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Time to meet Haredi Orthodox halfway
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Boca-Trained And Ordained Rabbis Graduate
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Charedi man wins landmark tribunal case
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What Threatens the World and the Rabbinate?
Was there a Jewish temple in ancient Egypt?
Could Louis Jacobs have been accepted?
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Korean Tourists apologize for Jewish suffering
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Facing possible draft and reduced subsidies, Israel’s haredim respond with prayer
Yeshiva students join IDF as paramedics
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My year of modesty
The Conservative gay marriage debate
Banning Kahane Google App Won’t Work
South African Jewish community prays for Mandela
Interfaith letter demands exemption
Intermountain Jewish News celebrates 100 years
Time To Act On Agunot
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Re-imagining Sabbath in Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Get Detective
Norman Lamm Deserves Better – Forward Thinking
Rabbi Norman Lamm Resigns From Yeshiva
Chancellor Lamm Announces Retirement
Peter Deutsch’s Ben Gamla and Michael Steinhardt’s Hebrew Charter School Center compete
Orthodox Jews to observe July 4th without music
God didn’t choose sides at Gettysburg
At Battle of Gettysburg, Jewish Heroes Fought for Both North and South
Study Reveals Sabbath-Observing Israelis Keeping Israeli Newspapers Afloat
Jewish schools get hundeds of millions in government funds
Secrets of the Norwich Blood Libel
Proposed amendments to Jewish Representative Council constitution withdrawn
SALT Tuesday

Sara Hurwitz: Ordaining women in the Jewish community
Religion and State in Israel
Just Because They Are Trying To Get You Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t Paranoid
Not all rabbis are created equal
Rabbis and root canal
Jewish history, saved one frame at a time
Meet the New Baal Teshuvah Artists of Brooklyn
Orthodox Jewish patrol pledges to guard London mosque
Interior Ministry rejects recognized conversion
Dues, Fundraising and the Shrinking United Synagogue
May one invite someone on Shabbat knowing they will drive?
Touro College Responds to Report On Shabbos Elevator Lawsuit
2000-year-old evidence of the siege of Jerusalem
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.
 

270 Responses

  1. ruvie says:

    David Cheifetz’s address to the RCA convention on child abuse is making its round on the internet this am. worthy of reading and a link:

    https://www.facebook.com/david.cheifetz.12/posts/10151681469862290

  2. IH says:

    Rabbis and root canal affirms points I recently made on Hirhurim in the Maharat ordination discussion. Please also note the first comment from a recent RIETS musmach who writes: “we’re already getting a heavy and growing dose of just what you prescribe. Pastoral psychology, actors with real-life problems, public speaking, etc. Not enough, and not enough reflection on spiritual growth, but there’s a lot to learn from the Americans in this regard.”

    Could it be that competition from YCT is spurring RIETS to make improvements? That is the way our free market is supposed to work, after all.

  3. joel rich says:

    R’IH,
    Careful though-we always seem to know what we’re missing but not what we have. Have you ever wondered how a smicha program can take talmidim from weak backgrounds and teach them enough torah and halacha in a short period to make them “poskim/madrichim” for their community? Put another way, every profession has a core competency from which to build. I worry that some will focus too much on the add ons at the cost of the core (yes, I’d like my Dr. to be nice to me, but first I want him to know medicine)

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  4. Gil Student says:

    IH: I actually found the “Rabbis and Root Canal” article stunning. My yeshiva education included extensive mussar discussions that give a rabbi enough education to hold a session and refer to the appropriate professionals. His call for a liberal arts curriculum could easily be replaced with a call for a mussar curriculum.

  5. IH says:

    R’ Joel — a) my point was simply that RIETS now recognizes a gap due to the healthy competition; and, b) I have no idea if your assumptions are correct, but your pessimistic outcome does not jibe with the YCT musmachim I have met.

    P.S. On your Dr. analogy, a functional patient-Doctor relationship is more important to the patient’s health than you seem to think.

  6. Nachum says:

    I don’t understand. Haven’t RIETS students always had practical courses, with options for even more?

  7. Gil Student says:

    Nachum: I don’t think “always” is the right term but the SR (Supplemental Rabbinics) has certainly been around for decades. Not to mention mentorship (shimush).

  8. IH says:

    Perhaps a guest post from the RIETS representative to ACRE (http://allianceforcre.org/) would be edifying for all.

    In the meantime, I again note that YU has launched a Continuing Education program for its musmachim that includes both in-person and web components: http://www.yu.edu/cjf/rabbinics/rabbinic-programming/, including:

    Webinar technology allows for ongoing online conversations, group presentations and discussions with participants. These interactive programs, perfect for rabbis and rebbetzins who face constraints on their time and resources, can be adapted to address issues of contemporary interest and concern, including topics on pastoral care, Halacha [Jewish law], business and rabbinic self-improvement.

  9. Gil Student says:

    Further development of training does not mean that no training existed in the past.

  10. IH says:

    Agreed. Certainly some did in the past. But, it seems it has also changed (and that competition from YCT was a factor).

