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Romania issues stamp for shul’s 130th anniversary
E Brown: Blood Upon Our House
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How Do We Relate To Morally Difficult Texts In Jewish Tradition?
Rabbi Calls for 5-Day Torah Marathon to ‘Cancel Decree’
Holocaust Museum Prepares Exhibit on Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Regime
Jewish School That Refused to Play Hoops on Shabbat Is Back in State Playoffs
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OU Puts Kibosh On Jezebel Name At Soho Eatery
Ethiopian-Israeli wins Miss Israel pageant for first time
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With Gun Pointed, I Became A Rabbi
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Witness refuses to testify against popular rabbi
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Does a Rock in the New Mexico Desert Show the Decalogue in Ancient Hebrew?
Agudah wants faith-based pre-Ks in universal program
Principle or Pragmatism?
Beit Shemesh Women Sue over ‘Modesty’ Coercion
Why Couldn’t Soviet Jews See Stalin for the Anti-Semitic Monster He Was?
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Preparing for a New Pope
Benedict and the Rabbi
12 Good Reasons Why Secular Israelis Reject Haredim
Kosher Barbeque a Smoking Hot Fad in New York
A New Deal for Torah studies in Israel
Dutch court: Jews must also carry ID cards
Confessions of a Synagogue Membership Hoarder
Our Preschool Challenge
Homeless Tent City Meets Suburbia in Orthodox Town
We tore our Hillel down, an organizational makeover
Staffer’s Divorce Becomes Object of Hill Protest
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Mohel Cleared In German Circumcision Controversy
First Sign Language Megila Reading Takes Place
‘Jews of Egypt’ tells story of Egypt’s exiled Jewish community
R Adlerstein: Are Christians the New Jews?
Looking for love? Rabbis hope you’ll blow it
In Israel, the Orthodox Control Judaism. A New Knesset Member Wants to Change That
Confessions of a Synagogue Membership Hoarder
Our Preschool Challenge
Ultra-Orthodox Schools Resist Mandate on Vegetables, Fearing Kosher Violation
House subcommittee sets hearing on ‘worsening’ anti-Semitism<
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A Possible Pope Goes to Shul
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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.
 

189 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    In an attempt to find a creative solution for the problem caused by the potential presence of minute insects in leafy vegetables, ultra-Orthodox activists have hired the services of a nutritionist to come up with alternative meal options that would provide equal nutritional values while avoiding vegetables viewed as problematic.

    —————————————————-

    Which implies for those families who can’t afford an in house bug checker and/or nutritionist, nutrition will just have to suffer? I wonder if poskim take this into account in determining psak (just as I wonder about the cost of chalav yisrael in human terms for families on a tight budget)
    KT

  2. IH says:

    The slippery slope of the right…

  3. Hirhurim says:

    IH: I agree with you on this

  4. Hoffa Araujo says:

    Yosef Friedenson a”h was niftar

    http://matzav.com/reb-yosef-friedenson-zl

  5. Tal Benschar says:

    Which implies for those families who can’t afford an in house bug checker and/or nutritionist, nutrition will just have to suffer? I wonder if poskim take this into account in determining psak (just as I wonder about the cost of chalav yisrael in human terms for families on a tight budget)
    KT

    Please, you don’t need an in-house nutritionist for anything. Go on any website that discusses which vegetables are problematic and which are not (the OU, the Star-K) and you will quickly learn that while some are problematic, many are not. It is very easy to make a nutritionally balanced meal plan using just the non-problematic vegetables, and that is not even counting other alternatives like checking and Bodek.

    Off the top of my head, squash (summer and winter both, including the ubiquitous zucchini), carrots, tomatoes, sweet peppers and sweet potatoes are all highly nutritious, relatively cheap and easy to incorporate into a diet. All you need is an article or two in the women’s magazines, and you have dispensed nutritional advise. Then a few recipes to keep things interesting.

    (Here is a tip — you don’t want to eat broccoli or cabbage because of insects, buy kohlrabi, peel and shred it. Makes a great coleslaw.)

    The notion that the dreaded “Rabbis” are causing malnutrition is based on utter ignorance of what is and is not problematic and how the realities of the food chain in modern America.

    (And BTW, lettuce, the most popular problematic vegetable, is also one of the most nutritionally poor. An Israeli salad made of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers is far healthier and has far fewer insect issues.)

  6. aiwac says:

    Joel,

    “I wonder if poskim take this into account in determining psak (just as I wonder about the cost of chalav yisrael in human terms for families on a tight budget)”

    It’s simple: they don’t. Such is the cost of the ‘nerven’ approach to halacha, vd”l.

  7. joel rich says:

    The notion that the dreaded “Rabbis” are causing malnutrition is based on utter ignorance of what is and is not problematic and how the realities of the food chain in modern America.
    =====================================
    Then why ask for an exemption from the rules?
    KT

  8. avi says:

    ” In Israel, the Orthodox Control Judaism. A New Knesset Member Wants to Change That”

    A great article… but once again, the headline and the byline has Nothing to do with the article itself…

    I’m not sure if this is an example of bad journalism, or an example of Americans pushing their views on Israel and having no idea about whats really going on?

  9. avi says:

    “aiwac on February 25, 2013 at 10:46 am
    Joel,

    “I wonder if poskim take this into account in determining psak (just as I wonder about the cost of chalav yisrael in human terms for families on a tight budget)”

    It’s simple: they don’t. Such is the cost of the ‘nerven’ approach to halacha, vd”l.”

    Ofcourse, when it comes to techelet, they claim if they can’t make a ruling because it would be too much of a finacial burden :)

  10. Tal Benschar says:

    Not to mention that the articles is about Jewish institutions — schools — which receive federal funds and are looking for alternatives to serving green leafy vegetables. Such institutions already have nutritionists on staff. No reason they cannot work with rabbonim to devise alternatives, e.g. carrots instead of kale.

    (Frankly, since we are talking about children, the whole program is really stupid. The notion that children will eat more cabbage because the government forces the schools to serve it is really dumb. Bet you they are more likely to eat sweet potato fries than creamed spinach.)

  11. Tal Benschar says:

    Then why ask for an exemption from the rules?

    Did you even bother reading the article?

    The government specifically wants to force schools to serve “green leafy vegetables” — which have the most insect problems. Their point is that we can find substitutes that are just as nutritious. And they are right, but to the bureaucratic mind, they are wrong, because the rule says green leafy vegetables, and the fact that a nutritionist says that a sweet potato is just as good matters not to them.

    Welcome to the world of Big Brother Obama.

  12. aiwac says:

    Tal,

    Or you could stop looking under every rock for reasons to be assur or cast doubt on things. But that would require dropping the “what-do-I-care” attitude.

  13. Tal Benschar says:

    Or you could stop looking under every rock for reasons to be assur or cast doubt on things. But that would require dropping the “what-do-I-care” attitude

    Yes, if one lacks yiras shomayim, you can take that attitude.

    Otherwise, the fact that some vegetables often have insects (and I have seen them myself many times) tells you to act otherwise.

  14. emma says:

    I’m pretty sure that green leafy vegetables have different nutrients than sweet potatoes… Just saying.

  15. aiwac says:

    “Yes, if one lacks yiras shomayim, you can take that attitude”

    Thanks for proving my point.

  16. Tal Benschar says:

    Emma: To some extent yes, but they are comparable. (At one point, green leafy vegetables and deep orange vegetables were lumped together by the government.)

    In any case, I only used that as an example. Point is, you can easily create a balanced diet just based on the non-problematic vegetables.

    (Emma, I know you have children, maybe they are grown. Which do you think they would be more likely to eat if their school served it — sweet potato fries, or steamed kale? Same question to anyone here with children. To me, the answer is a no-brainer.)

  17. IH says:

    Tal — I’m sorry, but you are showing ignorance here. There are multiple benefits to leafy vegetables beyond the chemical analysis. You’re old enough to remember the classification of ketchup as a vegetable, right? Sounds like you’re on a similar exercise.

  18. emma says:

    Tal is correct that the benefits of including leafy vegetables in school lunches are much smaller than the benefits of eating leafy vegetables – because many of said vegetables will not be eaten at all.

