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Davening outside the box
A Short History of Four Jewish Messiahs and Their Legacies
King David’s Genes
Ask the Rabbi: May women chant Megilat Esther?
Hitting the Jackpot
Why Is Clothing the Focus at JTS?
The RA and the Missing Women
Rabbi Druckman awarded Israel Prize
10 Grammar Disputes that Stirred Up Legal Trouble
Kolbrener: On Reclaiming Purim
SALT Friday
Rage over Chief Rabbis’ Prohibition of Entrance to Temple Mount
The Many Meanings of the Idea of a ‘French Jew’
Glass Ceiling Shatters At New York Board Of Rabbis
The megilla as a relationship handbook
Apps for Purim
Conversions ‘stuck’ following Rabbi Druckman’s retirement
The Origin of Ta‘anit Esther
Identifying Achashverosh and Esther in Secular Sources
Wine
Sarna: Constitutional Dilemma on Birth Control
On Agunah Issue, Pressure Rabbis, Not Rep
Purim Costume Of The Year
Greenfield: New ‘Super Jewish’ District Is Bad For The Jews
More Tuition-Break Wars In Local Politics
SALT Wednesday
Uri L’Tzedek Purim Publication: Ve-Nahafoch Hu
A Convenient Hatred
On Jewish Sabbath, Elevators That Do All the Work
Florida passes ban on applying religious law
The Book of Esther’s Unique Perspective on Jewish Life in the Diaspora
When Religion Had Its Place
Synagogues incorporate karaoke megila readings
Rabbis warn Jews against going to Temple Mount
Avi Chai: Report from The Social Media Academy
New Group Combating Child Molestation in Ultra Orthodox Enclave
Kletenik: Gender Disparity in the Clergy: Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling
Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.
In Israeli military, a growing orthodoxy
For New York Medical College, a Learning Curve in Changing Religious Affiliation
SALT Tuesday
Postmen refuse to distribute missionary material
Conference Fails To Live Up to Name
Turkey’s Jewish narrative: Tolerance and dark side
No lost night: Beren Academy creates one of the classiest scenes in sports
Atheists placing Hebrew billboard near hasidic enclave
Israelis Face Off Over Orthodox Military Exemption
Hidden Gypsies of Jerusalem
Infant’s death at Maimonides Hospital linked to circumcision
Orthodox Jewish school in New York adopts Oregon as its unofficial football team
The only rabbi in Afghanistan
SALT Monday
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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

211 Responses

  1. J. says:

    Any comment on the Bleich-Slifkin contretemps/brouhaha?

  2. Hirhurim says:

    B”n after Purim

  3. joel rich says:

    From the original NY Times article on Beren: “When Beren’s joined years ago, we advised them that the Sabbath would present them with a problem with the finals,” Edd Burleson, the director of the association, said. “In the past, Tapps has held firmly to their rules because if schedules are changed for these schools, it’s hard for other schools.

    KT

  4. IH says:

    Further to the TAPPS/Beren story, will the frum community also empathaize with the Islamic schools, as per http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/sports/in-texas-islamic-schools-face-tough-road-to-participation.html

  5. Tal Benschar says:

    Further to the TAPPS/Beren story, will the frum community also empathaize with the Islamic schools, as per http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/sports/in-texas-islamic-schools-face-tough-road-to-participation.html

    Some will, some won’t. Curious whether those who had zero sympathy for the Catholic organizations being forced to violate their religion by the healthcare regulations will have any sympathy here.

  6. emma says:

    Tal, interesting article.
    Personally (and perhaps I am just coldhearted) I don’t have many feelings stirred over whether teenagers get to play ball. But I do think the way an xtian league deals with jews and muslims is an interesting window into how its constituents see the role of jews and muslims in the american public sphere.
    Re: muslims, i will just say that there is something of a chicken-egg problem in “we won’t let you participate in our sports league because (we think) you aren’t interested in integrating into american culture.”
    What it says about frum jews (both internally and how they are perceived) that they can be in a league that asks people how they teach Christmas and whether they think the bible (including NT) is corrupted is also an interesting question.

  7. Tal Benschar says:

    Personally (and perhaps I am just coldhearted) I don’t have many feelings stirred over whether teenagers get to play ball.

    Actually, my feelings aren’t that stirred by either this or the Catholic complaints. However, as a member of a minority within a minority religion, I think it is in the interest of our community to have religion and religious differences accomodated and respected whenever possible.

    (Actually, given that this is a private league, AND that the issue ultimately is discretionary — whether to play basketball — the case for the frum basketball players is far less compelling than the government imposition on the Catholics in the health regulation contretemps.)

  8. avi says:

    “Conference Fails To Live Up to Name”

    Opening paragraph and headline are very misleading. I suggest readers look at the chart and read the article carefully.

  9. Ken Scott says:

    Let us not forget that Solomon Shechter was once not allowed in the Metropolitan Yeshiva High School League.

  10. Tal Benschar says:

    “Atheists placing Hebrew billboard near Chasidic enclave”

    Always found it very curious why atheists feel the need to proselytize. I mean, if there is nothing there, why do you feel the need to convince others of it?

    (Reminds me of a famous joke by Bertrand Russell. He once gave a lecture about solipsism. (That is the belief that the self is the only existing reality and that all other reality, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence. IOW, only my mind exists, all else is an illusion of my mind.) The following week, a woman came up to him and said, “You know, Prof. Russell, I was very impressed by your lecture. I am convinced that solipsism is the truth. Only thing is, I cannot understand why I cannot convince all my friends to believe in it also.”)

  11. avi says:

    “Always found it very curious why atheists feel the need to proselytize. I mean, if there is nothing there, why do you feel the need to convince others of it?”

    Everyone needs to be part of a group, and Misery loves company.

  12. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    rabbi herzberg:

    your synagogue is one of the smallest in the area. definitely the smallest in dc proper. you dont even have a daily mincha maariv, and i recall an article not so long ago that you have difficulty with your daily shacharit minyan, and even your shabat minyan is not so well attended if their is no simcha so people can drive in. (you forgot to mention that president grant personally donated to your building, when the synagogue was established in his term. abd he attended the dedication.)

    ora doesnt have 3000 members. they are not a membership organization.

    using appeals to spousal abuse cheapens the whole concept of abuse. now anyone is an abuser if he talks not nicely to his wife. and vice versa.

    new york passed get laws, but maryland specifically declined to pass a get law, because it is so problematic.

    if the wife cannot remarry, there is a national consensus that she has an option, per congressional testimony last week. that she chooses not to, is not a national issue, as much as it is a personal religious issue.

    perhaps we should return to the old rhode island system, where there was no civil divorce, just religious divorce.

  13. S. says:

    “Always found it very curious why atheists feel the need to proselytize. I mean, if there is nothing there, why do you feel the need to convince others of it?”

    Probably because they feel that religion is harmful.

  14. Tal Benschar says:

    perhaps we should return to the old rhode island system, where there was no civil divorce, just religious divorce.

    Apropos, when I was in law school, we took a course entitled Choice of Law, which deals with how courts deal with differences in law among different jurisdictions. One case involved a Jewish married couple where the husband had been widowed, and then in his second marriage married his niece. He later died. The children from the first marriage fought with the widow from the second over the estate.

    Issue was, in most states, an uncle marrying a niece is incestuous and hence void. However, in Rhode Island, for many years (and I believe still today) there was an exception for “person of the Hebrew faith,” since the Torah permits such marriages. The couple lived in New York; since they could not get married there, they had the chasunah in Rhode Island.

    The New York Court of Appeals (its highest court) had to decide whether New York would recognize such a Rhode Island marriage. Generally the Constitution requires that (under the Full Faith and Credit Clause) UNLESS the other state’s act violates public policy. The issue was whether it did. The opinions split (I believe it was 4-3) in favor of recognizing the marriage.

    AFAIK, a Jewish couple can still do that in Rhode Island.

  15. Tal Benschar says:

    Rhode Island statute still provides:

    “The provisions of §§ 15-1-1 – 15-1-3 [which deal with incestuous marriages] shall not extend to, or in any way affect, any marriage which shall be solemnized among the Jewish people, within the degrees of affinity or consanguinity allowed by their religion.”

    R.I. Stat. § 15-1-4

  16. Joseph Kaplan says:

    ” Curious whether those who had zero sympathy for the Catholic organizations being forced to violate their religion by the healthcare regulations will have any sympathy here.”

    As one of the people who previously commented on this issue and who may, mistakenly, be thought of as having zero sympathy for the Catholic organizations, it should be noted that many of the supporters of the revised regulation including me were, indeed, sympathetic — from a freedom of religion perspective — when the proposed regulation required the Catholic organizations to pay for insurance coverage of contraception. It was only when they objected to the revised regualtion which did not require them to pay anything for such coverage or for the provision of the contraception to their employees that my, and others, sympathies went to zero.

  17. Nachum says:

    Tal, I remember reading that Uriah Phillips Levy defended his marriage to his (younger by 43 years) niece by stating that it was a common practice among Sephardi Jews, particularly if the niece was an orphan and in need of “protection” (there’s a better word I can’t think of at the moment). As far as I can tell, he was telling the truth. Perhaps there was an influence of early Spanish-Portuguese Jewish settlers on the Rhode Island law.

    Of course, Ashkenazim married nieces as well- see the Netziv- but I don’t know if it was common. We’re commonly told Mordechai married his niece for the reasons Levy gave, although p’shat is that she was his first cousin. (Albeit perhaps much younger, so again Levy’s argument comes up.)

    (Note: Virginia Lopez Levy lived into the 1920’s. Remarkable to consider that her husband fought the Barbary pirates and in the War of 1812.)

  18. S. says:

    I recently came across an interesting early 19th century book by an English Jew, describing Judaism. (He describes it in order of the calendar, and among other things, he begins with havdalah, explaining that the Jewish calendar begins at night, and therefore the week begins Saturday night.)

    At any rate, the way he explains Jews marrying their nieces is natural order. He says that the reason why the Torah forbade marrying an aunt is because she is of the older generation, and due some reverence. Since her husband becomes her authority, it is wrong for the authority to reverse in this way. However, there is no issue with marrying a niece because the natural order of authority is still preserved. He says this reason is “obvious.”

  19. IH says:

    Those interested in the history of the split between Christianity and Judaism may be interested Adam Gopnik’s review of Prof. Elaine Pagels’ new book in last week’s New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/03/05/120305crbo_books_gopnik?currentPage=all

  20. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Further to the TAPPS/Beren story, will the frum community also empathaize with the Islamic schools, as per http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/sports/in-texas-islamic-schools-face-tough-road-to-participation.html

    I would tend to agree that the queries mentioned by the NY Times could be seen as discriminatory.