  11. ruvie says:

    no question that YU/RIETS augmented its offering following YCT’s emphasis of a holistic approach to their rabbinic program. YU didn’t even have a mental health department – for the students of the university till around 10 years ago.

  12. Shlomo says:

    YU didn’t even have a mental health department – for the students of the university till around 10 years ago.

    A pretty recent innovation in all universities.

  13. Nachum says:

    In about 1905, facing competition from JTS, RIETS students went on strike a couple of times demanding courses in homiletics, practical rabbinics, and so on. The administration and board of directors gave in and introduced these classes, and also began appointing presidents (Rabbis Klein, Margolies, Levinthal and of course Revel) with backgrounds in the rabbinate and sympathy to these requests.

    Anyway, that’s pretty far back. My father got his semikha from RIETS in 1961 and took classes from rabbis such as Lookstein, Jung, and Goldstein in these areas.

    Wurzweiler has long had a special clergy program which is attended by everyone from Catholic nuns to Buddhist monks to imams, but of course has quite a few RIETS students as well. (It’s one of the five programs that fulfills the RIETS requirement for graduate education.)

  14. Shades of Gray says:

    “Further development of training does not mean that no training existed in the past”

    Back with Moshe Rabbeinu, his “training” was taking care of sheep.

    There are probably rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, psychologists, and commmunity leaders who were counselors in the summer, perhaps similar to Moshe(I can think now of three examples).

    R. Aron Lichtenstein spoke about the ability to relate to people :

    דיין החסר את אותה רגישות אנושית, ואת האכפתיות כלפי הזולת, לא רק שדעת תורה אין לו, אפילו דעת גרידא אין בו, ונבילה טובה הימנו.

    יש להדגיש במיוחד את הצורך ברגישות לנפש האדם. לא אחת, דווקא לימוד מעמיק בספר פסיכולוגיה, או עיון וקריאה בספרו של סופר דגול הצולל לעומק נבכי נפש האדם, הוא המקנה לאדם את היכולת להתייחס באופן ראוי לזולת, ולחדור לעמקי נפשו.

    (The necessity for sensitivity towards another’s soul should be emphasised. It is often the case that a careful reading of psychological texts, or reading and studying the works of great
    authors who plumb the depths of man’s soul help one to acquire the ability to relate appropriately to another person, and to penetrate the depths of his soul. Of course, this ability can be acquired via other means, but greatness in Torah alone is no
    guarantee for interpersonal skills, and for the ability to be attentive and sensitive to another’s soul.)

    In Oznayim Latorah(Vayikra 13:46), R. Sorotzkin quotes Robinson Crusoe’s lonliness as a way to understand Metzora’s punishment, apparently in the spirit of what R. Lichtenstein says about authors. Though the English translation does not have this part(for whatever the reason), his grandaughter wrote in a comment to “On the Main Line”:

    ” Mostly, I want to say, he was a man who lived Torah, ignited the fire of Torah, and had outstanding bekiut of the stories and lessons of the entire Tanach, and sought ways to bring younger people to love and connect to them. He was always interested in what we were learning in school, in every subject, and found ways to ask us and make us think of the relevance of everything around us to the lessons of the Torah. It is totally pashut that he would use a commonly known story to make a Torah point more obvious and connected to human experience.

    As far as the omission of the story by Artscroll, it may help clarify that when they took on the translation, it was made clear to the family that only parts of his prolific work would be translated from the source, and the selection was left in the hand of the editor/translator. If you really want to study the Oznayim LaTorah, get the gishmakit holds, learn it in the Hebrew. It has so much more tochen and ta’am than the diluted translation.

    BTW, Rav Zalman did not only appreciate a good literary piece but himself was a poet. For my Bat Mitzvah he gave me a sefer which just then came out for the first time in Hebrew, a translation of R Shimshom Refael Hirsch on Tehillim. He was very excited about it and he wrote me a beautiful poem as a dedication on the book. I will be happy to scan and share if there is interest.”

  15. zalman yechiel says:

    Ruvie — 35 years ago, I and several other YU students had lost parents during the school year. YU (Cheifitz?) arranged for a weekly group therapy session for us. (I don’t know what it was actually called.) I know I didn’t ask for it but I did attend.

  16. IH says:

    This makes for interesting reading vis-à-vis last week’s discussion on “democratic process”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/egypt-thought-democracy-enough-morsi/print

