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Massive Sunday Mobilization for Seagate
At interfaith meet in Jerusalem, a grim picture of Jewish-Protestant relations
Can Reform Judaism Get Its Mojo Back?
Avraham Lincoln Avinu
The Great War’s Jewish Soldiers
E Brown: How can I stay on a board with so many Obama voters?
Rabbinate ordaining associates as rabbis?
Rashbam the Talmudist, Reconsidered
SALT Friday

Haredim Assault Female Firefighter in Mea She’arim
Ancient Scribe Links Qumran Scrolls to Masada
Can Jews Write History?
On Eve of GA, Time for Federations to Wake Up
What If There Were No Jewish Newspapers
R David Zwiebel – Orthodoxy in the Modern World
Judge approves extratdition of dual U.S.-Israeli citizen to Australia on sex abuse charges
Finland’s Jews advised not to wear kippa
SALT Thursday

Yeshivat Maharat: Winds of Change
Hardest-Hit Schools Scrambling To Recover
How I Almost Gave Away a Precious Inheritance From My Father
Berlin shul reopens, reviving community
Reform of Tradition, Tradition of Reform
Heartbeat: My Involuntary Miscarriage and ‘Voluntary Abortion’ in Ohio
The ‘Nachlaot pedophile ring’ — a case of moral panic
SALT Wednesday

Anti-Semitism reaches historic low in US
Sandy’s Aftermath: How Others See Jewish Chesed
Mi K’amcha Baltimore!
Idolatry and injustice: A Jewish appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr
Iowa Court of Appeals rejects Minnesota filmmaker’s appeal of 10-year prison sentence
Can a Women Have a Career and Observant Family?
E Brown: What to do about loose lips?
Israeli civil rights group protests ‘anti-haredi’ policy in Modi’in
51%: Another political murder possible
John McCain on a Shabbos elevator
Archaeologists Find Tomb of Egyptian Princess
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.
 

158 Responses

  1. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    ADL is always minimizing statistics of anti semitism; it shows donating to them is successful, i guess. but when they start with the bullying, they are going into more contriversial territory. if you want a story on bullying, post http://forward.com/articles/165239/rahm-and-ari-emanuel-beat-me-up/ instead. it is more interesting than the egyptian princess story. (but the sen lieberman story is good; the ending is a golden oldie joke, but i like the senator’s twist on the punch line.)

    career and observant family — i saw it as more of a complaint on jewish rituals than on carrer.

  2. JS says:

    I hate to show my ignorance, particularly when commenting on this blog, but what’s the significance of the Tomb of the Egyptian Princess?

  3. Shades of Gray says:

    Link to a Tablet article about the composer Yossie Green, with a video of “Tanya”(I didn’t know the Gemara was “borderline heretical” :) )

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/music/115384/quiet-king-of-orthodox-music?all=1

    Excerpt:

    ” The lyrics were taken from an esoteric aggadah, a legend in Tractate Berachot that relates a somewhat unprecedented anthropomorphic—and borderline heretical—story…This rare Talmudic gem confounded generations of commentators, leading them to sterilize the more controversial yet humane aspects of the tale. Mystics moved the anecdote into the hazy realm of divine emanations allowing true understanding only to the initiated, while rationalists sapped the story of any of its tenderness in churning out a simplistic lesson about the virtue of a righteous life. Green resuscitated the more human component of the legend through his melody of many parts, shifting rhythms, alternating styles, and abundant use of symphonic instruments…Yet, ever attuned to the fluctuations of the religious experience, Green cuts back and forth between the mood of mercy and the mood of judgment, between trembling and rejoicing, to create an experience of the tortuous path of religious life.”

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft and anyone else in the Five Towns area-are you and your families ok? are your homes inhabitable? what can you tell us re damage to the communal infrastructure, etc?

  5. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    I’m with JS. I was wondering also about the relevance of the story of the Iowa Court of Appeals upholding the 10 year sentence, then realized it was intended as an implicit kal ve-homer. By the way, the sentence seems to me to be very excessive, yet another example of the USA’s runaway prosecutorial culture.

  6. emma says:

    The relevance of the iowa story is that the defendant claims antisemitism and I believe has been a “cause” for some frum ppl…

  7. IH says:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4300824,00.html

    “Israel’s chief Sephardic rabbi warns that increased use of pesticides poses serious health risk, recommends buying regular vegetables and cleaning them ‘in the old-fashioned way’”

    What a concept!

  8. emma says:

    But I agree that the actual lesson is not abt jewish but abt the us criminal justice system.

  9. Tal Benschar says:

    I’m with JS. I was wondering also about the relevance of the story of the Iowa Court of Appeals upholding the 10 year sentence, then realized it was intended as an implicit kal ve-homer. By the way, the sentence seems to me to be very excessive, yet another example of the USA’s runaway prosecutorial culture.

    From what I can tell, it is better and worse than you think. Apparently her cohorts only got probation. So it seems that her harsh sentence was a result of her giving an extensive interview wherein she criticized both the prosecutor and judge. That in turn ticked off the judge, who decided to stick it to her. A stupid move on her part, IMO. True, judges are supposed to be above that, but many aren’t.

    (Free advise for anyone who gets involved in the criminal justice system: Keep your mouth shut, other than to say, “I want my lawyer.”)

  10. IH says:

    From what I have seen, her harsh sentance was the result of evidence that her plea was inauthentic.

    This is a known issue of the US plea bargain and parole processes which demand a credible admission of guilt and contrition.

  11. Moshe Shoshan says:

    This thing about R. Amar and bug checking seems to be big news on many levels. However, The actual 10 page tshuva by R Amar does not yet seem to be in circulation.

  12. Scott says:

    That’s an anomaly in the U.S. justice system that’s always bothered me. A criminal defendant gets the benefit of every doubt and of a host of evidentiary and procedural rules as well as constitutional rights. Once convicted, however, all those protections go out the window. The judge can use all kinds of junk evidence to determine the sentence.

    Obviously, the defendant was ill-advised to criticize the judge, but that shouldn’t matter.

  13. Tal Benschar says:

    This thing about R. Amar and bug checking seems to be big news on many levels. However, The actual 10 page tshuva by R Amar does not yet seem to be in circulation.

    How much pesticides are there really in vegetables, both the bug-free and regular? How hard is it to rid them of the pesticides — is simple washing enough? These strike me as pertinent questions.

    (I always thought of the “bug free” vegetables as a convenience rather than a halakhic requirement. OF course, if you run a restaurant and have to serve, say, 200 heads of lettuce a day, then that is a convenience you might want to pay for.)

  14. TAL:

    “I always thought of the “bug free” vegetables as a convenience rather than a halakhic requirement”

    aren’t some vegetables considered impossible to wash/check?

  15. Tal Benschar says:

    “aren’t some vegetables considered impossible to wash/check?”

    Yes, some are. I don’t think those are generally sold in bug free versions.

    What, specifically do you have in mind?

  16. TAL:

    i don’t know if it is impossible, but practically how do you wash dill for example?

  17. Tal Benschar says:

    Here is what the Star-K says about dill:


    Fresh

    Herbs are difficult to check. We, therefore, recommend that only those with insect checking experience perform this procedure.

    Preparation (Optional)

    We recommend soaking in water prior to checking, preferably with mild soap or special veggie wash (such as Tsunami 100).

    Note: When using soap, use only a food grade cleanser that meets all federal, state, and local regulations. The water should have enough soap to make it feel slippery. Wash thoroughly with clean water before checking to remove any soap residue.

    Check

    Agitate in a white bowl of clean water.
    Examine the water to see that it is insect-free.

    Note: It may be helpful to place the white bowl on a light source, such as a light box, to make it easier to detect any insects and distinguish them from bits of debris or detached pieces of herb.
    If it is insect-free, you may use the herb.
    If insects are found, you may redo this procedure up to three times in total. If there are still any insects, the whole batch must be discarded.

    Dried

    Does not have an insect problem.

    Flavor

    If you are only using to flavor soup and no insects are noticed, you may put it in a mesh bag similar to a stocking, seal it, and submerge it in the soup. After cooking, remove the package and discard

    The OU says the following for all herbs:


    HERBS

    Aphids or thrips

    On surface of leaves or stem

    Soak in cold water; add several drops of concentrated, non-scented liquid detergent or vegetable wash; agitate herbs in the water, removing all foreign matter and soap from leaf surface; alternatively, a vegetable brush may be used on both sides of leaf. Check each leaf on both sides under direct light. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.

  18. Former YU says:

    The article about the career and Jewish family was an open call by an allegedly Orthodox person to eliminate men’s obligation from Mitvos aseh she’hazman grama in the name of equality.

    The article makes a lot of sense. You can’t have it all and the way the secular world has delat with this has been my encouraging men to take on more household responsibility. This has happened in the Jewish world as well. There have been studies demonstrating that the current generation of men are much more likely to help around the house with childrearing and other traditionally female tasks.

    What the author points out is that if men have all these mitzva obligations then it is much harder for them to contribute at home to allow their wives to participate fully in the ritual. The refrain would be “When the going gets tough, the men go to shul (or to learn) etc. Many shuls have groups and other youth activities on Shabbos and yomim tovim, but in a typical MO household it would be almost impossible for both parents to go to daily minyan, get the children ready for school and get to work.

    The author solution is highly problematic and in direct contradiction to the Torah. But, it indicates the troublesome mindset of some Orthodox feminists in blurring the line between advancing and encouraging women to particpate in ritual on one hand and treating the performance of those mitzvos by women as necessary religious activities to the same extent as a man. The question is if you can logically say that the ideal religious life for a woman is to participate in ritual to the same extent as a man, but maintain the principled difference between men and women in commandments. The author says no.