  21. mycroft says:

    “Edd Burleson, the director of the association, said. “In the past, Tapps has held firmly to their rules because if schedules are changed for these schools, it’s hard for other schools.”
    Reasonable-note of course that public schools play their football games on Shabbos with no complaint including those that have a substantial amount of Jews attending and including those of a school district majority of Board are “frum Jews”

  22. TAL:

    “Always found it very curious why atheists feel the need to proselytize. I mean, if there is nothing there, why do you feel the need to convince others of it?”

    in this context i would assume that they are pushing back

  23. NACHUM:

    “We’re commonly told Mordechai married his niece”

    are you referring to esther? she was his cousin, not his niece.

  24. emma says:

    abba, see the end of nachum’s sentence re: esther being mordechai’s cousin. he is, further, correct (in my experience) that “We are commonly told” she was his niece…

  25. Nachum says:

    Thanks, emma- exactly.

    I always thought it humorous/sad that New York has this huge list of religious holidays on which alternate-side parking is suspended. As far as I know, only Judaism forbids driving on its holidays, but I guess if you have to exempt one religion, you have to exempt them all.

    I suspect the sanitation union had a hand in it… :-)

  26. mycroft says:

    “Those courageous Beren parents, who put together that federal lawsuit over the objections of the school, didn’t do it because they wanted their kids to go on a trophy grab. They did it to show their kids that their religion counts just as much as anyone else’s. That they deserve the same chances as anyone else”

    Perhaps the school was right-one has to know when to fight or not to fight. Would anyone file a lawsuit over public schools having their athletic competition generally on Shabbos? It is not available to their Orthodox students.

  27. Moshe Shoshan says:

    As the NYT once quipped: NY is the only city in the world in which you need a degree in comparative religion in order to understand the parking rules

  28. mycroft says:

    Nachum on March 6, 2012 at 2:23 am
    Thanks, emma- exactly.

    “I always thought it humorous/sad that New York has this huge list of religious holidays on which alternate-side parking is suspended. As far as I know, only Judaism forbids driving on its holidays, but I guess if you have to exempt one religion, you have to exempt them all.”
    Agreed-it is a political statement not to insult other religions.

    “I suspect the sanitation union had a hand in it…”
    I am not aware of any evidence for this statement.

  29. mycroft says:

    “using appeals to spousal abuse cheapens the whole concept of abuse. now anyone is an abuser if he talks not nicely to his wife. and vice versa.”

    Agreed

    “if the wife cannot remarry, there is a national consensus that she has an option, per congressional testimony last week. that she chooses not to, is not a national issue, as much as it is a personal religious issue.”
    Asking Congress to get involved is asking Congress to get involved in an internal Jewish halachik issue-has the OU Public aFfairs department asked Congress to keep out of trying to force someone to follow someone elses religious dictates? Religious freedom?
    Just to make it clear I believe according to all info that I have seen that the aid must give a get-but that is a different issue than trying to get state sanction to enforce a religious obligation. Slippery slope.

  30. NACHUM/EMMA:

    my bad. casualty of midnight commenting
    of related interest on origin of niece/uncle relationship in megillah see
    http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/purim/ziv.html

  31. Nachum says:

    mycroft, you neglected to quote my smiley. There’s a world in smileys.

  32. NACHUM:

    “As far as I know, only Judaism forbids driving on its holidays, but I guess if you have to exempt one religion, you have to exempt them all.”

    even though other religions can drive on their holidays, alternate side of the street regulations disrupts morning worship services
    on a related note, a few years ago the city started operating parking meters on sundays, but it was discontinued after a very short time because of outrage from churches that people had to run out in the middle to feed the meters. could be the same rationale for suspending alternate side of the street. although of course during the week meter rules are still in effect on religious holidays. another related note, last year there was an attemp in boro park to end meter rules early on friday. i don’t think it was successful.

    “I suspect the sanitation union had a hand in it”

    not if it means less overtime possibilities

  33. Nachum says:

    abba: Indeed. For a similar reason, it was cancelled on Purim- all those people running about delivering manot.

  34. interesesting article about touro medical school, but how orthodox will it really be?

  35. Nachum says:

    Reuters article on Tzahal: Come on. A note about using a toilet on Shabbat is by no means an “order.” No one is “ordered” to keep Shabbat in Tzahal. I stopped reading after that.

    Oh, here’s a good one: “settlers made up just 2.5 percent of Israel’s total population.” Um, no. It’s something like 10%. And you never heard complaints when the tiny kibbutz world supplied all the officers back in the day.

    Anyway, I should have stopped right at the opening picture. I suppose it’s meant to frighten us. But anyone who knows anything knows that someone with a beret at the Kotel is davka *not* religious. Otherwise he’d be wearing a kippah…

  36. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Why is there an R. before Gila Kletenic’s name? The Huffington post piece does not suggest that she uses any title.

    Is this more editorializing against the “post-modern” Orthodox?

  37. Scott says:

    Gil,

    Why the “R” before Gilah Kletenik’s name?

    Does she use the title of “Rabbi” or “Rabbah”?

  38. Nachum says:

    It’s really nice to know that the cream of Orthodoxy, “congregational scholar” at KJ, etc. etc., drinks so deeply of the liberal Kool-Aid. Intern at Planned Parenthood? Posting at Huffington Post? Spouting every left-wing cliche about male thinking (let me point out that she’s actually indirectly attacking another clergy member *at her own shul*) both in general and in specific here? Hashem Yerachem.

  39. Nachum says:

    Moshe and Scott: She certainly does nothing to dispel the notion, referring to herself as “clergy” and so on. The comments on the site seem to indicate that she’s sold it.

  40. Nachum says:

    Not that the picture is much rosier on the other side of the pond:

    “it is completely forbidden according to Jewish law to go up to the Temple Mount”

    Give me a break. It is nothing of the sort.

  41. Moshe Shoshan says:

    There is no way that residents of Yesha make up 10 per cent of the population. Do you have any source for this?

  42. IH says:

    Apropos of the Florida ban story, last night I noticed http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/05/france-election-idUKL5E8E5B5S20120305 as a result of an Ha’aretz one-liner update.

    Looks like religious Jews are tied up with religious Muslims irrespective of whether they like it or not…

  43. Hirhurim says:

    Moshe and Scott: No editorializing. That is what she calls herself. Just this past Shabbos she gave a sermon from the pulpit and referred to herself as rabbi multiple times.

  44. IH says:

    Were you at KJ on Shabbat, Gil?

    Moshe — the Reuters piece Gil linked says “settlers made up just 2.5 percent of Israel’s total population.”

  45. Hirhurim says:

    No but I heard from people who were.

  46. Nachum says:

    Moshe, what do you mean? It’s about 700,000 out of a population of 7-8 million (counting Arabs…). Add East Jerusalem and Golan Heights…

  47. IH says:

    Try half that, Nachum: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/settlepop.html

    And apologies for missing the context of Moshe’s comment earlier…

  48. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I find that hard to believe, but I’ll check it out.

  49. NACHUM:

    “It’s something like 10%”

    i could be wrong, but i think that number includes the jewish neighborhoods in the disputed parts of the jerusalem muniupality and the immediate environs.

  50. MJ says:

    Were you at KJ on Shabbat, Gil?

    A shul that encourages female clergy and riding elevators on shabbos! If he finds an article this week that mentions KJ and eating sushi out he will score the LWMO trifecta. Anyone want to place bets?

  51. Yeedle says:

    “Rabbis warn Jews against going to Temple Mount”

    The link goes to their mobile site.

  52. MM says:

    I was in Shul, heard Gilah and am not a fan. However, she didn’t call herself rabbi. She told a story in which she said a friend of her said she wanted to be a rabbi and would be one some day.

  53. Hirhurim says:

    She said much more than that but I do not want to get into a debate over this. It isn’t worth the argument.

  54. joel rich says:

    I’d be really curious as to the reaction in KJ to this piece – is the Congregational Scholar’s approach considered mainline there (especially since one of the witnesses was also clergy from that institution)
    KT

  55. joel rich says:

    BTW the elevator article does again raise the issue of trade-offs. Can(should) one be able to rely on a bdieved on an ongoing basis?
    KT

  56. Nachum says:

    There was a recent statistic released that said 700,000+. It was quoted by someone more right-wing, so I assumed it didn’t include Jerusalem. (Of course, for these purposes, there’d be no reason not to, especially as Obama does.) Even if it’s 300,000, that’s still 5%. Quite a bit.

  57. Nachum says:

    Sometimes I’d rather the NY Times not cover Jews at all. :-)

  58. aiwac says:

    IH,

    I hope the Kochs lose. Cato is an important part of the public debate and I’d hate to see it reduced.

  59. Mp says:

    Joel Rich

    KJ is a very diverse 1,000 person strong shul. There are some who are supporters of Gila, and others who would be much more supportive of Rabbi Soloveichik (who was on the all-male panel) and are very dismayed by her article here and her prior public statements.

  60. aiwac says:

    Of interest:

    Apparently the Kingdom of Israel observed the Torah (or “Priestly” for you academics out there) instructions when it came to sacrifices, at least at Tel Dan.

    http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=38&Issue=02&ArticleID=24&Page=0&UserID=0&

  61. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I think it says very good things about KJ that it has leaders with such different on certain matters. Of course, it will be interesting to see what happens when/if RMS becomes the senior rabbi.

    “Spouting every left-wing cliche about male thinking”

    You mean only conservatives are allowed to spout cliches?!? OTOH, if both sides gave up cliches, we’d have more time to do some work after v we finished reading the comments. :-)

  62. Tal Benschar says:

    Apparently the Kingdom of Israel observed the Torah (or “Priestly” for you academics out there) instructions when it came to sacrifices, at least at Tel Dan.

    This proves yet again the possuk of ein kol chadash tachas ha shemesh. When you want to promote something heretical, your best shot is to wrap it in what appears to be traditional practice. Seems like Yeravam thought of it several centuries before the Misyavnim, and many centuries before Reform and Conservative Judaism.

