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Chanukah and Sensitivity
The Real Meaning of Collective Responsibility
Pro-Israel Strategy Faces Campus Setbacks
Who controls the status quo at the Western Wall? One Orthodox rabbi
U.N. General Assembly approves Palestine status
Parents in Jerusalem Are Panicked About A Pedophile Conspiracy. But What If Nothing Ever Happened?
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein on the Bible and Criticism from 1962
Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits and the Loss of the Deathbed
SALT Friday

YU Torah Chanukah To Go
Obama And The Orthodox
How To Avoid The Jewish Fiscal Cliff
Jewish education caught in the crossfire of a most uncivil war
Beyond Hummus and Falafel: Vegans Create a New Culinary Lifestyle in Israel
Polish Ruling May End Kosher Meat Production
Salovey’s rabbinic legacy
R YY Shochet: I Won’t Say “I Told You So”
Gay Orthodox Jews Sue Over Therapy That Claims to ‘Cure’ Them
SALT Wednesday

Final Debate Begins on Circumcision Bill in Germany
Child sex abuse scandals roil Australia’s Jewish community
Put Your Chocolate Money Where Your Mouth Is, and Buy Hanukkah Gelt With a Conscience
Memories of Jews Linger in Rubble of Syria’s Ruined Second City
Abraham Lincoln the Jew
Haredi women inspired by Kate Middleton
Rabbinical courts ‘on verge of collapse’
The Mashgiach Wore a Dress: The Fight over Opening Kosher Supervision to Women
Colombian evangelical Christians convert to Judaism, embracing hidden past
In Poland, Embracing a Jewish Identity That Was Hidden by Parents and Grandparents
Dr. Eben Alexander’s Tells of Near Death in ‘Proof of Heaven’
Torah U’Madda: A Conversation With Mayim Bialik
In Poland, Orthodox and Reform clash over control of a community
SALT Tuesday

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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.
 

82 Responses

  1. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    From the fashion article:
    “”Sheva Brachot” – the seven wedding blessings that are recited for a bride and her groom and require seven different festive outfits.”

    1.] I hope the clueless reader doesn’t think the poor kallah has to run and change in between each bracha!

    2.] Chas v’shalom we’d be outfit-repeaters over the week? (Even though some of these parties will be on different continents with barely anyone in common?)

  2. IH says:

    Following up on September’s Reading In and Out of the Bible post, Yoram Hazony has a challenging piece at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/an-imperfect-god/

  3. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    there was a report on german business channel (pbs rebroadcast) and there is substantial opposition in germany on the brit issue. its only passing, cause it’s a govt initiative. (assuming it does pass.)

    other title should read: charedi women inspired by sister of press “bimbo”.

    an article on lincoln that doesnt mention a book or a movie. kudos to the forward.

    and article on rabbinical courts that doesnt mention agunot, or charedi vs DL disputes. (the latter is also background on the dispute.)

    SCW article — doesnt note personal change in subject’s background. but she would probably sell more tix (than a certain harvard law prof) if held at lamport.

  4. IH says:

    And a news update on another much-discussed topic on Hirhurim:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/us/gay-conversion-therapy-faces-tests-in-courts.html?hp&pagewanted=all

    “In New Jersey on Tuesday, four gay men who tried the therapy filed a civil suit against a prominent counseling group, charging it with deceptive practices under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.

    […]

    In the spotlight in New Jersey are a counseling center called Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or Jonah; along with its co-founder, Arthur Goldberg; and an affiliated “life coach,” Alan Downing.”

  5. Machshavos says:

    MMY:

    The SCW article probably was written before the personal change was made public.

  6. joel rich says:

    http://www.vosizneias.com/118319/2012/11/28/new-york-report-jewish-community-may-bear-the-brunt-of-proposed-food-stamp-cuts

    Modifications to the SNAP Program will have serious, adverse consequences on New York’s Jewish community. An estimated one in five Jewish households lives in poverty, especially in the Chassidic community, according to the 2011 UJA-Federation study

    KT

  7. joel rich says:

    WRT Ms. Bialik – I couldn’t help but think of Janey’s Blues (Janis Ian):
    They’ve found the perfect alibi
    Stay together for the sake of the child
    You know, divorce don’t fit
    and they’re too young to split
    Think they’re martyrs, but they’re killing the kid.

