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Ex-cager’s tzitzit idea assists IDF
Last rabbi in NJ corruption case is sentenced
On Christmas, a Wig Giveaway for Sandy-Affected Jews
In Baseball and Politics Alike, It’s All About Soul
Antwerp Jewish girls school forced to admit boys
As ‘fiscal cliff’ looms, Jewish umbrella groups fight cuts but are quiet on taxes
The Women and the Wall Between Israel and the Diaspora
Fight for women’s equality at the Western Wall fails to move secular Israelis
Jews and Human Rights In Europe: the Unfulfilled Promise
Stardom 101: Lipa Goes To College
Religious Zionism’s struggle
Financial Stability by Eliminating Fund Raising
In Groundbreaking Decision, Rabbinic Court Equates Lesbian and Heterosexual Relations
SALT Friday

Irving Bunim: Torah Activist, Ardent Zionist
No Place For A Chief Rabbi
Rebellious Young Hasidic Jewish Men Leading Double Lives
The Weberman Trial: Collateral Damage
Reading Names
Turkish police bust men trying to sell ‘a 1,900-year-old Torah’
When Prayers for Rain Went Unanswered
Haredi women threaten not to vote
Jews, Law, and Human Rights
Rabbis offer plan for non-Orthodox prayer at Wall
Will Orthodox Throw JONAH Overboard?
The Enduring Power Of Orthodoxy
No Guns In Utopia, But What About Here And Now?
SALT Thursday

US Liberal Jews’ War on Orthodoxy at Kotel
Jewish federations bid to save billions in lost charity from ‘fiscal cliff’ fallout
Whither the Chief Rabbinate?
Religious Revolution In Israael
Inside Hasidic Modesty Patrols
Size of UK Jewish community stable
Volozhin Books
Save a Kosher Bird!!!
What’s It Like to Be Black and Orthodox Jewish?
SALT Wednesday

R Sacks: The Moral Animal
Not Dead Yet: The Remarkable Renaissance of Cantorial Music
Rabbinates refuse women’s marital status testimony
Pope praises French rabbi’s anti-gay essay
New York orthodontist restores Jewish history, one grave at a time
Synagogue, day school building seized by IRS
Ariel University Center gets final approvals for full recognition
SALT Tuesday

R Amar: Better a Disengagement Than a Civil War
Union ousts Halpern synagogue
Of Hobbits and The Golem
Israel needs its version of Al Jazeera
Reform, Conservative, Orthodox leaders join gun control call
Beit Shemesh Chareidi Job Fair Sparks Protest
Rabbinate warns not to host New Year’s Eve parties
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.
 

157 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Which Orthodox leaders joined in the call for gun control?

  2. ruvie says:

    nice musing from alan brill on post orthodoxy. insightful of our current state but offers no solution (its not that i have any myself). worth reading (i am not sure if discussion is helpful or worthwhile).

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/post-orthodoxy/

  3. joel rich says:

    The statement said that according to Jewish law, “it is forbidden for a Jew to be present in a place where ‘idol worship’ is being conducted,” such as the rituals of other religions.

    “New Year’s parties are not just folkish, they create a prohibition [not to be present at such events],” the chief rabbinate said, and added that it would issue a directive this week outlining what is and is not considered prohibited according to Jewish law for such events.
    =============================================
    Only after consulting wiki, could I make sense of the rabbanut’s positioh:

    Folkish may refer to:
    Folk culture, in the sense “of the common people; traditional, sophisticated, yet unconventional”
    Völkisch movement of German ethnic nationalism

    Season’s Greetings!

  4. mycroft says:

    “joel rich on December 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm
    The statement said that according to Jewish law, “it is forbidden for a Jew to be present in a place where ‘idol worship’ is being conducted,” such as the rituals of other religions”

    Very similar language to that of R Macy Gordon who treated Jan 1 parties as AZ.

  5. joel rich says:

    R’ Mycroft,
    I prefer the Big D’s “those sweet 16′s will come back to haunt you”
    KT

  6. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    Alan — the ou is angry they weren’t at the chanukkah party, so they’re joining the c and r in politically corect press conferences, without any rabbinic authority

    As for new year’s partyies, the vaad of flatbush forbids it, too

  7. mycroft says:

    “joel rich on December 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm
    R’ Mycroft,
    I prefer the Big D’s “those sweet 16′s will come back to haunt you””

    Life is often expressed by: “And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”

    or sadly the following is much closer to me than 16 ” Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

  8. ruvie says:

    Mycroft – certain different than R’ Lamm’s telling his children its ok to go totally halachikally permissible (rosh hashanah lamelachim-if my memory is correct).

  9. aiwac says:

    Ruvie,

    I don’t see that Brill adds anything that hasn’t been hashed over here a hundred times before. Nor do I think the situation is that dire. Certainly this isn’t the case here in Israel.

  10. Tal Benschar says:

    “Beit Shemesh Chareidi Job Fair Sparks Protest”

    Yet another example of inflated headlines. Look at the video– there are five or six “charedim” (actually looks like Neturei Karta) holding some signs. Big deal. You can get more than that by having the Chief Rabbi show up to give a derasha.

  11. Nachum says:

    That article on gun control was very strange: It describes the whole event by talking about the Reform and Conservative and other religious groups, and then adds an “also appearing” for the OU, which could mean anything. I know from past incidents that all the non-Orthodox very much appreciate having the appearance of Orthodox representation, so who knows what happened here.

    Of course, I will admit that for some strange reason the OU has always had gun control on its agenda. I’m pretty sure I know who puts it there. Not the typical OU member, who’s probably apathetic to opposed to gun control, and one may wonder why the OU thinks it’s any of their business anyway.

  12. mycroft says:

    “a Jewish TV station as opposed to an Israeli one is that it will have access to the Arab capitals in the same way as Al Jazeera has access to Jerusalem. Thus this station could become an important channel of communication between Israel and its neighbors in the same way as Al Jazeera has become with its recent interview of Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert”

    I’ve watched Al Jazeera many times-its part of the basic television service of my -telephone,tv,computer package. They are very sophisticated-they’d interview Michael Oren in the recent war-they have correspondents in Israel showing damage from Hamas rockets,show the funerals-of course there are far more deaths shown from Gaza and of course there were far more deaths in Gaza. Their maps show Israel with Gaza and West Bank separate. They will refer to West Jerusalem as Israel. I believe their Jerusalem bureau is in Technology Park right across from the Malcha Mall. Of course, their operation costs a lot of money-and they clearly can’t break even in the classical sense with Qatar airline ads every half hour. Their shows make the Palestinians look good but they put on a very sophisticated product-covering the whole world not just the Middle East.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie-I agree with Aiwac re R D A Brill. However, perhaps, R D A Brill should talk with both RAL and RSP re how at least one RY and one rav in a very representative MO community views the causes of the issue.

  14. IH says:

    Steve — the post and discussion there are descriptive, not prescriptive so I don’t understand the point you are making.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-and RSP’s view of the same phenomenon wasn’t at least partially descriptive of what he saw and observed in his own shul?

  16. IH says:

    Steve — Can you refresh my memory with the appropriate link?

  17. Nachum says:

    “they clearly can’t break even in the classical sense with Qatar airline ads every half hour.”

    That sounds pretty good for a tv network. Of course, they have the same owner.

    I have no idea what the Arabic is like, but the English actually seems more balanced than, say, the BBC. They actually let Israelis make a point.

  18. aiwac says:

    Steven,

    Who are RAL and RSP?

  19. IH says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/world/middleeast/israeli-law-curbing-womens-prayer-up-for-review.html

    “Amid outrage across the Jewish diaspora over a flurry of recent arrests of women seeking to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments – in defiance of Israeli law — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, to study the issue and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews.”

  20. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve: By your mentioning Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and R. Steven Pruzansky in the same breath you are not according any kavod to Rav Lichtensiten.

  21. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-on the subject that both RAL and RSP spoke about, namely why people go off the derech in the MO world, IMO, it is worthwhile to consider and survey all POVs within the MO world, on the origins, causes and possible solutions, rather than assuming in a “my way or the highway” POV that any one approach represents a MO version of Daas Torah on such issues.