  63. joel rich says:

    I was struck by 2 adjacent lines:
    1.It is time for all citizens to take claim over religious leadership in our country and to push for gender parity throughout its ranks.
    2.Obviously, the congressional hearing would have gone very differently if a female rabbi or minister were among those testifying.
    ===========================
    1.What is the support within orthodox philosophy that defines this as a universal goal and now as the time ?
    2.What would the difference in testimony have been from an orthodox Jewish clergywoman? Why is it obvious that (assuming it was a halachic/hashkafic point) it would be different from any other expositor of halacha/hashkafa?
    KT

  64. aiwac says:

    Tal,

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but not everything new is heretical. My I remind you that the Rambam’s books were burned because HE wa thought to be a heretic. Put another way:

    Heresy may (generally) be an innovation, but not all innovators are heretics.

  65. moshe shoshan says:

    My mother was there, I just spoke to her. Gila kletenik *did not* call herself a rabbi in any way shape or form. Period. Full stop.

    Talk about not posting allegations.

    This is not to be construed as support for Gila Kletenik, her words or actions.

  66. Tal Benschar says:

    Aiwac: what’s your point? Are you contending that any of my examples were not heretical?

  67. Moshe Shoshan says:

    OK I see you got gid of the “R.” Keshem shekibalta schar al hadrisha…

  68. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Mp: Why did you refer to Gila Kletnik as Gila, and Meir Soloveitchik as Rabbi Soloveitchik?

  69. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Prof. Kaplan

    I have no idea what Gila Kletenik’s preferences are, but here in Israel there is a definite trend for “talmidot chachamim” to indidt on being called by their first name even by their students. Hence “Shani Taragin, Esti Rosenberg” while their male counter parts are often addressed in third person. It was suggested to me that thisis a result of the lack of a title that these women feel comfortable with. At first I thought that these women were undermining their own accomplishments by being mochel on their kavod. But am beginning to think that this may be part of an emergence of a “feminine” Talmud Torah culture which is quite different from the traditional yeshiva culture. Not better or worse, just different.

    Interestingly, on the list of members of the new “beit Hillel” organization all women are called “Rabbanit”, Including Dr. Tehila Elizur whose husband is a cardiologist who does not even have smicha.

  70. MJ says:

    Moshe, drop it. It’s another justification for not giving women a proper title disguised in the language of Carol Gilligan.

  71. Rafael Araujo says:

    Oy, Carol Gilligan!

  72. Nachum says:

    On the other hand, those who insist on calling themselves “Rav Avi” and the like always rub me the wrong way. Personal taste, maybe, but it seems like trying too hard.

    Joel Rich: Of *course* it would have been different! Don’t you know that women, by definition, think a certain way? That’s why Sarah Palin isn’t an “authentic” woman.

    Gila Kletenik does not seem to realize that that argument, if true, proves the point of those who would not have female clergy. If false, she hasn’t really left herself any other arguments.

  73. MJ says:

    Or let me put it this way: Rav shemachal al kevodo, kevodo machul. But the title and the honor are established first, then it can be forgiven. Many of these women probably never felt that they deserved the kind of honor that they themselves afforded to their male teachers. So yes, that might contribute to a feminine talmud Torah culture where there isn’t the pronounced hierarchy of traditional male beit midrash culture, but it is very much a product of women not having a place in that culture to begin with. In one sense it may be no better or worse, or it may even offer a decidedly better pedagogical experience, but it still is the result of the fact that women, even within modern orthodoxy, have little religious authority or power.

  74. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    florida passes ban — is one an agunah if one’s florida divorce has visitation on friday 6pm (or more probable, saturday 8am) instead of 2-3 hours before shabbat? or for sunday only visitation, with no shabbat? and no accomodation for yomim tovim? will ora demonstrate?

    gender disparity — no mention of (possible) halachic issues with what she writes. this is huff post, of course. i wouldnt expect any. but its relevant (if not determinative) to the discussion.

    karaoke megilla — my shul has that. everyone interrupts the baal (baalat) koreh. (humor) but cant they edit out the schnorr at the end?

  75. Mp says:

    Mp: Why did you refer to Gila Kletnik as Gila, and Meir Soloveitchik as Rabbi Soloveitchik?

    Because that is how both refer to themselve and are referred to at KJ. Remeber that Gila is a 23 year-old in graduate school.

  76. Steve Brizel says:

    With respect to the views voiced by the congregational intern at KJ, I read the article in question and wondered why she did not at least acknowledge that the Halachic view of birth control, etc, neither was that of Planned Parenthood nor the RCC. IMO, merely voicing the Planned Parenthood mantra of “reproductive rights” did not add in presenting the Halachic POV on such issues, as opposed to presenting the liberal Democratic view of the same.

  77. IH says:

    Steve — since the piece wasn’t about birth control, I’m wondering in which paragraph you think she should have acknowledged the halachic view of birth control? And what would be that summary?

  78. IH says:

    On the latter, from previous discussions I have witnessed here, I the consensus seemed to be that Halacha was opposed to birth control in principle, but there are sufficient ways out that any woman can get a heter very easily. So perhaps it would be wiser for us to not raise halacha in the political debate.

  79. mycroft says:

    “of Prof. Elaine Pagels’ new book in last week’s ”
    Was she Bill a source for one of Bill Moyers series?

  80. mycroft says:

    “Meir Soloveitchik as Rabbi Soloveitchik?”
    He spells his last name wo a t-RAS did not use a t the Rav of course did use a t.

  81. IH says:

    And she spells her given name with an “h” — Gilah.

    —–

    Yes, per Google, Pagels has appeared on Moyers multiple times. There is also a segment on PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly about the latest book.

  82. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Steve — since the piece wasn’t about birth control, I’m wondering in which paragraph you think she should have acknowledged the halachic view of birth control? And what would be that summary?

    On the latter, from previous discussions I have witnessed here, I the consensus seemed to be that Halacha was opposed to birth control in principle, but there are sufficient ways out that any woman can get a heter very easily. So perhaps it would be wiser for us to not raise halacha in the political debate”

    I agree that the halachic view is more nuanced than either that of Planned Parenthood or the RCC, and should result in our not taking sides of either being “pro choice” or “pro life”, to use the most common and simplistic political slogans.To do otherwise would conflate Halacha with the values of conservatism or liberalism, when, in fact, it is neither.

    However, IMO, the author seemed to be combining her stances on feminism and female clergy, of which there are no shortage of in the heterodox Jewish movements and many Christian denominations, and the purported absence of female clerical voices on “reproductive rights”, the latter of which IMO, made me wonder whether she was aware of the inconsistency of such a stance with the Halacha or merely indicating her support for Planned Parenthood, especially she identified herself as a former intern at Planned Parenthood.

  83. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-I agree with Aiwacs re the Kochs and the Cato Institute. The Cato Institute does great work, and IMO, the quality of the same would be adversely affected if it became just another part of the GOP.

  84. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Those interested in the history of the split between Christianity and Judaism may be interested Adam Gopnik’s review of Prof. Elaine Pagels’ new book in last week’s New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/03/05/120305crbo_books_gopnik?currentPage=a

    Wasn’t the review more about the splits between Paul of Tarsus and the other disciples of Oso HaIsh, as opposed to specific splits between the disciples of Oso HaIsh and the Tanaim?

  85. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-The article by the congregational intern should have had at least an introductory paragraph contrasting Halacha to both the stances of Planned Parenthood and the RCC. IMO, such a stance, , would have presented her stance both as a committed and educated Orthodox Jewish woman on the issues, and allowed her to set forth her credentials and POV on the substantive issue, instead of merely voicing her POV on the irrelevant issue of female clergy. I don’t think that her POV added to an appreciation of the substantive issues, but rather gave the impression that the Halachic perspective of the same was either identical or near that of Planned Parenthood, when, in fact, the Halachic perspective neither is that of Planned Parenthood nor the RCC.

  86. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “On the latter, from previous discussions I have witnessed here, I the consensus seemed to be that Halacha was opposed to birth control in principle, but there are sufficient ways out that any woman can get a heter very easily. So perhaps it would be wiser for us to not raise halacha in the political debate”

    Ironically, as stated by IH, it would be wiser and not all difficult to state why the Halachic POV neither is that of Planned Parenthood nor the RCC. All it takes is what is called intellectual honesty.

  87. Joseph Kaplan says:

    But the issue isn’t the Jewish view of birth control for Jews. IOW, if the Catholics don’t want Catholics to use birth control, that’s one thing; it’s when they try to force their views on non-Catholics that the problems begin. And as Jews, as opposed to, say, abortion, we don’t have a position, do we?, that non-Jews may not use birth control. And if that’s so, wouldn’t/shouldn’t the halachic POV be that of planned Parenthood on this issue; i.e., that religious groups shouldn’t impose their religious views and rules regarding birth control on those who are not members of their faith.

  88. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-in the article that is the subject of this discussion, the author is described not just as a congregational intern, but also a teacher of Talmud and Judaism. IMO, her article gave the uneducated person the impression that the stance of Halacha was identical with that of Planned Parenthood.

  89. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “But the issue isn’t the Jewish view of birth control for Jews. IOW, if the Catholics don’t want Catholics to use birth control, that’s one thing; it’s when they try to force their views on non-Catholics that the problems begin. And as Jews, as opposed to, say, abortion, we don’t have a position, do we?, that non-Jews may not use birth control. And if that’s so, wouldn’t/shouldn’t the halachic POV be that of planned Parenthood on this issue; i.e., that religious groups shouldn’t impose their religious views and rules regarding birth control on those who are not members of their faith”

    WADr, we do have a position on family planning that deals with birth control, abortion, and all aspects of family planning that clearly should not be confused with what Planned Parenthood calls “reproductive rights” or the RCC view of the “right to life”, which we cannot impose on the rest of society, unless we are talking in a theoretical sense about a Ger Toshav or Ben Noach, but in representing in a halachically accurate way without misrepresenting what our views are on the issues as they affect our communities.

    While the above quoted position would not have an affect on how these issues should be taught, and explained within the Torah observant world, it would IMO, be quite confusing, if not misleading, to say that the ” the halachic POV be that of planned Parenthood on this issue”

  90. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan and IH:

    The following is what is IMO a very misleading statement that conflates Halacha and Planned Parenthood’s views:

    “As a young Orthodox Jewish clergywoman and former intern at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, I am especially grateful to the GOP. It has drawn national attention to the need for women religious leaders. Particularly, when our reproductive rights are continuously imperiled in the name of religion.”

    WADR to the author, there is a world of difference between what Planned Parenthood views as “reproductive rights” and the halachic view of such issues-which should never be confused with that of Planned Parenthood or the RCC.