  17. Dani says:

    Why is everyone focusing on the tafel of the root canal article? Yes, YU has SR classes that enhance familiarity with pastoral psychology, but the author’s claims went far beyond that. How is it possible that following his 10 years in yeshiva he could make the following astounding statements?
    “I never studied human development.
    I never studied how a person grows spiritually.
    I never studied how about a person improves their interpersonal qualities.
    I never studied marriage counseling or theories about raising children.”
    Do he and I learn the same chumash, mefarshim, gemara, rishonim, acharonim and poskim- not to mention the baalei mussar Gil mentioned earlier?
    I know that he blithely dismisses the notion that the Torah might have anything to teach us other than whether a milchig spoon in a meat pot becomes treif, but in fact our Toras Chaim is the source of endless wisdom. While yes, it would be unwise to pretend someone steeped in Torah wisdom can fill a cavity, is such a person really unable to comment on improving interpersonal relationships? Did the author ever learn nezikin? Did he ever learn the dinim of lashon hara, mivayesh chaveiro, onaah, gneivas daas, viahavta lireacha kamocha, lo sachmod?
    Sometimes we all drink a little too much of the Torah Umadda kool aid and start recommending things like “Studying great works of poetry, art, and drama that enrich the soul” and “Reading great works of fiction that focus on personal character development” before we look to the incredibly rich and eternal wisdom that Tanach, its commentators and the Torah Shebaal Peh has to teach us on these topics.
    Why would we outsource our spiritual selves to the ideas of Shakespeare and Dostoevsky when Yeshayahu and Dovid Hamelech (and Rashi and Ramban) have already dealt with the Varieties of Religious Experience?
    Not that an astute observation by Shakespeare can’t help us understand ourselves and our interpersonal relationships, but again, let us not confuse the ikar and the tafel!

  18. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Agreed. Certainly some did in the past. But, it seems it has also changed (and that competition from YCT was a factor).”

    R Gil and dani both sum up quite well the pastoral training that RIETS musmachim have had long before YCT ever appeared on the scene. Anyone familiar with RIETS knows that any potential musmach in addition to his learning has SR as well as pastoral psych given by Dr D Pelcovitz and other top line mental health professionals.

  19. IH says:

    FWIW, see: http://www.yu.edu/uploadedfiles/semikhah_requirements_final.pdf

    C. Professional Classes
    Core Requirements –
    Six courses, offered on Fridays during the first two years of Semikha.
    a. Pastoral Psychology I
    b. Pastoral Psychology II
    c. Survey of Professional Rabbinics
    d. Survey of the American Jewish Community
    e. Public Speaking I
    f. Jewish Communal Leadership (or Group Facilitation for the ORG track)

    Nachum — since you volunteered your father’s curriculum in 1961, it would be interesting to get his view on the differences in that regard between 1961 and 2013.

  20. IH says:

    Gil — were those the core requirements for professional classes when you attended RIETS?

  21. ruvie says:

    Dr. Pelcovitz only recently has given classes in the reits program (i believe or has increased teaching). rabbis need to recognize their training limits – learning gemera and poskim doesn’t really give you that much insight to relationships, dating advice, etc[contrary to what rabbis believe]. recently, there is a growing group at reits (those looking at pulpits/college hillels etc) seeking professional degrees (msw and counseling and psychology degrees)- its a good thing.

    Dani – “Do he and I learn the same chumash, mefarshim, gemara, rishonim, acharonim and poskim- not to mention the baalei mussar Gil mentioned earlier?” probably…but the same could be said to someone 50, 100 or 200 years ago – have we not more insight now than then – or has not pastoral care and the psychology of people advanced? if you are correct then why would any classes in psychology/counseling be needed to begin with? your answer may be:
    בן בגבג אומר, הפוך בה והפך בה, והגי בה דכולא בה, ובה תחזי, סיב ובלי בה; ומינה לא תזוז, שאין לך מידה טובה יותר ממנה. בן האהא אומר, לפום צערא אגרא.
    avot – 5:19 – but that doesn’t cut it in our times.
    Nachum – i found your answer humorous – homiletics and halacha l’mesah = pastoral care, realtionships and mental health issues…take a pill and call me in the am.

  22. IH says:

    Oh dear. It suddenly occurred to me. Gil — You didn’t formally attend RIETS as a prospective musmach, did you?

    A closer look at your Wikipedia entry seems to confirm: “A 1994 graduate of Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University, Gil Student is listed in the 2005 alumni directory as a rabbi and a quantitative analyst…”.

  23. Gil Student says:

    I attended RIETS, including some SRs, but never finished the semicha program.

  24. Ben Waxman says:

    A friend of mine who lives in Har Nof told me that you can always tell when someone got his smicha from YU, no matter what clothes he wears now. The guy can be wearing the full chassidic outfit but when he gets up Friday night to give a drash, the talk always has structure, he brings in points/counterpoints, the flow and pitch work just right; in short you can see that he took a course in homiletics.

  25. IH says:

    Gil — So, were those professional courses, “a” through “f”, the core requirements when you attended RIETS in the mid-1990s? Particularly: a. Pastoral Psychology I; and, b. Pastoral Psychology II.

  26. Shlomo says:

    Do he and I learn the same chumash, mefarshim, gemara, rishonim, acharonim and poskim

    If you think that chumash is talking about quasi-malachim rather than human beings with human desires, then you will not learn much about people and relationships from chumash and mefarshim.

    A similar statement could perhaps be made about aggadta.