    (Similar to the USDA/milk lobby requirements that school kids getting free lunch get milk every day. Guess how many of those kids are from ethnic groups that don’t digest lactose well past early childhood (ie, the condition of the vast majority of humans) and you can guess what happens to most of the milk…)

  19. emma says:

    In theory, kids will eat what they are given if they are hungry enough, but that only goes so far, and there is the added coolness factor that sets in by mid-elementary school were it is social suicide to be seen eating certain things…

  20. emma says:

    (I’m not saying i don’t know any kids who eat kale. but leaves of any sort are much less popular, among the under-16 population, even than other green veggies (eg broccoli, green beans).)

  21. joel rich says:

    R’ Tal,
    Thanks for asking, I did bother to read the article. So IIUC your understanding is they are asking for a change in the rules for all rather than an exemption based on religious guidelines?
    KT

  22. avi says:

    Why is this night different from all other nights? On this night we ear Marror, but on all other nights leafy greens aren’t kosher.

    Said kids of 2050

  23. Hirhurim says:

    If you read R. Eitam Henkin’s sefer on this subject, you will see that he had to work very hard to find leniencies. The issurim are pretty clear cut and the lenient view is hard to piece together.

  24. Hirhurim says:

    I’m not sure why leafy greens aren’t kosher. You can check them for bugs. http://star-k.org/cons-vegdetail.php?ID=75

  25. IH says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketchup_as_a_vegetable for those who were not yet politically aware in 1981.

  26. emma says:

    I think the point is that checking on a large scale is costly, not that it is impossible.

    Frankly I thought the idea that “ultra-orthodox” schools should get an exemption from the limits on grains because they need a full piece of bread just to say hamotzi, and that would take up the whole quota, to be stranger than the issue with greens and bugs. (I know it’s considered easier to make all kids wash and bentch, but is it really neccessary?)

  27. TAL:

    “Such institutions already have nutritionists on staff.”

    LOL! i see you are still in the purim spirit.

    “The notion that children will eat more cabbage because the government forces the schools to serve it is really dumb.”

    personally i think the debate over whether or not a school should serve specifically cabbage is a distraction from the general problem of apathy toward nutrition (and general health and fitness altogether).

  28. Dovid says:

    Why not green smoothies?

    Seems to me that putting the kale, etc through a Vitamix would solve the kashrus problem.

  29. avi says:

    What lenient view? Wash them with vegetable wash and see the dead bugs float away.

  30. avi says:

    Also, you are only claiming its kosher because it’s not 2050 yet :-P

  31. avi says:

    I guess the schools are fighting as hard as they can to confine people that kashrut isn’t a ‘health thing’

  32. HAGTBG says:

    The government specifically wants to force schools to serve “green leafy vegetables” — which have the most insect problems. Their point is that we can find substitutes that are just as nutritious. And they are right, but to the bureaucratic mind, they are wrong, because the rule says green leafy vegetables, and the fact that a nutritionist says that a sweet potato is just as good matters not to them.

    Welcome to the world of Big Brother Obama.

    Please. Don’t let your agenda get in the way of what’s reported. Lets put this in the proper context.

    The haredim want federal fundings for their lunch program. They can avoid this entire issue by not seeking the federal funds. If someone is concerned – like yourself – about big government that is what they should do.

    That is not their concern however. The haredi schools (and MO too for all I know) want the federal funds and therefore they must meet the standards of the program. The program demands leafy vegetables. The schools in question do not want to or cannot devote the resources to cleaning the leafy vegetables – all of which are kosher.

    So they are (a) trying to seek federal funds and (b) trying to get an exception to the general requirements for those funds. THAT is why they have all the hurdles to jump through and that is why the burden is on them to come up with an alternative and convince the government its worth it to make a new exception. Thankfully, the government is not just folding, which might hurt the nutrition of children or harm the taxpayers, or avoiding the issue, which would leave the haredim with stark alternatives. They are giving the schools the chance to make their case.

  33. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    first, bodek isnt acceptable to all. (besides, it has a short shelf life, cause it isnt too fresh.) fresh express (at least its usually fresh) is acceptable to even lesser (prob cause its not a “heimish” company.)

    why not serve a nutritionally empty slice of bread, and serve other grains (that they wouldnt eat, either)?

    you want them to serve tziyoni salad? (of course the anti work charedim in RBS etc do eat it, but they’re diff)

    2. sign language megillah reading is over 15 yrs old.

  34. Tal Benschar says:

    Thankfully, the government is not just folding, which might hurt the nutrition of children or harm the taxpayers, or avoiding the issue, which would leave the haredim with stark alternatives. They are giving the schools the chance to make their case.

    And that is precisely what they are going to try to do — make a case that they can serve a nutritionally balanced lunch (and maybe breakfast, too) without relying heavily on green leafy vegetables (which most children won’t eat anyway). In their endeavor to “make their case,” they are going to consult experts — nutritionists — and knowing how the govt. operates, submit expert opinions from those experts.

    I have no problem with any of that. But some here seem to think that this is a nefarious plot by the rabbonim to deprive children of nutrition, or that they are indifferent to the costs of hiring the nutritionists. Answer is, they need those costs to convince the govt. to grant them a waiver. Either they will be successful (in which case they will have to follow their own proposal) or they won’t (in which case they will either take the money and have to wash the leafy vegetables, or forgo the govt. money).

  35. Tal Benschar says:

    Tal — I’m sorry, but you are showing ignorance here. There are multiple benefits to leafy vegetables beyond the chemical analysis. You’re old enough to remember the classification of ketchup as a vegetable, right? Sounds like you’re on a similar exercise

    As usual, you are long on rhetoric and short on analysis.

    What evidence can you point to that a balanced, nutritional diet cannot be achieved without “green leafy vegetables,” but including plenty of the non-problematic (meaning not insect-prone) fruits and vegetables, both fresh and cooked?

    (Not to mention, of course, that for most children, they only eat one meal a day in school — lunch. What about breakfast and dinner? Much easier to clean some lettuce or kale for a family, even a large family, than a whole institution.)

  36. HAGTBG says:

    Either they will be successful (in which case they will have to follow their own proposal) or they won’t (in which case they will either take the money and have to wash the leafy vegetables, or forgo the govt. money).

    I think we actually agree on this.

  37. HAGTBG:

    “If someone is concerned – like yourself – about big government that is what they should do.”

    good point.
    but of course this is symptomatic of the cognitive dissonance as it generally applies to ortho jews wanting all the funding but then opposing liberals, democrats, taxes, big government, lazy [fill in favorite racist epithet] living off of welfare, etc.

  38. Tal Benschar says:

    “I think we actually agree on this.”

    Probably. I think where we disagree is that IMO, just because the govt. hands out money doesn’t mean it is appropriate to micro-manage what each school does. That leads to silliness — like insisting on a lot of green leafy vegetables that everyone here who has children knows will simply end up in the garbage. Yes, if you take govt. money you should serve nutritionally balanced meals. (And even if you don’t). More than that, let each school decide.

    (This is my political opinion, not religious opinion.)

  39. IH says:

    What’s next: gematria counting for mathematics because we should let each school decide?

  40. Tal Benschar says:

    you want them to serve tziyoni salad?

    So call it Borough Park Salad. With a side of Freedom Fries. And Liberty Cabbage.

    (BTW, are there insect issues with saurekraut? That seems to me a viable option for some kosher places, and probably better eaten than kale.)

  41. STBO says:

    This looks like the meeting of compulsive religious regulation with compulsive political regulation. Peas in a pod.

  42. joel rich says:

    r’IH
    halevai, rather than http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130122/crown-heights/english-is-absent-math-doesnt-count-at-brooklyns-biggest-yeshivas

    Actually I blame the local authorities who iiuc would rather not know what is happening.

    KT

  43. IH says:

    R’ Joel — Indeed. That is where Tal’s relativism leads. Government standards may be imperfect, but the alternative is worse.

  44. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    sauerkraut — i never understood the “heter” for canned / frozen veg’s, but its accepted all over, unlike bodek, etc. even though they’re almost always only O-U. (though the heter does not apply to canned asparagus.) of course, frzoen brands have a “heimishe” hashgacha, so …

    of course, sauerkraut is more of a condiment / side dish, as opposed to an appetizer type salad dish.

    2. almost ALL vegetables have problems, for those who want to nit pick. perhaps not STBO’s peas, but i think the pods are a problem.

    is pizza still allowed in schools? i remember that was the most popular lunch. and it has vaggie’s tomatoes, grains crust, dairy cheese. and the students can argue over the bracha.