    Joseph Kaplan-what you are suggesting, IMO,is that as a matter of public policy, we oppose the RCC’s position, with a hashkafic fig leaf that ” the halachic POV be that of planned Parenthood on this issue; i.e., that religious groups shouldn’t impose their religious views and rules regarding birth control on those who are not members of their faith” Such a statement, which was unsupported by any reference to any religious authority, would make sense in terms of RYBS’s limitations of ecumenical theological dialogue, but , IMO, as IH mentioned, should not be part of any political discussion.

  91. IH says:

    Imagine if she had also been an intern at the ACLU :-)

  92. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I am with Steve. I find it disturbing for an Orthodox Jew to work for PP. I am pro-choice, and think that PP does good things. But that doesnt mean I am pro-abortion. I don’t want the government regulating abortion, but why should a frum Jew work for an abortion provider and facilitate abortions that are assur lechol hadeot

  93. mycroft says:

    “What it says about frum jews (both internally and how they are perceived) that they can be in a league that asks people how they teach Christmas and whether they think the bible (including NT) is corrupted is also an interesting question.”

    Excellent comment and worth discussing.

  94. mycroft says:

    “I am with Steve. I find it disturbing for an Orthodox Jew to work for PP. I am pro-choice, and think that PP does good things. But that doesnt mean I am pro-abortion. I don’t want the government regulating abortion, but why should a frum Jew work for an abortion provider and facilitate abortions that are assur lechol hadeot”
    It is my understanding that PP is far more than an abortion providerthey believe in helping give people reproductive freedom which goes both ways-also helping those with difficulty conceiving who wish to.

  95. mycroft says:

    “.To do otherwise would conflate Halacha with the values of conservatism or liberalism, when, in fact, it is neither.”

    IMPORTANT REMINDER FROM STEVE TRUE ACROSS THE BOARD.

  96. Nachum says:

    Mycroft, your understanding is wrong. Planned Parenthood is all about preventing pregnancy and birth. (Uncomfortable fact: They were founded to prevent births in the lower classes, Jews, blacks, etc.) And while they try to temporize this fact, they’re almost exclusively about abortion.

  97. Joseph Kaplan says:

    In an anti-Planned Parenthood website I found, it called PP, among other things, “the world’s largest birth control enterprise.” Hard to equate that with “almost exclusively about abortion.”

  98. Nachum says:

    Facts are facts. Something like 90% of their business is abortion. I’ll track down the stat- it may even be much higher.

  99. IH says:

    Nachum — from your friend Wikipedia:

    “In 2009, Planned Parenthood provided 4,009,549 contraceptive services (35% of total), 3,955,926 sexually transmitted disease services (35% of total), 1,830,811 cancer related services (16% of total), 1,178,369 pregnancy/prenatal/midlife services (10% of total), 332,278 abortion services (3% of total), and 76,977 other services (1% of total), for a total of 11,383,900 services.[35][7][37][38][39][40] The organization also said its doctors and nurses annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.”

  100. IH says:

    Last night I started reading Garry Wills’ new short book for Princeton University Press on Augustine’s Confessions.  The first 9 pages vividly paints the oral/written relationship as it existed at 397 CE when he “wrote” the book.  It seems to me these few pages are valuable to understanding our texts from this period as well.

    The key pages (pp. 1-6) are previewable at: http://books.google.com/books?id=0PeKCLMIrBcC&lpg=PP1&dq=Garry%20Wills%20Augustine&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    [the book is favorably reviewed in an essay in the 8 March issue of The NY Review of Books, that is interesting in its own right for those interested in early Christianity]

  101. Nachum says:

    Well, right off the bat: We know (thanks to the recent contretemps) that they provide *no* breast exams or cancer screenings at all. We can take the rest of the numbers with a grain of salt. See the parenthetical below.

    Look, if my main business (as in, practically every pregnant woman who walks in the door) was aborting fetuses, yeah, I’d do my best to fudge the numbers as well.

    In any event, we all know what “Planned Parenthood” evokes to most people. And for a “clergy” member at one of the most prominent Orthodox shuls in the US to proudly state her work for them on a major left-wing blog is a chillul Hashem no matter how you cut it.

  102. IH says:

    Nachum — c’mon. If you’re going to cook the books, you wouldn’t take 90% (your claim) to 3% (their claim). Your response is not credible.

  103. Nachum says:

    Sarna’s argument is ridiculous. There is no right to have one’s religion (and Sarna *really* has to stretch to define this as “religion” here) subsidized, especially not by a private individual. Of course, he’s “right” inasmuch as the United States has moved from a nation of rights to a nation of subsidies, but he’s still wrong.

    I eagerly anticipate Sarna coming out in favor of subsidies for Jewish schools.

    [Crickets.}

    Oh, right. Politics trumps all. Moving along, I’m always a bit suspicious when the “Rabbi of the Western Wall” says you can’t go to the Har HaBayit. Conflict of interest, anyone?

  104. Nachum says:

    IH, it’s remarkably easy to get from 90 to 3.

    In any event, shouldn’t they be proud of the abortions? Shouldn’t you? Out and proud! Augustine would surely approve. I know Wills would.

  105. joel rich says:

    Can someone clarify the coersion issue -iiuc the issue is not that employees are forbidden to use contraceptives, only that the employer not be forced to pay for them?
    KT

  106. IH says:

    Employers only “pay for them” in the sense there is a tax dodge that allows some remuneration to be untaxed if it is channeled via the employer to a health insurer. Do employers have a right to prevent an employee from spending their salary on something they consider immoral?

    Note, for example, this news item: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4198821,00.html

  107. IH says:

    Oh, and a few States excepted, health insurers only offer competitive group rates (economies of scale) to employers, so an employee can’t viably bypass the employer as middleman.

  108. Hirhurim says:

    IH: I don’t see how price is relevant as long as consumers can buy it. And can’t people use pre-tax dollars they set aside in a flexible spending account?

  109. joel rich says:

    R’IH,
    Just trying to frame the debate. There may be public policy issues but no coersion. The employer is not preventing the employee from spending on anything and the employer can easily be bypassed (e.g. walk into a pharmacy and buy contraceptives with a credit card). Fact is contraceptives are a poor candidate for insurance since they are almost completely within the control of the patient and an easily known fairly fixed cost.
    KT

  110. Moshe Shoshan says:

    The percentage doesnt matter. 332,278 abortions in year is a lot of abortions. makeing abortions available to whomever wants them is a major part of their agenda.

  111. i agree with moshe shoshan’s (and by proxy steve brizel’s) earlier comment re. planned parenthood

  112. Hirhurim says:

    I think this is a fair assessment of the claims regarding Planned Parenthood’s services:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/apr/08/jon-kyl/jon-kyl-says-abortion-services-are-well-over-90-pe/

    “Planned Parenthood says the statistics are dramatically different — that 90 percent of its services are preventive in nature, compared with 3 percent that are abortion-related.

    “Planned Parenthood calculates the numbers by services provided, rather than dollars spent…

    “We should note a few caveats.

    “First, we think many people would acknowledge a difference between providing an abortion and, say, handing out a pack of condoms or conducting a blood test. The former is a significant surgical procedure, whereas the latter are quick and inexpensive services. So Planned Parenthood’s use of “services” as its yardstick likely decreases abortion’s prominence compared to what other measurements would show. Using dollars spent or hours devoted to patient care would likely put abortion above 3 percent in the calculations.

    “Second, it’s worth noting that Planned Parenthood self-reported these numbers, although the group says each affiliate’s numbers are independently audited. (There is no single, national audit.) So we have no choice but to accept their accuracy more or less on faith.”

  113. R’ Joel:

    “The employer is not preventing the employee from spending on anything and the employer can easily be bypassed (e.g. walk into a pharmacy and buy contraceptives with a credit card).”

    just to provide some practical context for this debate, oral birth control is not that expensive. it can cost $200 a year without insurance, or even less (or of course even more) depending on the specific product. i understand that $200/annually for some can break the bank, but i suspect that for many, the language of “being forced to forgo birth control” is extreme hyperbole. it just means she’ll have to forgo that sushi lunch once a month.

  114. IH says:

    אל תדין את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו

    E.g. “According to United States Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, there were overall 191,670 victims of rape or sexual assault reported in 2005.”

  115. Hirhurim says:

    What does rape have to do with insurance paying for birth control???

  116. IH says:

    It has to do with abortion services Planned Parenthood provides that are being judged here. We simply don’t know how many of those would be halachically permitted, or morally acceptable; so let’s not jump to conclusions.

  117. GIL:

    presumably IH is saying not to judge PP so harshly because many of its abortion clients could be rape victims.
    of course one has no idea how many of its abortion services are provided to rape victims and it’s ludicrous to assume to all 191k IH cites are PP patients (reprenseting 50% of their abortion patients).
    does PP release any data on the motives of those seeking its abortion services? if such a high percentage were rape victims, i’d assume this would factor prominently in its public relations campaigns

  118. IH says:

    Similarly on the costs of contraception. There have been some personal stories on other Orthodox blogs that also remind us not to make assumptions about sushi dinners.

  119. GIL:

    i would say that the data you supplied demonstrates that PP is not primarily an abortion provider, far from it. i think it makes much more sense to consider number of services provided or number of people it assists, not $ spent.

  120. IH:

    i don’t dismiss that there are people who are really suffering financially, even living on the precipe of homelessness. yes, for them every dollar counts.
    but i think it is a gross exaggeration to assume that legions of women would be unable to afford oral birth control without employer-sponsored insurance paying for it. we are not talking here about an unexepected or unusually large expense (for a non-medicaid eligible woman). it’s literally (much) less than the price of a cheap non-starbuck cup of coffee a day.
    listen, i’m sypmathetic toward those who oppose the church on this issue, but i just don’t think that in this case economics is a compelling argument.

  121. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    if you want insurance that covers contraceptive services, dont attend (or work for) a jesuit institution. of course, contrast this statement with http://ny.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.19690211_0040405.NY.htm/qx. though i doubt such a decision would be made today. seems obvious judicial error (or improper judicial activism)

    2. dont forget the original purpose of PP — out and out eugenics.

  122. IH says:

    Abba — I never argued the economics *were* a compelling issue. The more I think about it — which was near zero until it became an issue in then Orthodox blogosphere — Obama picked a clever battle to fight. Instead of keeping their gunpowder dry for a substantive issue, the Church and their supporters have demonstrated their intransigence by choosing to fight a reasonable compromise for a relatively trivial issue that satisfied the leaders of Catholic healthcare organisations.

    MMhY — yeah, like Steve’s reaction to the violence at New Square — just move. Pashut.