  27. joel rich says:

    r’ ben,
    lol-i used to say you can always tell a congregant who took a public speaking class – he’s the one with his hands over his face so certain speakers can’t see him rolling his eyes at the random walk organization of the presentation (or the handwaving leaps of logic)
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  28. Gil Student says:

    IH: I don’t remember. I dropped out before I had to choose either the pulpit or chinuch track.

  29. IH says:

    Gil — Thanks. Perhaps a reader who attended in the 1990s can comment? By my reading, btw, those 6 classes are now required for all RIETS students irrespective of track with the two Pastoral Psych courses in the first year.

  30. Nachum says:

    IH: I know he has his transcripts somewhere and I can ask him. I doubt he had to take all of those, although I know speaking and American Jewish history and, I think, psychology (maybe educational psychology) were among them. Not as much as today, but then again I imagine JTS wasn’t as comprehensive back then either. (Also, of course, if you’re spending a substantial amount of the day learning the traditional Talmud & Codes- as is not done at JTS or HUC- while also working on a masters degree *and* working, as all semikhah students did back then, well, there’s only so much time in the day.)

  31. IH says:

    Nachum — As far as I can tell, the focus on pastoral counseling at the non-Orthodox seminaries came in in the 1990s and to Orthodoxy in the past decade. A 1961 graduate in any of the seminaries would have had their “Professional Classes” focused on homiletics, as evidenced by your own naming of “rabbis such as Lookstein, Jung, and Goldstein” in your father’s case at RIETS.

    This whole argument seems rather silly and unproductive to me. My sense is that it is a derivative of the thinking that Rabbis should primarily be scholars.

  32. IH says:

    I don’t know anything about the JTS program, but your comment made me curious. See: http://www.jtsa.edu/The_Rabbinical_School/Academics/Required_Course_Distribution.xml

  33. Glatt some questions says:

    A friend of mine who lives in Har Nof told me that you can always tell when someone got his smicha from YU, no matter what clothes he wears now. The guy can be wearing the full chassidic outfit but when he gets up Friday night to give a drash, the talk always has structure, he brings in points/counterpoints, the flow and pitch work just right; in short you can see that he took a course in homiletics.
    ———————–

    While there are certainly many RIETS musmachim who can deliver excellent sermons, I do believe that the quality of sermon making and delivering divrei Torah has actually decreased in the last 25 years among RIETS graduates. They can certainly learn as well as their older counterparts, but I do believe that rabbis of a generation and two generations ago were on the whole much better at delivering torah talks. That’s because many Orthodox shuls don’t put much emphasis on giving a sermon (in fact, may folks escape traditional type Orthodox shuls and go to shteibels or hashkama minyanim precisely to avoid hearing a sermon). It’s much more important in most Orthodox circles today for a rabbi to be able to give a great class than a great sermon. That’s too bad, in my opinion. There is no one I have heard from today’s generation of YU rabbis who can equal a Rabbi Lamm or Riskin or Pelcovitz or JJ Schacter in delivering a great sermon.

  34. lawrence kaplan says:

    Both Rabbis Pelcovitz and Schacter received semichah from Torah Ve-Daas.

  35. Gil Student says:

    Glatt: There is no one I have heard from today’s generation of YU rabbis who can equal a Rabbi Lamm or Riskin or Pelcovitz or JJ Schacter in delivering a great sermon.

    Solly. Although in my experience, there isn’t too much of a public desire for sermonizing.

  36. joel rich says:

    Also depends if you’re talking content or showmanship.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  37. Joseph Kaplan says:

    My impression of current rabbis and sermons is similar to Glatt’s.

  38. ruvie says:

    i would add r’ saul berman to that list… but i believe r’ lamm stands above all. his sermons were mellifluous in his day.
    Glatt- would you say that sermons and divrei torah are on the decline or more likely sermons? the exception to the rule is of course RMS now at s&p. no one comes close.

  39. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    rabbi wohlberg beth tfilo’s sermons are passed around all over. http://www.bethtfiloh.com/podium/default.aspx?t=137833 (side point — there’s a family / professional relationship there with r dr pelcovitz.)
    r meir solovechik should prob come out with great ones, in his new position.

    as for glat — those old RCA sermon books are lousy (and i dont think they were good for their times, either.) pass around r sacks (not yu, yet), r wohlberg, r lamm (not really available — though see his website and reconstruct). though, like joseph k, most rabbis today are not at these levels.

    get detective — there are a good number of ppl like that, all over the world. i’ve found them in the most unusual places. though few US based (almost none.) and they all have groups / edot they avoid. that would make a better story.

  40. Gil Student says:

    There is a difference between a devar Torah and a sermon. I hear great divrei Torah, some very well structured and on target. But they lack the showmanship and language of a sermon. And personally, I’m happy with that.

  41. ruvie says:

    interesting: there is a problem of the hamon am in the chareidi community- they may not be followers.

    “Mishpacha publisher R’ Eli Paley has said in an interview he was asked by the American gedolim to come and educate the frum Torah community about the current situation with the Giyus bnei Hayeshivos.”
    “We all revere our gedolim- and we legitimately wish to understand the position of our camp. “

  42. Nachum says:

    Actually, IH, R’ Jung taught ethics. I think R’ Goldstein taught history, although that may have been Hyman Grinstein.