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/world/middleeast/israeli-law-curbing-womens-prayer-up-for-review.html

    Look at the sources cited in the article-a spokesman for RJ in Isarel which has never gotten off the ground in Israel in terms of building a movement with followers and donors from the ground up,except as a political movement capable of arguing its case before the left and the favorite refuge of secular Israeli Ashkenazi post Zionists, the Israeli courts, and an American Jewish leader who views himself as the spokesman on all issues facing American and world Jewry. Like it or not-the old adage that “talk is cheap” always is relevant on issues of this nature.

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    Of course, one should read IH’s link with the following linked background http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/world/middleeast/at-western-wall-a-divide-over-prayer-deepens.html?_r=0 with the usual cast of feminist agitators always ready with a sound bite for the NYT or anyone sympathetic to their POV. One wonders what R Broyde would say about the same, and. more particular, how and if , in what measure their POV, has influenced “Orthodox feminists”.

  24. ruvie says:

    aiwac- “I don’t see that Brill adds anything that hasn’t been hashed over here a hundred times before”

    Well i believe his summary is concise and informative as well as non-judgmental observer of the american (not israeli as he states) mo scene. lets not forget that he began posting his observations more than 3 years ago (probably the first) with more than the norm of intelligence.

    i don’t see the discussion here in the same light. most folks talk past each other with agenda driven politics. trying to draw lines in the sand for post orthodoxy or for orthodoxy itself is neither insightful, reflective nor introspective. i do not recall anyone (here) analyzing the scene with historical cycles, rebellious youth, and post evangelical similarities as oppose to an internal jewish issue. also, why statistics do not mean or show anything at this point. the word – “deconversion” says a lot. yehudah mirsky”s working paper is also interesting: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=5241 as well as dara horn’s critique: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/history/Jewish_World_Today/Denominations/Orthodox/threequestions/response.shtml).

    how often do you see someone comment on a post with a working paper and cite (praise too) someone’s critique of it. i call that an honest discussion. Aiwac, perhaps you can offer an insightful analysis of what goes on in israel today among the non haredi/hasidic but religious orthodox – dati- community.

  25. aiwac says:

    “i don’t see the discussion here in the same light. most folks talk past each other with agenda driven politics. trying to draw lines in the sand for post orthodoxy or for orthodoxy itself is neither insightful, reflective nor introspective”

    Do you include yourself in this or do you think you’re somehow Moses at Mt. Sinai? It’s easy to be critical of others and not of oneself.

    “how often do you see someone comment on a post with a working paper and cite (praise too) someone’s critique of it. i call that an honest discussion”

    Between two people of (roughly) like mind, I call that routine and nothing special. I’ve personally found many of the discussions here to be insightful in spite of all the rancor. I learned a lot in terms of sources and arguments.

    “Aiwac, perhaps you can offer an insightful analysis of what goes on in israel today among the non haredi/hasidic but religious orthodox – dati- community”

    I’m flattered. I was actually thinking of responding to Dr. Brill in a blog post; we’ll see if I have the koach.

    In brief:

    The situation here isn’t nearly as bad as Dr. Brill’s description for a variety of reasons including the existence of many different types of communities, an accepted continuum of observance, the development of religious irony and humor and so on. Non-Charedi religiosity in Israel has long since ceased to be of one “school” (TIDE, TUM, R’ Kook, EY) and so is thus not as brittle as the States.

  26. IH says:

    I think the situation in Israel is different, but there is also a “rise of the nones” that challenges the status quo: e.g. the (constructive, rather than anti) Datlash demographic.

    Also, arguably, hashkafic dogma was not the boundary issue among DL it was in the US among YU’s Centrist Orthodoxy (aka RWMO).

  27. aiwac says:

    IH,

    True, just maintaining observance was more an issue (still is, really). I don’t ascribe as much power to the datlashim as you do; they’re more a media phenomenon than anything else. I think the broad spectrum of masortiyim are far more important in terms of influence.

  28. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve: Indeed, it is worthwhile considerng all points of view regarding why MO go OFD. However, the point I was making, perhaps obliquely, was that while RAL expreses his views with care, nuance, and balance, the same, alas, canot be said for RSP.

  29. HAGTBG says:

    Yesterday the Kedasiah supposedly expelled the Halpern shul, as Gil linked to However, since then there has been a whole what to do and its not clear at all what’s going on.

    (BTW, Gil, my virus scanning program is saying the link you put up right now will download malware; it didn’t say that yesterday)

    http://ifyoutickleus.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/midnight-mess.html
    http://chaimhalpernscandal.blogspot.com/2012/12/r-padwas-letter-issued-under-duress-and.html?showComment=1356425258183

  30. ruvie says:

    aiwac – i of course include myself. i am neither moses nor above it it. we are what we are. one person’s insightful analysis is someone else’s rehash. so be it. as i said in my first post above- ” (i am not sure if discussion is helpful or worthwhile).”

    if you do respond to brill – post it on his blog. at least you will have others responding to your views and allow for an intelligent yet critical discussion (i.e. if you are confident enough in your position).

  31. IH says:

    aiwac — I agree the Mesortiyim are more numerous, but what are they contributing in ideas beyond their bodies? The Datlashim are fewer, but their ideas are having an influence in demonstrating there can be a synhesis betweem being a Israeli and traditional Yahadut.

    —–

    One thing that I think is common in both, say, Jerusalem and the Upper West Side is a demographic of people deeply committed to the idea of traditional halachic Judaism and yet open and non-judgemental about other around them (e.g. openly discussing personal beliefs over Shabbat lunch).

    —–

    At present, I am in listen mode on the discussion R. Brill is conducting. I am most interested in hearing voices not usually heard in these fora.

  32. aiwac says:

    IH,

    I know of not a few scholars who would disagree with you on that score (unfortunately, their works are in Hebrew and are not trumpeted in the media). I’m also not impressed by their attempts at synthesis, which are often just as “contra” as the world they left. From where I’m sitting, the most interesting stuff is being done in the creative sections of the Chardal and liberal dati communities. Even “dati lite” is more constructive. But that’s just me.

    “At present, I am in listen mode on the discussion R. Brill is conducting. I am most interested in hearing voices not usually heard in these fora”

    I’ve read them and am largely unimpressed (lots of standard complaints about intellectual narrowness). We’ll see if the discussion gets any better.

    “if you do respond to brill – post it on his blog. at least you will have others responding to your views and allow for an intelligent yet critical discussion (i.e. if you are confident enough in your position)”

    I’m fairly confident in my understanding of the situation here. I just don’t think I can summarize my views in a blog comment. If I was afraid of critical discussion I wouldn’t post on the internet.

  33. IH says:

    aiwac — I am happy for creativity from any community. I have no particular affinity for the Datlash. As you know, my own sympathy lies with the ideas expressed by Moshe Halbertal in the final 10 minutes (starting at 21:57) of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHrgn4k7E20

  34. ruvie says:

    aiwac – you can easily summarize your opinions and allow for the give and take for you to flesh out your ideas. just a thought not a challenge for a wider stage for your thoughts and potential responses.

  35. Nachum says:

    I once went to testify as to the “single” status of the fiancee of a friend of ours. (It’s really only needed for olim or returnees, as those born in Israel have their status registered with the Interior Ministry. Ironically, it’s hardest for olim, as they don’t tend to have life-long friends in Israel.) The man asked me how I knew her; I said I knew her fiance (through my wife), but, as it happened, my wife knew her somewhat from the US. “So why isn’t your wife here to testify?” he asked. I just shrugged- they don’t accept women. He realized what he said, and stamped the document. :-)

  36. Shlomo says:

    ▪ Not Dead Yet: The Remarkable Renaissance of Cantorial Music

    I’m glad hazzanut is flourishing in the concert hall – where it belongs.

  37. mycroft says:

    “Mycroft – certain different than R’ Lamm’s telling his children its ok to go totally halachikally permissible (rosh hashanah lamelachim-if my memory is correct)”

    Did R N Lamm permit attending New Years Eve Parties?