  123. IH says:

    Coincidental to this discussion, it seems the unfortunate death allegedly caused by metzitza ba’peh was due to the transmission of a venereal disease: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/investigation-to-open-into-death-of-two-week-old-brooklyn-infant-following-circumcision-1.416992

  124. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    french jews — france has a particular anomaly — there is no such thing as a hyphenated ethnic person. everyone is considered a frenchman who happens to be xxxx ethnic group. that is why the french were particularly aghast a few years ago at french arabs insisting on being called french arabs and rioting for it. (killing a few jews in out and out religious murders was unimportant. he was just another frenchman, no matter why they were murdered.)

    purim app — where’s the karaoke megillah app?

    wine — unsigned article has some incorrect facts

    rage on temple mount — instead of phrasing it as a disagreement between rabbonim, they opt to “rage”

    book of esther and diaspora — it does not claim “revenge” as a motif, but rather survival. another attempt at influencing interpretations.

  125. Hirhurim says:

    IH: 90% of people are infected with Herpes

  126. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    IH — if you go to such an institution (or work for such company) comply with the lifestyle.

    i did point out the anomalies, such as company / school being bought out, etc. that was the YU PP case, though PP should have (probably did) know that when they sublet the property. i note, too, that many students complain that cardozo building, library, etc is closed on shabbat and chagim. (not on chol hamoed — davar ha’avud?) and no non kosher food in cafeteria. if you go to the institution, you comply with their rules. st johns, for example, will not allow a jew to be student council president (it was litigated, and st john prevailed.)

  127. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Look, if my main business (as in, practically every pregnant woman who walks in the door) was aborting fetuses, yeah, I’d do my best to fudge the numbers as well.”

    So, without a shred of evidence, withoiut a single reference, you accuse PP of “fudging the numbers.” Pretty shoddy Nachum; you’re usually better than that. Atleast I and IH had some basis for our comments.

    “In any event, shouldn’t they be proud of the abortions? Shouldn’t you? Out and proud!”

    Translation: “In any event, since I made a comment without showing any support when requested and confronted with contrary evidence, let me change the subject so some might miss what I did.” Nice try.

  128. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “There may be public policy issues but no coersion.”

    Probably right. But there is also no coercion of the Catholic Chiurch either; tehy’re not being forced to pay for anything they consider immoral.

  129. IH says:

    Gil — the second half of the 90% statistic you cite is crucial: “By 50 years of age, 80%-90% of us harbor HSV-1, because we have caught it from someone close to us.”

    That should mean the statistic is drastically different among shomrei negiah.

  130. MMY:

    “st johns, for example, will not allow a jew to be student council president (it was litigated, and st john prevailed.)”

    intresting
    can you elaborate?

  131. avi says:

    “rage on temple mount — instead of phrasing it as a disagreement between rabbonim, they opt to “rage””

    It’s not just a disagreement between rabbis. I know of at least 3 groups that make a monthly trip to har-habayit. A few people in one of these groups were livid, and found the statements to be a slap in the face.

  132. JK:

    “Probably right. But there is also no coercion of the Catholic Chiurch either; tehy’re not being forced to pay for anything they consider immoral.”

    how not so if as the employer they are subsidizing the insurance?

  133. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “of course, contrast this statement with http://ny.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.19690211_0040405.NY.htm/qx. though i doubt such a decision would be made today. seems obvious judicial error (or improper judicial activism)”

    Read the case; sounds perfectly reasonable to me. If the LL didn’t want to agree to the subtenant, it could have let the tenant out of the lease.

  134. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “how not so if as the employer they are subsidizing the insurance?”

    The only thing they object to is the contraception coverage and they’re paying zero for that coverage. They’re not subsidizing what they oobject to.

  135. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    avi — i agree with you. if one studies the issue, its pretty clear where and where not, one may go. i should have made clear the rage is on the other side, those that oppose going to har habayit. i want to rage about the political prohibitions of no siddur, no lips moving, no tfillah.

    joseph k — one may reasonably object to a particular “political” tenant. just as one may object to a particular “political” insurance policy provision. what is political, and what is not, is not the courts purview.

  136. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    abba’s — st johns (a catholic univ in hillcrest, queens, with many jewish students) students voted a particluar person as student council president, who was jewish (dont know if observant or not; irrelevant, anyway.)

    st johns administration stepped in, and said student leadership is a religious function (or perhaps just visible spokesman) of the university, and its a catholic university, so they suuccessfuly argued in a discrimination case.

    this case was one of the arguments against a gay club at yu, when that issue was in play. i dont want to bring it up here, but …

  137. Canuck says:

    It’s inaccurate to say that the Catholics aren’t being coerced by the Obamacare regulations – every law and government regulation involves coercion. In fact, everyone is being forced by the to pay for contraceptives and morning-after pills, whether directly or indirectly. The so-called compromise hasn’t been and isn’t likely to be coded into law – it will be subject to easy reversal down the road. I believe the Catholics are going to take this issue to court. Jews should have similar views to Catholics on this issue, and even if there are some differences, our general support would help to improve inter-communal relations.

    Perhaps one can criticize the Catholic Church for being intransigent on this issue, because for several decades the Church actively supported the expansion of government spending on welfare and medical-care, which in turn crowded out private and church sponsored charities, and contributed to welfare dependence and its resulting social ills.

  138. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    canuk — they didnt support the expansion as much as they saw it as a good source of funding for their programs. they have a general attitude (charedim seem to have the same attitude) that there are no strings to this funding.

    you seem to have expertise on american practices. from a canadian?

  139. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “one may reasonably object to a particular “political” tenant. just as one may object to a particular “political” insurance policy provision. what is political, and what is not, is not the courts purview.”

    “Reasonable” is an ambiguous word, and when parties cannot agree on what it means who else but a court can make the decision? Courts do this all the time with a clause like this. To make this inot something special or judicial activism is really extreme.

  140. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    joseph k– but can the court make a decision on “political” issues? (i think of it as another form of religious cases, both first amendment issues. i know, diff legal standards, but…)

  141. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “It’s inaccurate to say that the Catholics aren’t being coerced by the Obamacare regulations – every law and government regulation involves coercion. In fact, everyone is being forced by the to pay for contraceptives and morning-after pills, whether directly or indirectly. The so-called compromise hasn’t been and isn’t likely to be coded into law – it will be subject to easy reversal down the road.”

    These are two separate issues. On the first we disagree; it depends who the regulation is being directed at. The insurance companies will, indeed, be “coerced,” but last I heard they don’t have any religious freedom argument. As to your second point, lo navi ani v’lo ben navi. Maybe yes and maybe no; who knows what the future may hold. If it’s reversed, complain then.

  142. Joseph Kaplan:

    i don’t understand. is the the employer not contributing toward the insurance?

    MMY:

    i’m not a lawyer, but there must have been something else to that case? was this a publicized case? i assume this would be something in the jewish media? or was it a long time ago?

  143. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “but can the court make a decision on “political” issues? (i think of it as another form of religious cases, both first amendment issues. i know, diff legal standards, but…)”

    It wasn’t a political issue; it was a legal issue. I read the case quickly, but it seemed to me that the issue is does reasonable, in the context of this clause, mean reasonable with respect to the proposed tenant or resonable with respect to the landlord. The court decided the dormer and since under that interpretation PP was a “reasonable” subtenant, the LL was in breach of the lease by refusing to allow the subtenancy. You may disagree with the reasoning, but it is far from political and even farther from judicial activism.

  144. Nachum says:

    IH: You can catch herpes from a lot less than sexual contact. Most people do.

    Gil: If 90% of people have herpes, that means that 90% of mohalim do. And you defend the practice how…?

  145. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “i don’t understand. is the the employer not contributing toward the insurance?”

    Insurance without contraceptive coverage costs “X”. X is what the employer pays. That doesn’t cover contraception. The contraception coverage is paid by the insurance company. The interesting issue to me is that I read speculation that coverage without contraception coverage would cost more than with it because the insurance company’s costs will be less even if they have to pay for contraception because of the expenses they save in pregnancies, complications, etc. I aske Joel to help us out here with his expertise: I repeat the request.

  146. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Imagine if she had also been an intern at the ACLU :-)”

    My reaction would have been identical-if she had interned either at the ACLU or at a conservative think tank and had conflated halachaa with being identical to either the liberal or conservative POV.

  147. Canuck says:

    Insurance companies handle payments, but policy holders pay the cost. So, everybody who is insured pays a fraction, albeit indirectly. For self-insured organizations, they pay directly, even if processing is outsourced to insurance companies.

    Why do only Catholic churches (or schools or hospitals) have a right to bring up a religious or conscientious objection? What if any person objects to the regulation based on a religious or moral principle? Why do suggest that business executives have no religious freedom argument?

  148. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “abba’s — st johns (a catholic univ in hillcrest, queens, with many jewish students) students voted a particluar person as student council president, who was jewish (dont know if observant or not; irrelevant, anyway.)

    st johns administration stepped in, and said student leadership is a religious function (or perhaps just visible spokesman) of the university, and its a catholic university, so they suuccessfuly argued in a discrimination case.

    this case was one of the arguments against a gay club at yu, when that issue was in play. i dont want to bring it up here, but …”

    Let me try this again (although it’s been unsuccessful in the past). Could you please give us a citation to the deicsion; if YU used it in support of it’s position in the housing for gays case, I assume it’s been reported. If it hasn’t, could you please give us a link to some source for it or email me a copy of the decision if you have it. penkapat panix dot com.

  149. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Insurance companies handle payments, but policy holders pay the cost.”

    But the policy holders aren’t objecting; they want it.

    “So, everybody who is insured pays a fraction, albeit indirectly.”

    Don’t understand what the universities are paying.

    “For self-insured organizations, they pay directly, even if processing is outsourced to insurance companies.”

    Self insurance is a separate issue. Not sure howe that will work. If that’s the only problem, then I’ll deal with it.

    “Why do only Catholic churches (or schools or hospitals) have a right to bring up a religious or conscientious objection? What if any person objects to the regulation based on a religious or moral principle? Why do suggest that business executives have no religious freedom argument?”

    Because that’s not how society works. When Quakers wanted to deduct part of their taxes that went to pay for the Vietnam War, did you support them? And there, the payment was direct. Religious freedom and freedom of conscience doesn’t always win out. A religious institution might win out when it’s religious needs are being thwarted by a side yard zoning regulation, but not if it wants to have fewer fire exits or no sprinkler system.