    I don’t get your “scholars” remark. These classes don’t exactly fit that category. Nowadays, RIETS students have five options *besides* their regular Talmud/Codes/Rabbinics classes: Masters in Jewish Studies, Masters in Jewish Education, Masters in Social Work, Machshevet Yisrael, or Kollel. Some go to law school, but I don’t think that’s official.

    Count me in with the non-sermon types. I find the “classical” form of sermons bombastic and playing on emotions, if not screaming, although that may be a reflection of the speaker’s talent. (R’ Lamm doesn’t talk that way, of course.) But I will allow that many people *do* go for that. I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but I got an education from R’ Gorelick, one of my rebbeim in college, who reminded us that while we might be all educated urbane types who are above such things (or at least we’d like to think we are), some people want and need the sermon above all. But again, I cringe when hearing some sermonizers of the generation of the 60′s and 70′s. Fortunately, I live in a country where it isn’t an issue. :-) My own shul doesn’t even have a rabbi, but a congregant gives a short dvar torah.

    MiMedinat: R’ Rakeffet’s daughter, who’s a toenet and a family lawyer, is something of a get detective. He’s got a wild story about her rousting a guy out of a seedy motel in Meah Shearim at two o’clock in the morning and having him thrown in jail. :-) The get was given the next morning.

  43. lawrence kaplan says:

    My brother and I grew up in Far Rockaway where the rabbis of the two main synagogues were Rabbis Ralph Pelcovitz and Emanuel Rackman. So we were spoiled.

  44. IH says:

    Nachum — (Actually,) R. Goldstein, whom we discussed on Hirhurim recently, “headed the homiletics department of the University’s affiliated rabbinical school for decades”. R. Jung “taught ethics and homiletics at Yeshiva University where he influenced the graduates to create an urbane, moral, and dignified Orthodoxy” and R. Lookstein was “Was Professor of homiletics and practical rabbinics.”

    I am not familiar with Dr. Hyman Grinstein, but his obituary states that “After relinquishing his post as Teachers Institute director, he continued to serve as professor of American Jewish history through 1970 at Yeshiva College and at the university’s Bernard Revel Graduate School.”

  45. Joseph Kaplan says:

    ” r lamm (not really available — though see his website and reconstruct)”

    ??? I’ve been reading a R. Lamm sermon every Shabbat for the past 3-4 years; typescripts that he actually used to deliver them (with handwritten notations and corrections). They’re wonderful.

    “My brother and I grew up in Far Rockaway where the rabbis of the two main synagogues were Rabbis Ralph Pelcovitz and Emanuel Rackman. So we were spoiled.”

    So we were. (And then I moved to the West Side for 13 years with R. Riskin.)

    “I am not familiar with Dr. Hyman Grinstein, but his obituary states that “After relinquishing his post as Teachers Institute director, he continued to serve as professor of American Jewish history through 1970 at Yeshiva College and at the university’s Bernard Revel Graduate School.”

    “There is a difference between a devar Torah and a sermon. I hear great divrei Torah, some very well structured and on target. But they lack the showmanship and language of a sermon.”

    Agreed. But sermons, at least good ones, are also more difficult because there must be some application, not simply a question on the parsha and an answer — even a good question and answer. My personal belief is that one of the reasons sermons have gone out of style is exactly that; because they are more difficult. I would agree, though, that a bad sermon (and I’ve heard plenty) is worse than a bad dvar Torah.

    “I am not familiar with Dr. Hyman Grinstein, but his obituary states that “After relinquishing his post as Teachers Institute director, he continued to serve as professor of American Jewish history through 1970 at Yeshiva College and at the university’s Bernard Revel Graduate School.”

    I’m surprised; he davened in the JC when I was living on the UWS in the 70s. One of the nicest, finest, friendliest men you’d ever want to meet. Always was ready for a chat. I had him for American Jewish History at YU and he knew a lot and was an okay teacher (very easy grader). If he was before your time at the JC, IH, you really missed something special.

  46. Steve Brizel says:

    It is great if your rav can give fine shiurim and memorable drashos-but a rav’s committment to Chesed Bgufo uvmamano) at all times strikes me as the paramount virtue that a rav must emulate and be able to convey as a means of showing his dedication to his congregants. I would add that whenever I hear a shiur from a RIETS RY or talmid chacham, there is a trademark like clarity and summary of the issues discussed and the views of the Rishonim, Acharonim and Poskim, that is not always present in presentations from Talmidei Chachamim from other yeshivos.

  47. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kpaln aptly summed up which rabbanim in the US were great darshanim. Yet, one would be mistaken if one did not consider R Grunblatt formerly of the QJC as a great darshan as well. Perhaps, as MO is more educated and committed, the need for great drashos to a captive audience has dissipated, as opposed to a shiur or Dvar Torah.