  19. Tal Benschar says:

    The links from where I got the last post are:

    http://star-k.org/cons-vegdetail.php?ID=23

    oukosher.org/images/uploads/Bug_Book_FV_chart07.pdf

    Here is another page with various links concerning vegetable kashrus (including terumos and maasros and shemittah issues):

    http://www.kashrut.com/consumer/vegetables/?vm=r

  20. Former YU says:

    It seems like the author is not Orthodox. My mistake. The question remains as a variant of the following: if you claim equality based on modern society’s definition than partnership minyanim are sexist because they do give equal rights to women. It is impossible to make something “more equal”, so either women are equal to men, or there are differences. Once one maintains the distinction between men and women’s religious roles then the rituals promoted by LWMO are arbitrary and almost meaningless from an equality perspective.

  21. Steve Brizel says:

    The article re ADL’s conclusion dealt with what ADL calls “incidents.” One wonders if and when ADL will deal with the manifestation of anti Israel/anti Zionist and anti Semitic comments that have become part and parcel of the atmosphere at some of America’s most influential universities, as opposed to primarily concentrating on looking for swastikas in bathrooms and the like.

  22. ruvie says:

    former yu – ” Once one maintains the distinction between men and women’s religious roles then the rituals…”

    can you delineate those distinctions to those of us that do not know what exactly you are referring to?
    also, can you you tell us who claims ” equality based on modern society’s definition..”?
    i think this has been argued ad nauseam with many straw men/women assertions that do not exist.
    and are these roles – please identify- eternal?

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    Lauren-where was ADL when the PM of Iran Yimach Shmo visited Columbia?

  24. emma says:

    Steve, did you even try to google “adl ahmadinejad columbia” before posting your rhetorical question?

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma-merely issuing press releases condemning the decision to allow such an anti Semite on campus strikes me as somehow insufficient. I think that ADL’s own website acknowledges that anti Semitism and anti Israel sentiment on college campuses is a problem that they are monitoring, but which they need to consider whether the same constitutes a possible civil rights violation. I question whether tenured radicals who use their classrooms for such comments and POVs intimidate students who subscribe to other and different POVs.

  26. IH says:

    The comments from Former YU above prompt me to share the link for the recording of the recent R. Sperber lecture “Why Modern Orthodoxy is True Orthodoxy” hosted at the JC for the American Friends of Bar-Ilan: http://www.biuny.com/biu-news/rabbi-sperbers-why-modern-orthodoxy-is-true-orthodoxy-lecture

    They have chunked the lecture into 4 videos by topic, one of which is the status of women within Orthodoxy.

  27. STEVE:

    “which they need to consider whether the same constitutes a possible civil rights violation”

    hate speech in general (with various exceptions) is actually constitutionally protected. the lawywes here can weigh in, but unless ahmadinejad (sp?) got up and in his speech that day called on those in attendance to riot and kill jews, adl had little legal recourse. in general and specifically as a civil rights violation.

  28. STEVE:

    don’t get me wrong. ftr i think every possible pressure should have been brought to bear on columbia to cancel the speech. but the arugment really is a moral one, not a legal one.

  29. Former you says:

    Ruvie,

    1) even partnership minyanim do not permit women to lead all parts of davening. Thus By definition they promote inequality between the sexes and different religious roles. Another example would be dayanim. Women are disqualified from acting as judges in Halacha. My point is that once men and women are Not equal then it is arbitrary to fight over how “unequal” they are.

    2) the modern viewpoint on equality is that there are no roles or jobs that are unsuitable for either a man or a woman. Men and women can be fighter pilots, judges, stay at home parents, nurses, doctors, etc. My point was that no matter how LW one is, if you follow Halacha you believe that woman may not fulfill certain religious roles and therefore do not have equal opportunity.

    3) to the extent they are halachik, the different roles are eternal.

  30. Reb Yid says:

    abba’s rantings: I don’t think the possible civil rights violation was Ahmadinejad’s speech, but rather the hostile atmosphere on campuses generally. Intimidating someone out of their ability to obtain an education because of their political beliefs could very easily be a civil rights violation. So if students are afraid to walk on campus without being taunted or afraid to take their eyes off the desk without being attacked by the professor, these are legal issues that the ADL can (and is) rightfully pursuing.

  31. Ruvie says:

    Former you(or YU)- 1. Where do you find anyone demanding full equality – as oppose to permit to what is permitted ( which can be debated on halakhic grounds). Hence, a straw women that doesn’t exist. Would you like to go back 1,000 years to what women can and cannot do – like leave the house?
    2. You confuse ritual roles with other roles in society. Why do you conflate the two?
    3. The devil is in the details. What is eternal? Why limit yourself to the extent they are halachkic? Too liberal – lets go back to our tradition – whatever it is or was.

  32. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Steve,
    What do you have against the ADL? its run by a frum right winger. Is it that they promote civil rights for other people as well?

  33. emma says:

    “My point is that once men and women are Not equal then it is arbitrary to fight over how “unequal” they are. ”

    I agree that this is true intellectually but it turns out that for many women there are apparently serious “nachas ruach” differences between different levels of inequality.

  34. Former YU says:

    Ruvie,

    You obviously missed the point. I know that no one in the Orthodox community is demanding full equality. The question is:

    Why should ritual roles be different? Once we (meaning the Orthodox community) all agree that ritual roles are different for men and women then we are acknowledging some distinction between the roles of men and women. In my opinion, the question from that article is very apparent. Should we limit that distinction between men and women to ritual and how do we determine the areas where men and women should have different roles?

    I see two possible general answers to this question.

    One answer is that ideally the roles are different in areas other than ritual (i.e. women should play the role of homemaker) but, nebach, because of certain realities of modern society we need to adjust the role of women for both (i) economic reasons and (ii) because women will be enticed by the opportunities presented by secular society if we do not provide them some form of education. This approach will prefer women retain their traditional role in ritual and other areas if possible. Our rabbis with great knowledge of the Torah will guide us as to when we should alter women’s role for one of the 2 reasons stated above.

    The other answer is that logic dictates that ideally men and women should have equal roles in all realms and to the extent permitted by halacha we should pursue that goal, but, nebach, the rabbis of the past 2000 years have been influenced by the secular society around them and have perverted the true halacha in order to limit the role of women to fit their limited conception of the female that have no place in Judaism. BH some rabbis have shed themselves of this negative mindset and with a return to the halachik sources have found that the Torah does not limit the role of women as much as traditionally practiced and believed. As to the inevitable distinctions that remain due to halacha we must accept them as a decree of the ribbono shel olam. We cannot explain why men are obligated to do the mitzvos and women are not obligated, or why a women can read the torah (according to a few rabbis) but cannot lead chazaras hashatz etc., but we believe b’emuna sheleima in HKBH and accept his gezeira. We will follow our rabbis as they guide us with their knowledge of the Torah to determine the ratzon of HKBH in order to filter out halacha the influence of those rabbis from the past 2000 years who have limited the role of women in Judaism due to the influence of the society around them.

  35. IH says:

    Former YU — The fact is that some Orthodox women are not content with the status quo and finding opportunities within halacha to worship God in a more fulfilling manner to them.

    Why does this frighten you so much that you need to construct strawmen to tear down? Do you have some chiddush in apologetics that has not been previously floated?

    Have a listen to R. Sperber (as linked above).

  36. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “So if students are afraid to walk on campus without being taunted or afraid to take their eyes off the desk without being attacked by the professor, these are legal issues that the ADL can (and is) rightfully pursuing.”

    Perhaps. But that’s certainly not true at Columbia which is where Ahmadinejad spoke.

  37. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “The other answer is that logic dictates that ideally men and women should have equal roles in all realms and to the extent permitted by halacha we should pursue that goal, but, nebach, the rabbis of the past 2000 years have been influenced by the secular society around them and have perverted the true halacha in order to limit the role of women to fit their limited conception of the female that have no place in Judaism.”

    What many MO who participate in partnership minyanim think is what you have written up to the “but.” It’s not a question of nebech or perverted; the issue is that if halacha says w can’t do something then we can’t do it but if it doesn’t say “no” then whether we do it or not is based on other factors including the influence of the surrounding society.

  38. IH says:

    Jay Michaelson make’s a point in today’s Forward about politics, but can be applied to many a discussion here:

    “Hawkish Jews talk excitedly to one another like college students on Facebook, unaware that the people they’ve blocked from their news feed are more numerous than they are, and more informed than they think. They watch Hawkish media, read Hawkish books, and actually believe that there is a right-wing consensus in their community. After all, who doesn’t agree with Dan Senor?”

  39. joel rich says:

    r’jk,
    as avi mori zll’hh used to tell me, just because you are permitted to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. IMHO that’s what the debate is about – how does orthodoxy decide if something is a good idea.
    KT

  40. joel rich says:

    r’IH,
    wadr one could easily replace hawkish with liberal, right with left and Dan Senor with Rachel Maddow and have an equally true statement
    KT

  41. IH says:

    R’ Joel — absolutely, however, except for the statistical tails I do not hear left-of-center Jews de-legitimize and demonize more right-wing voices.

  42. IH says:

    (and let’s keep any discussion within the context of Orthodoxy)

  43. IH says:

    as avi mori zll’hh used to tell me, just because you are permitted to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    R’ Joel — come to Darkhei Noam one Shabbat and see for yourself.

  44. Former YU says:

    Joseph,

    Your response did not negate what I wrote after the “but” and nebach”. Yes, one can explore halacha to find more expansive roles. My point is that (assuming one is l’shem shamayim and feels bound by halacha and the Torah) doing so is in effect making the following two statements.

    1) It is a “but” or a “nebach” because the approach of the rabbis for many years was misguided and misinformed and not as “advanced” as it could have been. Those rabbis were limiting the role of women due to the prevailing winds in secular society. BH society has progressed to where we no longer belive that women should be limited in their role and the rabbis have followed by expanding the role of women to its proper position.