  150. MJ says:

    Healthcare economists have shown that even small financial barriers to health services that are not immediately necessary greatly reduces utilization of these services. $200 a year is not much money – though many oral contraceptives cost a good deal more – but it still is a barrier. Moreover contraception is a large net health benefit and cost savings for the healthcare system and the welfare system. It’s not as if insurers are charging employers more because they include coverage for contraceptives. They’d rather pay a few hundred dollars for contraceptives then seven thousand for the average pregnancy. The idea that an employer is subsidizing this in any meaningful sense is ludicrous.

    BTW – what do you get when you cross keeping hilkhot nidda and using the Catholic endorsed rhythm method of contraception? Celibacy …

  151. Canuck says:

    >But the policy holders aren’t objecting; they want it.
    The employer is the policy holder. What if he objects? Do you have any religious objection to Jewish schools paying (whether directly or indirectly) for contraceptives and morning-after pills to their unmarried teachers or students? Shouldn’t compensation and benefits be something that employees and employers freely negotiate? The issue isn’t really a narrow one about who pays for pills; it’s about government over-reach and taking away personal freedom of choice.

    >Religious freedom and freedom of conscience doesn’t always win out.
    It’s okay with you that these regulations bother Catholics. But, what if they bother Jewish institutions? Apparently, Jewish schools may also be forced to pay (directly or indirectly) for contraceptives, morning-after pills, and abortions for unmarried teachers or students. Government might conceivably even require Jewish organizations to “offer insurance” which would pay for sex-change operations. If people object, is your only answer “get with the program; the government knows what’s best!”?

  152. IH says:

    Question prompted by a comment on Harry Maryles’ blog: do the people who object to contraception being covered, also object to Viagra being covered (apparently not)?

  153. IH says:

    Canuck –for a libertarian, you are making a strange case. The individual employee has no viable choice other than her/his employer for healthcare insurance in the US system. Thus, the employer “policy holder” is a monopoly.

    Those standing on principle here should be agitating to get the employer out of the middle where they neither belong, nor add any value. I.e. if you’re going to fight, then fight the right battle.

  154. IH:

    “Question prompted by a comment on Harry Maryles’ blog: do the people who object to contraception being covered, also object to Viagra being covered (apparently not)?”

    99.9% of insurance plans don’t cover viagra

  155. Canuck says:

    BTW, HAPPY PURIM TO EVERYBODY. IH – Am I a libertarian just because I support freedom of choice, and point out that big government has negative consequences? This might shock you, but I would respect a democratic majority decision to implement government provided health care, but at the state level, not the federal level; but details should be public and easy to understand. As you know, there used to be a private market for medicine and heath services in the US, until government stepped in with tax incentives and regulations encouraging employers to provide these benefits in lieu of salary. This also coincided with a parallel rise in medical costs. I think we both agree employers should not be involved the medical insurance business. For the record, if anyone wants to use Viagra, let him pay for it himself ;-).

  156. joel rich says:

    Insurance without contraceptive coverage costs “X”. X is what the employer pays. That doesn’t cover contraception. The contraception coverage is paid by the insurance company. The interesting issue to me is that I read speculation that coverage without contraception coverage would cost more than with it because the insurance company’s costs will be less even if they have to pay for contraception because of the expenses they save in pregnancies, complications, etc. I aske Joel to help us out here with his expertise: I repeat the request.
    ==============================
    Sorry-I’ve been offline for a while. You know this actuarial stuff makes my head hurt. The “compromise” as I understand it would be for insurance companies not charge the individual employers for the coverage but provide it themselves. Practical issues include self insured plans (no insurance company) and just about every medium and larger sized group which pays a rate baesd on its own experience, not some “fixed premium”.

    I got a good laugh when Secretary Sebelius tried to explain that her actuaries told her providing contraceptive coverage would reduce the costs and then tried to explain it a bit. I’m guessing a macro analysis of total medical costs would certainly show that a family of 2 has lower medical costs than a family of 4 and that the cost of a childbirth exceeds the cost of contraception. I’m guessing that insurance carriers don’tr price a plan providing contraceptives lower than one which didn’t, all other things being equal.

    Health cost projections are not easy – a recent study showed that the “savings” assumed for digitizing medical records are likely not to happen – for some reason the availabilty of information makes Dr.’s do more testing, not less
    KT

  157. Canuck says:

    Wouldn’t it be great to shelve the political debates until after Purim? Why do we need reasons to argue, especially about things which are beyond our control, like politics? Maybe we can discuss issues, like the health care laws, from a Jewish point of view – while we agree to follow local laws, it’s okay to point out where these laws conflict with Jewish laws and values. In some cases, we need to request or demand either exemptions, or changes to the laws to enable us to practice our religion in good conscience.

  158. mycroft says:

    “Nachum on March 7, 2012 at 6:30 am
    Mycroft, your understanding is wrong. Planned Parenthood is all about preventing pregnancy and birth. (Uncomfortable fact: They were founded to prevent births in the lower classes, Jews, blacks, etc.) And while they try to temporize this fact, they’re almost exclusively about abortion”

    See topics in
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy-4250.htm
    there are some about preventing pregnancy and others about helping people get pregnant who have difficulty-to me the organizaion is about giving people choices both ways about getting pregnant-both ways are anathema to the RC Church to us encourgaement of articial ways -at least to the extent of Husband sperm and wifeseggs is a positive and thus part of their work is a positive to us vs all of their work is a negative to the RC hierarchy.

  159. IH says:

    A sobering view of real life: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/us/texas-womens-clinics-retreat-as-finances-are-cut.html?pagewanted=all

    The last few paragraphs in particular. No sushi lunches there.

  160. Nachum says:

    Yo, Steve. Happy Purim. Insisting that Judaism isn’t conservative or liberal is a favorite trope of yours. Maybe. (Maybe not, I’d say.) But let’s assume. So: Let’s look at it another way. I can list you a shopping list of ways liberalism is *anti* Jewish. Can you tell me one way conservatism is?

  161. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-Purim Sameach-RYBS compared Shemitah VYovel, BK and BB,and much of Seder Nezikin, as well as Hilcos Nidah and Peru Urevu as examples which neither fit neatly into the liberal or conservative way of thinking.

  162. Steve Brizel says:

    For those of us who are pro football fans, the annexed link was a great piece of Purim Torah. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/sports/football/manning-1-player-32-teams-endless-possibilities.html?ref=football

  163. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    first, we want weekly instead of daily news because comments get stale, now someone wants to “stale” the comments over purim.

    2. most large groups (and i am sure georgetown law is such a group, though they might combine it with regular georgetown, and affiliated orgs, and even, gasp!, a local church or two) are really self insured, subcontracting out the administration and an “excess” type policy to a real insurance company. i assume sec sebelius claims she managed to “convince” the ins co administrator involve to “eat up” the contraceptive coverage, but i doubt how voluntary (or lobbying-ish) it is.

    also, per my cousin who teaches at a local bais yaakov, they change ins co’s every two years, since they have large losses regularly (bais yaakov = every other teacher has a baby every other year.) dont understand why the ins co doesnt know this, but this how things work.

    3. what about ins co’s that are affiliiated with churches? the catholic church in nyc has an ins co for “low income” clients heavily govt subsidized (i believe its the tobbaco settlement money.) the lutheran church has an extensive insurance program, as part of its mission. many jewish orgs (religious and secular) have ins affinity groups, specifically for health ins. what about the o-u’s ins for its non religious workers? is kashrut a religious function? is synagogue services really a religious function? is book publication a religious function? is ncsy a religious function?

    4. as i mentioned before in another context, what if i open up a “church of y”, where we worship excercise rooms, gyms, olympic sized swimming polls, community rooms, etc. is that a religious function? is it the govt’s duties to say its religious or not? or is like a peyote case? (i dont have the citation for that case handy.)

    its only an issue, because the current law gives exemptions to religious orgs, but not to other functions of a religious org.

    5. the yu aspects of the st johns case was never in litigation; it was only an argument advanced by those who wanted yu to ban such clubs. thus there is no yu equivalent of the st johns case.

    and it was not a housing case, a whole other set of laws.

    6. now for some real torah — ester was not called to achasshverus for thirty days (before 13 nisan.) it seems she fasted every time she had to go to him, for what she was going to be doing with him. thus, another reason for taanit ester.

    chag sameach

  164. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    about the YU / PP case. it was 1969, a whole other world then.

  165. Joseph Kaplan says:

    With 6 points, we still don’t know a single thing about the alleged St. John’s case except MMHY’s say-so. Interesting.

    There are lots of complex issues concerning church-state relations. But it is, or at least should be, undisputed that religious freedom is not absolute and is trumped by certain state functions and concerns. Personally, as I have thought about this, one close analogy is the Quakers refusing to pay part of their taxes during the Viet Nam war. I wonder if the conservatives who are so protective of the Catholic Church’s freedoms were as solicitous of those of the Quakers.

  166. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    paying taxes was an obligation irrespective of religion.

    providing (certain) health care has religious exemptions (in the current version). but there is “discrimination” in the provisions.

    similarly, paying fica taxes has an exemption for “amish”. interseting — niot litigated yet, that i know about.

    actually, taxes is a wierd issue. note the scientology case in calif, and the denial of a hearing to the orthodox jews who brought it to court.

  167. Canuck says:

    Joseph Kaplan – I didn’t want to argue politics on Purim, but your Quaker tax analogy fails badly. There is a concept of conscientious objector that allows some people (say pacifist Quakers) to avoid the draft; this is an old custom (even Biblical), and certainly applied during the Vietnam war. Quakers weren’t forced to act as soldiers, but they had to pay taxes. If there had been a special war tax, perhaps the Quakers would have had a case. But, the regular taxes they paid to the government only indirectly paid for the war. With Obamacare, employer payments to “insurance companies” for condoms and abortions may be indirect, but certainly less indirect than taxes going to the government. Who PAYS is less a problem, then who is forced to ACT against their conscience. Compounding the problem with Obamacare is the dishonest and underhanded way in which was passed. As Nancy Pelosi said: We need to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it. We can disagree, but let’s be clear and honest. I’m less bothered by government involvement in health care, than about the obfuscation and lack of concern for those who have objections.

  168. pg says:

    esther hamalkah dressed for success and was struggling for parity in her relationship with achashverosh. you can’t make this stuff up. thanks gil, that was good purim reading.