    I’ve oft wondered if we’ve gone too far in the other direction
    KT

  8. Machshavos says:

    joel rich:

    Which direction do you mean by “other?”

  9. joel rich says:

    divorce as a solution. I meant trends in our host society and how they have impacted the religious world.
    KT

  10. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    I’d asked R. Michael Broyde — of the Gittin seen by BDA of couples in their first year (and they’re sadly not uncommon) — how many are “one of them had a very serious problem”, how many “they were blaringly incompatible” [RH”S describes one Get he did as a younger man where the senior rabbi said to drink a l’chaim], how many “mizbeach yored demaos” as it should have been workable. He said he’s seen them all (and there’s a continuum), but didn’t have proportions.

  11. aiwac says:

    “I’ve oft wondered if we’ve gone too far in the other direction”

    We’re heading there. I recently participated in a facebook discussion where quite a few educated professional religious Jews took the idea of the collapse of the traditional family in stride as inevitable and natural.

    ואם בארזים נפלה שלהבת, מה יגידו אזובי הקיר?

  12. ruvie says:

    R’ Joel Rich – “divorce as a solution. I meant trends in our host society and how they have impacted the religious world.”

    why would you think that trends in the host society NOT impact the religious world? has that ever been the case in jewish history? the question is how much does it effect and is there a limit? we see from history that it effects our philosophy (theology?)as well – just look at the rambam.
    we don’t live in the world with a “cone of silence, maxwell”.

  13. abba's rantings says:

    R. Rich:

    perhaps i missed something in the interview, but what does bialik have to do with it?

  14. joel rich says:

    R’ ruvie- I was trying to be nmelamed zchut on us.

    R’ abba – r’mmy referred to the personal change in her life- google news ms bialik and u will see .

    Kt

  15. R. JOEL:

    ok, i see the change in her personal status, although i don’t see what it has to do with your specific comment about divorce.

  16. http://www.vosizneias.com/118352/2012/11/28/madrid-spain-sephardi-jews-to-receive-instant-citizenship

    “He called the move a mechanism for putting the Sephardim back into Spain”

    i don’t think this will lead to too many sephardim moving to spain. at most this will be a way for the sephardim in israel also to be able to have a safety net citizenship.

  17. although the requirements for proving one is sephardi seem pretty lax, so who knows.

  18. emma says:

    if spanish citizenship = work anywhere in the EU, it might be more than a safety net.

  19. emma:

    good point. i didn’t realize that citizenship in one EU country enables one to work anywhere in the EU? at the very least it makes travel easier for frequent/business travelers.

  20. ruvie says:

    Reb Joel – what is the alternative? it is what it is – the question is why the change not the change itself. lets not forget that some scholars believe the divorce rate in the middle ages was north of 25% in some communities – if i recall correctly.

  21. ruvie says:

    emma – i think that is true – my son just applied for polish citizenship for that reason.

  22. aiwac says:

    “Reb Joel – what is the alternative? it is what it is – the question is why the change not the change itself. lets not forget that some scholars believe the divorce rate in the middle ages was north of 25% in some communities – if i recall correctly”

    So? Surely this is something to work on rather just “lay down and take it”? Why is everyone so blase about this?

  23. ruvie says:

    aiwac – its not blase its a sad fact. is it because people are getting too young, too late, too immature, too much freedom to cancel the deal, women working and have alternatives? or should they remain unhappy in their lives for the sake of the institution called “marriage”? maybe we want our children to be happy and blame their marriage for their unhappiness and unfulfilness? maybe all of the above.

    it doesn’t mean we should not encourage people to work it out but that may be the wrong advice in many cases too. we can lament but should we dare change the option or make it more difficult.

  24. emma says:

    re: obama and the orthodox,
    “Lest anyone take offense at my Orthodox-Puerto Rican comparison, I’ll hearken back to the 2012 Jewish population survey conducted by UJA-Federation of New York released in June. The survey showed a marked growth in the number of Orthodox Jews in the city and a sharp increase in Jewish poverty rates, especially among chasidic Jews, where a full 43 percent qualify as poor.”

    So apparently it’s not potentially offensive to use “peurto ricans” as a synonym for “poor people”?

  25. aiwac says:

    ruvie,

    “is it because people are getting too young, too late, too immature, too much freedom to cancel the deal, women working and have alternatives?”