  45. joel rich says:

    Great comment over at V-I-N:
    I don’t understand….with all the thousands of unemployed or under-employed kollel yungerleit with little or no job skills, having them work in the yeshivot and beis yaakovs for a few hours each morning inspecting lettuce and spinach leaves would seem to be a win/win situation. The yinglach would get healthy lunches that satisfy hashgacha concerns (albeit most of these insect fears are unfounded) and the “inspectors” (aka unemployed kollele yungerleit) would earn a few dollars and make some contribution to the tzibur. Of course, this is a logical solution so the chances of it being adopted by the Chareidi yeshivot are virtually nil.

  46. MMY:

    “is pizza still allowed in schools?”

    yes

    IH:

    “What’s next: gematria counting for mathematics because we should let each school decide?”

    i don’t know about that, but perhaps mathematics can incorporate jewish concepts (surely you aware of that there are inherent cultural biases even in math).

    TAL:

    “Much easier to clean some lettuce or kale for a family, even a large family, than a whole institution”

    perhaps they should make the students check. in general wouldn’t be a bad idea for some type of toranut in school, but also this would teach some very valuable halacha le-maase

  47. R. Joel:

    according to classical definition they aren’t unemployed. and in any case the goal should be to encourage acquiring employable skills, not further widening the klei kodesh industry. besides you’ll have to pay them, so there is still the added expense, how does solve the problem (hence my toranut solution)

  48. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    abba — i recall a couple years ago, when we were learning the tosfot in succah that develops intregral calculus, the charedi educated, but open minded, rav teaching, was flumoxed by the tosfot, and skipped it in the middle. couldnt comprehend.

    so much for grematria.

    2. toranut — unpaid work (legal issues). also, implies traning for work, which is “assur”.

    solution, of course, is DDT. some have done a cost benefit analysis (deaths from west nile, malaria, other diseases, vs supposed deaths from DDT issues, and its not so clear cut. however, silent spring …)

  49. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    larry k – if you’re on today, you are being misquoted http://www.njjewishnews.com/article/16418/a-man-of-huge-and-irresistible-passions (next to last para). (Its prob a jta story, so its gone out all over.)

  50. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    MMHY: I already wrote to Gene to tell him that he had not quoted me exactly. He replied that he still feels he caught the spirit of the Rav’s remarks. One thing is clear: When the Rav told me re RDH “He’s searcher. Could use more discipline. I like him,” he said it thoughtfully and reflectively, carefully measuring his words, NOT with a “boyish grin”!

  51. moshe shoshan says:

    mmy
    the ddt thing is a total myth. it wasnt introduced till after the war. ask anyone who was around people were not checking for bugs in the 30s and early 40s either. besides as far as iknow contemporary pesticides arw no worae than ddt.

  52. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    moshe s: from a leftist news source — http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/09/silent_spring_turns_50_biographer_william_souder_clears_up_myths_about_rachel_carson_.single.html.

    yes, rav amar came out with a recent stmt about pesticides (the problem is that he was referring to what we call “alei katif”; in fact, they should be called “alei chabash” ( = ethiopia), where these vegetavles now mostly come from.

    regarding 40s and 50s — we now have better “eyes” than our grandparents in the 40s and 50s. thus, we can now see “bugs” in nyc water supply.

  53. IH says:

    Abba — were you thinking of something like this from a 16th century manuscript titled Sefer Limud Heshbon shown at the recent Columbia University exhibit:

    “If Reuven left his house on Sunday, the first of the month, to meet Shimon, and Shimon left his house on the same day; and the distance between the two is 100 milin (unit of distance), and Reuven travels 19 milin per day, and Shimon travels 14 milin, when would they meet?” Ref: http://tinyurl.com/aq9e93k

  54. Tal Benschar says:

    BTW, further re green leafy vegetables, while broccoli flowers have a serious insect infestation problem, broccoli STEMS do not. There use to be a product called broccoli slaw, which basically was shredded broccoli stems. (Sometimes they added some shredded carrots too for color.) You just added whatever sauce you used for coleslaw and made broccoli slaw — very tasty, and qualifies as a “green leafy vegetable” according to the USDA.

    So a bit of ingenuity solves the problem. (Although whether children will eat it is another question.)

  55. emma says:

    I believe moshe was referring to the “myth” that the recent interest in insect infestation in foods is related to a recently changed metsius (reduced pesticide use) as opposed to changes in halachic approach. The proof, which is pretty obvious, is that what we have now is certainly not worse than pre-pesticide, but the halachot of what foods not to eat appear to be more stringent…

  56. IH says:

    Are there are pre-20th century Shu”T on the subject? Given how much attention is being paid to this as a halachic issue, one would expect there would.

  57. STBO says:

    “Our” Preschool Challenge? IMO the main “challenge” is that there are people who still think preschool is worth spending money on.

  58. Hirhurim says:

    IH: Yes, there are discussions of infestation throughout history. See R. Eitam Henkin’s book.

  59. emma says:

    STBO, what do you think 4 year olds should do all day?

  60. IH says:

    Thanks, Gil. Downloaded, but I doubt I’ll get to it anytime soon. Just curious about your choice of wording, though. I’m just a city boy, but I associate “infestation” with parasitic diseases that hit whole crops — which is a different phenomenon than steady-state natural occurances of the occasional bug in vegetables. When I asked about Shu”T, I meant the latter — not the periodic infestations that surely occurred throughout history. Which did you mean?

  61. STBO:

    ““Our” Preschool Challenge? . . .”

    i read the article very quickly this morning, but from what i remember it’s really about non-ortho pre-schools and their role in keeping these families communally affiliated and ideally t o serve as a feeder for the (non-ortho) day schools. these considerations are not on the radar of ortho jews, where almost by definition they are communally affiliaed and dedicated to the concept of jewish day school as de regieur.

    EMMA:

    “STBO, what do you think 4 year olds should do all day?”

    i’m not sure if stbo was saying that pre-school in general isn’t necessary, or speficcally if *jewish* pre-school isn’t necessary. in any case, to answer you question, alternatives are home, play groups, non-jewish* upk programs, etc?

  62. emma says:

    i know the alternatives. i would count playgroups as “preschool” for this purpose. i am pretty sure that a quality jewish early-childhood group education is a value-add, even for frum families. especially compared to nonjewish substitute childcare.)

  63. STBO says:

    Emma: “STBO, what do you think 4 year olds should do all day?”

    I suggest parents should answer that question for their own 4-year olds without demanding that politicians answer the question (and provide the cash) for them.

  64. avi says:

    There are two major changes in vegetables in the past 20 years, which I don’t think existed pre-WWII (correct me if I’m wrong)

    One is the use of pesticides which has already been explained.
    The second is the amount of food being shipped and eaten on a daily basis in concentrated areas. (Similar to in the insane amount of animals that need to get shechted every day which causes other problems)
    If I remember correctly, the FDA did increase their limits of “tolerable bug infestation” for various foods due to the changing conditions.

    However, this isn’t anything that can’t be solved with a smart application of vegetable wash, which will get rid of all the bugs. And such washes should be done by all schools and all restaurants if only to get rid of e-coli poisoning. I.e. this is a problem that should only exist “Behind the scenes” and shouldn’t affect what people can and can not eat/serve.

  65. Chana says:

    Vegetable washes do not get rid of e coli. Irradiating vegetables does that.

  66. HAGTBG says:

    avi,

    Washing a vegetable with water does as much for ecoli as washing with a vegetable wash. Anyway, ecoli are kosher since they are to small for the naked eye and are not the purpose of the vegetable wash. Lets not pretend the wash is used for health reasons.

    Second, concerning there being more bugs lately … I have seen no literature supporting you on that. Show articles that demonstrate there are more bugs in vegetables in modern times. Or even in the last 20 years.

  67. bt says:

    I think it’s not a huge issue assuming kids eat healthy at home, but many of the non-problematic vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes etc are relatively high-carb/high-glycemic index. Anyone watching their sugar and carb levels will want cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower (both problematic) and greens if they plan on eating lots of vegetables.

  68. emma says:

    “I suggest parents should answer that question for their own 4-year olds without demanding that politicians answer the question (and provide the cash) for them.”

    You commented on an article about _jewish_ preschools by saying it is a waste of money. I assumed you meant a waste of parent and/or communal money given that the article was not about the govt. Apparently you were talking about the general politically current issue of govt preschool funding instead of the topic of the article. ok…

  69. STBO says:

    Emma,

    The article started by asserting that politicians should provide free daycare to the citizenry. I suggest daycare is equally worthless of public funding whether the cash comes from politicians or “communal” Jewish organizations.