  169. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Canuck, this isn’t arguing politics; it’s understanding how society and government works, or should work. But the more I think about it and after reading your response, the more I think my analogy is a good one. Quakers had the right of conscientious objection, and Catholic churches and hospitals have the right of conscientious objection to providing abortions or sterilization or contraception. They even have the right to refuse to provide an abortion for a pregnant woman (who could even be Orthodox) whose life is seriously at risk w/o the abortion, and to show how strongly they object to that, they will excommunicate nun who acts to save the woman. The issue with respect to the revised regulation, though, is at most, to use your language, an “indirect” involvement with contraception. Quakers have to dig into their pockets to pay money which we all know is being used for guns and ammunition and bombs and soldiers who kill others; the catholic hospitals simply provide insurance that, based on what they pay for premiums, doesn’t cover contraception; the insurance companies have to pay for coverage for contraception for their policy holders who do not otherwise have some coverage. Is there some relationship between the hospitals and the contraception? I guess an argument can be made that there is some indirect one but they’re doing nothing direct with respect to the contraception; certainly less than the Quakers who had to pay their money. You say: “Who PAYS is less a problem, then who is forced to ACT against their conscience.” Okay, what action are the Catholics taking? They’re giving their employees insurance that doesn’t cover contraception. There is a regulation directed at insurance companies to provide for contraception. The Catholics are taking no action with respect to contraception.

    But what I would also like to know is even if the Quakers’ situation is more indirect than that of the Catholics now, there is certainly some indirect connection between the Quakers tax payments and the killing. So were/are you on their side or not? And if not, why not if you’re so concerned about even indirect coercion against religious freedom?

    Society has to draw some lines. I assume you agree that freedom of religion and conscience doesn’t protect those who, in the name of their religion, want to mutilate the genitals of their daughters. And it doesn’t protect parents who want to refuse to take their children with serious diseases to the doctor or allow them to have medically necessary blood transfusions. Aren’t we really talking about where to draw the line between freedoms that society can afford to allow and those it can’t. And although we may reasonably disagree as to where that line falls in the case we’re discussing, ISTM that that is really the most that’s at issue; not a war against religion or the abrogating of freedom of religion and conscience in America.

  170. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “paying taxes was an obligation irrespective of religion.”

    So if they forced the churches to provide contraception it would be okay?

  171. avi says:

    ” Can you tell me one way conservatism is (anti-Jewish)?”

    Do you want one way, or a shopping list?

    A shopping list can be provided, but just to mention 3. 1. Judaism says that leaving Tzedakah up to individuals instead of institutions, is evil. 2. Judaism does not allow a person to go hungry, or to not receive medical care, or to have any burden, just because they can’t afford it right now. 3. Judaism does not believe that the current owner of land has 100% rights to that land until the owner decides to give them up or sell it.

  172. mycroft says:

    “Nachum on March 8, 2012 at 10:27 am
    Yo, Steve. Happy Purim. Insisting that Judaism isn’t conservative or liberal is a favorite trope of yours.”
    It is basic that Yahdus is its own system far from either conservative ideology or liberal ideology.

  173. avi says:

    King David’s genes is interesting, I wonder if there is any reliable information to be found.

  174. joel rich says:

    http://www.yated.com/content.asp?categoryid=7&contentid=588

    An interesting article – for the philosophically oriented look at the end and see where he disagrees (IIUC) with the Chazon Ish on what bitachom really means and for the nostalgic wonder whether the author realized he was channeling Simon and Garfunkel with this line about Esther =A nation turned its lonely eyes to her
    KT

  175. Canuck says:

    Joseph Kaplan – Understanding how society and government works, or should work, is politics. To clarify, I disagree with a tax credit for those who oppose war, because the indirectness of tax payment mitigates the objector’s responsibility; and I oppose tax privileges for politically favored groups. For institutions paying indirectly for contraceptives or abortion or sterilization, through regulated third parties – yes, their payments are somewhat indirect (though less so than taxes), and this reduces their moral responsibility. But, in other cases, workers at institutions are forced to directly provide contraception, sterilization and abortion against their conscience. I know you support Obamacare because you want to help poor people, and that’s admirable. But, Obamacare goes way beyond this, and in the opinion of many, private charity is a more efficient and less corrupting way to do this. You may not realize it, but some power holders are pushing agendas of libertinism, state aggrandizement and crony capitalism; they don’t care about helping the less fortunate; they use the rhetoric of caring to further their agendas. I believe you focused on examples which confirmed your bias. Perhaps if you were to temporarily set aside some political preconceptions, and view the issue with some Da’as Torah, you would come up with new conclusions. Happy Purim.

  176. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Canuck, Happy Purim to you too. Thanks for the discussion; it brings to mind the recent comments by the President of Georgetown U. about how these types of disagreements should be expressed. At this point, though, I think it’s pretty clear where we disagree, so there’s no need to rehash — until next time, that is. :-)

  177. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    joseph k — “So if they forced the churches to provide contraception it would be okay?”

    it would be legal. a political decision was made. but if an exception was made, it leads to such issues.

    if peyote were legalized for some group, it would lead to similar issues. ditto war tax exemption, etc. (though war tax has the “havla’ah argument canuk cites.)

    2. regarding scientology tax deduction, see http://www.nysun.com/national/judges-press-irs-on-church-tax-break/70957/ (only cause you would want a citation.)

    as for st johns, i erred. it was a vice pres position, not a student council pres (making the argument even stronger), and the citation is http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I94_0118.htm. same arguments.

    3. the reasonable consent to sublet is designed to prevent a packaged food store objecting to a restaurant, or similar business arguments. not a political issue of permitting a PP that violates one’s sincerely held beliefs (which i believe is the standard.)

  178. Canuck says:

    Partisan politics isn’t a Jewish value. We live with it, and when necessary we bend over negotiable issues, and sometimes we must refuse. While we need to respect and obey the laws of the land, we should not confuse these laws with Torah. We’re living under Esau’s dominion, whether friendly or not. We should be aware that Jacob’s and Esau’s goals are not the same. Good Shabbos.

  179. IH says:

    MMhY — thanks for the citation to the St. Johns case. Interesting. Unfortunately, though, it not only doesn’t support MiMedinat HaYam on March 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm, it disproves it. [See in particular the 2 paragraphs starting with “Matter of Klein…”]

  180. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “as for st johns, i erred. it was a vice pres position, not a student council pres (making the argument even stronger), and the citation is http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I94_0118.htm. same arguments.”

    IH beat me to it, both in thanking MMHY for providing the citation to the St. Johns case and in stating that the case –which is based on an analysis of an exemption in a discrimination statute — does not in any way support the constitutional freedom of religion arguments being made regarding the contraception issue. At best it’s irrelevant; at worst, as IH argues, it can be used against the Catholics’ arguments regarding the contraception issue.

  181. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    see http://www.ewtn.com/library/ACADEMIC/CATHACAD.HTM section on “discrimination”. (refred by the wikipedia on st johns u.)

    essentially, decided on other grounds, but the argument stands.

  182. mycroft says:

    “and in the opinion of many, private charity is a more efficient and less corrupting way to do this”

    would never work see the following:

    “defined as rich in the current debate over the Bush tax cuts — individuals earning over $200,000 and couples with revenues over $250,000. For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous. A number of other studies have shown that lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans. In 2001, Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving, found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes; those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

    This situation is perplexing if you think of it in terms of dollars and cents: the poor, you would assume, don’t have resources to spare, and the personal sacrifice of giving is disproportionately large. The rich do have money to spend. Those who itemize receive a hefty tax break to make charitable donations, a deduction that grows more valuable the higher they are on the income scale. And the well-off are presumed to have at least a certain sense of noblesse oblige. Americans pride themselves on their philanthropic tradition, and on the role of private charity, which is much more developed here than it is in Europe, where the expectation is that the government will care for the poor.

    But in the larger context of “the psychological culture of wealth versus poverty,” says Paul K. Piff, a Ph.D. candidate in social psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, the paradox makes sense. Piff has made a specialty of studying those cultures in his lab at the Institute of Personality and Social Research, most recently in a series of experiments that tested “lower class” and “upper class” subjects (with earnings ranging from around $15,000 to more than $150,000 a year) to see what kind of psychological factors motivated the well-known differences in their giving behaviors. His study, written with Michael W. Kraus and published online last month by The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that lower-income people were more generous, charitable, trusting and helpful to others than were those with more wealth. They were more attuned to the needs of others and more committed generally to the values of egalitarianism.

    “Upper class” people, on the other hand, clung to values that “prioritized their own need.” And, he told me this week, “wealth seems to buffer people from attending to the needs of others.” Empathy and compassion appeared to be the key ingredients in the greater generosity of those with lower incomes. And these two traits proved to be in increasingly short supply as people moved up the income spectrum.

    This compassion deficit — the inability to empathetically relate to others’ needs — is perhaps not so surprising in a society that for decades has seen the experiential gap between the well-off and the poor (and even the middle class) significantly widen. The economist Frank Levy diagnosed such a split in his book “The New Dollars and Dreams: American Incomes and Economic Change,” published in the midst of the late-1990s tech boom. “The welfare state,” Levy wrote, “rests on enlightened self-interest in which people can look at beneficiaries and reasonably say, ‘There but for the grace of God. . . .’ As income differences widen, this statement rings less true.” A lack of identification with those in need may explain in part why a 2007 report from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that only a small percentage of charitable giving by the wealthy was actually going to the needs of the poor; instead it was mostly directed to other causes — cultural institutions, for example, or their alma maters — which often came with the not-inconsequential payoff of enhancing the donor’s status among his or her peers.”

    from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22FOB-wwln-t.html

  183. mycroft says:

    Re all yichus claims were all descended from essentially everyone see the following from link to King David Genes ” But if there was, the likelihood is that the vast majority of Jews would descend from King David. “Since it is 3,000-plus years since David, there is at least an 80 percent chance that any Jew is a direct descendant of King David,” says Yale University statistician Joseph Chang in a 1999 article in Advances in Applied Probability.

    Explains Jeffrey S. Malka, a retired physician, genealogist and author of Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World: “We all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on. In just a few centuries we have more ancestors than there existed people in the world. Certainly more than there were Jews in the world. How could that be? Because many of these ancestors are the same people re-appearing in different places. It also means that we are all related to each other—and in this context—we are all descended from some branch of King David!”

    Malka adds that this is why many genealogists frown on doing genealogy just to prove one is related to someone famous. “One can always find a relationship to anyone if that is the goal including relationship to Queen Victoria or King David,” he says. “For instance, genetic studies have shown that, because of their smaller genome spectrum and history, the farthest any two living Ashkenazi Jews are related to each other is fifth cousins.”