    These thing can be studied, you know. I like working with facts, not hypotheticals. Based on the evidence, we can proceed and decide where and how to act (and when to give up).

    “or should they remain unhappy in their lives for the sake of the institution called “marriage”?”

    Unhappy is a very subjective term and one which should be considered carefully. Every marriage goes through crises and problems, ups and downs. Yet some survive and others don’t. So happiness is clearly not the only factor here. More research is needed.

    “maybe we want our children to be happy and blame their marriage for their unhappiness and unfulfilness?”

    What does that even mean?

    “it doesn’t mean we should not encourage people to work it out but that may be the wrong advice in many cases too”

    So, basically, do nothing because there are cases where it could backfire. Like I said, blase.

    “we can lament but should we dare change the option or make it more difficult”

    Surely, there are better options besides sitting on the sidelines and lamenting.

    I would start by giving both men and women proper sex ed prep as well as preparation on the issues of relationships. I know this is written by a non-Jew (and an atheist!), but I never miss an opportunity to suggest this book to those who need it:

    http://marriedmansexlife.com/

    (Don’t let the title fool you – it’s about improving the relationship for both spouses, both sexually and emotionally)

  26. Tal Benschar says:

    “although the requirements for proving one is sephardi seem pretty lax, so who knows”

    What are the requirements? The Expulsion was over 500 years ago, and there are families from many parts of the world who theoretically could claim such ancestry, including a fair number of Ashkenazim.

  27. ruvie says:

    aiwac – i think my post wasn’t clear enough. i am not blase – i would agree in that unless there is real concrete data its all anecdotal. without data its only “I think” nonsense. please give a case – that is realistic – on data that you will proceed and do what? i am not suggesting doing nothing but at today’s point what do you suggest besides research and better communication(relationships and sex- which my assumptions there is) since we do not even know the primary causes of the issue and how it has changed over time?
    my assumption in the mo world there is knowledge on sex ed and relationships (certainly more than 30 years ago) – as well as recent books available to all. do you think that has anything to do with the divorce rate (compare to 30, 50 and 100 years ago when there was almost no knowledge)?

  28. abba's rantings says:

    “Jewish education caught in the crossfire of a most uncivil war”

    was she referring to all schools or only a particular type (or to the exclusion of a particular type). i.e., is this a problem in MO day schools?

  29. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    there is some sort of “prohibition” on “returning” to spain. similar to refusal to buy german products / visit germany for ashkenazim. honored more in the breach (like egypt is mideoraita, but honored in the breach; i know, there are rationalizations, but …).

    2. much of the jewish poverty rate increase is prob due to general white flight from NYC (considered a racist statement by many), with chassidim one of the only middle class groups staying, and their birth rate trends them to lower class. even lubavitch, a celebrated case of whites staying in the inner city has much much less lubavitchers really staying there, leading to …

    3. solovey — article should indicate his branch of the family (that would lead to family tree issues, which i guess is now called for.) also, the solovechik (various spellings) name predates rav chaim. (what is the meaning of the name, anyway?) but the article, and its conclusion of drifts in jewish geography is very interesting.

    4. i also heard of the (high) divorce rat in premodern times. is there any citation for it? also, marriages (jewish and non jewish) in pre victorian times were really business arrangements, very few actual cases of romantic love (yaakov avinu was an exception). which would lead to different reasons for marriage breakups then.

  30. Ruvie says:

    MMY – pious and rebellious – by Avram grossman for high divorce rates in 1200-1300 tie frame ( from memory cold be off by a century)

  31. Ruvie says:

    MMY – pious and rebellious – by Avram grossman for high divorce rates in 1200-1300 time frame ( from memory cold be off by a century)

  32. Machshavos says:

    MMY:

    I have heard that Soloveitchik means hummingbird (I believe from R. Rakeffet).

  33. emma says:

    2. much of the jewish poverty rate increase is prob due to general white flight from NYC (considered a racist statement by many), with chassidim one of the only middle class groups staying, and their birth rate trends them to lower class. even lubavitch, a celebrated case of whites staying in the inner city has much much less lubavitchers really staying there, leading to …

    do you mean that the higher pecentage of poorer jews in the city is due to the less poor populations leaving and the already poorer population multiplying, rather than actual changes in fortune of formery-not-poor people? plausible, but i never understood those talking about the study to be implying otherwise.