  38. mycroft says:

    ” YU’s Centrist Orthodoxy (aka RWMO)”
    Who says they are the same? RNL essentially invented the term Centrist Orthodoxy for MO-do you believe that equals RWMO?

  39. Ruvie says:

    Mycroft- he gave his children permission to attend them per a conversation with one of them in the 1970s which the person quoted their father. But if I don’t have it in writing:).

  40. Nachum says:

    R’ Rakeffet tells a story how he came across a photo of American Yekkes, leaders of the Aguda in the 1950′s, dressed in black tie and celebrating New Year’s Eve.

  41. abba's rantings says:

    NACHUM:

    i just learned today that r. leo jung was a big macher in agudah until he quit over zionism issues.

  42. mycroft says:

    “Ruvie on December 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Mycroft- he gave his children permission to attend them per a conversation with one of them in the 1970s which the person quoted their father.”

    A parent acquiescing to a childs behavior does not necessarily equal full agreement. R Macy Gordon treated it as a yahareg val yavor.

  43. Meir Shinnar says:

    mycroft
    A parent acquiescing to a childs behavior does not necessarily equal full agreement. R Macy Gordon treated it as a yahareg val yavor.

    acuqiescence (at the minimum) clearly means it isn’t yehareg ve’al ya’avor. however, at this point, R Gordon (and, albeit to a lesser extent, R Lamm) can’t be cited as an authority for anything – and their issues are far more serious than New Years – which no one todays is celebrating with intent of avoda zara..

  44. mycroft says:

    “acuqiescence (at the minimum) clearly means it isn’t yehareg ve’al ya’avor. however, at this point, R Gordon (and, albeit to a lesser extent, R Lamm) can’t be cited as an authority for anything – and their issues are far more serious than New Years – which no one todays is celebrating with intent of avoda zara”

    Obviously, I don’t believe celebrating New Years is a yehareg val yaavor-it doesn’t mean that I believe that it is proper to do so.
    I cited Rabbi Gordon only because he is the one who made a big issue of it-I thought that my cryptic comments in the past few weeks to put it mildly would indicate that way before the past month for other reasons I would not have cited him as an authority.
    Hypothetically one can’t celebrate AZ in the derech that it is celebrated by them even if it the action is not done with any intent to celebrate the AZ.

  45. ruvie says:

    Mycroft – look at my previous. r’ lamm gave a reasoning why he thought it was ok and not halacikally problematic. if he thought it was assur he would have told his children that also.

  46. mycroft says:

    “ruvie on December 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Mycroft – look at my previous. r’ lamm gave a reasoning why he thought it was ok and not halacikally problematic. if he thought it was assur he would have told his children that also.”

    It does not necessarily follow that a Rabbi would tell teenage children and beyond not to do everything that may be halachikally problematic.Picking ones battles is important in Rabbonus,chinuch and parenting.
    “rosh hashanah lamelachim” see eg recent Presidential proclamation about TO EXTEND NONDISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT (NORMAL TRADE RELATIONS TREATMENT) TO THE PRODUCTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

    “it ends with IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

    BARACK OBAMA”

    Doubt too many people will be celebrating Happy 238 or 237 which would arguably be a year for melachim but 2012/2013?.

  47. IH says:

    Lincoln, the movie, is extraordinary. Thought of some of you during the house debate regarding natural law… :-)

  48. Hirhurim says:

    Brill is being cute. Conservative Judaism at that time did not exist as a movement and the author used the term literally–R. Hirsch was promoting a conservative revival of Judaism.

  49. Hirhurim says:

    I agree that Lincoln was fantastic. I was crying when they finally passed the amendment.

  50. Nachum says:

    Abba: The Rav changed for pretty much the same reason.

    IH: Oh, give me a break. Do you *really* think that conservatives are pro-slavery? Are you that much of a caricature that you believe in them?

    Let’s not forget that America’s first and greatest “progressive” president was also perhaps the only full-fledged racist president.

  51. Nachum says:

    I think that American MO developed organically and only later looked back at Hirsch, Rambam, and others for “support.” It sometimes seems to me that charedism is exactly the opposite: It was artificially created and doesn’t bother finding support.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Steve,
    lets make things simple. Prozansky is a man who refused to condemn and implicitly supported the Rabin assasination. For that reason alone I can see RAL wanting to even be in the same room as the man.

  53. mycroft says:

    “Steve,
    lets make things simple. Prozansky is a man who refused to condemn and implicitly supported the Rabin assasination. For that reason alone I can see RAL wanting to even be in the same room as the man.”

    I was not aware of that so I did a simple Google search of Rabbi Pruzansky and Rabin and came up with the following

    “For those who don’t know him, Rabbi Pruzansky is a certified lecturer for Young Israel on Religious/Political Extremism, who eulogized Rabin thus: “Rabin was probably well- intentioned, but so were the leaders of the Judemat.” (See this ADL piece for a rundown of Orthodox response to the Rabin assassination). He is the “American co-spokesman” for the International Rabbinical Coalition for Israel, which four months before Rabin’s assasination debated whether such an act was permissible under Orthodox Jewish law. ”
    Is that quote factually accurate or not?

  54. Charlie Hall says:

    “I was crying when they finally passed the amendment.”

    Me, too. And hearing “The Battle Cry of Freedom” for the first time since I was a child gave me chills.

  55. abba's rantings says:

    “pressuring Netanyahu to consider a radical change in traditional Jewish customs held for generations at the Western Wall”

    really? for how many generations was the kotel used as a shul? for how many generations did the kotel even have a mechitza?

    NACHUM:

    the rav changed what?

  56. Charlie Hall says:

    “radical change in traditional Jewish customs ”

    I cannot count the number of photographs I’ve seen of men and women praying together at the Wall. Turning it into a charedi synagogue after 1967 was the change in custom.

  57. Charlie Hall says:

    ‘America’s first and greatest “progressive” president was also perhaps the only full-fledged racist president.’

    I don’t know to which president you refer, but most 19th century Presidents had racial views that would shock people today. Check out Thomas Jefferson’s only published book, *Notes on the State of Virginia* for an example. It is impossible to describe his views as other than “full-fledged racist”.

  58. IH says:

    Gil — thanks for posting the editorial screed from Arutz 7, which lays bare the lies and hysteria propogated to their audience.

  59. Anonymous says:

    “Is that quote factually accurate or not?”

    To the best of my knowledge.

  60. aiwac says:

    “Whither the Chief Rabbinate?”

    With any luck, down the tubes.

    “Let’s not forget that America’s first and greatest “progressive” president was also perhaps the only full-fledged racist president”

    Are you referring to Woodrow Wilson?

    “for how many generations did the kotel even have a mechitza?”

    Irony: a mechitza was not allowed by law until 1967. British Police would intervene if one was set up. It used to be lauded a symbol of Jewish religious freedom and attachment to the site. Now it serves to divide.

  61. abba's rantings says:

    AIWAC:

    and who prohibited it before 1918?

  62. aiwac says:

    Abba,

    The Turks. The British were enforcing what was then the status-quo.

  63. Moshol says:

    As noted, the reason that there are pictures showing women and men at the kosel without a mechitza pre-1948 is because Jews were barred at that time from having a mechitza at the kosel as a result of pressure from the Muslims. The Wikipedia entry on the kosel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Wall) states:

    “In 1922, a status quo agreement issued by the mandatory authority forbade the placing of benches or chairs near the Wall. The last occurrence of such a ban was in 1915, but the Ottoman decree was soon retracted after intervention of the Chacham Bashi. In 1928 the District Commissioner of Jerusalem, Edward Keith-Roach, acceded to an Arab request to implement the ban. This led to a British officer being stationed at the Wall making sure that Jews were prevented from sitting. Nor were Jews permitted to separate the sexes with a screen. In practice, a flexible modus vivendi had emerged and such screens had been put up from time to time when large numbers of people gathered to pray.”