    No, it’s not a “communal” Jewish priority to answer parents’ dilemmas about what to do with their young kids between 10 am and 4 pm. It’s a parental option. (Fancy that!)

    If parents are desperate for a “Jewish” daycare solution they can start a co-op. And if they have an extra $10-15,000/kid laying around then they’re set up for a “Jewish” solution at one of the marquis preschools that already exist.

    It’s humourous to watch the secular leftist Forward claim a “need” for “yiddishcher kinder-kare” that sounds like it could have come from some charedi kol korei. (Great example of nexus between left and far right….)

    The fuss over preschool is a scene of affluent people amusing themselves into a tizzy. “Universal education for 4-year-olds” isn’t a “priority”. It’s a toilet-flush of money into which Jewish parents can avoid being suckered.

  70. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “It’s humourous to watch the secular leftist Forward claim a “need” for “yiddishcher kinder-kare””

    didnt the (old) “arbeiter ring” ( = workmens circle, parent org of the forward) specialize in such preschool programs, to further their (secular) yiddish (and socialist indocrination) agenda? in other words, they know basic education starts in preschool. just like yeshiva, etc programming.

    side point — there is a group advocating for delaying boys entering kindergarten so as to “equalize” the number of boys and girls at age 20 (or so) as a solution to the (charedi) “shidduch crisis”. (not taking a position in the issue. i’m just waiting for the first RY to delay sending his sons to kindergarten. just like i am waiting for the first RY to tell his sons to marry older girls.)

  71. avi says:

    Do a search for vegetable wash on the net, you will find many articles about its health benefits and claims and counter claims regarding ecoli. Outside of the Internet people still clai it reduces the chance of food poisioning more them a tap water wash.

  72. avi says:

    As for reports of greater infestation, I read it in a star k booklet for.mashgichim. don’t know ifi could find it now

  73. GIL:

    same link two days in a row? i guess you feel strongly!

    EMMA:

    i’m not convinced of the “value-added benefit” of pre-school in general, at least not for kids from homes that are stable, middle class, etc. (the national drive for providing universal pre-school isn’t due to a concern for kids in suburbia.) i’m certainly not convinced that there is any “value-added benefit” for *jewish* pre-school (at least not for kids headed in any case for day school in grade 1). what i am convinced of is that from a communal perspective it is a misappropriation of funds and effort that are more deserved in other endeavors (both in general and specifically within other jewish education needs). that having been said . . .

    STBO:

    “No, it’s not a “communal” Jewish priority to answer parents’ dilemmas about what to do with their young kids between 10 am and 4 pm”

    everything i said to emma above about the questionable “value” of *jewish* pre-schooling, i still do feel that the jewish community is required to provide some type of communal day care option (and not just from 10-4 as in your example). on the one hand the jewish community from the top down insists on jewish schooling, but on the other hand for many families this schooling require both parents to work (very often both full time). if the jewish community is basically insisting that both parents works, i do think it is encumbent on it to provide a day care solution to enable this.

  74. emma says:

    abba,
    i dunno, i will see if my opinion changes as my own kids grow. I do think that among the people i grew up with (all at the same dayschool later on) the ones who went to a particular preschool tend to have better middos and more attachment to judaism. there may be some selection bias there, though… i agree that there is little evidence of academic benefits from preschool for kids from stable homes w educated parents. preschool is not nec a value add over a parent who does holiday-related crafts and such, but many parents don’t exactly have time for that…
    which brings me to your second point. i agree that there is some “communal” issue of how kids will be cared for. because, realistically, without jewish options, your kid is getting an affirmatively unjewish education, at least in center-based care (class countdown to xmas and the like), or at best an a-jewish education (from, say, a non-jewish nanny who may be prevailed upon to ignore haloween, but will most likely not do too muh educating about pesach…). this is a communal issue the way any population-level trends are. that said i agree that there are probably bigger fish to fry in the orthodox world, at least. for the nonorthodox, preschool is often the gateway to familial affiliation at all. (chabad has figured this out…)

  75. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-Only in political utopias do children and adults eat, act and behave as the statist architechts of such societies deem appropriate.

  76. Steve Brizel says:

    The real issue re univeral pre-K that needs to be addressed is whether the same has any valid educational purpose ala Head Start, which many question has having no such value and being a glorified babysitting service. Obviously, such populations as kids with special needs are enhanced by such programs, but IIRC the data is mixed at best as to the overall results of Head Start.

  77. IH says:

    Only in political utopias do children and adults eat, act and behave as the statist architechts of such societies deem appropriate.

    Steve — that’s a terrible thing to say about Orthodoxy.

  78. Steve:

    Yes, I had headstart in mind

  79. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Only in political utopias do children and adults eat, act and behave as the statist architechts of such societies deem appropriate”

    Once again, your anti Orthodox POV misses a point-the Rambam posits as a given that all of us, have the ability, in our own way of living a life comparable either to Moshe Rabbeinu or Yeravam Ben Nevat, with the choice to be a Shomer Mitzvos an individual choice, which is merely reinforced by the example of parents and role models with more complex Halachic and Hashkafic concepts and details taught by a rebbe-who an adult is free to accept or walk away from, with full knowledge of the consequences for himself and herself and one’s connection to the Jewish People.

    Utopians assume that the state can actually dictate and compel how a person eats,acts and behaves and lead a person and society on a long march to servitude as to all of the most mundane choices in life such as throwing out the garbage, the choice of a light bulb, etc.

  80. emma says:

    first of all, glorified babysitting might be better than really-bad or no babysitting. for families without a stay at home parent or other caretaker. which is most families.
    that said, my impression is that head start does help at first, just the effect wears off over time (ie, can’t overcome that many years of subpar actual schooling). seems like wasting money if the post-preschool education is still going to be terrible.
    on the third hand, many kindergarten teachers in public school feel like they are already playing catch up because the kids are coming in not knowing lots of basic things that they then have to teach all the while getting them ready to read asap…

  81. moshe shoshan says:

    I actually think that pre school has the potential to play a crucial role in Jewish education. Durring these years children have an increadible capacity to pick up languages. if kids went to intensive ivrit bivrit preschool for three years, the quality of their JEwish education would rise dramaticaly. Here in beit shemesh lotsof kids learn hebrew only in gan, which is often made up of kids who also from english speaking homes and they come out speaking perfect hebrew. This in invaluable asset in teaching kids to learn chumash nach mishna and gemara. not mention in understanding the siddur.
    My kids are miles ahead of their cousins in chareidi schools in america.

    Unfortuately, this goes against chareidi ideology and the MO would never go for this either. but dont under estimate the potential of preschool.

    Steve, please stop refering to every thing you disagree with as “anti Orthodox” its the sort of rhetoric used by statist government to discredit the oposition.

  82. Moshe Shoshan:

    “if kids went to intensive ivrit bivrit preschool for three years, the quality of their JEwish education would rise dramaticaly.”

    i agree 100% and i complained about this to the teachers, pre-school director and principal where my son went to pre-school. it’s crazy that 3 years in school and kids know zero hebrew. worse yet, my son did learn how to read hebrew rather well in pre-school, but it drove me crazy that he would practice reading with random combinations of letters rather than real words. at least use real words and the kids can learn at least those. it was a lost opportunity. (some of the better MO schools do have a dedicated hebrew-speaking teacher in pre-school classes, but i’m not sure exactly what her role is.)

    so yes, there is this potential, but as it stands now i don’t think jewish pre-school plays a critical role for ortho kids headed for day school.

  83. mycroft says:

    “it’s crazy that 3 years in school and kids know zero hebrew. worse yet, my son did learn how to read hebrew rather well in pre-school, but it drove me crazy that he would practice reading with random combinations of letters rather than real words. at least use real words and the kids can learn at least those. it was a lost opportunity. ”

    Learning to read the code in combination of letters rather than words is precisely what is necessary to have more kids literate at 14,15 . The issue is not how much ones child knows at 3 or 4-many kids would be able to develop the code of reading easily and they will go a few years wo reading real words a slight loss-but far more kids will fall through the cracks when one teaches reading by reading Shma-the children who have difficulty reading will compensate by memorizing by sight the words of Shma-beautiful if one wants to have nachas while child is 3-but for many devastating to those who won’t be able to read fluently by 14-15.