  34. IH says:

    There’s no need to guess, the report is clear enough. Download from http://www.ujafedny.org/get/196904/ and search for “poverty”.

    Two quickies:

    Although Jewish poverty is more prevalent in New York City than in the three suburban counties, the generally affluent suburbs report significant numbers of poor Jews as well. While 333,000 people live in the poor Jewish households of New York City, another 28,000 reside in the poor Jewish homes of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk.

    By far the highest rate of poverty among Orthodox Jews is found in Hasidic households — 43% of Hasidic households are poor.

  35. Charlie Hall says:

    ‘there is some sort of “prohibition” on “returning” to spain.’

    Never heard of it. Who issued the decree?

    In any case, I spent a Shabat at the synagogue in Madrid a few years back.

  36. abba's rantings says:

    MMY:

    herem on spain and germany are very different (and of course there never was any type of real cherem on germany). the cherem on germany is about punishment, revenge and never forget. the cherem (for lack of a better term) on spain was a practical measure to prevent jews from visiting spain because during those visits they had to live as practicing christians (judaism was still an illicit religion). also a concern about conversos who reverted to open judaism in amsterdam that might revert again to christianity. (i think marc shapiro wrote about this in the 1980s in seafard)

  37. abba's rantings says:

    TAL:

    “What are the requirements?”

    even family anectodes. see the article.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Machshavos: “I have heard that Soloveitchik means hummingbird (I believe from R. Rakeffet).”

    “Solovei” means “nightingale” in Russian (and perhaps other Slavic languages as well). The “(t)chik” is a diminutive suffix. Hence, “Solovei(t)chik” = “little nightingale”

  39. ZPinchas says:

    As an interesting addendum, the surname was chosen by the Soloveichik family primarily, if not exclusively, to correspond to their status as Levi’im (as the “music” produced by nightingales is presumably pleasing to the ear)

  40. ZPinchas says:

    (the most recent “Anonymous” post was by me)

  41. Machshavos says:

    Hummingbird, nightingale, I’m no ornithologist!

    And yes, I’ve also heard that it corresponded with their Levite status.

  42. aiwac says:

    “my assumption in the mo world there is knowledge on sex ed and relationships (certainly more than 30 years ago)”

    In Israel, there’s still a serious dearth on the subject. I know of only a few “kosher” books that discuss the issue. Only recently has the Yeshivat Bnei Akiva network started to introduce basic sex ed in their high schools. There’s a lot of work to do in that field.

    Like I said, actual research is needed. A full-fledged “plan” prior to that would be silly. I would be interested in knowing how the “no-fault divorce” revolution affected the whole business, though.

  43. Nachum says:

    R’ Rakeffet devoted some shiurim to the ban on reentering Spain. Long story short, it’s something well known and discussed in halachic sources, although no one’s really sure who (if anyone) first promulgated it. There is no formal rule about Germany- ironically, (West) Germany was about the safest place for a Jew to be in Europe immediately after the war.

    Not to worry, though, Charlie: Visits are fine. And probably no posek would say it’s really assur to live there today, especially if you’re not a Sephardi.

    The Rambam famously signed his name as one who “in his sins, lives in Egypt” or something like that. Of course, a ban (or something similar) on returning to Egypt is even mentioned in the Chumash.

    I’d like to know which branch of the Soloveitchik family this is- the article is very unclear. There are lots and lots “Solely”s and the like- they may all be related, but are not all descendants of R’ Chaim Volozhin. I have a cousin who is descended from one; he doesn’t know what connection he’d have to the Briskers.

    Also, R’ Chaim was a great-great (not one great) grandson of R’ Chaim Volozhin. His wife was also great-great-granddaughter, through another child (through the Netziv).

    Emma: Actually, Puerto Ricans are pretty well off compared to other Hispanics; like most such groups, they’ve tended to move to the suburbs. I think the largest Hispanic group in New York City proper now is Dominicans. It’s well known that Puerto Ricans pour back into the city for their parade.

  44. Nachum says:

    By the way, the whole “ban on living in Spain” thing sounds a lot like the “three oaths”- e.g., who “took” them, who made them, did they ever really happen, etc. etc. Unfortunately, there are those who would live in Spain with no problem but think the “oaths” are something to be taken seriously. And it’s not just because one is mentioned in Chazal.