    “On September 24, 1928, the Day of Atonement, British police resorted to forcefully removing a screen used to separate men and women at prayer. Women who tried to prevent the screen being dismantled were beaten by the police, who used pieces of the broken wooden frame as clubs. Chairs were then pulled out from under elderly worshipers. The episode made international news and Jews the world over objected to the British action. The Chief Rabbi of the ultraorthodox Jews in Jerusalem issued a protest letter on behalf of his community, the Edah HaChareidis, and Agudas Yisroel strongly condemning the desecration of the holy site. Various communal leaders called for a general strike. A large rally was held in the Etz Chaim Yeshiva, following which an angry crowd attacked the local police station in which they believed the British officer involved in the fiasco was sheltering.[47]”

    During the period of Turkish control, see the following news article from 1929 (link below) that states “In the days of the Turks, the Jews held divine services at the wall daily. A screen separated the male and female worshippers . . . ”

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kUMtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZZ4FAAAAIBAJ&dq=british%20police%20wall%20jerusalem%20prayer&pg=1185%2C3409615

  64. IH says:

    To be constructive, I offer a simple solution. In order to ensure that the most observant visitors to the Kotel to be able to maximize kavana and not be disturbed by the hordes of non-halachic, some not even Jewish, tourists; then, why doesn’t the government simply switch the designated areas? i.e. designate the Robinson’s Arch area to the uncompromising standards of the most observant and remove Rabbinic restrictions from the tourist site Kotel plaza.

  65. aiwac says:

    IH,

    Because the former greatly outnumber the latter in terms of regular visits and presence? It’s not so simple.

    I do agree that it is outrageous that the police are being used against the WOW.

  66. IH says:

    aiwac — do you really think that if Robinson’a arch would be the mehadrin area; and the Kotel Plaza had 3 sections (men, women, egal) that the majority would want to be in the mehadrin area?

  67. IH says:

    Incidentally, it would have the added benefit for the mehadrin of negating the appearance of Avodah Zara.

  68. aiwac says:

    Having three sections would only make it more cramped.

    What Avodah Zarah?

  69. IH says:

    I’m not convinced it would be cramped, especially if the mechitzot were moveable. Perhaps the mesoratyim (and LW DL) may even prefer to have their smachot in the egal section once the option is available.

    Wasn’t it Kahane who railed against the Kotel scene as Avodah Zarah?

  70. aiwac says:

    I think you’re confusing Kahana with Leibowitz. Egal isn’t very popular here in Israel, so far as I know. There are small sub-groups that like it, but I don’t think most would gravitate there (ESPECIALLY masortiyim). But what do I know.

  71. moshe shoshan says:

    IH
    you live in dream world.

  72. Shaul Shapira says:

    IH-
    Thanks. I’ll have to read up on it. In the meantine see letter seventeen in RSRH ninenteen letters. It’s called Reform, and he’s all in favor…

    This is also as good a time as any to mention his views on slavery in

    http://www.feldheim.com/collected-writings-of-rabbi-samson-raphael-hirsch-volume-9.html

    •Jewish Observations – a statement against anti-Semitism and derision of Torah

    where he adresses a certain “protesting Protestant” as well as

    •Outrage in Hamburg – a criticism of a Jewish community’s response to a forbidden marriage,

    relevant to Steven Greenberg.

  73. IH says:

    Moshe — Be more specific. I interact with many (Sabra A”M) mesoratyim in their family context and just don’t have the sense that the rules they accept in their synagogues would necessaruly apply at the Kotel for a family simcha. I’m not saying that it will happen on Day One, but I can easily forsee a shift in the short term).

  74. IH says:

    Shaul — I have no interest, but I know you do hence the mareh makom. It was just a friendly gesture.

  75. shaul shapira says:

    IH- Thanks for the gesture.
    As to the article
    http://www.jidaily.com/6ebea

    Upon reading Hirsch’s polemic against a Paris conference that supported moderate reforms in France, Leeser supported
    the Frankfurt rabbi’s crusade while at the same time acknowledging the biases and political limitations of someone “the world calls the [thedefender of ] the hyper-orthodox party,”

    And I thought being called Ultra-Orthodox was bad.

  76. Nachum says:

    Abba: The Rav left Aguda (I’ve seen tell that he was even on the Moetzet) and joined the Mizrachi in the 1940′s. His hesped of R’ Chaim Ozer is all about da’at torah; he stopped believing it when he saw the Holocaust.

    Charlie and aiwac: Yes, Woodrow Wilson. OK, obviously a president who owned slaves would be racist (although they were real conflicted about it, freeing them in their wills, etc.- Jefferson didn’t [except some who may have been his kids], but Washington did).

    So let me change that: The only really racist post-Civil War president was also the first (or second, if you count TR) “progressive” one. (Also the only PhD. And although he’s associated with New Jersey, he was a Southerner.) The more you dig there, the uglier it gets. Some have said that the first country to come close to fascism (in its real meaning) was the US in WWI.

    What did R’ Hirsch say about slavery?

    To the Kotel:

    1. It seems to have been used as a beit knesset only on certain occasions, like Yom Kippur- that’s when the fighting over the mechitza usually took place. Otherwise people came to say Tehillim, etc., where men and women can be together. I mean, men and women mixed in the Beit Hamikdash itself!

    2. Here’s a practical solution: It’s not well known that, in fact, all four walls of the Har HaBayit are intact- just a bit shorter (both top [knocked down] and bottom [buried]) removed, and lots of sections covered by buildings. But there’s the “Kotel Katan” which in fact is a lot closer to the Makom HaMikdash and is usually deserted. Would egalitarian types be happy with that, getting the extra s’char of restoring a neglected area, or are they too committed to making a statement at the “real” Kotel and not, heaven forbid, making any sort of “nationalistic” statement to go with a compromise?

    Look, I think the way they’ve been treating these women is disgusting and should change immediately. But at the same time there’s lots to play with. And as someone who thinks the Kotel is stam a wall that distracts from the real holy place up above (that would probably be the Kahane view), maybe with enough pressure and common sense solutions could involve the Har HaBayit. Jews are arrested for praying up there all the time, but for some reason the media and IH don’t get as impassioned about that. See causes above.

  77. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    the kotel “battle” is only a prelude to putting R and C american pressure (read $$$ / uja, etc) to make the “reforms” they want.

    mechitzot were not “formally” allowed because of a “judenrein” attempt at lessening jewish claim to the kotel. and (some) want to enforce that today!

    there was no such thing as “orthodox” before the establishment of reform. all jews were just jews, albeit few were “observant”. but the shul they didnt go to (and that they dont go to today in israel) was (is) not egaliterian.

    there is a difference between english al jazeerah and arabic al jazeera. they are smart enough to be somewhat accomodating. which a jewish / israeli al jazeera will fight over.

    the rav was still a member of the “moetzet chachmei yisrael” till it was disbanded (i think 1953). but that moetzet was powerless, till it was rejuvinated as whatwe see today.

  78. IH says:

    And as someone who thinks the Kotel is stam a wall that distracts from the real holy place up above (that would probably be the Kahane view)

    I no longer have the book, but my memory is that in the 1973 Never Again he talks about it as Avodah Zarah. But, its been 35 years so I may be mis-remembering.

    Here’s a practical solution…

    WOW’s civil disobedience has not been about removal of the mechitza (see their webpage). But, R. Rabinowitz has escalated the issue and it is the ire of diaspora Jewry (you know, the ones with the money) that now needs to be answered. Given where this has come to, I can’t see how there will not be an egal section at the main Kotel plaza (in addition to mens and womens). Those who want something more mehardin are the ones who will need to find another part of the foundation wall(s). “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”.

  79. mycroft says:

    “there is a difference between english al jazeerah and arabic al jazeera. they are smart enough to be somewhat accomodating”

    I don’t know Arabic but English al jazeerah is pretty straight-BTW on Monday night advertising highlights coming up in January include coverage of Obamas Inauguration and the Israeli elections-a few minutes before Galei Zahal was playing a December 25 song around 1250AM IST.

  80. mycroft says:

    “Abba: The Rav left Aguda (I’ve seen tell that he was even on the Moetzet) and joined the Mizrachi in the 1940′s. His hesped of R’ Chaim Ozer is all about da’at torah; he stopped believing it when he saw the Holocaust.”