    2) Following the second approach also declares that by the standard of modern Western Society with whose values in this area we concur, the Torah’s treatment of women is inherently unfair and unequal since it gives women separate ritual roles, but because the omnipotent creator said so, we will follow him blindly since we must follow him even in the laws that do not make sense and mistreat other people.

  45. Rafael Araujo says:

    “What many MO who participate in partnership minyanim think is what you have written up to the “but.” It’s not a question of nebech or perverted; the issue is that if halacha says w can’t do something then we can’t do it but if it doesn’t say “no” then whether we do it or not is based on other factors including the influence of the surrounding society.”

    I have yet to see that. So far, it appears that the road to progression and full equality is full steam ahead on the left. Of course, maybe I missed a statement out there. If would appreciate if you could provide me with some left-wingers who say publicly “full stop”.

  46. Rafael Araujo says:

    Re Rabbi Sperber’s lecture: so he believes that MO is not as much of a modern construct, and response to issues raised by the societal changes in western society in the past 250 years as right-wing Orthodoxy is?

    A few years ago another commentator admitted to me that Dr. Chaim Soloveitchik admitted that LWMO is as committed to textual based/non-mimetic tradition solutions as the right. You can argue both rely solely on pouring through texts upon which to struture their lives.

  47. joel rich says:

    r’IH,
    Thanks for the invitation, the good idea question would first require a definition of parameters against which to evaluate.
    KT

  48. IH says:

    R’ Joel — as you’ve correctly summarized many a time: change happens through a dance between the rabbinate and the amcha. That is what is happening in this case and the amcha side in this dance is becoming more confident and more successful month by month.

  49. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    re: columbia and other colleges — if you have a professor who advocates anti semitism (under the guise of anti israelism) do you have a right for another prof to determine (not just “review” after the fact) your grades? or must you pass on that course / class, as students are told?

    (no, not personal experience. but i am told some O jews have no problem with some of the accused professors, some even like them.)

    ADl run by right winger? try again; he publicly left CBY cause the rabbi is too pro israel. (controversial, maybe.)

    10 year sentence — this is one of the charedi publicized cases, a la another iowa case. but there are no congregational interns to make a mi sheberach for her, like there are for the other iowa case. in actual fact, she seems to have a good case, but lawyers have a tendency to urge plea bargains.

  50. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “just because you are permitted to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.”

    Of course. But that’s what the debate should be about and not whether those advocating the changes are leaving Orthodoxy.

  51. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “the approach of the rabbis for many years was misguided and misinformed and not as “advanced” as it could have been.”

    You keep using negative words that you try to put in the mouths of those advocating change. But while you might think that “misguided and misinformed” are a proper description, many who support greater participation of women do not. Rather, they aren’t judging the past; it may have been the right thing in their time, maybe not. But w/o denigrating those in the past, people can advocate change , w/in halacha, now. And that’s what many are doing.

  52. ruvie says:

    Former YU – i think your point (not missed,btw) were:

    1.”Once one maintains the distinction between men and women’s religious roles then the rituals promoted by LWMO are arbitrary and almost meaningless from an equality perspective”

    2. “My point is that once men and women are Not equal then it is arbitrary to fight over how “unequal” they are.”

    3.”Should we limit that distinction between men and women to ritual and how do we determine the areas where men and women should have different roles?”
    4. to JK -” because the approach of the rabbis for many years was misguided and misinformed and not as “advanced” as it could have been. ” or

    “standard of modern Western Society with whose values in this area we concur, the Torah’s treatment of women is inherently unfair and unequal ”

    1-2. false statement – they are NOT arbitrary. they are not meaningless because the change(s) is what many women desire/want for themselves on a spiritual and/or other levels. the search is not for equality for the sake of equality. its a false straw women – from what i see and know.

    3. for what reasons would you expand the restriction what women can do? are you advocating that women- for some nebulous meta halakhic notion – should be limiting their desires and fulfillments of their talents? should their potential be negated. a surprising hava amina.

    4. in your answers to JK you attempt to explain reality with apologetics of sorts to rabbinic reasoning. you are neglecting the history of halacha. rabbis do not change common practice or innovate when not asked to. there always a dance between the needs of the people and rabbinic consent over time. there is an intuitive acceptance by religious people that either is accepted or rejected over time by the rabbis. the difference today is that change happens rapidly in our society of the last 100 plus years as oppose to previous times. torah is eternal but the application of torah – halacha- can and has changed over time. we do not need to explain ratzon hashem – for the divine is unknowable. halacha evolves and is not static – we can see outside influences thru the ages (and effects on halacha) and we dance with that tension all the time. the issue is how we dance and what becomes accepted.

  53. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe Shoshan wrote:

    “Steve,
    What do you have against the ADL? its run by a frum right winger. Is it that they promote civil rights for other people as well?”

    Are you contending that Abraham Foxman meets that description?

  54. Former YU says:

    Joseph,
    I am curious to hear your answers to the questions you present.

    Do you feel the changes are only appropriate now, but were not appropriate in the past? Are both approaches equally appropriate in today’s age? Or perhaps the new approach to women’s issues was actually appropriate in the past, but we were not sophisticated enough to recognize the proper aproach?

    What has changed? Do changes in society dictate the ideal way to serve G-d? Which time period is better? Has G-d’s preference changed over time?

  55. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “R’ Joel — absolutely, however, except for the statistical tails I do not hear left-of-center Jews de-legitimize and demonize more right-wing voices”

    In the political realm, you can read Left of center media and invariably find views of the RW that refuse to entertain the merits of their arguments. The NYT, and MSNBC are loaded with such POVs.

  56. ruvie says:

    Rafael Araujo- “LWMO is as committed to textual based/non-mimetic tradition solutions as the right.”

    isn’t all change by definition non mimetic tradition. see below on feminism and ideology.

    Feminism and Heresy: The Construction of a Jewish Metanarrative
    By Adam S. Ferziger
    Oxford University Press, September 2009

    Women have, for hundreds of years, been associated with heresy. Orthodox Jewish feminism today is a pressing issue, as women’s learning and public leadership has increased dramatically in recent decades; however, the majority of these developments are seen as “absolutely illegitimate” efforts that “pose grave danger” to traditional practice. The author explores the anti-feminist outlook of the prominent Rabbi Hershel (Zvi) Schachter, placing it in a broader historical and sociological Jewish landscape. This example serves as a case study for how the rise of feminism within contemporary religious life has engendered original theological responses and strategies not only among its supporters and ideologues, but among the “guardians” of the various religious traditions as well.

  57. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie-Dr Ferziger’s articles re community kollelim are must reading. IMO, Dr Ferziger’s views re RHS are incorrect, to use a generous adjective.

    I am amazed at how the subject of women in halacha tends to be regurgitated at the slightest instance on this blog in an almost obsessional and oh so predictable manner. Let me pose the following observation-Last Shabbos, KGH had refugees from the Five Towns, Teaneck, Jamaica Estates and Passaic due to the enormous havoc caused by Sandy. A FEMA rep in the Five Towns described the scene as resembling what he had seen in Afganistan during his service there. There has been huge losses to our communal infrastructure ( shuls, yeshivos) and people have lost their homes and their contents, including their family momentos, sefarim and clothing. Yet, the most important and pressing issue on this blog remains women and halacha.

  58. IH says:

    Steve — I agree with you. I don’t understand why the radical anti-feminists keep raising the issue!

  59. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-Who raised the issue recently-the decidedly not Orthodox authors of the linked article in the Forward. The obsessional nature of the issue is raised by LW MO , whose all too predicatable arguments generate similarly predictable reactions from those of us who have severe reservations as to the merits of the same. Given the facts on the ground in the Five Towns right now, IMO, the prolonged discussion on the issue on this blog is simply an inappropriate topic for discussion, which I don’t intend to add to, in the face of far greater communal and individual needs.

  60. Joseph Kaplan says:

    FYU, I don’t know the answer to your question about the past. But as to what has changed, here are a few things: higher education (secular and Jewish) for women; women doctors and Supreme Court justices, and governors, and Ivy League college presidents, and doctors and and and.

  61. IH says:

    Steve — Gil posted an article to which Former YU responded. And most recently the discussion was fueled by Gil’s decision to post pieces by R. Broyde and R. Davidovich.

    Perhaps the time has come to tone down the anti-feminist rhetoric and the divisiveness it sows.

  62. HAGTBG says:

    Steve, it took you 33 minutes from complaining about people talking about women in Orthodoxy at a time like this to talk about women in Orthodoxy at a time like this while still complaining.

  63. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “LW MO , whose all too predicatable arguments generate similarly predictable reactions from those of us who have severe reservations as to the merits of the same.”

    Applies to the predictable arguments by the RWMO (like you) as well. And if it’s all so predictable and inappropriate, why do you continue to “add to it,” intended or not)?

  64. Steve Brizel says:

    HAGTBG and Joseph Kaplan-reread my 3:10 PM point. First of all, while I commented on R Davidovich and R Broyde’s pieces, I didn’t respond and/or add to the Forward piece which prompted the most recent go around. My point was very simple-regardless of our differing POVs on the issue of halacha and women and whether feminism and its demands can or should be satisfied without bending Halacha and Mesorah like a pretzel to accomodate the feminist critique, IMO, is simply IMO an inapppropriate topic subject for discussion when there is an Es Tzarah on the ground. I really don’t have the time, energy or desire to participate in the same when Jewish communities within driving range, as opposed to either within flying range, have to be rebuilt, in no small measure, from the ground up.

  65. Former YU says:

    Joseph,

    You haven’t answered my question. Obviously those things have changed. All sides have acknowledged that and my post at 11:14am presented what I see as the 2 possible philosophical approaches to addressing the very real changes you listed in your post at 3:45pm.