  45. Nachum says:

    Who’s this other chief rabbi being considered for the UK?

  46. Nachum says:

    Emma: I now see what you were responding to. Of course, that statement was made about fifty years ago when, indeed, Puerto Ricans were generally poor.

  47. mycroft says:

    “Shlomo on November 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm
    Interesting, but unconfirmed:
    http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/11/27/singer-saloveys-rabbinic-legacy/

    see http://www.midwestprogress.org/post/638378525/hans-solo-w-nobel-prize-winning-jews-and-pat-toomey
    “However, if the author had done her research, she would have found out that another great Soloveitchik is none other than Nobel Prize winner in Economics Robert Solow.”

    I knew in grad school a non-religious but Jewish identifying European cousin of the Rav. I don’t know sefer Yuchsin but he claimed to be a cousin-the Rav asked me how he is-and he certainly was a Yom tov Shabbos guest of a sibling of the Rav. Intelligence has a major genetic component so what is the surprise that smart gdolim would have smart non religious relatives.

  48. emma says:

    “Emma: I now see what you were responding to. Of course, that statement was made about fifty years ago when, indeed, Puerto Ricans were generally poor.”

    right, but the “take-off” statement is made today. note that he changed “episcopalians” in the old one to “billionaires.” but apparently did not see a problem with using “puerto rican” for poor. I would have let it slide as poetic license vis a vis the old saying, but when he went out of the way to prove that it was “not offensive” it was too much…

  49. Nachum says:

    As to substance, Goldman is clearly living in some fantasy land where “Republican” equals “rich” and, perhaps under some Marxist influence, sees everything in economic terms, along with a dollop of attributed racism. I imagine it makes him feel better about himself for having voted for the libertine/anti-Israel candidate.

  50. IH says:

    anti-Israel candidate

    Ingrate.

  51. Nachum says:

    I bear all insults from IH as badges of honor.

  52. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Nahum, you can be so tiresome sometimes. “under some Marxist influence.” Thought we outgrew that.

  53. Tal Benschar says:

    “under some Marxist influence.” Thought we outgrew that.

    Joseph, you may not be aware, but Marx and Marxism are highly influential among many liberal arts colleges and their students in America. When I was in Princeton in the mid-1980s, I knew a number of students who considered themselves Marxists (including one whose father was a billionaire and saw contradiction in enjoying his father’s wealth). It may be a minority, but in academia it is a significant minority.

  54. Tal Benschar says:

    One thing about Goldman’s article that is strange is that the only reasons he can see for the Orthodox voting against Obama are Israel and racism. Other issues, such as moral ones, seem to have escaped him. Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, for example, certainly did not endear him to Orthodox voters. That he fails to even mention that is sloppy.

  55. Nachum says:

    Joseph, I received both a BA in Political Science and JD in the US- both at YU. At both, the ridiculous notion that Marx had something valuable to contribute in terms of both economic and social theory was taken quite seriously. Not politically, at least, was the message I got as an undergrad, at least. But elements of his thought pervade higher education. This is not to say that Goldman is a communist, but when he can only see (incorrect) economic and racial motivations as possible explanations for voting patterns, yeah, that’s Marxist influence at work.

    In short: I have a fine education, am moderately intelligent, and am not a dummy. I choose my words carefully. But bless you for a well-put response, as opposed to some others.

  56. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    yes, germany is not a formal ban, but spain is in between that of germany and egypt in formality. and all three are not kept. like i said, there are rationalizations for not observing all, i may say.

    two bans that are kept — york, england (old town only; not to stay overnite) and djerba, tunis for leviim (the one levi there, the town sofer, leaves at least once a year.) of course, djerba ban stems from their claim that ezra hasofer invited their leviim to return to help him build the bet hamikdash; when they declined, he put a curse on them. as alluded to in sefer ezra.

  57. IH says:

    All but one of the hotels in York, as I recall, are outside of the old city walls. I stayed in one near the train station (and the fantastic train museum).

  58. IH says:

    IIRC, Ari Goldman attended Rabbi Jacob Joseph School and then Yeshiva College.