    Agreed-certainly by 1946 when the Rav is formally involved with the Mizrachi-I think strong evidence by 1944-see Seth Farber’s book about Maimonides school-the Rav by 1944 was interested in starting a school affiliated with Mizrachi in Milton, Ma-only a few miles from the then Roxbury location of Maimonides.

  81. IH says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/dec/26/voters-back-gay-marriage-poll

    “More than three in five voters support David Cameron’s wish to introduce gay marriage, according to a poll conducted for the Guardian. The strong backing for a change in the law comes after the archbishop of Westminster queried the democratic legitimacy of the coalition plans.”

  82. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote in part:

    “Lincoln, the movie, is extraordinary.”

    I agree but for a wholly different reason. The message of the film was that leadership is the art of achieving the possible, and not being viewed by one’s contemporaries as an out of touch dreamer or visionary focused on one’s own ideology. Both Lincoln, and especially, Thaddeus Stevens underscored that fact.

  83. IH says:

    Steve — why do you think that is a wholly different reason from mine? It isn’t, FWIW.

  84. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-contrast Thaddeus Stevens’ response to a question about human equality during the course of the debate with the final scene of the movie. Stevens obviously viewed passage of the 13th Amendment as a more important goal than his own well known POV.

  85. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-I agree-we both enjoyed the movie for the same reason!

  86. IH says:

    The art of the possible is precisely what Orthodoxy needs. As R. Sperber succinctly states: “The issue is “not about numbers, but about sensitivity to a segment of our community. I don’t see myself as a feminist, but as a halachaist who believes it is important ‘to permit that which is permitted’.”

    ואידך פירושה הוא

  87. IH says:

    For those who haven’t seen the movie, the scene about Natural Law to which I referred – and the scene about Thaddeus Stevens’ response to a question about human equality to which Steve referred – were the “slippery slope” argument that passing the 13th amendment would lead to blacks and, even worse, women being enfranchised to vote.

  88. Charlie Hall says:

    ” The only really racist post-Civil War president was also the first (or second, if you count TR) “progressive” one.”

    No question that Woodrow Wilson was a horrible racist. But the first post-Civil War President was Andrew Johnson and he may have been the most racist President ever. (Johnson hated both blacks and American Indians.)

    I do count TR as a Progressive — hey, he founded the Progressive Party in 1912 — and his writings by modern standards would also have to be called intellectually racist. But his racism wasn’t the vile hatred that Wilson had. Ironically the least racist of the three candidates in 1912 was Taft — read his inaugural address from 1908.

    “the first country to come close to fascism (in its real meaning) was the US in WWI.”

    The US switched to a command economy in both WW1 and WW2, and anyone opposing the war effort could have their businesses seized and be themselves jailed. The railroads were completely nationalized in WW1 and Wilson appointed his Treasury Secretary, William G. McAdoo, to run them. (McAdoo had been a railroad executive and his company had built what are now the PATH tunnels underneath the Hudson River. The US railroad industry might have done better had it stayed nationalized.) Ironically apologists for laissez-faire cite the US’ success in those wars as evidence for the success of free market capitalism when it was really a model Mussolini would have admired that did it.

    “Jefferson didn’t [except some who may have been his kids], but Washington did”

    Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves, and freed few of them even at his death. Ironically he viciously attacked Alexander Hamilton, an abolitionist, for allegedly being a threat to freedom.

    Washington had hundreds of slaves at Mount Vernon, but most of them were technically owned by the estate of his wife’s first husband. His will directed that his own slaves be freed after his wife’s death. I think he was the only Southern slaveowning Founding Father to do so. (Washington may have been influenced by Hamilton on this as he was almost everything else.)

    Interestingly, both Hamilton and John Jay, another Founding Father abolitionist, were religious Anglicans. Jefferson and Madison, another unapologetic slaveowners, were irreligious. Jefferson and Madison claimed to think that slavery was a terrible thing, but they did not free their slaves even though Virginia law permitted it at that time.

    And while Wilson was a Presbyterian Elder (and son of a Presbyterian Minister) Andrew Johnson was irreligious.

  89. Charlie Hall says:

    “Jews are arrested for praying up there all the time, but for some reason the media and IH don’t get as impassioned about that. ”

    The US State Department actually objected to this in its Religious Freedom Report. It got no notice outside of a few mentions in the Zionist media.

  90. Nachum says:

    Charlie: I sometimes like to think I had a hand in that. :-) A friend of ours who works for the State Department, an Orthodox Jew, was visiting and I mentioned this fact to him. He was shocked- he’d never heard it. A few months later, it appeared in the State Department report for the first time. OK, it has to be a coincidence, as my friend has nothing to do with that, but allow me my fantasies. :-)

    As to your longer post, I can’t argue with a single thing you wrote, and you’ve taught me some things besides.

    IH, conservatives may not be happen with what eventually resulted from the 15th and 19th Amendments, for obvious reasons (although the immediate result of both was a lot more votes for Republicans) but I’ve never heard one suggest that they actually be repealed.

    “I no longer have the book, but my memory is that in the 1973 Never Again he talks about it as Avodah Zarah. But, its been 35 years so I may be mis-remembering.”

    Trust me, he doesn’t. I just flipped through the indexes of those books of his that have them and don’t find anything like that- based on his writings on the Har HaBayit, it’s probably not a sentiment he would disagree with too strongly, but he never mentions the Kotel. One of his disciples (after his assassination) actually called to have it blown up, but that’s just silly- it holds up the Temple Mount! I imagine he didn’t mean that seriously.

    Finally, I wouldn’t exactly look to Britain of today for moral guidance.

  91. Nachum says:

    Let me correct that: He never mentions the Kotel in this context. Of course, he mentions it in a lot of other places.

  92. joel rich says:

    Though both the New Deal and mobilization for World War I served as models, the World War II mobilization bureaucracy assumed its own distinctive shape as the war economy expanded. Most importantly, American mobilization was markedly less centralized than mobilization in other belligerent nations. The war economies of Britain and Germany, for instance, were overseen by war councils which comprised military and civilian officials. In the United States, the Army and Navy were not incorporated into the civilian administrative apparatus, nor was a supreme body created to subsume military and civilian organizations and to direct the vast war economy.

    Instead, the military services enjoyed almost-unchecked control over their enormous appetites for equipment and personnel. With respect to the economy, the services were largely able to curtail production destined for civilians (e.g., automobiles or many non-essential foods) and even for war-related but non-military purposes (e.g., textiles and clothing). In parallel to but never commensurate with the Army and Navy, a succession of top-level civilian mobilization agencies sought to influence Army and Navy procurement of manufactured goods like tanks, planes, and ships, raw materials like steel and aluminum, and even personnel.

    KT

  93. joel rich says:

    Rabbi Shlomo Riskin once said that the most amazing thing about the survivors is that they were still willing to bring children into a world that had treated them so cruelly
    =======================
    Are there any survey statistics available-I always had the feeling that survivors either rejected HKB”H or clung to him.
    KT

  94. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    IIRC a talk from Rabbi Adlerstein on theology & the Holocaust; someone surveyed a bunch of Israeli survivors fairly early on. Half said their observance post-Holocaust was the same level as pre-Holocaust; of the remainder, I think it was … two-thirds said “now less” and one-third said “now more”? I recall the numbers weren’t overwhelmingly in either direction.

  95. abba's rantings says:

    from the bunim article:

    “his founding of the Young Israel movement” and “In those days it was almost unheard of for an Orthodox leader to also be an ardent Zionist.”

    both false statements. bunim was a great man. there is no need to exaggerate his accomplishments.

  96. abba's rantings says:

    wow. charlie and and nachum. IH and steve. הנה מה טוב ומה נעים שבת אחים גם יחד

  97. abba's rantings says:

    just to clarify, i was glad to read that bunim article. i didn’t know about his zionims, and specifically his relationship with jabotinsky and betar.

  98. abba's rantings says:

    from the article on rebellious hasidim

    “I love my wife”

    and yet

    “With one arm around a strange girl’s waist, he will whisper into her ear, and then kiss her on the lips. They will disappear into the bathroom and emerge flushed.”

    puh-leese.