  84. Baruch Friedman says:

    Re. Yanover’s article: While I agree with all 12 of Rabbi Bloch’s points, Yanover’s assertion that Bloch has an impeccable background from the Haredi perspective and his words therefore carry weight belies a profound lack of familiarity with anything Haredi. The very fact that he is affiliated with the IDF is more than enough to place him outside the pale. The yeshivas he is affiliated with now do not seem to be normative Haredi ones. It is incredible that someone could think his word would carry weight with Haredim.

    As far as Rambam is concerned, does Yanover think he has unearthed some obscure passage no one is aware of? THis is an old one, cf. Kessef Mishne on that passage who points out that Rambam is a minority opinion.

    As for the citation from the Chazon Ish, does he have a source for this? CI is said to have said, “Everything said in my name is false…” (The Chazon Ish is said to have said not to trust anything that Yanover has written…”)

  85. MYCROFT:

    i’m not 100% exactly what you are trying to say to me, but i will surmise based on what i think you are trying to say and respond.

    the 3 years of pre-school is a missed oppurtunity to saturate our kids with hebrew. i don’t think there is any debate that we learn language best in our youngest years and i don’t know why day schools ignore this. (yes, there is research to indicate that children exposed to multiple languages are more likely to exhibit speech delays, but they do eventually close the gap. and when they do, they are way ahead of the kid who only knows one language.)

    i *didn’t* say we need to teach kids beginning at age 3 how to decode hebrew. that would be wrong. in fact i think it’s wrong even when they learn to master decoding at age 5 without any prior knowledge of the language. by the time they learn to decode at age 5 they could have already had 2 solid years of oral/auditory introduction to the language.

    you and i didn’t learn english first by decoding and only then by learning the vocabulary. that’s not natural. same should be for hebrew. you’re always writing about kids who get turned off (and turned away) from conventional jewish schooling. well this begins with making them read gibberish. some kids do fine (even if this method doesn’t let them actualize their potential). and others have trouble decoding to begin with, but i think the problem becomes compounded when there is no intellectual reward to mastering it. how stimulating (or rather, frustrating) can it be for a kid to learn to read a meaningless combination like לבכ? or even a combination like כלב if he has no idea what it means? (and of course a student who has prior oral/auditory knowledge of a language will learn to decode much quicker because he can “guess” the word without even being to decode it entirely)

    i didn’t say to teach reading with shema (not shma btw, but that’s a different problem with hebrew instruction). but there is a middle ground between לכב and ארצכם. but when he does to get to the level of ארצכם, a child with a solid hebrew background in early pre-school will have an easier time. (and gosh maybe down the road one kid in a school will actually be able to translate a basic text like kerias shema with a reasonable degree of acuracy.)

  86. Hirhurim says:

    If the kids learn Hebrew in preschool but don’t use it in subsequent years they will forget it all.

  87. emma says:

    “If the kids learn Hebrew in preschool but don’t use it in subsequent years they will forget it all.”

    This militates for hebrew in preschool and elementary, not for no hebrew in either…

  88. Hirhurim says:

    emma: I agree. But without the latter, the former is pretty useless.

  89. GIL:

    “If the kids learn Hebrew in preschool but don’t use it in subsequent years they will forget it all.”

    of course.
    but i don’t understand what you mean about not using it. aren’t we talking about kids who will go on to spend a minimum of 12 years in the jewish education system?

  90. emma says:

    several schools i know of, btw, do have one hebrew-speaking teacher and one english speaker in gan. it’s best for kids who already speak hebrew – helps them retain it. the kids who come in without hebrew most certainly do not master it that way, but they do get comfortable with it and learn certain words. (and get a nice accent if the teacher is israeli…)

  91. IH says:

    The discussion about languages is *so* American. Here’s a different view from my mother’s generation (via my mother’s brother):

    “In a previous message you asked me about languages. As I remember, my parents spoke German between themselves. Your mother and I spoke German in Germany, only French in Belgium and only English in England. My father spoke German/Yiddish with his siblings, while my mother spoke mostly Russian with hers. My mother counted in Russian, my father in Yiddish, your mother in German and I in English”

    My late mother also spoke fluent Israeli Hebrew.

  92. emma says:

    “But without the latter, the former is pretty useless.”

    even then, i’d say it depends. i learned hebrew very early before my mother gave up and switched to english only. i forgot most of the actual language, but i still think the early exposure helped me pick it back up quicker later, when i tried to…

    anyway, most elementary schools i know of at least claim to try to teach hebrew in elementary, not to mention “using” it for tefillah and torah learning. so the prospect of really abandoning it is low…

  93. emma says:

    (IH is or course correct…cf the old joke about what to call someone who speaks three languages (triligual), two (bilingual), or one language (american), ba dum bum…)

  94. EMMA:

    “even then, i’d say it depends. i learned hebrew very early . . .”

    i agree. i had a similar experience.

    “several schools i know of, btw, do have one hebrew-speaking teacher and one english speaker in gan.”

    yes i mentioned this above. i know YofF, some schools in NJ (and ramaz?) have this. i don’t know about the results, but this probably depends on what the teacher’s role actually is. does she really function as a co-teacher and is equally involved in teaching and interacting with the class in a primary manner? or does she only get involved in a primary manner by teaching a hebrew lesson every day? or is she really just a glorified teacher assistant?

    “most certainly do not master it that way”

    but at least a foundation. (if done properly)

  95. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “he would practice reading with random combinations of letters rather than real words. at least use real words and the kids can learn at least those. it was a lost opportunity

    that stems from some notion that this is how it was taught over the past generations. bo ba be bi go ga ge gi do da de di etc. found in beginning of many siddurim and (mostly charedi) kindergarten textbooks. charedim claim thats how it was done for generations, and we are not allowed to change the (supposedly) ancient system. read the haskamot to some of these “textbooks”.

    masechet avot refers to “girsa diYenukah” that is never forgotten, as gil says, if reinforced over the coming years. i.e., talk and write hebrew, etc. however, little of this is done, since literature is not taught in hebrew, and real reading of hebrew texts doesnt start till high school, and even then. chumash is taught woth a crutch (english translation), and even gemara is taught that way. then we have artscroll.

  96. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    refuse to testify — it seems the accusation amount to less than actual sexual molestation (or even undressing). just wierd behavior. also, his father’s shloshim isnt even over; cant they wait for the trial?

    faith based pre-k — there already are faith beased pre-k’s (called head start). this is only an attempt to extend it to a new govt program ‘bama actually thinks will pass.

  97. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Only in political utopias do children and adults eat, act and behave as the statist architechts of such societies deem appropriate”

    Actually, RYBS commented that we worship Melech Elyon, not Melech Evyon, and that a contemporary type of AZ is the elevation of any contemporary political POV in one’s thought that it can be seemed as having all the answers to all of society’s questions. The path to Gehenom and/or political servitude is paved with good intentions

  98. groinem says:

    The Chochmas Odom in Klal 38 has many fruits and vegetables that he claims were infested at the time. It is possible that there were amei ho’oretz who did not know which vegetables were infested and therefore did not check them, but that should hardly be a decisive point in halacha.
    BTW, where could I download Rabbi Henkin’s seforim (about tznius and bugs). I would love to read a different perspective to the charedi/yeshivish one that surrounds me currently.

  99. emma says:

    R. Eitam Henkin’s book on bugs was linked to previously on hirhurim “weekly freebies.” (I am, as in the past, having a problem linking to hirhurim itself in these comments, but apparently it’s no longer a free download, rather available at http://rabanim.org/index.php?option=com_alphacontent&section=4&cat=13&task=view&id=433&Itemid=99999999)

  100. emma says:

    R. Yehuda (R. Eitam’s father) Henkin’s book is “Understanding Tsniut”, for which you can check amazon or http://www.urimpublications.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=UP&Product_Code=Tzniut.

  101. IH says:

    IH wrote:

    “Only in political utopias do children and adults eat, act and behave as the statist architechts of such societies deem appropriate”

    Steve — you seem to be forgetting your own words. You are quoting yourself, not me (second time you’ve done this with this quote, hence my commenting on it).

  102. joel rich says:

    LOL- Kavod bat Melech Pnima!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Skin Deep

    Her Crowning Glory in a Box

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/fashion/for-more-everyday-women-their-crowning-glory-comes-in-a-box-skin-deep.html?_r=0

    But I know it’s not about sensuality.

    KT

  103. AM Zuck says:

    Can someone please explain the 4th approach proposed in the article on morally difficult texts?