  59. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    the train station, and its attached train museum (as is almost the entire city today) is outside the city walls. the bishop’s castle where the jewish community were burned is inside thw walls.

    does anyone know if the kinna for tisha be’av written by the city rav (one of the baalei hatosafot) commemorating the event, said by british jews today? (no one else says it, thats for sure.)

  60. lawrence kaplan says:

    Nachum: The claim that the Rambam concluded his letters with “he who violates three prohibitions every day” is an urban legend. Some late source says “I heard from someone that someone saw…” Give me abreak. We have many of the Rambam’s autographs from the Cairo Gziza. Not ONE is signed with this addendum. The whole idea is ridiculous for a variety of reasons in any event. Rabbi Bleich discusses this in an article on the prohibition of living in Egypt.

  61. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I am well aware that you Nahum, and Tal, are well educated intelligent people. And if you want to speak in generalities about whether there i a marxist influence in certain economic or political analyses, well, go ahead. But when you throw that accusation against a particular person (who, I admit, I know quite well), and when it’s so patently ridiculous in that case, then I think you should choose your words even more carefully. I’m not necessarily defending Ari’s article; it may be wrong, it may be sloppy, it may be lots of things. But Marxist (often used so as not to use communist)? He’s not on the list in anyone’s pocket.

  62. IH says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/nyregion/photo-of-officer-giving-boots-to-barefoot-man-warms-hearts-online.html

    “On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on.”

  63. Nachum says:

    Lawrence: I stand corrected.

    Joseph: I never meant to imply that Mr. Goldman is a communist and apologize if that was taken. (I’m glad some people still take offense at being called communists- thank God for little favors.) I meant (and thought I was clear, perhaps not) that he, like almost all educated people, is influenced by some Marxist thought. Hey, even I probably am.

    IH: Nu? A current YU student just now wrote a terrible, terrible piece (about Dershowitz) on Beinart’s website, of all places. I’ve already commented on it.

    The cop story, I think we can all agree, is a lovely one. Had he lived 1500 years ago, this would be the start of some story about a future saint and Jesus. :-) Or Eliyahu or Mashiach, if that’s more your taste. :-)

  64. mycroft says:

    I received the following e-mail concerning my comment:
    “see http://www.midwestprogress.org/post/638378525/hans-solo-w-nobel-prize-winning-jews-and-pat -toomey
    “However, if the author had done her research, she would have found out that another great Soloveitchik is none other than Nobel Prize winner in Economics Robert Solow.”

    At the request of a close relative of the Rav, I once asked Robert Solow whether his name comes from Soloveitchik. He said yes, but added that he was not aware of any Rabbinic scholars in his family tree. ”
    Probably most of us have not heard of Soloveitchik’s outside of the FAMOUS RABBINIC FAMILY-as opposed to Feinstein’s and Kotlers where the Rabbinic family is a small subset of famous people by those names. However, it is possible that there were other branches of Soloveitchik’s predating the Rabbinic dynasty.

  65. IH says:

    Generally, Jewish surnames did not exist before the late 18th or the early 19th century. If the etymology of Soloveitchik is as described, my hunch is that the families are related.

    Funny story: my ancestor, the Pachad Yizchak (R. Levi Yizchak of Berditchev) turns out to have an unused surname: DERBAREMDIKER. The story is told that: “The origin of my family name also dates back to him. In 1804, during the reign of Alexander I, the officials issued a decree to give last names to the Jews. When a clerk came to the house of Leivi-Itshak, the latter was saying his prayer shmoy yisrey [shma yisrael–] – Listen, Israel – and couldn’t stop praying. But the clerk kept asking, ‘Tell me the last name you want for yourself”. When the prayer was over the tzaddik said in Yiddish, ‘merakhemdiker got, vos vil fun mir?’, which means, ‘Merciful Lord, what does he want of me?’ And the clerk said, ‘What? Derbaremdiker?’ and put it down in his roster. Leivi-Itshak had three sons and two daughters. Successors of his older son, Meyer, stayed in Berdichev and the rest of his family moved to other towns.”

  66. IH says:

    Oops. Meant “Kedushat Levi”. One of the Pachad Yitzchak’s is another family connection which I conflated due to insufficient coffee :-)

  67. mycroft says:

    “Generally, Jewish surnames did not exist before the late 18th or the early 19th century. If the etymology of Soloveitchik is as described, my hunch is that the families are related”

    But there are 200 years since then-I have no idea of my ancestors from 200 years ago.