    My question was that if you take the approach that modern society’s approach to the role of women is better, do you feel that the approach taken by rabbi’s for the last 2000 years was misguided or misinformed or has G-d’s preferred role for women changed? If it has changed, what has caused G-d to change his desire?

  66. Joseph Kaplan says:

    FYU,I did answer your question: I said I don’t know if what the rabbis of yore did was right for their times or if they should have been leaders in changing the role of women. I also try to follow the rule of not speaking for God so II can;t speak to whether his preferred role for women or his desire has changed. Perhaps he has no one, inflexible “preferred role”; perhaps his desire is that his preferred role for women depends on the times and circumstances.

  67. ruvie says:

    Former YU – your issue is not women and halacha rather the evolution and change in halacha in general. substitute slavery for women and you have the same issue. do you think hashem prefers or finds it acceptable that men own other people and trade them like cattle?

    you now focus on questionable potential philosophical reasoning regarding rabbis (like it is some binary either or proposition). you never answered the details of “different eternal roles” ?

  68. Former YU says:

    I did not ask you speak for G-d, but we do try to determine his will and follow it, so I asked what you believe G-d wants. You begin to answer my question with your last sentence that perhaps G-d’s desire is that the role of women should change based on time and circumstance. This is undoubtedly true in many areas. Some examples of Torah laws that offend our modern sensibilities are those of slavery and bigamy.

    Ruvie,

    Hashem definitely finds both slavery and bigamy acceptable in certain circumstances (though not in our time and circumstance), which is why they are permitted in the Torah, but nothing in the Torah indicates that they are ever preferred. However, the Torah does clearly eternally prefer men and women have separate roles to some degree, as indicated by the inability of a women to be shaliach tzibbur, lead bentching for men and other rituals. Thus, you must admit that there is a fundamental distinction in the religious roles of men and women.

  69. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested, see R B Weins’ forceful rejection of those who would assert theodicy and reductionist logic to current events
    http://www.rabbiwein.com/blog/post-1405.html?utm_source=Copy+of++Weekly+Newsletter+Email+-+Parshat+Vayera+5773+&utm_campaign=Weekly+Parsha&utm_medium=email

  70. Steve Brizel says:

    R B Weins’ forceful rejection of those who would assert theodicy and reductionist logic to current events
    http://www.rabbiwein.com/blog/post-1405.html?utm_source=Copy+of++Weekly+Newsletter+Email+-+Parshat+Vayera+5773+&utm_campaign=Weekly+Parsha&utm_medium=email

  71. IH says:

    Steve — Given your often literal reading of TSBP, how do you wave away B. Shabbat 32a-33a which is quite explicit in tying events to committed sins? Don’t the people “who would assert theodicy and reductionist logic to current events” have a textual basis for their views?

  72. ruvie says:

    Former YU- “but we do try to determine his will and follow it, so I asked what you believe G-d wants”

    can you give examples where we try to determine his will and then follow it via halacha (when not specifically stated)?

    “acceptable in certain circumstances (though not in our time and circumstance)” – how do you know that hashem would object to it in our time? are you assuming whatever the halacha is equals to hashem’s will? where do we see that slavery is assur al pi halacha (bigamy we have rabbeinu gershon)? why should our modern values (of freedom and human rights) affect our jewish value of allowing slavery? if you argue western values of women’s rights and equality should not determine or influence jewish values with regards to women and halacha then it applies to all of torah – why are you so arbitrary as you claim lwmo are about equality (in reference to women and davening)?

  73. ruvie says:

    Former YU – ” the Torah does clearly eternally prefer men and women have separate roles to some degree, as indicated by the inability of a women to be shaliach tzibbur, lead bentching for men and other rituals.”

    interesting that you refer to rabbinic ideas that are not in the torah to show torah’s separate roles. why not just say that since hashem states in bresheit that man will rule over women that women have no rights al pi hahsem. can never order a man to do anything and her rights subject to his whim? ah, the problem of philosophizing about hashem’s intent even with his own words. remember – “lo bashemayim hee” is proof that we do not always follow hashem’s will in halacha – we follow his torah and the process given to us.

    just like a yisroel cannot do all the things a kohen can do in the mikdash and other parts of life so too women can do some of things that men can do but some things they are not commanded and are not mezuvah. still waiting for the sources and definition of what is eternal? what are hashem’s wishes – oh to divine the divine.

  74. Joseph Kaplan says:

    ” the Torah does clearly eternally prefer men and women have separate roles to some degree, as indicated by the inability of a women to be shaliach tzibbur, lead bentching for men and other rituals.”

    Right, and those differences are binding. Otherwise, it’s up to us to determine what is best, keeping in mind Joel Rich’s comment that just because it’s permitted doesn’t mean it should be done.

  75. Anonymous says:

    “(and let’s keep any discussion within the context of Orthodoxy)”

    IH-

    We’ve been down this road to no where before, and it aways ends in the the same place:

    http://torahmusings.com/2012/07/news-links-101/comment-page-1/#comments

    http://torahmusings.com/2012/06/news-links-99/comment-page-6/#comments

    Given that you consider Steven Greenberg Orthodox, it’s essentially meaningless to have this disscussion with you. If the Amcha goes gay, (or any other form of adultery,) they’re Orthodox. Ditto for abortion , euthanasia or anything else…

    You have yet to give anything resembling an objective defintion of O, nor have you explained why these people shouldn’t consider themselves C given that it has it’s maalos too..

  76. Anonymous says:

    See also: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/07/30/conservative-judaism-intellectually-untethered/

    “Schechter’s program of reform was modest, not involving halacha (Jewish law) ,… , he thought halacha could adapt and change, he thought this should only be done by what he termed Catholic Israel, i.e. the Jewish People as a whole not by some segment or denomination.

    ….

    In any case … Schechter did not seek to found a new denomination though he established a unified set of followers amongst his students and his students largely followed him in this. It was the generation of rabbis that succeeded Schechter’s students that were completely comfortable with founding a new movement, situated between Reform and Orthodox. It was only then that the Conservative Movement took upon itself the authority to make legal rulings on its own.

    In 1949, the Rabbinical Assembly rejected the resolution that the newly renamed Committee on Jewish Law and Standards “hold itself bound by the authority of Jewish law and within the frame of Jewish law.” Instead, it adopted a vague resolution that the committee should be involved in “raising of the standards of piety, understanding, and participation in Jewish life.” In 1950 the committee ruled that driving on the Sabbath to synagogue was permissible, as was the use of electricity to enhance Sabbath observance. (Traditionally, making a fire is one of the tasks forbidden on the Sabbath and electricity and automobile ignition both involve this.)

    It seems a long way from turning on a light on the Sabbath to homosexual marriage, and indeed it is. But, as Dr. Cohen points out, Schechter developed no clear guidelines or methodology for determining what was changeable in halacha and what was not; nor, so far as I am aware, did Frankel nor has Conservative Judaism. It seems to me that, absent this, any religious movement, regardless of its rhetoric and sentiment, substantively untethers itself from the intellectual discipline of religious tradition and easily becomes prey to whimsy, faddishness, or simply adopting the values of the greater society in which it finds itself. (Conservative Judaism remains a largely diaspora phenomenon.)”

    IH- What diffrentiates your beliefs/positions from a traditional Conservative???

    Please be clear.

  77. IH says:

    RSP on Yisrael Hayom as unfair competition?

    “it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool.”

    No, it’s his take on why 52.4% of the American Public voted to re-elect Presidemt Obama :-) http://rabbipruzansky.com/2012/11/07/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-american-empire/ (ht: Starwolf)

  78. SM says:

    I don’t know how RSP can write the way he does. Forget about insulting members of his own congregation who voted for Obama, isn’t a rabbi supposed to be non-partisan in his public persona?

  79. anon says:

    Rabbi Pruzansky attacks today’s immigrants for being different from those a hundred years ago, because today they come from the “Third World” and “don’t share our values” and therefore the Democratic Party takes them in.

    It sounds like he would not have welcomed our immigrant ancestors to American shores, who came from lands far worse than the modern third world, and came in droves, and were perceived (in the first generation) of being untrustworthy, and who also flocked to the Democratic Party. If the Republicans had had their way back then, the gates of Ellis Island may have closed to Russian immigrants two decades sooner than they did.

  80. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I strongly disagree with the views expressed in RSP’s blog. But, IMO, he is, of course, entitled to his political opinions and, indeed, he’s entitled to write about them on his blog. It’s not really his opinions that anger people. What gets many people angry and why some members of his shul now daven in other shuls, is (a) that he speaks these same political opinions from the pulpit to a captive audience and (b) that he is insulting to those who disagree with him, as demonstrated in the linked blog post.

  81. joel rich says:

    From a comment on R’SP blog: For now I just don’t see it. All we can do is do mitzvos, learn Torah, and lead productive lives.
    David
    ========================================
    Aha! and before this election we had a different set of priorities?
    KT

  82. IH says:

    By way of contrast, R. Michael Melchior has posted this on his Facebook page:

    I often read the Makor Rishon weekend editions, both because they have a very interesting weekend magazine, which focuses on Jewish thought, as well as to keep up to date on the current right-wing opinions/trends.

    Last Friday, I like other
    Makor Rishon readers (for many this is the only newspaper they read) learned with absolute certainty that Mitt Romney was going to win the upcoming US election. This reporting was based solely on Fox News’ expert Karl Rove. The article added that only elimination of Iran’s nuclear threat, or embracing Mr. Netanyahu could possibly save Obama from exiting the stage of history.