  48. mycroft says:

    .” One of the nicest, finest, friendliest men you’d ever want to meet. Always was ready for a chat. I had him for American Jewish History at YU and he knew a lot and was an okay teacher (very easy grader). If he was before your time at the JC, IH, you really missed something special.”

    Agree with Joseph Kaplan I had him for American Jewish History also-agree with all his statements Grinstein was a mensch-his American Jewish History emphasized pre 1860 if I recall correctly.

  49. Nachum says:

    Steve, I just want to understand- in the thread on R’ Sacks, you criticize “service learning.” I’d never heard of this before, so I looked it up, and it seems to involve, well, a combination of community service and learning.

    Here, you say the most important thing in a rav is chesed, not teaching. What gives?

    IH, one comment on the JTS curriculum: The actual number of rabbinics courses seems pretty close to- if not less than- RIETS’. The rest of the courses- Hebrew, Bible, Jewish history- are for the most part actually things that YU students are required to take as undergraduates. (Not all RIETS students go to YU, but the vast majority do. JTS has an undergraduate program run with Columbia, but I don’t think there’s any requirement for JTS students to go through it.) The rest are courses that a YU undergrad could take if he wanted, and would probably have to if he was a Jewish Studies major. JTS basically starts with someone who’s taken nothing, adds an extra year, and basically ends up with the same amount (and in some fields, a lot less) than a RIETS student does.

    Of course, that’s all on paper.

    As to the faculty of YU back then, yes indeed.

  50. shachar haamim says:

    My wife is originally from the UK. She insists that I am not allowed to commorate the Nakba of the English with music any year – nothing to do with the three weeks
    I wonder how Arieh Younger, the Jewish American, would feel about that?

  51. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    (Not all RIETS students go to YU, but the vast majority do.

    not if you want to be a top executive at YU. (and presumably, you mean YC.)

    JTS has an undergraduate program run with Columbia, but I don’t think there’s any requirement for JTS students to go through it.)

    thats like saying take the YC / columbia joint engineering program mostly at columbia (if it still exists) and then apply to riets. little relationship between JTS and columbia (and columbia and YU) besides campus locations.

    The rest are courses that a YU undergrad could take if he wanted, and would probably have to if he was a Jewish Studies major. JTS basically starts with someone who’s taken nothing, adds an extra year, and basically ends up with the same amount (and in some fields, a lot less) than a RIETS student does.

    gemara study at JTS is basically a few hours a week of a formal class, vs a formal daily shiur, etc at RIETS and every other O program. in other, little content, more support services. yet, in practice, C (and R) rabbis have little in terms of support from their orgs, even though they took more coursework in that.

    interesting: no one can point out any C or R sermonizing rabbis.

    also, any lawyer can practice before the rabbanut, without any “toenet” coursework.

  52. ruvie says:

    a well written, interesting, and insightful (to the otd hasidic/chareidi phenom – maybe of all orthodoxy) article by shmuel dean – a retort to a recent article by r’helfgot: Why I Am Not modern Orthodox

    http://zeek.forward.com/articles/117822/

    ” In conversation after conversation with friends, peers, colleagues within the ex-Haredi community, what I often hear is not a rejection of religion itself but the erosion of a basic trust. Trust in those who claim the mantle of authority to deliver timeless truths. Trust in rabbis and ancient texts and traditions. Trust that anyone but we as individuals can determine our own truths and values.”

    “Members of the ex-Haredi community are engaged with Jewishness with as much vigor and dedication as nearly any other Jewish demographic. They care deeply about issues of social justice and about building community and advancing the deep values and convictions they embraced for themselves. They may not do it within a religious context, but their lives and passions are richly informed by their heritage and their traditions and their own pasts, however messy and complicated.”

  53. emma says:

    re: michal tikochinsky’s article, I’ve been wondering when/whether someone was going to point out that the maharat debate has been incredibly myopic on both sides, ignoring the (in my view more significant) developments going on in israel. i figured the israelis were keeping quiet about it, as many of the women’s quasi-ordination programs there have kept an intentionally low profile. but now that the article is written i hope it injects a little more nuance into the american conversation.

  54. IH says:

    Emma — Israel doesn’t have the denominational history that made the Maharat issue so emotive (to both sides) in the US.

  55. IH says:

    On a more general point, there is a leap-frogging phenomenon within “Orthodoxy” between Israel and the US. Each has different sacred cows that hold them back, but once one finds a way, the other follows in their own way. “Orthodox” women seriously learning g’mara, for example, took much longer in Israel than the US. [And I would again point to the very poignant video clip from 00:56 to 03:53 in http://vimeo.com/45277267.

  56. emma says:

    IH, there are many reasons for the difference, but the very fact that anything similar (again, i would argue more significant) is going on in israel has been ignored by both sides. (w maharat supporters gushing about their firstiness, and opponents also assuming this is unlike anything else and also limited to the r. avi weiss corner of the jewish world.)

  57. IH says:

    False dichotomy.