  68. IH says:

    Here’s one attempt: http://www.geni.com/people/Rabbi-Yosef-Dov-Soloveitchik-Beis-Halevi/5675034716440048937

    BTW, when I said “Jewish surnames” above, I should have said “Ashkenazic Jewish surnames”. The Spanish S’faradim have surnames much earlier on.

  69. MMY:

    “yes, germany is not a formal ban, but spain is in between that of germany and egypt in formality. and all three are not kept. like i said, there are rationalizations for not observing all, i may say.”

    why should i observe the ban on spain? was any of my ancestors a member of the amsterdam sephardi kehilla? and if i visit spain today will i have to profess to be a christian?

    “does anyone know if the kinna for tisha be’av written by the city rav (one of the baalei hatosafot) commemorating the event, said by british jews today”

    the kinnot in my shul were published in england and contain 2 (?) kinnot to commemorate local events. presumably if they were included in the volume they are said (or at least were said when published) in some shuls?

  70. Scott says:

    The story about the cop is of course beautiful but at the same time points out the intractability of the problem. Everyone who lives in New York knows that there are thousands of people like this sleeping in the streets, parks, subway stations, etc. So what is the solution–to have cops buy shoes and socks, out of their own money, for all of them? Obviously a more systematic solution is needed.

  71. emma says:

    the nachlaot story is truly disturbing. i was not aware of this:
    “In December 2011, the consequences turned deadly: Yochanan Spielberg, a man in his sixties and a neighbor of Satz accused of taking part in the ring (though never arrested by the police) was found hanging in his apartment. The police ruled it a suicide, which some found to be curious, since Spielberg’s hands and feet were bound when his body was found.”
    rachmana litzlan…

  72. Nachum says:

    emma: What’s really troubling is the clearly disturbed person in the comments claiming responsibility for much of the panic. She’s currently in a love-fest with an open anti-Semite in said comments.

    What I find fascinating is how an isolated Charedi community with supposedly little outside contact reacted in an almost identical way to the panics in the US decades ago. Perhaps it shows how deep-rooted some of our actions are in human nature.

  73. moshe shoshan says:

    karl marx was one of the most impotant thinkers of the past 200 years. his influnce goes far beyond those who identify as marxist. in fact i would argue that many economic conservarives today are in some ways descendants of marx.

  74. emma says:

    nachum, agree. if she is in fact a major player in this saga as she claims the fact that she is “clearly disturbed” tells you a lot of what you need to know about whom to believe. but still, what is ultimately disturbing is not how crazy she or others are, but what their crazy has led to…

  75. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    What is shocking is that we are witnesing in Nachlaot an exact replay of the very thoroughly documented moral and sexual hysteria and panic that took place in America in the 1980s which destroyed many many innocent lives and has been shown to be entirely unfounded. One would think that the Israeli criminal and metal health systems would have learned something from this and taken forceful steps to calm the panic and to protect the innocent victimes of the hysteria. Instead through inaction or ineffectual responses they appear to have allowed the panic to spiral out of control.

  76. Nachum says:

    Perhaps, sadly, seeing what rumors have done to charedi neighborhoods in the past, they think there’s nothing they can do.

  77. emma says:

    dr kaplan, even in america i would guess most people remember the panic more than the eventual revelation that it was unfounded.
    various cognitive biases at work, plus whatever psychosocial need these panics fulfill to begin with.

    it’s disturbing enough when the state/police deploy state violence against the accused in these cases, but that they seem uninterested in stopping even vigilante violence is apalling. i think attributing it to a feeling that they can’t help is too charitable. there are concrete things they could do – at least some of the perps dont seem to be making a secret of their involvement in violence – the police just don’t seem interested.

  78. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Emma: Re Nachlaot, alas, there amy be the feeling on the part of the police that “we don’t want to get involved in intnernal Haredi fighting.”

  79. Steve Brizel says:

    I agree with Nachum’s comments re the Goldman article. The article assumes that the primary, if not the sole reason why Obama did poorly was racial in nature, as opposed to his liberal-left programs on tax and national security issues and far left post modernist and ideology, which views American exceptionalism as a historical epoc of the past. The author’s unwritten premise was that the 614th Commandment is to vote Democrat on all issues.

 
 

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