  99. abba's rantings says:

    “A more recent example of reciting the names of the dead has taken hold in numerous synagogues around the country in recent years.”

    i’ve only seen this in one shul, yi of west orange, about 4-5 years ago. very moving. we tend to be hawkish when it comes to using the military and the least we could do is acknoeldge their contribution in a shul setting.

  100. just visiting says:

    @abba’s rantings

    Throughout, the article conflates Joseph’s cheating issues with his “rebellion” issues. Joseph’s wife knows all about the other aspects of his rebellion (“His wife, meanwhile, has become more of an accomplice than someone he needs to hide from. They go to movies and plays together, disguising themselves as a secular couple and spending romantic evenings strolling around Manhattan.”), so his desire to explore culture, etc is not an issue between the two of them.

    And the dramatic intro about how she “may divorce him” is sort of silly, since it’s no more true for him than for a secular guy (since Joseph’s wife appears to be OK with his secular-style outings and clothes, presumably she’d only divorce him for the cheating). Even if Joseph is somehow oblivious to the fact that it is perfectly normal and accepted and even encouraged in secular society to divorce cheating husbands, you’d think the reporter would be aware of this. Does Joseph think that if he were married to a typical Reform or staunchly secular Jewish woman, he’d be permitted to roam freely?

  101. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “Interestingly, both Hamilton and … were religious Anglicans.”

    further interesting, hamilton’s father put him in the jewish kindergarten / elementary school in jamaica, where he was born (illegitimatelty, i may add.) so he got it from, his “yeshiva” upbringing. (of course, he later attended the same church school in new jersey with burr, with whom he later … dueled …)

    “and anyone opposing the war effort could have their businesses seized and be themselves jailed” except for the truimvirate of john d rockefeller, joe “old man” kennedy, and (later) senator prescott bush (then in connecticut, his son should get better) whose (private, meaning incoming investments were by connections only) bank was taken over by the treasury as enemy property during ww2. and the path train was called the hudson and manhattan railroad. you still see signs there saying h & m rr.

  102. Charlie Hall says:

    “hamilton’s father put him in the jewish kindergarten / elementary school in jamaica, where he was born (illegitimatelty, i may add.)”

    Hamilton was born in Nevis and grew up in St. Croix. His mother’s husband may have been Jewish. Because he was illegitimate, he was denied entry to the Anglican school and appears to have been tutored at an informal school run by Jews. (St. Croix did have a synagogue then.) It is not even clear who Hamilton’s biological father was; we do know that his mother was of French Huguenot ancestry and that from his mother Hamilton learned fluent French.

  103. Charlie Hall says:

    “I sometimes like to think I had a hand in that. :-)”

    If so, Mazel Tov!

  104. Nachum says:

    Aw, shucks, Charlie. I really don’t think I did. But Kol HaKavod to whoever put it in.

    “Does Joseph think that if he were married to a typical Reform or staunchly secular Jewish woman, he’d be permitted to roam freely?”

    It’s been documented elsewhere that some insular chassidim have weird ideas of how sexually permissive the world in general is. I remember one story about a young guy who was talking with non-Jewish (or secular) university students- the first secular people he’d ever really spoken to- and just started groping one of the women. She smacked him, of course, and his friends (who’d been “out” longer than him) had to explain to her that, yes, this is what their community thinks goes on in the outside world.

  105. IH says:

    http://www.yucommentator.org/2012/12/how-yu-left-me-estranged-from-torah/

    “Eventually, I found my Jewish studies professors to be greater role models than my Roshei Yeshiva. They were Jews in the real world, not products of an MTA-YU-RIETS education. They went to secular college and understood the challenges. They didn’t judge me for the questions I brought up in class. They never hurled ‘Kofer’ or ‘Apikores’ at a challenge. They were enthusiastic to discuss ideas about Mesorah, excited to point me to a book or article, and happy to discuss politics without telling me what to believe. I found in my Jewish history and Bible professors Jews who were intellectual and frum, sensitive and nonjudgmental.”

  106. Hirhurim says:

    There’s a story that hasn’t changed in the 20+ years since I started YU. The beauty of YU is that many different kinds of people can find their place there, even self-conscious questioners who read heresy hunting into every glance and phrase.

  107. Anonymous says:

    ▪ Antwerp Jewish girls school forced to admit boys

    “Joods Actueel, a Belgian-Jewish monthly, reported that the father of the boys was Moshe Friedman, an anti-Zionist Orthodox Jew who participated in a conference of Holocaust deniers in 2006 in Tehran, Iran. The paper said no school in Antwerp would admit his children.”

  108. IH says:

    In case it wasn’t obvious, I posted the YU Commentator piece apropos of the discussion on Kiruv last week due to the publication of the recent Klal Perspectives. The point I was trying to highlight is that some people’s commitment to Orthodoxy is davka due to Academic Jewish Studies, much as it is derided by others.

  109. Steve Brizel says:

    I agree with R Gil’s assessment of the YU Commentator piece that IH posted. YU challenges every student to find his or her own place,. YU and SCW are not fuzzy wuzzy places where your rebbe ,mashgiach or dorm advisor has a kumsitz, tells stories ( except as a means of a Maaseh Rav or to illustrate a point about Talmidei Chachamim) and sings niggunim except at a Chanukah Mesibah or Purim Chagigah and Seudah. OTOH, the RY as part of their roles of the transmitters of TSBP, obviously view their role as informing students as to what is within and beyond what they perceive as the boundaries of the content of a shiur and what they perceive as proper attire for any talmid in their shiur. (FWIW,one of my classmates who dressed in a pair of farmers’ overalls and a t-shirt and who was called “Farmer” by one of our rebbes is now a prominent lay leader of the Charedi community in his home town.)

    My impression of the RIETS RY is that they appreciate talmidim who are serious about learning. That being said, I see no qualitative difference in the issues debated and discused then when I was a student. What is fire and brimstone like musar that goes within one ear and outside the other ear in some students is a wonderful approach to one’s Hashkafas HaChaim in others. The bottom line remains that the future of MO debate and discuss the issues affecting their lives whether in shiur, seder, the cafeteria, in the Commie or elsewhere. YU is not for everyone, but then again, neither are the Ivies, Brandeis, U of M, Lakewood or the Mir.

  110. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    IH — ” The point I was trying to highlight is that some people’s commitment to Orthodoxy is davka due to Academic Jewish Studies, much as it is derided by others.”

    provided they know the diff between academic jewish studies and torah study.

    tzizit — i assume the beged is black, not the tzizit as the article states. wont past muster by charedim, either way. mr goodman should develop a pr campaign among them; if done right, they may even buy some tzizit for tzahal.

    fundraising article — too many ppl make too much money on these nickel and dime fundraising processes.

    lipa goes to college — this article should be in hamodia / yated, not the jewish press. preaching to the choir.

  111. abba's rantings says:

    MMY:

    well i was wondering if lipa will ever appear in those pages again, for any reason

  112. IH says:

    provided they know the diff between academic jewish studies and torah study.

    MMhY — And are you so sure that Brisker analysis fits into one of these two categories?

  113. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    IH — prob one or the other (or both), but the torah aspects of it are diff than the “logical analysis” academic study of it.

    good piont, either way.

    shabbat shalom

  114. mycroft says:

    “YU is not for everyone, but then again, neither are the Ivies, Brandeis, U of M, Lakewood or the Mir.”

    Agreed-but there should be essentially some place-they could be different places- where essentially all who wish to partake of MO shuld be able to.

  115. ruvie says:

    A woman’s perspective – a stern girl’s view from the other side of the mehitsah. interesting

    http://www.kolhamevaser.com/2012/12/our-side-of-the-mehitsah-an-open-letter/

  116. ruvie says:

    the one sad thing about the commentator article is that the shabbat experience while the same as 20+ years ago at yu (it is afterall a weekday campus)is so much better – achdus etc – on most secular colleges – which has improved tremendously over the past 30+ years.

  117. Hirhurim says:

    Ruvie: I was a regular in YU for Shabbos in my day and then 2 or 3 years ago I had the pleasure of spending Shabbos in YU with my family. The experience has dramatically changed in so many ways, almost entirely for the positive. I was telling some of the students that they don’t know how good they have it now.