  58. IH says:

    Read, e.g. the second & third paragraphs of the IRF statement: http://www.internationalrabbinicfellowship.org/news/irf-statement-congratulating-graduates-yeshivat-maharat

    These women represent another significant model for how Orthodox women can serve their communities and klal Yisrael. These graduates of Yeshivat Maharat take their place alongside the Toanaot Beit Din who work in Israeli rabbinic courts, the Yoatzot Halakha who advise women regarding hilkhot niddah, and the graduates of Yeshiva University’s GPATS program who teach Torah and engage in pastoral duties within congregations and schools.

    We note with pride those Orthodox women who received, and are receiving, advanced Torah educations, degrees and certifications at Drisha, Matan, Pardes, Nishmat, the Jewish Women’s Halakhic Leadership Program at Midreshet Lindenbaum, the Advanced Program in Talmud and Halacha at Migdal Oz, the Advanced Halakha Program for Women at Beit Morasha and an ever expanding list of seminaries, midrashot, and batei midrash. They form a cohort of talmidot hakhamim whose Torah scholarship and religious guidance are an indispensable resource for our community.

  59. Gil Student says:

    Toanot etc. are new roles. Maharats are women rabbis. That is the key difference.

    I am sure IH will say that this is semantics. That is wrong.

  60. IH says:

    Gil — No, I agree. And when I made that point in a previous discussion, you’ve agreed with me. Maharat is a leapfrog.

  61. emma says:

    there are institutions and private individuals in israel giving what amounts to a heter horaah to women. they are intentionally vague about it but if that’s all that’s necessary to make it ok then what is the objection exactly?

    IH, maharat is _not_ a leapfrog, was my point all along. just in america.

  62. IH says:

    Emma — The leapfrog phenomenon will become evident when an Israeli institution graduates women who pass a smicha test like Yeshivat Maharat. Midreshet Lindenbaum is the most likely candidate as far as I’m aware: http://www.nrg.co.il/online/11/ART2/470/607.html?hp=11&cat=1102

  63. emma says:

    read the article and explain to me how what she describes as happening at beit morasha is not “passing a smicha test.” and i believe lindenbaum has already graduated at least one cohort. _and_, drisha in the past graduated people who could and i believe did pass smicha-style tests, carefully not refered to as such.

  64. IH says:

    The smicha certification is the leapfrog.

  65. emma says:

    passing a test to become a “morah halachah” is really that different? you and i don’t know if they or lindenbaum are calling it “smicha,” nor what the certificate looks like, because we are not there and they are more interested in creating facts on the ground than media splashes. but in the end my money is on the developments in israel having a much more important long term positive impact.

  66. Y. Aharon says:

    I note that OU-Kosher takes a stringent position on using the same grill for fish and meat citing the gemara that meat-fish combinations are a ‘sakanah’. Since few of us really ascribe to the notion of such a danger, and there is no scientific evidence to support it, why be stringent about a possible contamination of your hamburger with some miniscule fish residue? The gemara doesn’t state that a fishy taste represents a danger in a meat dish. At the most, the public could have been advised to let the grill continue heating for some minutes after the removal of the fish, to burn off the residue.

  67. emma says:

    i also found the OU presentation of the meat/fish issue disappointing. double wrapping!!!?

    also re: ice cream, my impression is that the common practice is to eat certified ice cream notwithstanding the scoop issue, especially if one knows that the most recent ice cream scooped was also kosher. i understand that they have to make clear they don’t “Certify” the stores, but if they are dispensing general kashrut advice i was surprised at that ruling.

  68. joel rich says:

    What incentive would the OU have to say fish/meat is not an issue or that ice cream is not an issue? fwiw I have seen “frum” folks get the ice cream with the toppings – what they rely on is beyond me.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  69. mycroft says:

    “IH on July 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Emma — Israel doesn’t have the denominational history that made the Maharat issue so emotive (to both sides) in the US”
    Really-so a Matan student who goes to Yedidya and passes a Rabbanus Harashit test on Niddah would be accepted in Mattersdorf?

  70. emma says:

    what incentive does the ou have to say, as they do, that you can get coffee at a rest stop? other than the fact that it’s permitted and makes life easier for people?

    fwiw, in baskin robbins, at least, the kvh sticker says that the toppings are kosher.

  71. emma says:

    “so a Matan student who goes to Yedidya and passes a Rabbanus Harashit test on Niddah would be accepted in Mattersdorf?”

    they already reject her for not wearing pleated skirts with sweater vests, etc. and her dati-leumi rabbi husband wouldn’t be accepted in mattersdof either. so the opinion of the mattersdorfians is truly irrelevant to her. the point is the dati leumi “orthodox” are not worried about denominations to their own “left.”