    Is the author suggesting that if we learn enough that the obligation to destroy the 7 nations will vanish or that it will actually be moral to kill men, women and children?

    I do not understand the middle ground he is trying to carve out. Approach #4 seems to just say that if you study enough you will arrive at the same conclusion as approach #1, just understand divine wisdom a little more. I agree that limud hatorah leads one to understand divine wisdom, that is kind of the point, but what if you do not understand HKBH rationale even after learning, does that make it immoral?

  104. “Ethiopian-Israeli wins Miss Israel pageant for first time ”

    why noteworthy? Because she is for ethopians in israel was bess myerson was to american jews?

  105. Nachum says:

    I think that far too little attention is paid to the crimes of communism, and the more we remember them, the better. But to compare the massacre of a quarter of the Cambodian people to the Holocaust is to compare apples and oranges. And the fact that the Holocaust Museum is doing this only confirms my suspicions about such places. Better if it had never been built.

  106. Nachum says:

    Let it not go unmentioned that the midrash has some not-so-bad things to say about Jezebel.

    As regards Yanklowitz, he seems not to accept another possibility: That what he thinks is “morality” is just the 2013 version of that, and certain things he blanches at are moral indeed. Lots of people do things that they think are “moral” but aren’t at all; the fact that he’s coming from a “progressive” side shouldn’t exempt him.

  107. HAGTBG says:

    http://www.ou.org/general_article/new_ou_kitniyot_certification_symbol#.US-IrjBOQsK

    Good decision and hopefully, for the same rationale, they will revive the OU DE.

  108. Hirhurim says:

    abba: Noteworthy for precisely that reason — an Ethiopian breaks through another barrier.

  109. emma says:

    “As regards Yanklowitz, he seems not to accept another possibility: That what he thinks is “morality” is just the 2013 version of that, and certain things he blanches at are moral indeed. Lots of people do things that they think are “moral” but aren’t at all; the fact that he’s coming from a “progressive” side shouldn’t exempt him.”

    There are very few people whose independent moral intuition would agree with their religious texts 100% of the time. Thus even if his examples are not actually problematic (do you really think that?) the conflict will exist for basically everyone at some point. Prior generations with different moralities struggled with different texts, but they still struggled, I think? (as will future generations…)

  110. Shlomo says:

    As regards Yanklowitz, he seems not to accept another possibility: That what he thinks is “morality” is just the 2013 version of that, and certain things he blanches at are moral indeed.

    That’s the first possibility he mentions.

  111. Shlomo says:

    There are very few people whose independent moral intuition would agree with their religious texts 100% of the time.

    Not to mention that people agree with one religious text, which seems to conflict with another text. While there may exist a nuanced synthesis that makes everything work out smoothly and morally acceptably, they fail to arrive at such a synthesis.

  112. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “stated Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, OU Kosher senior rabbinic coordinator. “This decision was taken at the urging of our poskim (decisors of Jewish law), to benefit the many kitniyot consumers who relied on various assumptions—rather than actual certification—for kitniyot Passover products.” ”

    or shall we say a marketing / business (non halachic) decision. not that i necessarily object, but …

    maybe now they can rationalize the egg matzah issue (i know; thats grandfathered in.)

    yes, bring back DE; thats much more relevant. and maybe israel wont discriminate against us, considering the paucity of non “l’ochlei kitniyot bilvad” products.

    nachum — ever since the holocaust museum invited arafat (and in effect fired r avi weiss’s b-i-l for objecting), they declared themselves to be a state dept political instrumentality. and to date, i have never been there.

    as for jezebel, that is one of the names jews dont name their daughters, let alone their businesses.

  113. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    MMHY: You mean Dr. Walter Reich, a psychiatrist (IIRC) and a distinguished figure in his own right, as well as the husband of the novelist Tova Reich.

  114. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    and head of the museum at the time, from founding to the (hushed up, politically incorrect) scandal. a noted holocaust scholar. (i presume a psychiatrist, per your stmt.)

  115. FYI says:

    In case it wasn’t featured earlier, here is a response to something that was linked to here recently from the Forward-Forverts re a case in Calgary in Canada – http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/02/20/abusive-journalism/

  116. emma says:

    “Hirhurim on February 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

    abba: Noteworthy for precisely that reason — an Ethiopian breaks through another barrier.

    I find it odd that you are interested in covering the progress of Ethiopians in Israel, but were not interested enough in the birth control issue to link even to one of the balanced, measured articles. (I understand wanting to avoid the more salacious ones.)

    (Note all I said is it’s odd. I am not accusing you of anything and its obviously your blog and depends in part on your idiosyncratic interests. Just pointing out an observation that might be relevant to you.)

  117. IH says:

    When Rabbi Shafran writes a piece like this, it’s a good bet the story is more nuanced. Here’s an updated version of the story about which he is complaining:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/calgary-jews-disavow-sex-offender-rabbis-letter/

    “Halpern, the co-president of Calgary’s Orthodox synagogue, is one of several prominent community members to issue public statements emphasizing that Miller’s letter speaks only for the rabbi, and not for the community as a whole.

    ‘Rabbi Miller expected his clergy letter of support for the offender to be read privately by the judge, not read aloud in court,’ Halpern explained to The Times of Israel. ‘He has every right to be supportive of and show compassion for his congregant. However, he should have chosen other words.’

    So, it’s not the meedja, after all…

  118. Hirhurim says:

    Emma: slow news day

  119. IH says:

    The JC announced late this afternoon: We are deeply saddened by the loss of Sara Lamm Dratch, daughter of our esteemed and beloved former Rabbi, Dr. Norman and Mindy Lamm. Levaya (tomorrow at 11:30am) and shiva will be in West Hempstead. ברוך דיין האמת

  120. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    In fairness to R. Shafran, the President of the Synagoue said tha R. Miller erred in speaking in the name of the entire Jewish Community. He did not accuse R. Miller of “defending” Levin, nor do any of the articles indicate that R. Miller did so, CONTRARY to the Forwrd’s headline. In that respect, R. Shafran’s criticism is justifiable, though overstated. OTOH, as Nachum already noted, R. Shafran is exceptionally childish, not to say prudish, in deleting the word “sexual” from the headline. R. Shafran, grow up!

  121. GIL:

    “Noteworthy for precisely that reason — an Ethiopian breaks through another barrier”

    as i guessed. i was just surprised. noteworthy that she broke the barrier, but from a frum perspective not a noteworthy barrier to break?

    re. bess myerson, meyer shapiro in his survey of post-war american jewry focusses on her miss america title not just as an indication of american jews breaking barriers in this period, but because she was a symbol of hope to holocaust refugees that america was different.

  122. Nachum says:

    emma: Yes, I agree his examples aren’t *that* controversial. But we all know some of the other things that he stands for, and some of them are “moral” only in his liberal circles. Shlomo: I read that first possibility differently: He’s basically moving it back either to the times the Torah was written or even back to pre-creation, purely heavenly realms. There’s no acknowledgment that maybe things even in 2013 are not what he thinks.

    The OU would do us a favor by adding a mei kitniyot label, but I wouldn’t blame them if they’d just throw up their hands at that. :-)

  123. joel rich says:

    i’m guessing this rabbinic letter will get less focus than r’ miller’s, why?

    http://www.vosizneias.com/125299/2013/03/01/brooklyn-ny-judge-exhibits-leniency-in-former-prison-chaplain-sentencing

    letter written by Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum on Glanz’s behalf to Judge Castel said Glanz “has led a life of dedication to his faith and to others.” In asking for leniency, Teitelbaum included references to God and passages from Deuteronomy such as “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” according to the New York Post (http://bit.ly/XK2D5u).

    Advertisement:

    The letter also said Teitelbaum had spoken with Glanz extensively about his case, and “I can assure the court that his shame and humiliation have already exacted a significant toll and punishment.”

    KT

  124. joel rich says:

    R’Gil,
    Interesting that the ou holds DE is too confusing but concerns about general communal understanding led to changes in yiddish inscriptions on egg matzah. I predict based on years of actuarial experience (i.e. WAG) that more ashkenazi jews will eat these on pesach in the us than ever ate egg matzah.

    KT

  125. Hirhurim says:

    Nachum: The OU would do us a favor by adding a mei kitniyot label, but I wouldn’t blame them if they’d just throw up their hands at that

    The OU is certifying kitniyos this year

  126. Nachum says:

    I know, Gil, that’s why I posted that: *Mei* kitniyot, which many Ashkenazim in Israel eat.