  118. Nachum says:

    So basically, it boils down to one thing: YU isn’t liberal enough for him. Congratulations. He now knows how conservative students feel at about 99% of the rest of American campuses.

    I think the comments pretty much put the finger on his problems. The funniest one, of course, is from one of the usual suspects.

    If I sounds bitter, it’s because I was an IBC student and feel it benefited me greatly. The man refused to think out of the box and now blames others.

  119. ruvie says:

    Gil – after i wrote my comment erev shabbat i remembered a comment made to me a few years ago by one of the deans at yu (which speaks to your comment). that they have put time, effort and money into making the shabbat experience significantly better than my time 30 years ago (which i only personally stayed once or twice). i guess what i see as sad is that most of the locals -vast majority of the school- still do not stay but yet look at the other schools’ campus as more positive experiences of acdus and shabbat than yu. it also reflects a personal experience of a son who went to yu just 5 years ago that saw no attraction to stay on shabbat (but that may be for personal reasons).

  120. ruvie says:

    Nachum – are you that young to call it IBC?

  121. Nachum says:

    Ruvie: Young? I’m flattered! It’s been IBC for about thirty years.

    “i guess what i see as sad is that most of the locals -vast majority of the school- still do not stay but yet look at the other schools’ campus as more positive experiences of acdus and shabbat than yu.”

    Don’t judge the school by what you read in The Commentator, which increasingly seems to represent a small group of disgruntled leftists. I think most students just go home. I do remember that Shabbat on campus got its first major upgrade when I was there- late 90′s.

  122. ruvie says:

    Nachum – well, i guess i am older – i still call it EMC and was in R” Kreiser’s shiur.

  123. joel rich says:

    The challenge of YU is being the only wheel in town. Sometimes that means that everyone is unhappy because not everyone is like them and sometimes it means the administration can do what it wants because there’s “no place but here” (of course an overstatement but I think it fits in many situations). Compare this to the Israel program experience where sometimes it seems like there are as many Yeshivot as students.
    KT

  124. mycroft says:

    “Nachum – well, i guess i am older – i still call it EMC ”

    When Dr Grinstein who I took for Amer J Hist at Revel was in charge it was called TIM. There was a time when the Jewish studies divisions were not named after donors,RIETS,TI and JSP.

  125. Nachum says:

    And Revel. :-) Einstein too, you could argue.

    If I was Mashiach, one of the things I’d outlaw is recognition of donor’s names, even if God Himself would have to be appealed to to change human nature. (Even the Beit HaMikdash had donor’s names, engraved on gold grape leaves hanging over the front door.) Not to worry, rich folk: I’m a kohen. :-)

    OK, one more joke from my YU days: The humor column in the Commentator once had this line: “I’ve heard that at Cornell, there’s something called ‘Suicide Point,’ where failing students go to kill themselves. I am shocked! Of course, at YU we would never have such a thing. No, here, it would be the “Jack and Rose Goldstein Suicide Point.”

    I still remember the confusion when, at the same time, YU discovered that neither its main campus nor main building had any donors to be named after. :-)

    TIM was actually a six-year program that ran for four years of high school (secular classes jointly with MTA students) and two of college (secular classes with YC), after which the students got a diploma and then took the same shiurim (technically RIETS) as YC students for two years. It and TIW were originally Mizrachi schools that merged into what became YU in the 1920′s when Meir Bar-Ilan, who was the head of American Mizrachi, was running the school in R’ Revel’s absence at the oil fields of Oklahoma. They both eventually merged into YC and Stern respectively, the former becoming the college-only (four year) EMC and then IBC. You can see some remnants in the fact that IBC can officially still award its own bachelor’s degrees and “Hebrew Teaching Diplomas,” although it rarely if ever does, and Stern still has a Jewish Education major and can award the same diplomas.

  126. ruvie says:

    interesting comments by r’ broyde on r’ ilan feldman’s kiruv article. a little give and take between the two. i think r’ broyde hits on a point that few in orthodoxy would admit to.

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/12/30/ideology-or-community-an-exchange-between-rabbis-broyde-and-feldman/

  127. aiwac says:

    Ruvie,

    Again, I don’t see anything new in what R. Broyde says – and many in Orthodoxy would at least privately admit to his points.

  128. ruvie says:

    aiwac – i find it refreshing to see a leading orthodox rabbi saying that some of our answers to certain questions are weak (yes some may be excellent too but admitting that some outsiders would see us -including mo i assume-ideologically and scientifically backwards is new to me).

  129. IH says:

    Actually, I think they both continue to miss the mark. A significant number of those who consider themselves Orthodox, affiliate with Orthodox institutions and want to raise their children Orthodox are doing it primarily for anthropological & sociological reasons (even if they don’t express it in such terms) and not primarily for ideological or theological reasons.

    It seems to me that those at the highest risk of leaving are those who are educated to see Judaism in black and white terms — it is these individuals who are alienated by “the Slifkin matter” as R. Broyde exemplifies “core ideological issues”. In other words, I would argue that the very methodology of most kiruv contains the ingredients that also cause people to leave.

  130. ruvie says:

    IH- I think R’ Broyde hints to your point when he says: “that many people are not Orthodox because they have not seen yet a beautiful social community.”

    personally, i believe that is the major reason kiruv works – the wanting of a social community that may be absent in some lives. also true for FFBs.

  131. aiwac says:

    Ruvie,

    The same could be said of any religious, ideological or political community or grouping – we all have our weak points. And just because the answers are weak now doesn’t mean they’ll always be like that.

    As for IH’s point about lots of frum Jews staying for sociological reasons – this is no chiddush, in fact it’s downright banal. The same is true, again, for any sociological group. That doesn’t mean the ideological core points aren’t important as well.

    In fact, the Charedim have one up on us here because their sociological identity and sense of self-importance is far stronger than ours, so far more people stay there even if they don’t buy into the whole shpiel. IIRC, they did a questionaire that showed that relatively few people formally leave the Charedi world as opposed to the DL world – and I’m sure they have just as many, if not more, questioners and downright heretics (however one defines the term).

  132. IH says:

    Yes, see apropos the Beliefs column in yesterday’s NYT:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/us/on-religion-where-are-the-humanists.html

    —–

    That said, there are many non-Orthodox Jewish communities that also thrive on “the wanting of a social community that may be absent in some lives. also true for FFBs”.

    Take a look at http://romemu.org/mission — I understand they get 400 people to Shabbat services every week.

  133. IH says:

    aiwac — you do yourself a disservice by continually and cynically saying that what other are saying is old news. Perhaps you can highlight your bright sparks of new thought l’havdil :-)

    Your raising the Charedi world is correct — but, you missed an important element: they insist on early marriages for their children precisely because they understand that the sociological pull is so dominant.

  134. aiwac says:

    IH,

    It is old news. I wasn’t aware that the burden is on me to be original. :) Ruvie keeps presenting this stuff as if it’s groundbreaking, when it really isn’t. When he stops making such claims, I will rein in my cynicism.

    “Your raising the Charedi world is correct — but, you missed an important element: they insist on early marriages for their children precisely because they understand that the sociological pull is so dominant”

    None of that bodes well for the MO community, with our later marriages and singles issues. Besides, the Charedi community also has far heavier sanctions for those who “break the rules”, married or not.

    BTW, I’m increasingly of the opinion that helping C, R and UA Jews get married and raise Jewish children would do far more towards Jewish continuity than any kiruv activity . The demographic growth rate among these groups is close to a downright death spiral…

  135. IH says:

    Your last paragraph is old news, aiwac :-) Seriously, though, I’m glad to hear that is where your head is. The bottom line from the set of demographic studies in the US over the past couple of years is that the secret is affiliation in some form; any form. Even among intermarried couples. E.g. from the NY study:

    While overall the number of Conservative and Reform households continues to decline, for Conservative and Reform Jews, affiliation makes a huge difference in the level of engagement. As discussed below, synagogue affiliation also is associated with higher Jewish engagement among the intermarried. Nearly three quarters (73%) of Conservative Jews who are members of a congregation have high or very high levels of Jewish engagement, compared with less than 15% of Conservative Jews not affiliated with a congregation. Similarly, 57% of Reform Jews identified with a congregation score high or very high on the Index of Jewish Engagement, compared with 8% of Reform Jews who are not members of a congregation.