    The fact that I disagree with the core ideology of Makor Rishon’s editors and publishers, who have now also bought Israel’s Ma’ariv Daily is no surprise. And I welcome honest ideological debate and discourse. However, what scares me is that a growing part of Israeli society, especially its religious sector (but not only), seems to be living in a virtual reality regarding the world around them. When things happen in the real world that are incongruous with their fabricated virtual world, these blind ideologues are always surprised and then forced to create conspiracy theories in order to continue to hold on to their distorted perception of the world.

    When I hear the baseless theories on Fox News explaining Romney’s defeat, I remember that night in the ’92 elections when Rabin beat Shamir. At three in the morning I received a phone call from one of the most important Yeshiva heads in Israel, who in an almost desperate voice asked me how he could explain to his students the next morning why God decided to do something other than what his students decided God ought to do.

    The problem with our right wing is not only their distorted messianic ideology, but also, and not least so, their lack of willingness to read the map correctly, while at the same time avoiding dealing with information and details that do not suit their particular and specific worldview.

    Of course we all act this way to a certain extent when newly attained information does not fit the things we initially find obvious. We all live with a certain degree of wishful thinking. And yet, I believe that our awareness of reality allows us to explore different opinions and truths, and to strive to get a broader view of things before formulating our opinions.

    This is the secret of ‘the law according to Hillel’ because in the House of Hillel the opinion of Shammai was always listened to before their minds were made up.

    And, yes R’ Joel, the same could be said for idealogues trapped in their own virtual world on the left (to save you the trouble :-)).

  83. joel rich says:

    r’ih,
    the scary thing is that neither side sees itself that way. the danger imho can be greater for the victorious side (either way) which thinks a statistically insignificant victory is a mandate.
    KT

  84. IH says:

    Indeed, look at what GWB did with his mandate of 52.7% in 2004 (let alone in 2000 when he lost the popular vote all together).

    With almost all precincts now finalized, Obama is at 52.4%.

  85. ruvie says:

    Anonymous – “Schechter developed no clear guidelines or methodology for determining what was changeable in halacha and what was not.”

    are there any for orthodoxy – i.e. clear guidelines? i assume the methodologies of both orthodox and conservative denomination would be similar but different (as too importance of certain concepts). but i am ignorant in knowledge of the conservative denomination. can you elucidate?

  86. ruvie says:

    it seems the Pruz aspires to be the rush limbaugh of orthodoxy. move over avi shafran. its ok – maybe not- if you are transmitting from your basement but as a pulpit rabbi and leader of your community? the vitriol ? this is what yahadut teaches us on how to have a civil discourse with those that disagree with you? are we bordering on a chilul hashem here ?

  87. S. says:

    I think Avi Shafran is much more like the Bill O’Reilly of Orthodoxy, not Rush Limbaugh.

    As it pertains to Obama specifically, Shafran happened to be just about the only voice in Orthodoxy that was almost campaigning for Obama, for months. Were there any other voices calling people out for the hyperbole, trying to restore balance so people would consider Obama’s actual positions on Israel, and his most recent column (on Cross Currents) admonishing us not to put all of our eggs in one basket? I thought then and I think now that he was doing so pragmatically, and may well have put the Agudah back on the map in the halls of power by doing so.

  88. shaul shapira says:

    “are there any for orthodoxy – i.e. clear guidelines? i assume the methodologies of both orthodox and conservative denomination would be similar but different (as too importance of certain concepts). but i am ignorant in knowledge of the conservative denomination. can you elucidate?”

    Yes. At least there used to be.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Orthodox_Judaism#Conservative_Judaism
    “In some areas, Modern Orthodoxy’s left wing appears to align with more traditional elements of Conservative Judaism, and in fact some on the left of Modern Orthodoxy have allied with the formerly Conservative Union for Traditional Judaism. Nonetheless, the two movements are completely distinct. Rabbi Avi Weiss – from the left of Modern Orthodoxy – stresses that Orthodox and Conservative Judaism are “so very different in… three fundamental areas: Torah mi-Sinai, rabbinic interpretation, and rabbinic legislation”.[28] Weiss argues as follows:
    Torah mi-Sinai (“Torah From Sinai”): Modern Orthodoxy, in line with the rest of Orthodoxy, holds that Jewish law is Divine in origin, and as such, no underlying principle may be compromised in accounting for changing political, social or economic conditions,[29] whereas Conservative Judaism holds that Poskim should make use of literary and historical analysis in deciding Jewish law, and may reverse decisions of the Acharonim that are held to be inapplicable today.[28][30]
    Rabbinic interpretation: (Modern) Orthodoxy contends that legal authority is cumulative, and that a contemporary posek (decisor) can only issue judgments based on a full history of Jewish legal precedent,[29] whereas the implicit argument of the Conservative movement is that precedent provides illustrations of possible positions rather than binding law. Conservatism, therefore, remains free to select whichever position within the prior history appeals to it.[28][31]
    Rabbinic legislation: Since the (Modern) Orthodox community is ritually observant, Rabbinic law legislated by (today’s) Orthodox rabbis can meaningfully become binding if accepted by the community (see minhag).[29] Conservative Judaism, on the other hand, has a largely non-observant laity.[28][32] Thus, although Conservatism similarly holds that “no law has authority unless it becomes part of the concern and practice of the community” [30] communal acceptance of a “permissive custom” is not “meaningful”, and, as a result, related Rabbinic legislation cannot assume the status of law.”

    In general, Modern Orthodoxy does not, therefore, view the process by which the Conservative movement decides halakha as legitimate – or with the non-normative weighting assigned to particular halakha by the Conservative movement. In particular, Modern Orthodoxy disagrees with many of Conservative Judaism’s halakhic rulings, particularly as regards issues of egalitarianism. See further on the Orthodox view and the Conservative view.

    Modern Orthodoxy clearly differs from the approach of Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism, which do not consider halakha to be normative.”

    This is as opposed to e.g.
    http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/coming-out-of-the-haredi-closet-1.77900
    Rabbi Steve Greenberg,.. attended the world premiere of the film at the Orthodox synagogue of Rabbi Avi Weiss in Riverdale, north of Manhattan… Weiss… prevented Greenberg from being a member of the panel that discussed the film after the screening.

    “I supposed he wanted the only halakhic [Jewish religious law] position that would be voiced in the wake of the film to be his position, so as not to create the feeling that there are several legitimate rabbinical positions, and I can understand that,” Greenberg says. Still, when Weiss, after the screening, asked the audience to “help him understand the Orthodox homosexual phenomenon,” Greenberg spoke his piece.”

    In the end it won’t matter. RSRH bemoaned the fact that the Reform foisted the namoe “Orthodoxy” on Torah Jews. If LWMO goes down the same path as Reform, it will only further artificialize an already artificial term. It’s going to be awfully confusing for a while, though.

  89. IH says:

    Since Shaul has brought the subject up, it should be noted that same-sex marriage has been approved by referenda in all 3 states which put it on the ballot this year; and, in a 4th state, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have enshrined the state’s existing ban on same-sex marriage in the State Constitution. Additionally, in Iowa voters rejected a concerted effort to oust a judge who ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in 2009.

    As the NYT editorialized yesterday: “With these victories, opponents will no longer be able to argue that the movement for marriage equality is something imposed by radical judges and legislators, who are out of touch with the popular will.”

  90. Steve Brizel says:

    Any student of American history can tell you that while it is far easier, albeit far more expensive, to get elected President, than to actually function as a President in a successful manner.

  91. Tal Benschar says:

    As the NYT editorialized yesterday: “With these victories, opponents will no longer be able to argue that the movement for marriage equality is something imposed by radical judges and legislators, who are out of touch with the popular will.”

    Except that in many states, including California, the popular will did vote down same-sex marriage. And was then overturned by judges. The fact that voters in one state feel one way does not tell you what voters in another state feel.

    Of course you and the NY Times both know that. Nothing like a bit of intellectual dishonesty to help your cause.

    If you both feel that way, how about agreeing to end all legal challenges on the issue, and simply submit it to the voters?

  92. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “isn’t a rabbi supposed to be non-partisan in his public persona?” — no (tax deductibilty issues notwithstanding, and even then. besides, no body really enforces that, and everyone “violates” it.)

    no jewish newspapers — easy for editor rosenblatt to say. he runs a newspaper that caters to a certain elite that is a minority of his market, but feels a need to subscribe to the “newspaper of record.” try charging market rates for your ads, and drop the federation subsidy, and see if he stays in busineess. and all the other “fedration” papers he writes about (but wont acknowlewge the federation angle.)

    as for foxman and r pruzansky (critical sentence buried in middle, referencing a ten year old (then) issue) see http://forward.com/articles/6434/passion-critics-endanger-jews-angry-rabbis/

  93. IH says:

    Tal — The trajectory is moving so fast, it is not clear Prop 8 would pass if it were re-voted today in CA (4 years on). As with many things, success builds on itself. It will be interesting to see the next set of national polls. You can track the past ones at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion_of_same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States (the most recent 4 national polls were over 50% in favor).

  94. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I thought that there could be nothing good about RSP’s rant. I was wrong. I just read the comments on cross currents and was impressed that so many Romney supporters were as turned off by this screed as I was. There are thoughtful people on both sides of this election who were able to debate serious issues in a civilized manner. Too bad the rabbi of the largest shul in Teaneck isn’t one of them.

  95. Moshe Shoshan says:

    “However, the Torah does clearly eternally prefer men and women have separate roles to some degree, as indicated by the inability of a women to be shaliach tzibbur, lead bentching for men and other rituals. Thus, you must admit that there is a fundamental distinction in the religious roles of men and women.”

    These are derobban’s certainly not eternal in principle and arguable based on social conditions of women. That doesnt mean that we can just change these halachos, but broader claims such as yours cannot be based onthese examples.

  96. Joseph Kaplan says:

    The link to Avraham Lincoln Avinu goes to the Hareidim/female firefighters article.