  127. joel rich says:

    Gun control should be the Jewish cause of our time.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    wadr to r’ brown, I think this is a bit of hyperbole.
    KT

  128. IH says:

    The OU is certifying kitniyos this year

    Maybe I’m having a senior moment, but I recall the OU announced the same before last Pesach — only I did not find any such items on the UWS (which has an Adot ha’Mizrach community these days: French Morrocans, I think).

  129. Hirhurim says:

    Nachum: Oh, gotcha

    IH: I don’t know the details but rollout always takes time. If you’re really interested, ask which products were certified. Something tells me that there might be a Jewish community outside of the UWS.

  130. IH says:

    Gil — to be clear, I meant even on the UWS where shelf space is very limited. On “rollout always takes time” — ok, so will it happen this year, or is this just PR?

  131. Hirhurim says:

    IH: I don’t know. It requires asking questions of people who know.

  132. joel rich says:

    R’ Baum article – “Keter Torah, a contemporary building of polished wood and stone, with nary a dedication plaque in sight.”

    Now why might that be? (and why is it worth mentioning?)
    KT

  133. IH says:

    Gil — I will ask at the local stores. Thanks.

  134. re. DE, if you call the OU regarding a particular product, they will tell you if it’s really DE or D. (can also call the company.) i do this from time to time for allergy reasons for my son.

    the problem with this is what happens something changes in the production and the DE becomes D. how often does one need to verify with OU that a product is DE rather than D? if the OU tells me something is DE, and it changes to D, are they responsible that i mix meat and milk, etc.?

    GIL:

    “Something tells me that there might be a Jewish community outside of the UWS.”

    not one that matters?

  135. IH says:

    Nu. None of us rate — I thought Teaneck was Ir ha’Kodesh these days :-)

  136. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    side point on kitniyot — syrians dont eat corn products, morroccans eat only certain beans, not others, syrians dont eat any beans, etc. (more so than ashkenazim and peanuts and garlic). a separate certification for those? the only thing universal for sfardim is rice.

    of course, most jews eat egg matzah, etc and will eat the kitniyot, even if their C rabbis tell them not to (which they wont.) just like they definitely will eat something with the (supposed) ethical hechsher, whether or not actually remotely kosher.

    “mei kitniyot” is allowed due to a rav kook heter claiming there never was a ban on mei kitniyot.

    joel r — i was always curious about those shuls that dont even put up dedication plaques. though keter torah seems to have been started with independent money (or did it?)

    a rav once told me he was closing his shul, called up yu to offer them the a$$ets. yu declined — “what will we do with the plaques?” (assuming there were plaques). my friend to them give it to some shul for a measly $10,000 of the six figure bank accounts, plus some pieces of real estate. shouldnt be a pblm. yu declined.

  137. Tal Benschar says:

    the only thing universal for sfardim is rice

    I was under the impression that some Sephardim don’t eat rice on Pesach, and others only do so after very rigorous checking for contamination by wheat kernels.

  138. IH says:

    What do the Israeli Sephardim who have adopted Litvish Levush do?

  139. Steve Brizel says:

    Remember Dr Pelcowitz’s article for which the feminists and their supporters were howling about? Perhaps the linked article explains some of the concerns that working women, even in the highest political and intellectual echelons confront, as opposed to the denial of the same by feminist ideologists. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/?single_page=true

  140. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    IH — you’re right, but even when they are machmir, they are still proud of their heritage, unlike yeshivish who are only proud of being machmir.

    tal b — mechaber says rice (and millet, and presumably quinoa) always has to be checked, though i wont say vigorously like you say. JSOR does supervise “pre checked rice”. JSOR = syrian vaad = http://jsor.org.

  141. Steve Brizel says:

    Perhaps, YU and RIETS ( or BMG) would love to host the author of this article for a day.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/opinion/brooks-the-learning-virtues.html?ref=opinion

  142. emma says:

    Wow, steve, you are rather late to the party on that atlantic article, eh? It has, of course, in the months since being published, been subject to various critiques, the most important of which being that it is irrelevant to the vast majority of working women (incl most of the frum women addressed by dr. P, btw), who have less demanding jobs but also fewer choices.

  143. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    steve b — david brooks is too controversial (and too expen$ive ) for yu / riets, in this context. invite the “tiger mom” if you want. (the story about tying his hair to the ceiling so that he wont fall asleep, reminds me of one of those litvish godol fables. as for “The Chinese are robots who unimaginatively memorize facts to score well on tests”, that applies to all pre-med students at yc; in my day, at least.)

    regarding the OU business decision (as opposed to halachic decision), it seems they are following the star-k, which now has a star-s for kitniyot (see http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/Pesach_2013WEB.pdf page 50). BTW, they are also certifying pre checked qinuoa, which i believe the o-k did last couple of years.

  144. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma-actually, I may have previously linked to the Atlantic article in question.I think that the premise is simple-if such high powered women face such issues, think of the issues facing men and women with far lesss “prestigious” and “high powered” jobs who make such choices on a daily basis, and the radically unfair standard advocated by the chead honcho of Facebook-whose hostility to child rearing issues and the work place seems quite obvious.

  145. IH says:

    If Brooks is right, then why is modern Chinese society so consumerist, materialistic, and selfish?

  146. Yirmiahu says:

    IH- “What do the Israeli Sephardim who have adopted Litvish Levush do?”

    Why should they do different than Sephardim who have adopted other western levush?

  147. Anonymous says:

    Erica Brown’s article made me very angry. Just for the record.

    Yirmiahu: See, Sephardim who wear western clothes are living in western countries (the US, Israel, etc.). There are no Sephardim in Lithuania.

    The back halls of YU’s main building (whatever it’s called) is lined with plaques from shuls that closed and gave YU their sifrei torah and so on.

    If I were king- which, alas, being a kohen I can’t be- the first thing I’d do is ban all naming rights, plaques, etc. etc. Of course, donations would probably dry up, because that’s human nature. (Even the Beit HaMikdash had “plaques,” in the form of gold grape vines with names on them.) Ah well. Maybe education as to the beauty of anonymous tzedakah would help.

  148. Shlomo says:

    Yirmiahu: See, Sephardim who wear western clothes are living in western countries (the US, Israel, etc.). There are no Sephardim in Lithuania.

    Just for the record, it is very typical for prominent people nowadays in the countries where “Sephardim” come from to wear “Western” clothing. So I don’t think we should see it as an example of abandoning your traditions for Ashkenazi ones.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_VI_of_Morocco
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bashar_al-Assad
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad

    (I believe the Gulf states are an exception, of course, few Jews ever lived there)

  149. Shlomo says:

    Erica Brown’s article made me very angry. Just for the record.

    It didn’t make me angry – but it did seem to show a lack of vision and perspective. Many people have written much more powerful pieces on the subject of gun control – both for and against. Has she not read and digested those pieces, and if not why is she commenting on the subject?

  150. Shlomo says:

    If Brooks is right, then why is modern Chinese society so consumerist, materialistic, and selfish?

    1. Highly doubtful whether Brooks has put together a meaningful argument, rather than a vague collection of slogans and superficial generalizations.
    2. Who says those characteristics don’t apply equally to the US or other non-Chinese societies?
    3. If Chinese society is in fact more materialistic – I might attribute that to its general tendency towards atheism – arguably even before Communism and certainly after 60 years of Communist rule.

  151. IH says:

    Catching up on some magazines over Shabbat, I noticed this apropos the recent discussion on pre-school: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21571416-early-years-education-can-mean-better-school-results-later-little-steps

  152. Charlie Hall says:

    “Many people have written much more powerful pieces on the subject of gun control ”

    And many have written much worse pieces, particularly on the pro-gun side. I’m sorry, if you feel you need a gun so you can overthrow the government, you are someone who should not have a gun!

    And I say that as someone who doesn’t think most gun control measures prevent crime.

  153. Nachum says:

    “I’m sorry, if you feel you need a gun so you can overthrow the government, you are someone who should not have a gun!”

    Like the founding fathers of the United States, I suppose.

  154. moshe shoshan says:

    Even if you believe that the constitution protects the right of individuals to own fire arms, the purpose of this right is to “protect the security of a free state” not to overthrow the government.

  155. Nachum says:

    That’s at least part of what they had in mind when they used those words. Remember that they’d just gotten through a war in which they did precisely that.

    Of course, none of this has to do with the real reason Jews should be viscerally against gun control.

