Posner Parenthetical: “Considerable other online material about him can be obtained by Googling his name.”

November 8th, 2014

In his decision concerning Chabad and Northwestern University, Judge Posner offers this way-outside-the-record parenthetical:

Since 1985, when the house was founded, it’s been presided over by a Rabbi named Dov Hillel Klein. For a video of him, see “L’Chayim” (“to life”), Nov. 18, 2007, www.youtube.com/wa tch?v=r9cA‐YjohnQ. (Considerable other online material about him can be obtained by Googling his name.)

In case you weren’t sure, Judge Garland helpfully defined “Googling” in this 2006 D.C. Circuit opinion:

See Oxford English Dictionary Online, http://www.oed.com (defining “Google” as “to use the Google search engine to find information on the Internet”). Davis v. Dep’t of Justice, 460 F.3d 92, 95 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

Ted Frank thinks Posner is trolling me with respect to the out-of-the-record fact-finding.

I’m flattered, but doubtful.

We also get a helpful guide of how to pronounce Chabad (a word that punishes many):

There is a branch of Hasidic Juda‐ ism (on Hasidic Judaism see the article of that name in Wik‐ ipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasidic_Judaism#Char acteristic_ideas (visited November 6, 2014, as were the other websites cited in this opinion)) known as Chabad (with the “Ch” pronounced like the German “ch” in Bach or Achtung) or Chabad‐Lubavitch (with the accent in “Lubavitch” falling on the second syllable).

Also, we get a theology lesson about the relationship between drinking (L’Chaim!) and Mitzvahs (good deeds).

As far as we’ve been able to determine, plying minors with hard liquor is not required by any Jewish religious ob‐ servance. It’s true that according to some adherents of Cha‐ bad Lubavitch “it is a mitzvah [a divine command] to drink, and drink to excess, on Purim” (and possibly on other holi‐ days as well). Yanki Tauber, “The Purim Drink,” www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/2814/jewis h/The‐Purim‐Drunk.htm. But drinking an alcoholic beverage is not mandatory; one is allowed to be drunk simply on “happiness.” Tzvi Freeman, “Purim & Alcohol,” www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1146 095/jewish/Purim‐Alcohol.htm#footnote2a1146095. Klein acknowledges that grape juice can be substituted for wine on the Sabbath; what we don’t know is whether it is considered proper under Jewish law and excused by secular law to permit or encourage minors to drink hard liquor on Purim or other Jewish holidays.

Also, Posner writes that the President of the University is Jewish:

Even the university’s president, Morton O. Schapiro, is Jewish.

With a name like that, how could he not be Jewish? (A Daily Northwestern article confirms this suspicion).