    Chaim Luria estimates that there are 80 million people who are related to King David today. These include the royal families of England and Europe, who claim to be the descendants of the Jewish kings of Narbonne, who are said to have intermarried with Europe’s aristocracy, infusing the nobility of France, Flanders, Scotland and England with Davidic blood. Continents away, the Imperial Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia claimed Davidic descent through the Queen of Sheba. But says Luria: “The majority of people descended from King David don’t even know it.””

  184. IH says:

    There is one biblical yichus for which we do have supporting scientific evidence — it also provides a way to think about what Mycroft describes — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Aaron

  185. Nachum says:

    Every genealogy I’ve seen attributing descent to David usually contains a broken line or the like with a notation along the lines of “known to be X generations from the Tosfot Yom Tov [it seems like half the Ashkenazi world is descended from him] and/or the Maharal, who, as is known, was X generations from Rashi, who, as is known, was X generations from Yochanan Ha-Sandlar, who, as is known, was X generations from Hillel, who, as is known, was X generations from David.” None of those “as is knowns” are ever listed. I wonder if the Ethiopians can, not that it would be trustworthy anyway. Of course, it’s never mentioned that it’s not the House of Hillel that’s important- female descent- but the Reishei Galuta, not that they are reliable either.

    It’s also funny that there are so many Ashkenazim when you’d expect it to be more among Sephardim.

    Kohanim who’ve claimed to have some sort of chart going back to the Second (or First) Bayit have always offered the line that it was “lost in the war.” OK…

  186. Nachum says:

    Oh, one more thing- “Jewish kings of Narbonne”? The who what now?

  187. mycroft says:

    “regarding scientology tax deduction,”
    The Sklars made an interesting argument which although finally losing for extraneous reasons was treated very seriously -they only tried to deduct the cost of religious studies not the cost of secular education. They stated correctly that learning is as much a commandment as prayer. Ultimately they lost on different grounds that the Yeshiva would bar the door wo payment of tuition the church/synagogue does not bar the door to non memebers-thus if a synagogue /church would bar the door to non members -membership to those institutions would not be deductible either.

  188. mycroft says:

    Re Genetics and Cohen and Levi see the following from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Aaron

    “More recent research, using a larger number of Y-STR markers to gain higher resolution more specific genetic signatures, has indicated that about half of contemporary Jewish Kohanim, who share Y-chromosomal haplogroup J1c3 (also called J-P58), do indeed appear to be very closely related. A further approximately 15% of Kohanim fall into a second distinct group, sharing a different but similarly tightly related ancestry. This second group fall under haplogroup J2a (J-M410). A number of other smaller lineage groups are also observed. Only one of these haplogroups could indicate ancestry from Aaron…….A similar investigation was made with men who consider themselves Levites. Whereas the priestly Kohanim are considered descendants of Aaron, who in turn was a descendant of Levi, son of Jacob, the Levites (a lower rank of the Temple) are considered descendants of Levi through other lineages. Levites should also therefore share common Y-chromosomal DNA.

    The investigation of Levites found high frequencies of multiple distinct markers, suggestive of multiple origins for the majority of non-Aaronid Levite families. One marker, however, present in more than 50% of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish Levites points to a common male ancestor or very few male ancestors within the last 2000 years for many Levites of the Ashkenazi community. This common ancestor belonged to the haplogroup R1a1 which is typical of Eastern Europeans or West Asians, rather than the haplogroup J of the Cohen modal haplotype, and most likely lived at the time of the Ashkenazi settlement in Eastern Europe,[5][44][45], and thus was not really a Levite.”

  189. NACHUM:

    “Oh, one more thing- “Jewish kings of Narbonne”? The who what now?”

    see arthur zuckerman’s book on the the jewish princedom of southern france (originally a phd written under baron at columbia, but i think it is generally dismissed)

  190. IH says:

    Regarding unwanted babies. the current Economist has this interesting story: http://www.economist.com/node/21549984

  191. avi says:

    ““We all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on. In just a few centuries we have more ancestors than there existed people in the world. Certainly more than there were Jews in the world. How could that be?”

    That is just the bad math of someone who doesn’t really take the question seriously.

    Most families were close knit, with closeish cousins marrying each other. And that would have been even more true with “royal” families. I doubt 80% are related to King David, unless you are willing to accept related by marriage alone. As in, The brother of someone who is married to a descendant of king David. That brother, is not “in the line” to King David, even if people would like him to be.

    The information might be hard to gather, but it is not impossible.

    Also, for Levites, we should be looking for 24 groups of families, not just 1 common ancestor. They were not as strict as Kohanim as to whom they could bring into their Tribe.

  192. IH says:

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new_york/emerging_neighborhood_watch

    “First, Harlem. Now, the Bowery. Chabad’s outposts suggest where Jews are heading as gentrification marches on.”

  193. Charlie Hall says:

    ” I believe the Catholics are going to take this issue to court.”

    They already did, and they lost.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I06_0127.htm

  194. Charlie Hall says:

    “in the opinion of many, private charity is a more efficient and less corrupting way to do this”

    There were approximately 50 million uninsured Americans prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and an average cost of health insurance of approximately $5,000 per person. Do the arithmetic and you have $250 billion — except that the uninsured are disproportionately the uninsurable, so this is a lowball estimate.

    The grand total of all contributions to every United Way agency in the United States is a bit over $4 billion a year — and United Way is the largest non-religious charity in the US. In fact, the total of all charitable giving in the United States, including gifts to schools, hospitals, social service organizations, and religious organizations, is about $290 billion.

    Basically, the opinion that charity can provide for the uninsured is not based in reality.

  195. Charlie Hall says:

    “Perhaps if you were to temporarily set aside some political preconceptions, and view the issue with some Da’as Torah, you would come up with new conclusions.”

    Rabbi. Dr. Moshe D. Tendler stated a few years ago that universal health insurance was a Torah imperative. Has he changed his position?

  196. Nachum says:

    Avi, you wrote:

    “Most families were close knit, with closeish cousins marrying each other. And that would have been even more true with “royal” families. I doubt 80% are related to King David, unless you are willing to accept related by marriage alone. As in, The brother of someone who is married to a descendant of king David. That brother, is not “in the line” to King David, even if people would like him to be.”

    Marriages produce kids; other people marry those kids. This is especially true when people no longer remember their “special” ancestry. And even when they do: How many kohanim do you know who are married to bat kohanim? Probably the same percentage as in society in general.

    In any event, the math is simple: It doesn’t matter how many cousins marry each other; unless you’re dealing with a huge amount of cousin marriage (Arabs, Pakistanis, etc. for large populations; Chassidic rebbes and Samaritans for tiny ones; none of these representative of most Jews), over 2000-3000 years, everyone, especially in a relatively small population, will be descended from everyone.

    “The information might be hard to gather, but it is not impossible.”

    It probably is, short of a strand of DNA from a king of Yehuda. Which we may actually find one day…

    “Also, for Levites, we should be looking for 24 groups of families, not just 1 common ancestor. They were not as strict as Kohanim as to whom they could bring into their Tribe.”

    Which *women* they brought in. Male descent still governed, so Leviim should have common Y markers.

  197. Nachum says:

    Charlie:

    1. The Constitution, especially the first and last of the Bill of Rights.

    2. The money.

    3. Our experience with both the incompetence and evil of large governments.

  198. Canuck says:

    Charlie Hall – Perhaps charity won’t be able to fully cover society’s medical bills. But, what obligates me to pay for a stranger’s medical bills, or for her contraceptives or for her abortions?

  199. aiwac says:

    Since we’re back on the Health Care debate, I thought I might share some links I recently came across:

    The myth of Medicare’s low administrative costs:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/06/30/the-myth-of-medicares-low-administrative-costs/

    Why Switzerland has the best health care system:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/04/29/why-switzerland-has-the-worlds-best-health-care-system/

    Expanding Medicaid reduces access to healthcare:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/03/10/new-study-expanding-medicaid-reduces-access-to-health-care/

  200. Canuck says:

    aiwac – Thanks for the links. But, they seem to cover the economics of medicine, which is probably outside the scope of this blog. I was curious if anyone would respond to Charlie Hall’s earlier question, copied below?

    Charlie Hall> Rabbi. Dr. Moshe D. Tendler stated a few years ago that universal health insurance was a Torah imperative. Has he changed his position?

  201. Canuck says:

    Charlie Hall – My point about charity was that it could cover the medical bills of the indigent; I never suggested it could cover all of society’s medical costs, or even just replace Medicaid and Medicare in the US!

  202. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    charlie h — re: the mys case you cited. (i was wondering why that case is not part of the current (not necessarily torah musings, but general) debate).

    i cut and pasted an interesting part of the decision. the nys law gave an exemption to religious corp’s (as defined below) and required ins co’s to offer that coverage at the employee’s cost. but sec sebbelius did not offer that option, she just required “someone” unspecified to pay.

    2. BTW, my hypothetical “church of y” would probably qualify, but additional “discrimination” would be helpful.
    …………………….
    here a religious employer invokes the exemption, the insurer must offer coverage for contraception to individual employees, who may purchase it at their own expense “at the prevailing small group community rate” ( Insurance Law § 3221 [l] [16] [B] [1]; § 4303 [cc] [1] [A]). A “religious employer,” as defined in the statute, is:

    “an entity for which each of the following is true:

    “(a) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity.

    “(b) The entity primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.

    “(c) The entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.

    “(d) The entity is a nonprofit organization as described in Section 6033 (a) (2) (A) i or iii, of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.”

  203. Larry Lennhoff says:

    MiMedinat HaYam – the federal plan allows an exemption for religious organizations such as the Catholic church. What it does not allow an exemption for is Church affiliated organizations such as hospitals and charities. I doubt such organizations would qualify under a) and b) above, and if they did they wouldn’t qualify for Federal grant money. Neither lawyers nor theologians would have to strain very much to claim a and b are true for the sake of their exemption, but false for the sake of their funding, but I think it wouldn’t be a correct decision.

  204. MiMedinat hayam says:

    larry l — i pointed out the intersting provision of nys law, (per the decision excerpt) which requires -certain- employers to offer a conforming plan at marginal cost to the employee. unlike sec sebellius’s propsal (obviously baesd on this excerpt) requiring (unnamed) to pay, but definitely not the employee (which nys does.)

    the “church of y” inculcates its religious values ( = gym and pool)
    and
    the “church of y” primarly employs those who share gym and swim values.

    a) and b) are met.

 
 

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