  156. IH says:

    The “real reason Jews should be viscerally against in favor of gun control” is because there are more of “them” than there are of “us”.

  157. moshe shoshan says:

    Nachum,
    How do you knwo what the framers had in mind, and who said it makes a difference?

    Do you really think a few saturday night specials would have stopped the shoah?

  158. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “If Brooks is right, then why is modern Chinese society so consumerist, materialistic, and selfish”

    Would that not be an observation that despite the fact that mainland China is a totalitarian communist society which engages in the highest forms of cyberespionage against the US and suppresses human rights in the worst possible ways, that the “modern Chinese society” is just as consumerist , materialistic and selfish as similar populations in the west? Like it or not, no society has ever been able to be a politically totaliatarian state while engaging in the outer trappings of a capitalist democracy.

  159. Steve Brizel says:

    It is a myth that state regulation of gun control will reduce violent crime and outbursts as the US has seen in this past year. There is no proof that most guns used in the course of violent crime where legally purchased at a store. One sees little discussion on the effect of violent video games and movies or music vidoes that all too often celebrate violence against women on anyone who is exposed to the same for a prolonged period of time. WHY-examination of the same would offend a huge backer of the Democractic liberal agenda-Hollywood.

  160. moshe shoshan says:

    Steve

    stop making up facts

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

    1. Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States.
    Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree in the last three decades. “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. And in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally:

  161. STBO says:

    I’m surprised to see such shallow writing from Dr. Brown.

    And Charlie it’s clear that the 2nd Amendment was intended as the ‘check of last resort’ on gov’t power. Your beef is with the founders.

    “Do you really think a few saturday night specials would have stopped the shoah?”

    “Stopped” the shoah? Moshe, since when is reality so binary? Ever study the Warsaw Ghetto uprising?

  162. moshe shoshan says:

    from the mother jones article:
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

    Of the 143 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns with high-capacity magazines.

    I find it very distrubing that frum people like steve are so sucked in to the right wing agenda that they even buy into clearly anti Torah values. Do you really beleive that the pro-gun lobby can say, “yadeinu lo shafcha hadam hahu”?

  163. moshe shoshan says:

    hazeh

  164. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe Shoshan- do you really think that all homicides are caused by legally purchased firearms?

  165. Charlie Hall says:

    “mainland China is a totalitarian communist society”

    Mainland China hasn’t been communist for 35 years.

  166. Charlie Hall says:

    “Like the founding fathers of the United States, I suppose.”

    We know what they thought about people who wanted to rebel against the government of the United States:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion

    Note that this was AFTER the Second Amendment had been ratified.

    If you are calling for civil war in the US, say so.

  167. Hirhurim says:

    Mainland China hasn’t been communist for 35 years.

    Please tell me more because I am not aware of this development. Doesn’t the CPC still run the country?

  168. Charlie Hall says:

    “all homicides are caused by legally purchased firearms?”

    Most firearms deaths are caused by legally purchased firearms, but they are suicides, not homicides.

  169. mycroft says:

    ” Charlie Hall on March 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    “mainland China is a totalitarian communist society”

    Mainland China hasn’t been communist for 35 years.”

    Please explain.

  170. Charlie Hall says:

    “Doesn’t the CPC still run the country?”

    Indeed China still has a one party government, and lacks a true rule of law, but since Deng Xiaopeng’s reforms in the late 1970s, China has actually been much more of a Capitalist Paradise than a Workers’ Paradise. Mao Zedong had good reason to purge Deng (which he did not once but twice).

  171. Hirhurim says:

    I don’t know that a freer market economy means a lack of communist rule. I think they have created a hybrid. Still communist government but with market reforms.

  172. Charlie Hall says:

    Minor correction: Deng ditched communism in all but name in early 1979, which was only 34 years ago, not 35.

    “I don’t know that a freer market economy means a lack of communist rule.”

    The communists became capitalists. Deng himself may have really become a capitalist at heart in the 1960s after the horrific failure of the Great Leap Forward (50 million or so deaths) but he had to pretend to adhere to Mao’s ideology, and had Mao lived another year he might have paid with his life.

    Of course, China’s capitalism today isn’t anything like what Friedrich Hayek or Milton Friedman would have supported — it is more like something Mussolini would have supported. But it certainly isn’t communist!

  173. IH says:

    And Charlie it’s clear that the 2nd Amendment was intended as the ‘check of last resort’ on gov’t power. Your beef is with the founders.

    STBO — then the buying of RPGs should be legalized, as that is the minimum firepower required for civilian insurrection. How about it?

  174. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    it may or may not be communist (it definitely is; i’ve seen it firsthand), but for purposes of our discussion, its definitely totalitarian, and a case study of our discussion re gun control.

    if i were a nys legslator,i would introduce a bill copying the text of the recent nys legislation, and crossing out the word “gun owner” to “member of press”; i.e., require their registration, pernitting, limit them to seven articles per issue, etc. if one is legal, the other is legal.

  175. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    I thnk that Steve Brizel was wrong in referring to China as a Communist society, but he was right that the Chinse government is a one-part dictatorship that cruely suppresses all human rights. Indeed, they do not even have the trappings of a democracy.

  176. IH says:

    But, we are all complicit in feeding the beast. Just look at what percentage of your material belongings (starting with your computer) are made in China.

    That said, I’m not sure what the purpose of the goalpost move by Steve accomplished. Brooks’ column was still facile; and pointing at China in regard to the American gun debate ia absurd.

  177. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    it may not be a communist society, but it definitely is a communist govt, and communist system. definitely totalitarian, so the nuances of the discussion are moot.

    (firsthand means i observered it as thus, not that i had any personal experiences (short of the usual foolishnesses.) )

  178. Charlie Hall says:

    “the Chinse government is a one-part dictatorship that cruely suppresses all human rights. Indeed, they do not even have the trappings of a democracy.”

    I basically agree. The only human right it seems to respect these days is the “right” to make money, and even then it is only as long as you don’t run afoul of the ruling cliques.

  179. Charlie Hall says:

    “firsthand means i observered it as thus”

    I work with survivors of the Cultural Revolution and of Tienanmen Square. They are very glad to be here, not there.

  180. STBO says:

    IH: “STBO — then the buying of RPGs should be legalized, as that is the minimum firepower required for civilian insurrection. How about it?”

    You’re free to make that argument if you wish. But the intent of the Founders stands regardless of whatever particular weapons are/aren’t purchasable at a given time and location.

    And recent history has shown that firearms are indeed adequate to severely impede or foil military efforts to establish control over a population.

  181. Nachum says:

    I can’t recall the last time anyone in the US was murdered with an RPG. You know that miniguns, the most powerful guns on earth, are technically legal in the United States? OK, it’s a grandfather clause, but about ten are in private hands. No crimes yet. :-)

    There’s actually a well-known libertarian novel that states that the US started going downhill when the Whiskey Rebellion failed. :-)

    OK, let me quote a great film:

    “You can’t say Americans are not more violent than other people?”

    “No!”

    “All those people killed in shootings in America?”

    “Shootings. That doesn’t mean Americans are more violent than other people. We’re just better shots.”

    Once more time, :-)

    As to China, come on. It’s only not “communist” if you define “communism” extremely narrowly. What did William F. Buckley say? “The problem with capitalism is capitalists. The problem with communism is communism.” (L’havdil, one can say similar things about Orthodox and heterodox Judaism.) It’s a horrible, degrading ideology that leads inevitably to bloody dictatorship (cue Charlie bringing up some obscure Indian state here) and there’s a direct connection to Mao killing over sixty million people and the way China is run today.

    By the way, just so we’re clear here, Mussolini was not a capitalist. He was a Fascist, capital F, which is about as opposite of capitalist as you can get. Ditto Hitler, who wasn’t capital F, but was close to it.

  182. moshe shoshan says:

    Moshe Shoshan- do you really think that all homicides are caused by legally purchased firearms?

    Did I say that? if only 25% were that wouldnt be anrgument for gun control.

    again, you have abandoned Orthodox Judaism (and reason) for Rushlimbaughism on this issue.

    This is not to say that all who oppose gun control are non-Orthodox or irrational.

  183. Nachum says:

    Rush Limbaugh is one of the most rational opinionators out there. Fits very well with the Jewish stuff, too.

  184. shachar haamim says:

    does that mean we will see KFP skippy this year?!?!?
    that is great news – letting consumers decide what is KFP based on the minhag hamakom and not the minhag of the rav hamachshir

 
 

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