  97. Anonymous says:

    IH- You may well be right about how the American public will vote on same sex marriages. It had nothing to do with anything I said to you in this thread, nor to the best of my knowledge in any other.

    My question again:
    (quoting myself)
    “IH- What diffrentiates your beliefs/positions from a traditional Conservative???

    Please be clear.”

    As one of the most prolific contributors to the comments section here, you ought to be able to define your own basic postion; especially given your occasionally berating of R Gil about whether he’s Chareidi or not.

  98. IH says:

    Shaul — I don’t know enough about Conservative theology (to the extent it exists) to answer your question. And you came on a bit too late to know that my “berating” of Gil as Charedi was a challenge back to his “berating” me as Conservative. We’ve moved on and so should you.

  99. IH says:

    And if you’be become an expert, Shaul, please tell me how R. Sperber is “Conservative” based on http://www.biuny.com/biu-news/rabbi-sperbers-why-modern-orthodoxy-is-true-orthodoxy-lecture

  100. IH says:

    By the way, Prof. Moshe Halbertal has an interesting take on the Torah mi’Sinai issue in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHrgn4k7E20 that will help you jump from the 20th century to the 21st century.

  101. Ruvie says:

    Joseph Kaplan – was there any doubt that many if not most Romney supporters do not share the same vitriol as r’ pruzansky? But what I am surprise with is that the orthodox community voted 48 to 44% in favor of Obama. Thought it would be 70 plus for Romney. Also, I am saddened to hear is about the racism, bigotry, and hatred that abounds in the orthodox community – specifically the mo via emails and in person (20-40 yr olds specifically).

    r’ pruzansky rant is not surprising from his past articles. But has anyone considered the effect on kavod hatorah and chinuch. Why should our younger generation respect communal rabbis? As well as a representative of the largest group of rabbis – RCA ?

  102. shaul shapira says:

    Shaul — I don’t know enough about Conservative theology (to the extent it exists) to answer your question.”

    No expertise needed. Where do you stand on the three issues outlined by R Weiss?

    “And if you’be become an expert, Shaul,”
    I never claimed to be an expert. I provided numerous links and qoutes for what I claimed.

    “please tell me how R. Sperber is “Conservative” based on …”

    The article doesn’t say very much. Where does he stand on women being Edim? On Homosexuality?

  103. shaul shapira says:

    “By the way, Prof. Moshe Halbertal has an interesting take on the Torah mi’Sinai issue in.. that will help you jump from the 20th century to the 21st century.”

    I don’t have time to watch a forty minute video. What does he say?

    Also here’s a book with both sides played in it to help realize that we don’t need any help getting into the tweny first century:

    http://www.amazon.com/One-People-Two-Worlds-Orthodox/dp/0805211403

  104. shaul shapira says:

    And here’s a snippet of a ‘review’ of the book from R Eytan Kobre

    http://www.jewishmediaresources.com/561/one-people-two-worlds

    “What might, however, be less expected — at least by those unfamiliar with the ignominious historical record of intra-Jewish strife — but is far more disconcerting, is what Conservative Jewish historian Jack Wertheimer terms the failure of the larger Jewish community “to comprehend — let alone respect — Orthodox sensibilities, routinely characterizing Orthodox Jews in toto as ‘extremists,’ ‘fundamentalists’ . . . .” and other choice epithets, several of which appear in the pages of One People, Two Worlds. In this regard, the Orthodox are equal-opportunity targets. That is to say, the invective is as likely to issue forth from Conservative figures like Rabbi Harold Kushner, who opines — with no apparent compunction about saying bad things regarding good people — that “Orthodoxy, as distinct from Judaism, is a religion of hatred and vituperation, and . . . its chief mitzva is condemning people who believe differently,” as from Reform’s Eric Yoffie, who has referred to Orthodoxy as a “ghetto Judaism” that is “nothing less than a betrayal of America.”"

    O, those openminded Heterodox folks!

  105. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Steve — Given your often literal reading of TSBP, how do you wave away B. Shabbat 32a-33a which is quite explicit in tying events to committed sins”

    Certain Talmudic passages do provide consequences for transgressions. However, to extrapolate from the examples well beyond the intent of Chazal and the limited cases therein struck none less than RYK as quite inappropriate. RYK noted that we may neither invent new reasons for delaying or hastening the cause of the Geulah, etc.

  106. Steve Brizel says:

    RSP’s conclusion IMO is far more important than his assessment of the Democratic Party. Perhaps, we should have more sense of Tzipisha LYishua and thinking more about leaving this wonderful Galus while we can. RYBS pointed out that while the US is a qualitaively different Galus than at any time in Jewish history, we are not immune communally or individually from a decline in the same.

  107. IH says:

    Shaul — I’m not playing. If you are seriously interested discussing Conservative theology with someone who knows something about it, you might try the ba’al blog of http://menachemmendel.net/blog/about/.

    If you are so interested in me: my community’s posek is R. Sperber and Prof. Halbertal pretty much sums up where I stand on belief. Links as above. Shabbat Shalom.

  108. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve Brizel: The issue is not RSP’s assessment of the Democratic party, but his assessment, or rather contemptuous judgment, of the American electorate. And, to return to an earlier exchange, do you really believe that in private he is warm, welcoming, and sympathetic?!

  109. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Why is it that all the links to Five Towns Jewish Times have been failing for quite some time now?

  110. IH says:

    “‘It’s that the entire moral landscape has changed,’ he [President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary] said. ‘An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them.’”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/us/politics/christian-conservatives-failed-to-sway-voters.html

  111. mycroft says:

    “They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense”

    Does Rabbi Pruzansky object to the exclusion of parsonage benefits from the US income tax base a tax expenditure, the subsidies implicit in the charitable deduction, those who were damaged by storms receiving benefits from FEMA.
    Some of the people who are in the top 1% who object to the US covering poor people for health costs have no problem asking for US funds for their expenses when they didn’t have flood insurance.
    Does Rabbi Pruzansky object to all the corporate welfare, to Pell Grants to Yeshiva students for their degree programs etc.

  112. mycroft says:

    ” but his assessment, or rather contemptuous judgment, of the American electorate.”
    Agreed

    ” And, to return to an earlier exchange, do you really believe that in private he is warm, welcoming, and sympathetic?!”

    To the best of my knowledge I have never met Rabbi Pruzansky-he may well be warm, welcome and sympathetic in private-the issue is that one who enters a public leadership role must act in that role appropriately. I do not know Rabbi Pruzansky but there are those who I know and respect who respect him personally-but IMO a Rabbi should write in a more diplomatic manner and this one piece IMO would have been better argued if written in a more diplomatic tone.

  113. shaul shapira says:

    I just read RSP’s article. I have no idea if Obama supporters are stupid. Maybe they are and maybe Romney’s are too. But I like his brashness and hope to visit his blog more often.

    Dr Kaplan: I don’t know RSP. But I do know Rabbonim who are quite blunt on the outside and rather nice if you need them in private.

    Joseph Kaplan: If people have left his shul they no longer have to listen to his speeches as a captive audience.

    Mycroft: RSP left a comment on his blog agreeing with you. Too bad.

    Can’t we all just get along? No, we can’t. Get over it. We’ll just have to be disagreeabale without being violent.

  114. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-I think that we can find many instances of rabbanim who are warm, sympathetic, and welcome, but still view it within their job description as being willing to publicly challenge the intellectual and spiritual comfort levels of their Baale Batim.

  115. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Joseph Kaplan: If people have left his shul they no longer have to listen to his speeches as a captive audience.”

    That’s obviously correct. There are, however, many people who have been members of the shul for many years, long before RSP came, and they don’t want to have to leave the shul because their rabbi subjects them to this type of mean, nasty, insulting invective from the pulpit when they have come to daven and hear divrei torah and not partisan politics.

    “Can’t we all just get along? No, we can’t. Get over it. We’ll just have to be disagreeabale without being violent.”

    I assume that’s what you tell your kids (or told your kids; I don’t know how old you are): it’s okay to call your friends with whom you disagree dumb and ignorant as long as you don’t hit them. FWIW, that’s not what I taught my kids and I would expect a rabbi to be at least as civilized as what I would expect from an 9-year old.

  116. Steve Brizel says:

    For those of us old enough to vote, the Democratic Party lost every Presidential election from 1968 until 1992, except for 1976 ( which was a reaction to Ford’s pardoning of Nixon) primarily because its candidates were perceived as far too liberal by the silent majority that comprises the critical core of American voters.

    One of the most obvious facts in American political life is that successful presidential candidates in both parties campaign as centrists, but govern either slightly to the left or right. Americans almost instinctively recoil from candidates and parties that are the ideological captives of special interests-whether on the right or left. I think that the Republicans have to look back and rediscover the issues, which were not the hard right social issues, which attracted dissafected Democrats and independents such as a strong national security, and reducing unnecessary regulations , etc, as well as appealing to Hispanics,etc, if the party intends to run candidates on a national level.

  117. Hirhurim says:

    PLEASE STOP GOSSIPING!

  118. Steve Brizel says:

    There is an old story about a young rav who assumed a pulpit somewhere in the US and on his first Shabbos on the job, spoke about Shmiras Shabbos. Members of the shul were uncomfortable and asked the rav to speak about Judaism. So, the next Shabbos, the rav spoke about Kashrus, and the members repeated their request that the rav speak about Judaism. So the next Shabbos, the rav spoke about Taharas HaMishpacha, and the members repeated their request that the rav speak about Judaism. The moral of the story was that the Baalei Batim wanted the rav to speak about anything other than Judaism. Sometimes, the more things change, the more things remain the same.

  119. IH says:

    Steve — The OpEd pages are full of Republicans and Conservatives demonstrating they are not in denial about the lessons of this election and the changes they must make, but I have yet to hear any such recognition from the Orthodox establishment.

