty of evidence demonstrating the falsehood of all these claims. Rational people deal in evidence.

    Any member of a religion must tell you that he is in possession of absolute truth and that all other religions are false.

  • Elmer Fudd

    O, who cares about O?

  • Master Of Middagh


    “Any member of a religion must tell you that he is in possession of absolute truth and that all other religions are false.”- That is SO not true, so I can understand some of your resentment if it’s coming from such a false premise.

    And it isn’t name-calling to say that a person who criticizes black people as a race is a racist, so don’t try to pretend that you aren’t one because you discriminate against people of faith.

    And your remark that the claims of religion cannot be proven? Well, duh! That’s why they call it FAITH! That’s why I suggested you look into metaphysics- there is a science and a value for the unprovable

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    Any Episcopalian who asserted it was the one true faith would be laughed out of church, or, worse, denied the Eighth Sacrament: coffee hour.

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Master of Middagh & Claude Scales:

    If, as you concede, there can be no proof for the claims of religion then why on earth must we accord it any respect? If people are in the grip of a delusion – and religion is a species of mass delusion – we must not indulge the believers but endeavor to show them the error of their ways.

    You needn’t fear that atheists will make much headway. It will always be a minority view. Human nature being what it is, religion is here to stay.

    Any religious person who doesn’t believe that his religion is the only true one is not a religious person. Simply because in America the religious have agreed not to kill members of other religions doesn’t mean that people believe that other religions are equally valid.

    Do you really think that a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu believes in the divinity of Jesus?

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Topham- Actually, Muslims DO believe that Christ was at least a prophet of God. You’d be surprised at how much crossover there is in beliefs. And you’ve just met two people who think other religions are equally valid- and it is so amongst the majority of people of faith worldwide. So, you’ve just been proven empirically wrong on that score when you were so certain that you knew how things were.

    If people already know that their beliefs cannot be proven, it is very foolish to point out to them something they are already well aware of. Did you really think religion is all about whether or not some guy really walked on water or not? If so- then you have A LOT to learn. You didn’t really think you were smarter than people of faith because you figured out that walking on water is highly unlikely, did you?

    A religious belief is NOT a “delusion” as you put it. A delusion is something which is believed despite there being empirical evidence against it- NOT something which cannot be proven either way. You cannot prove that there is not a God any more than I can prove that there is.

    Therefore, it IS very rude and bigoted for you to seek to insult people of faith. You have every obligation to not insult people because of their beliefs in the same way that you are obliged to respect people of different races as well as the disabled. These are your neighbors and if they want to believe that their dead relatives are residing in harmony with God, then you’re total jerk to call them fools because they can’t prove it to you. You owe them the same respect you demand for yourself- unless you think it would be fair to ridicule you for the things you care about…

    If you didn’t feel so guilty about the way you treat people of faith, you wouldn’t be so defensive about it. You’re too proud to admit that you’re wrong, but I know some of this has probably gotten through to you and maybe now you’ll think twice before mistaking bigotry for cleverness…

  • Western Brooklyn

    @Master of Middagh,

    Ever notice that the entire Middle-East is highly unstable due to the clash of religions there? Do you realize we could all be drawn into a World War III over it?

    P.S. Your above post of 12:35 is a bunch of crap, and I think most other readers here would agree.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- If that were true, then I think more people would be willing to support you on that. I can just as easily say that most people would read what you have posted and think you’re a bed-wetter. But that still wouldn’t make it any more than one man’s opinion…

    The Middle East is in turmoil because of racial issues, monetary greed, territorial interests and a slew of other reasons. Religion is one of the excuses people use for violence- it is not the cause of violence.

    Furthermore, it is not the clash of religions, but rather the intolerance of other people’s beliefs that you are really pointing out. You know, like the kind of intolerance that you manifest by insulting people of faith. Those different faiths get along just fine in other locales.

  • Master Of Middagh

    And let’s not forget all of the good acts that people of faith are performing in the Middle East. How much charity work have you performed for the Middle East that you profess to be so concerned about, if I may ask?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Master Of Middagh here’s something you might find interesting:

  • Master Of Middagh

    Nice one! I might’ve gone with the obvious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsyzRUKwgng

  • Western Brooklyn

    @Master Of Middagh,

    Why do you lie by omission regarding Apartheid Israel & the pathological, RELIGIOUS, Jewish/Muslim divide there that could escalate into a WW3 scenario if/when Israel gets into it with Iran??? (Note that we’ve already prepared/destroyed Iraq bordering the east & Afghanistan bordering the west of Iran to set the stage.)

    Ever here of the torturous RELIGIOUS bloodbaths called the Crusades that went on for centuries???

    If you wish to continue playing endless devil’s advocate against me, be informed that I’ve held my own versus other provocateurs who seemed much smarter than you so far.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/13189502@N02/ Eddyenergizer

    I’ll add the Spanish inquisition… Believe or else!