    Married households dramatically outscore the non-married on Jewish engagement, and those with children outscore those without children at home. [...]

    Affiliated intermarried households are close to the congregationally affiliated in-married in their observance of seasonal Jewish holidays, accessing Jewish websites, contributing to Jewish charities, and participating in Jewish cultural events and programs at Jewish community centers.

  136. aiwac says:

    I never claimed my opinion was news.

    I’m not as sanguine as you when it comes to bringing people back into the affiliated fold; I remember my eyes nearly bulging out when I saw the ludicrously low marriage (either with Jews or not) and childbirth rates for non-O Jews.

    Still, we have to try.

    Any suggestions?

  137. IH says:

    Any suggestions?

    Yes. I think it is incumbent upon Modern Orthodox Jews with passion and education – such as regular commenters here — to share their knowledge with non-Orthodox Jews in a manner that unites us. As an example, a non-Orthodox shul recently asked me to give a 90 minute class about traditional Jewish texts to their adult bnei mitzvah program of about 20 people. In addition to providing some history of Written Torah to Oral Torah to Codified Halacha, I took them through an example of K’riyat Sh’ma, with which they are very familiar, to the first mishnayot of B’rachot, to some excerpts from Bavli G’mara (about nakedness) to the Shulchan Aruch on Kol Isha. The idea being to illustrate how modern debates about which they hear only parts are grounded in the same tradition they share. The idea was not to convince them of anything, but to give them some tools to better understand the nuances that impact Jews today.

  138. aiwac says:

    IH,

    I don’t see how that helps anything, esp. the demographic problem. I don’t think a couple of nice shi’urim will have much of an effect on that.

  139. IH says:

    Every little bit helps.

  140. Ruvie says:

    Aiwac- maybe it’s me but I don’t recall a major leading rabbi saying frankly what he said as well as its implications. Privately grumbling is meaningless since there are no actions related to it.

  141. aiwac says:

    “maybe it’s me but I don’t recall a major leading rabbi saying frankly what he said as well as its implications”

    What implications? He hasn’t said anything people didn’t already know and even frankly acknowledge, at least here in Israel. I know of thinkers who openly speak of such things like R. Dr. Michael Avraham and others.

    “Privately grumbling is meaningless since there are no actions related to it”

    What actions are you referring to?

  142. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that R Broyde and R Feldman’s exchange hit the nail on the head. The following is an illustrative maaseh sheyaha that happened to a close friend of mine. My friend was in Passaic and davened at R Issenman’s shul where R Issenman in the course of his drasha quoted the view of R Bachaya that Yosef never forgave his brothers. R Issenman clearly noted that R Bchauya was a minority view, but still a Rishon whose view should not be dismissed out of hand, in the course of noting that we err in either viewing the Avos or Imahos with either no roof for error or solely on our own level. When my friend quoted this view at a Shabbos table, he was met with a dismissive quote of such a POV by reference to of all works-The Little Medrash Says! Apparently, sone people either don’t realize that there are differences among Rishonim in their approaches to Parshanut or prefer to understand Chumash on the level of a pre-schooler.

  143. mycroft says:

    “noting that we err in either viewing the Avos or Imahos with either no roof for error or solely on our own level”

    I suspect most Hirhurim readers believe that our Avos could have committed an error but were certainly on a higher level than us.

  144. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote in part:

    “As an example, a non-Orthodox shul recently asked me to give a 90 minute class about traditional Jewish texts to their adult bnei mitzvah program of about 20 people. In addition to providing some history of Written Torah to Oral Torah to Codified Halacha, I took them through an example of K’riyat Sh’ma, with which they are very familiar, to the first mishnayot of B’rachot, to some excerpts from Bavli G’mara (about nakedness) to the Shulchan Aruch on Kol Isha”

    IOW, you provided fellow Jews whose knowledge of Torah is at best minimal by your own admission with your own glosss and well documented views on the transmission of TSBP and on Tznius? What a strange way of expresssing RS Gaon’s views that we are only a people because of our fidelity to Torah, as opposed to sharing “share [our] knowledge with non-Orthodox Jews in a manner that unites us.”

    I would maintain that a community kollel or similar NJOP style program for adults or NCSY style program for teens accomplishes far more in a non-judgmental perspective in an appropriate setting without engaging in the Pluralism uber alles tone of your program.

  145. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-can’t believe you missed this link, which I noticed briefly this afternoon. http://charneyreport.com/about/#scheduleanchor

    IH wrote in part:

    “I took them through an example of K’riyat Sh’ma, with which they are very familiar, to the first mishnayot of B’rachot, to some excerpts from Bavli G’mara (about nakedness) to the Shulchan Aruch on Kol Isha”

    Hard to believe that you discussed the above sources when there are two Sedarim ( Nashim and Nezikin) in Shas that deal with interpersonal relations.

  146. IH says:

    Steve — Are you taking lessons from R. Pruzansky?

  147. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum wrote in part:

    “Don’t judge the school by what you read in The Commentator, which increasingly seems to represent a small group of disgruntled leftists”

    I agree with the above comment, and amend it just to note that the Commentator, with a few exceptions, has generally in its editorial and news coverage, been quite representative of the LW sector of MO in its coverage of YU and RIETS.

  148. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-I stand by my own comments and critique of your actions, regardless of what R Pruzansky has said on the issue .

  149. Steve Brizel says:

    IH from the NY study:

    “Affiliated intermarried households are close to the congregationally affiliated in-married in their observance of seasonal Jewish holidays, accessing Jewish websites, contributing to Jewish charities, and participating in Jewish cultural events and programs at Jewish community centers.”

    If this is “Jewish engagement”, a term that demographers and Federation types use as a means of defining “continuity”, the truth is that the emperor has no clothes. The same has never been viewed as anything more than a quasi Judaism that is missing the core elements of Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim and a committment to Bris Sinai and Bris Avos.

  150. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “In other words, I would argue that the very methodology of most kiruv contains the ingredients that also cause people to leave.”

    I would agree with the above comment with respect to the Charedi kiruv organizations, yeshivos and seminaries, whose advertising, as R Buchwald noted in his article, view women as if they don’t exist in terms of qualified speakers, let alone pictures. Yet, there are very important exceptions such as NCSY, NJOP, and MJE, as well as institutions such as Darchei Noam in Israel that are not Charedi. One can only hope that YU rebuilds JSS into its former stature as an “it and not about” yeshiva for those BTs who want to develope proficiency in classical Jewish texts as the means for growing in Torah observance.

  151. aiwac says:

    I will say that the comments on the Broyde-Feldman exchange are enlightening. It feels that the UO baalei batim understand more than the leadership…

  152. joel rich says:

    Regarding proofs
    The “Good News” is :Rav Soloveitchik is talking about the revolution wrought in religious thought by Immanuel Kant. Kant proved that it is impossible to prove the existence (or non-existence) of God. Rav Soloveitchik argues that in so doing, Kant in no way damaged religious belief. On the contrary – he liberated it from the burden of logical proof, which had been a foreign implant in religious faith. Faith, according to Rav Soloveitchik, is based on an inner certainty, not on any sort of logical proof. The experience of the encounter with God cannot rest upon logical proof. No one among us needs logical proof that his mother exists, or that he himself exists. Likewise, there is no need for a logical proof for the existence of God. Faith does not contradict reason, but it likewise does not rest upon it.

    The “Bad News” is that Joel Rich thinks (FWIW) you can’t easily convince someone how they should experience their, or someone else’s, existence

    KT.

  153. IH says:

    This may come as a surprise to some, but the only (American) Jewish denomination that doctrinally does not believe in an interceding supernatural God is Reconstructionism. Now, what people in any of the denominations — including Reconstructionism and Orthodoxy — personally believe, is a different question…

 
 

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