    Are you aware of anything like Ross Douthat’s latest column The Demographic Excuse, or the reporting I linked at 5:52pm about Christian Conservatives coming out of the Orthodox community?

  120. mycroft says:

    “But I like his brashness”
    Not discussing Rabbi Pruzansky-but in general I don’t believe that having the trait of brashness is a meilah for any Rabbi.

  121. mycroft says:

    “For those of us old enough to vote, the Democratic Party lost every Presidential election from 1968 until 1992, except for 1976 ( which was a reaction to Ford’s pardoning of Nixon) primarily because its candidates were perceived as far too liberal by the silent majority that comprises the critical core of American voters.”

    Of course from 1992 until 2012 except for 2004 the Democratic candidate for President received more votes than the Republican candidate for President.

  122. mycroft says:

    ” The OpEd pages are full of Republicans and Conservatives demonstrating they are not in denial about the lessons of this election and the changes they must make, but I have yet to hear any such recognition from the Orthodox establishment”

    As far as I know Orthodox Judaism was not a candidate in this election. My general approach is that Rabbis, Jewish community leaders etc should in general not endorse any candidate for anything. They can discuss issues.

  123. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    In my comment i reverted back to an earlier blog thread, but I
    am sorry I raised the matter in this context. The issue here, and I should not have deviated from it, is the appropriateness of RSP’s public pronouncements.

    Steve B: Re the old story, I fail to see its relevance. I was not aware that RSP’s calling a majority of the American electorate dumb and greedy constitutes speaking about Judaism and is on a par with say emphasizng the importance of say shemirat Shabbat. If anything, you got it exactly backwards. Even the critics of RSP say that when his sermons are not political or ideological rants but stick to Torah they are generally very good.

  124. Charlie Hall says:

    ” the Goliath of replacement theology”

    Two Protestant churches in the US, the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ, have officially renounced replacement theology, but they aren’t any better or worse in their attitude towards Israel than the churches that have not done so.

  125. Charlie Hall says:

    “48 to 44% in favor of Obama. Thought it would be 70 plus for
    Romney.”

    We had over four dozen guests for Sukkot. While it was not a representative sample, we didn’t invite people based on perceived politics, yet about 2/3 indicated that they were planning to vote for Obama.

  126. Ruvie says:

    Charlie Hall – you live in one of the most liberal neighborhoods and go to the most liberal orthodox shul therein. I would bet that if you went to the YI in riverdale it would be 70% plus Romney – and the RJC as well. Anecdotally and the reality I hear do not match those numbers – 48% and a majority for O. Can’t imagine that chareidim and Hasidim voted for him either. Not sure how good the sampling for such a small minority of voters is that accurate – no one I talked to believes those numbers. Then maybe I am in my own bubble and feedback loop.

  127. mycroft says:

    “I would bet that if you went to the YI in riverdale it would be 70% plus Romney – and the RJC as well. Anecdotally and the reality I hear do not match those numbers – 48% and a majority for O. Can’t imagine that chareidim and Hasidim voted for him either”

    In Presidential elections the only battleground states where there are substantial Orthodox Jews are Ohio and Florida. I wonder if the percentage for Romney/Obama would have been similar to that of Orthodox Jews in the 5Ts, KGH, etc.

  128. IH says:

    It seems to me the discussion of this election has quickly moved on from Obama vs. Romney to the tipping point which seems to have occurred in the electorate in the social cultural war. In light of this new reality, the question is how the Orthodox establishment chooses to engage. Perhaps it is better to remain silent rather than issue PR statements such as the OU’s statement of 6 months ago: http://www.ou.org/general_article/ou_disapointed_by_president_obamas_endorsement_of_same_sex_marriage

  129. Hirhurim says:

    Re gay marriage, aside from the election results see the latest personnel struggle at Commentary. Ignoring the people and details, about which we have no right to comment, note the agreement in favor of gay marriage: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/11/10/a-note/

    This is what I’ve been saying for a while. It’s inevitable. We, as Orthodox Jews, should not make it our battle.

  130. Tal Benschar says:

    This is what I’ve been saying for a while. It’s inevitable. We, as Orthodox Jews, should not make it our battle.

    What, exactly, does that mean? You are not seriously suggesting that Orthodox Jews suddenly (or even not suddenly) accept married gay couples as such? So, assuming as it appears, that society at large is going to accept gay marriage, what do you propose the reaction of the Orthodox community to be? Just ignoring it is not going to cut it, because you now have a demand by the outside society to legitimate what we consider illegitimate.

  131. aiwac says:

    Tal,

    You need to differentiate between legal acceptance and societal acceptance. The gay marriage fight is a legal one; it has no bearing on whether individuals or societies accept it. I agree with Gil that this fight is over. We have other things to worry about.

  132. Tal Benschar says:

    aiwac: First of all, legally, it is not over. Most states do not accept it, and do not look close to accepting it. Whether they, or the federal govt., is required to accept it is very much an open legal issue, which the Supreme Court will address shortly.

    Second, your differentiation is too neat and does not reflect reality — legal reality affects societal reality, and vice versa.

    Third, from where I sit, the amount of resources the Orthodox community devoted to the issue is miniscule. So the OU issued a press release, so what? I don’t see any major activism or expenditure of resources on it.

    But, in any case, none of these points answer my question. What does Gil propose that Orthodox institutions do? Because the issue is going to come to the fore whether we like it or not. The homosexual agenda is NOT going to stop at legalizing gay marriages.

    Here is a simple thought experiment. The Young Israel of Podunk has a large hall it rents out for simchas, nice way to make extra money. To ensure kashrus, only approved caterers (or those with approved hashgachas) may provide services there.

    Two Jewish men decide they want to get married. They hire a local Reform or even Conservative “rabbi” to officiate. They decide they want to hold their ceremony at the hall — and are willing to use one of the approved kosher caterers. After all, Uncle Charlie and Aunt Sadie keep kosher, so they will be happy.

    Should YIoP accomodate them? Should the caterer, if he is a frum businessperson? Should they fight the issue in the legal or political arena if the “couple” decide to make an issue out of it, as has been done elsewhere? See, for example, these links:

    http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/08/21/abqnewsseeker/updated-n-m-high-court-to-hear-gay-ceremony-photo-case.html

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/proposed-ordinance-would-force-churches-to-host-gay-weddings/

  133. aiwac says:

    Tal,

    Orthodox Jewry is an infinitesimally small part of the American polity. Really, there’s next to nothing you can do one way or another and our time and resources are limited.

  134. Tal Benschar says:

    aiwac: Did you even read my post? I recognize that fact. What we certainly can do is make it clear that this has the potential to infringe on our rights in many areas, and insist that such rights be protected. There are plenty of other religious groups in the same boat, and they have made their voices heard together with ours. (NY even adopted such a provision when it adopted same-sex marriage, although it remains to be seen how it will play out in practice.)

    See here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/nyregion/religious-exemptions-were-key-to-new-york-gay-marriage-vote.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/for-the-dream-act-and-gay-marriage-in-maryland/2012/11/05/43396776-279a-11e2-9972-71bf64ea091c_blog.html

  135. Anonymous says:

    It can’t be rolled back. It is seen as the Civil Rights movement of our era. In 20 years the people who are pushing back are going to be seen as bigots and laughing stocks, the same people who pushed back against legalizing miscegenation.

    Perhaps you will argue that subjecting ourselves to ridicule is part of making a kiddush Hashem. But for those who don’t buy it, consider whose dog is in this fight, if it can be won, and if we should communally put ourselves in position of being seen as bigots and fools in the future – and if this is really what we are obliged to. At the very least we must recognize that this is in fact what we do by inserting ourselves into it and pushing at it.

  136. Tal Benschar says:

    Anonymous: Avraham Avinu was viewed as a bigot and a laughing stock for smashing the idols. Was even thrown in the fire for it.

  137. Hirhurim says:

    I’m all for making sure our religious rights aren’t infringed upon. That wasn’t the message I heard during local elections in the past few years. It was about making gay marriage illegal.

  138. Anonymous says:

    Tal, no, he wasn’t viewed as a bigot and a laughing stock. He was viewed as an odom choshuv. See Torah, the.

    But in any case, I wasn’t talking to you. Other people will not agree that this is a proper price to pay and I am addressing them. Go ahead, join our dor’s Eliyahu Hanavi, R. Yehuda Levin if you want to.

  139. Tal Benschar says:

    I’m all for making sure our religious rights aren’t infringed upon. That wasn’t the message I heard during local elections in the past few years. It was about making gay marriage illegal.

    No, it was about not redefining marriage from something it has been understood to be for millenia by every society on earth to something else. What Rashi in Chullin calls Kalus Rosh.

    It is not only a matter of protecting our religious rights. The values of outside society seep in, whether you like it or not. And in this case those values are deeply antithetical to the Torah. Even if the reaction is only for klapei pnim, it is important.

    Tal, no, he wasn’t viewed as a bigot and a laughing stock. He was viewed as an odom choshuv. See Torah, the.

    But in any case, I wasn’t talking to you. Other people will not agree that this is a proper price to pay and I am addressing them. Go ahead, join our dor’s Eliyahu Hanavi, R. Yehuda Levin if you want to.

    Avraham Avinu was thrown into the fire for advocating monotheism. That is why he is called Adam ha Ivri — the whole world is on one side, he is on the other.

    I don’t think the analogy to miscegenation is apt. For one thing, I don’t see many states adopting same-sex marriage. Unless the Supreme Court imposes it as a constitutional right (at best a 50/50 proposition, although lets see if Obama nominates someone in the next couple of years), you will still have the majority of states, probably, not allowing it. Which will then lead to the thorny questions of what happens when one state recognizes it and another doesn’t (or the federal govt doesn’t).