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Master of Middagh:

    1. I spoke of the divinity of Jesus: I’m well aware that the Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet. But his being a prophet is not at all the same thing as being divine or the Son of God. The idea of deifying a man is repugnant to the monotheism of Islam. And I suppose you have some inkling of what the Jews think of the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection.

    2. Another example of your overlooking the point I was making is your concentrating on the question of the existence of God. I was speaking of the beliefs of the thousands of religions.I agree with you that the question of the existence of God can’t be proved but the beliefs of all the religions can easily be disproved. You define a delusion as… “something which is believed despite there being empirical evidence against it.”There is overwhelming evidence – from geology, biology, comparative religion, literary criticism, physics, linguistics etc etc – against the beliefs of any religion you care to name.-

    3. You persist in drawing an analogy between what we owe members of various races or ethnicities and members of a religion. A religion is a set of beliefs, an ideology, not an inescapable set of characteristics such as the color of one’s skin. If an ideology is false, it is one’s duty to say so especially if that ideology is well-financed and politically powerful. If you must argue by analogy, a religion is similar to a political ideology. In your world are politics as a topic of discussion off-limits because disagreements might cause offense?

    4. It’s foolish of you to indulge in any sort of psychologizing. You know nothing about me or what I know beyond what I reveal in my comments. Attend to my arguments, there’s a good boy.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Western Brooklyn- I haven’t omitted anything. I’ve merely pointed out to you that religion is ONLY ONE of a great many reasons why folks have been causing trouble in the Middle East. Don’t you think it’s kinda ignorant of you to think all of these people (who you’ve never met, I will remind you) are motivated by religion? Religion does not teach violence- bad, greedy individuals USE religion at times to promote violence. Conclusion- Religion = good, Greed = bad. Got it now? Good.

    And I’m about to blow your mind here- the Crusades? They were mostly about acquiring territory and shipping off the rabble to die- NOT religion. Glad I could set your mind to ease on that one too.

    And I’m not playing Devil’s advocate- I am calling you out for being a bigot against people of faith. Maybe folks here have let you get away with up until now. Not anymore. Every time I catch you at it, I will thoroughly drub and castigate you again- so get used to it if you wanna be stubborn, but I will not let you have any peace.

    It is NOT ok for you to be racist against your neighbors because it involves faith and not the color of their skin. You should know better. Shame on you…

  • Master Of Middagh


    1. Yeah, you kinda missed the point there- the point was that, even if they aren’t identical or even contradictory, the same characters show up and are held in high regard. Once again- your mind is too small to understand it doesn’t have to be one way or the other.

    2. Perhaps you should explain what “beliefs” you mean then? The belief that Noah had two kinds of every animal on a boat? That’s not really a belief, and it shows once again that you don’t understand religion. Here is a belief- “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” Now why don’t you disprove that with science, smart mouth?

    3. Seeing as how if you beat up a black person because they’re black OR a Jewish person because they’re Jewish, it’s considered a hate crime- it really doesn’t matter how YOU would classify religion. It’s a matter of law that they are classified as analogous. You know why? Because people of faith have often been the victims of discrimination from people like you.

    Nobody’s religious beliefs do you any harm and you going around saying something like “Ha ha, nobody can rise from the dead!” has NOTHING to do with the politics of an organization, You’ve got a problem with a church for something specific that effects you? Fine, but keep it to that.

    Can’t you see what a hypocrite you are? You say “If an ideology is false, it is one’s duty to say so” But you ALSO complained that the problem with religion is when people claim to belong to “the one true faith” as you put it. That is EXACTLY what you are doing- claiming that your atheism is “the one true faith” and all others must be ridiculed and destroyed. Do the math, hypocrite = you.

    4. Actually, I CAN psychoanalyze you from what you write. I have some experience in that… For instance, I have to wonder if your name is ironic. You see, I’m quite familiar with the works of Boswell (I’m reading his letters and journals from Holland right now), so I know you’ve taken your name from a man known for his wit. From you, I’ve discerned many qualities: bigotry, arrogance, willful ignorance, but any sense of “wit” has been noticeably absent. Oh! Did I just wittily insult you? Why, yes I did- pack it in son, you can’t compete…

  • Topham Beauclerk

    Yes, Master of Middagh, Topham Beauclerk was Dr Johnson’s dear friend and the fortunate possessor of a euphonious name.

    Though charity is not an example of a belief, the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection are. Are they beliefs that any rational person could accept? And is it not pitiable that a grown-up should believe in them? Further, they are the absolute minimum one must believe in order to be a Christian.

    I will repeat what I said earlier: atheism is a minority taste. As an idea it started only 2,600 years ago in Asia Minor. On the other hand, man has been on his knees worshipping something or other since he climbed down from the trees 100,000 years ago.. The religious need have no fear of us though we have many reasons to fear the religious. They have the numbers to get their way and, as anyone familiar with American politics must acknowledge, the religious do get their way.