    Apart from that, there are major religious blocs — Catholics, fundamentalist Protestants (including many black churches), Moslems — who are and will remain opposed to it.

    I agree that we are a tiny minority within a minority, and that our effect on society at large is probably limited. But, as I said, apart from respecting our religious rights, we have to innoculate ourselves to the tumah from without.

  140. Anonymous says:

    >Avraham Avinu was thrown into the fire for advocating monotheism. That is why he is called Adam ha Ivri — the whole world is on one side, he is on the other.

    Or because he was from עבר הנהר.

  141. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Of course from 1992 until 2012 except for 2004 the Democratic candidate for President received more votes than the Republican candidate for President”

    Yes-Clinton , who ran as a moderate, defeated a Republican incumbent who broke his own promise not to raise taxes, and a Republican candidate who should not have run. President Obama won in 2008 and 2012 over a Republican Party whose candidates could not position themselves sufficientlty as moderates. Again, all successful Democrats and Republicans run as moderates, but govern to the left and right. That’s why Reagan, Bush I and Bush II won the Presidency in 1980, 1984, 1998, 2000 and 2004, and why Clinton won in 1992 and 1996. Gore, Kerry, McCain and Romeny were all viewed as insufficiently moderate by the American electorate.

  142. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-your link to the NYT article is evidence that the Republicans have to work on issues other than “social issues” if they wish to be a national political force. IMO, the Republicans now are in the same wildnerness on a national level as the Democrats were between 1968 and 1992. Extremism, whether of the liberal or the conservative variety, are not appreciated by the silent majority of Americans.

  143. Steve Brizel says:

    Anonymous-please don’t confuse R Yehudah Levin with Eliyahu HaNavi.

  144. mycroft says:

    “That’s why Reagan,”
    Reagan did not run as a moderate-paradoxically he governed as a pragmatist see eg he raised taxes many times after his 1981 DEFRA tax reduction-see eg 1982 TEFRA largest tax hike in history at the time.

    “Gore, Kerry, McCain and Romeny were all viewed as insufficiently moderate by the American electorate.”
    Gore won more votes than Bush and clearly would have won Florida except for the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot. Florida has the US most liberal FOI rules and after the elections major news organizations hired accounting firms to recount Florida if the and according to most methods Gore would have won if the recount were allowed to happen. But Bush 43 won the only election that counted in 2000 5-4.
    “Kerry, McCain and Romeny” come from extremely wealthy households-Kerry married to the Heinz fortune, McCains current wife is a beer heiress, Romney certainly is very wealthy.

  145. mycroft says:

    “Extremism, whether of the liberal or the conservative variety, are not appreciated by the silent majority of Americans.”

    Agreed
    Is the following true
    “Extremism in religion, whether of the liberal or the conservative variety, are not appreciated by the silent majority of Orthodox Jews”

  146. Hirhurim says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_v._Gore

    n 2001, a consortium of news organizations, assisted by professional statisticians (NORC), examined numerous hypothetical ways of recounting all the Florida ballots. The study was conducted over a period of 10 months. The consortium examined 175,010 ballots that vote-counting machines had rejected. Under some methods, Al Gore would have emerged the winner; in others, George W. Bush. But in each one, the margin of victory was smaller than the 537-vote lead that state election officials ultimately awarded Bush. Under the strategy that Al Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida recount – filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties – Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted by the consortium. If Florida’s 67 counties had carried out the hand recount of disputed ballots ordered by the Florida Supreme Court on December 8, applying the standards that election officials said they would have used, Bush would have emerged the victor by 493 votes.

  147. shachar haamim says:

    One doesn’t even have to get to legalization of same gender marriages to understand the wreckage that the agenda of homosexual rights and political correctness terror wrecks upon society (here I’m borrowing the terminology of Einat Ramon – the former dean of the Conservative Movement’s rabbinical school in Israel terminology )

    Taking Tal’s hypothetical questions into account – here is an ACTUAL case which was just ruled on in Israel – Israel does not allow for legal same gender marriages (it doesn’t even allow for legal marriages between a jew and a non-Jew or between two Jews in a civil ceremony – it recognizes all legal marriages which are performed and registered in another jurisdiction).
    Just look at the ruling – discrmination AND sexual harrasment!
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/landmark-sexual-harassment-ruling-for-israeli-lesbian-couple/

    many legal experts are of the view that the ruling stretched the envelope in thems of the prevention of sexual harrasment law.

  148. shachar haamim says:

    It is sad that people only focused on the politics of Rabbi Pruzansky’s piece – or on his personality. to my mind his analysis of american society is correct – it is quickly becoming incompatible with traditional judaism. It is a SOCIAL issue – not political. This was obvious before the election results came in – and would have remained ovious even had Romney won by a narrow margin. I wouldn’t have taken one day off the 15 years had Romney won – not one (as it is I think the rabbi was being too generous in this time frame).

  149. mycroft says:

    “Hirhurim on November 12, 2012 at 5:54 am
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_v._Gore

    n 2001, a consortium of news organizations, assisted by professional statisticians (NORC), examined numerous hypothetical ways of recounting all the Florida ballots. The study was conducted over a period of 10 months. The consortium examined 175,010 ballots that vote-counting machines had rejected. Under some methods, Al Gore would have emerged the winner; in others, George W. Bush. But in each one, the margin of victory was smaller than the 537-vote lead that state election officials ultimately awarded Bush. Under the strategy that Al Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida recount – filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties – Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted by the consortium. If Florida’s 67 counties had carried out the hand recount of disputed ballots ordered by the Florida Supreme Court on December 8, applying the standards that election officials said they would have used, Bush would have emerged the victor by 493 votes”

    see from
    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/06/yes-bush-v-gore-did-steal-the-election.html

    “The general topic of wildly partisan Supreme Court rulings is on everybody’s mind right now for some reason. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney wants everybody to know that the Supreme Court really, truly did not hand the presidential election to George W. Bush. “You can disagree with the ruling in Bush v. Gore,” writes Carney, “but you can’t honestly argue that it decided the election.”
    Well, yes, you can. In fact we know nearly for certain that the recount stopped by the Supreme Court would have given Gore the lead. (Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Republican-controlled Florida legislature would have simply overridden the results of the count and handed the state to Bush, as it threatened to do.) But Carney is repeating a common misconception.
    The myth that Bush would have won had the recount proceeded dates back to a recount conducted by a consortium of newspapers that examined the ballots. The consortium found that “If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin.” But the newspapers decided that this was not how the counties would have actually tabulated the votes. By the variable standards they would have used, the papers reported, Bush would have prevailed. Thus the national news reported a slew of headlines asserting that Bush would have prevailed.
    The conclusion was erroneous. The newspapers assumed that the counties would only have looked at “undervotes” — ballots that did not register any votes for president — and ignored “overvotes” — ballots that registered more than one vote for president. An overvote would be a ballot in which the machine mistakenly picked up a second vote for president, or in which a voter both marked a box and wrote in the name of the same candidate. A hand recount in which an examiner is judging the “intent of the voter” would turn those ballots that were originally discarded into countable votes.
    Counting overvotes in which the intent of the voter was clear would have resulted in Gore winning the recount. And subsequent reporting by the Orlando Sentinel and Michael Isikoff found that the recount, had it proceeded, almost certainly would have examined overvotes. (Most of the links have been lost over time, but you can find references here and here.)
    The newspapers’ error has to be understood in the context of the time. After Bush prevailed in the recount, there was massive pressure to retroactively justify the processes that led to his victory, in the general spirit of restoring confidence in the system. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, that pressure intensified to the point where it was commonly opined that the newspapers ought to entirely cancel the recount (scheduled to come out in November 2001, at the height of the rally-around-Bush moment). In that atmosphere, the newspapers grasped for an interpretation that would both reassure most Americans of what they wanted to believe and avoid placing themselves in opposition to a powerful and bipartisan rallying around Bush that was then at its apogee.
    Now, the actual effect of the recount is obviously something of a side issue when assessing the actions of the Court. Nobody knew the outcome of the recount, only that it threatened to make Al Gore president, and stopping it would guarantee Bush’s victory. That is the environment in which five Republican-appointed justices essentially invented a one-time-only ruling to stop the recount”

    and see
    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_election_recount
    “The New York Times did its own analysis of how mistaken overvotes might have been caused by confusing ballot designs. It found that the butterfly ballot in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County may have cost Gore a net 6286 votes, and the two page ballot in similarly Democratic Duval County may have cost him a net 1999 votes, each of which would have made the difference by itself.[7″

  150. IH says:

    I am not sure why the 2000 election is being revisited here, but the bottom line is that Bush won the electoral college vote despite significantly losing the popular vote. There was no popular mandate of any kind for GWB in the term in which he launched two wars and his tax cuts.

    But, we are where we are. And the question remains how the Orthodox establishment deals with a reality that is far different from the virtual reality they have created in their echo chamber.

  151. IH says:

    So we don’t go down another rats nest, I amend the first sentence above to remove the word “significantly”. GWB won 47.87% of 100. Gore + Nader won 51.12% and Gore alone 48.38%. The meat of my comment stands as is.

  152. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Shachar Haamim: It is indeed unfortunte that bloggers focussed more on the tone of RSP’s remarks than on its substance. But for that he has only himself to blame with his pugnacious, inflammatory, and insulting attitude. Indeed, RSP, whose intelligence even his critics have not denied, did raise some important points worthy of discusison. It is unfortunate that RSP apparently does not realize that a more measured tone, which can still be strong, would be more effective in getting his points across and winning for them a fair hearing.

  153. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Is the following true
    “Extremism in religion, whether of the liberal or the conservative variety, are not appreciated by the silent majority of Orthodox Jews”

    I would say that it is far easier to be either reflexively Machmir or Meikil than Mdakdek in one’s approach to Halacha.

 
 

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