  72. IH says:

    A friend passed along an OED Word of the Day that would interest Hirhurim readers — olamic: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/260018

  73. Gil Student says:

    In Israel they don’t have denominational issues *like we have in the US*. But they have other issues. The different groups are so polarized that they don’t have much to do with each other. The Charedim and Chardalim certainly have problems with women in communal roles but they have already written off the Dati Leumi sector. (Speaking in incredibly broad strokes, of course)

  74. Jonathan Berger says:

    MiMedinat HaYam, I don’t think your characterization of the JTS curriculum and its student body is accurate or fair. I graduated eleven years ago, and the curriculum has changed since then, but I know that in addition to the formal class hours, there is a fair amount of chavruta time; Gemara is more than just the few hours a week you mention (though you are correct that it is still not as much as at RIETS. As for the students at JTS rabbinical school, they are (and have long been) quite diverse. Some do come in with little experience with text study (they typically need an extra year of JTS), but others enter with pretty strong backgrounds.

  75. Gil Student says:

    I agree with Jonathan. No one becomes a talmid chakham by learning a syllabus. It’s the extra-curricular learning that makes all the difference.

  76. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    most O smicha students come with over ten years of gemara study. while there are exceptions, i knows that RIETS will often tell an applicant to stay in yeshiva another year or two, before reapplying.

    a 1-12/2 to 2-1/2 hour class (does it cover an actual mesechta, or is it just selections?) is not gemara study in any O yeshiva. perhaps enough for daf yomi, but not for psak purposes.

    no chulin, i notice. any O program requires that, for starters.

    do they study yoreh deah? straight text (with rishonim and achronim.) not “applied halacha” designed for a C audience who doesnt sit shiva for seven full days, uses a velcro fabric for kria, etc.

  77. IH says:

    MMhY — Given that YC has had to institute remedial courses so that students can keep pace with the Limmudei Kodesh coursework, your grandiose pronouncements aren’t credible.

  78. IH says:

    As a reminder: http://www.lookstein.org/resources/literacy/adventures.pdf

    These classes began in fall 2008. The goals of these remedial classes were to allow students to develop the basic skills needed to independently read, understand, and translate a passage of Biblical narrative. (Understanding Rashi was demoted to a secondary goal.)

  79. Gil Student says:

    IH: That is for incoming undergrads.

  80. IH says:

    Indeed, but MMhY states “most O smicha students come with over ten years of gemara study.”

  81. IH says:

    The preceding paragraph from the Adventures in Literacy-Land paper (bold emphasis mine):

    In the fall of 2008, a “skills evaluation” was administered to incoming students in the IBC program. Nearly all of these students had gone through elementary and high school in Jewish day schools and had spent a year in Israel in one of the schools that are part of YU’s S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program. The evaluation consisted of three sections: one which tested reading comprehension in a simple passage from Genesis 37; a second which tested reading comprehension in a Rashi on this passage; and a third which tested familiarity with Biblical Hebrew grammar and vocabulary.1 Of the incoming 54 students, 29 were deemed to have succeeded in the test, because they answered most of the questions correctly in at least two of the three sections of the test. The remaining 25 (approximately 47%) were placed in the remedial classes.

  82. Gil Student says:

    I still don’t get your point. Wouldn’t you think that the future rabbis are at the top of the class in Jewish textual comprehension?

  83. IH says:

    Gil — Why would you think they are. My point is that MMhY’s claim to “over ten years of gemara study” is not credible in any meaningful way.

    Why would you think that someone who needed remedial education at YC, wouldn’t go to RIETS (and perhaps even excel there)?

  84. Gil Student says:

    He is correct, even if you are also right. But you are reaching so it doesn’t matter.

  85. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum wrote:

    “Steve, I just want to understand- in the thread on R’ Sacks, you criticize “service learning.” I’d never heard of this before, so I looked it up, and it seems to involve, well, a combination of community service and learning.

    Here, you say the most important thing in a rav is chesed, not teaching. What gives?”

    A rav will certainly be remembered by his congregants for acts of chesed more so than a knockout shiur or dfrasha. Count me as one of the skeptics as to wheher summer programs rooted in “service learning” will create a strong community to Torah study and observance for adolescents and college age students.

  86. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-wake up and smell the coffee. Your views of RIETS reflect your extreme LW MO view of all that purportedly ails MO, YU and RIETS.

  87. IH says:

    Joel Roth often bemoans the lack of statistics. Yet, when they exist — and these are YU’s own statistics — mental gymnastics ensue…

  88. IH says:

    Oops, Joel Rich, of course.

  89. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote in response to R Gil’s comment re the reading comprehension level of incoming YC students:

    “Gil — Why would you think they are. My point is that MMhY’s claim to “over ten years of gemara study” is not credible in any meaningful way.”

    WADR to Nachum Lamm and his readiness to defend IBC, one should generally not assume that an incoming student in a YP shiur after a year or two in Israel would need a remedial class. OTOH, in JSS’s years under the direction of R Besdin ZL, the talmidim in the highest level junior shiur could enter RIETS shiurim as college seniors , which many did , and from there progressed to the highest shiurim in RIETS, and received smicha, despite the fact that these talmidim first studied Talmud in a formal shiur at the age of 18.

  90. IH says:

    Another data point for “over ten years…” is this zinger from R. Meiselman as reported in Mishpacha magazine in Nov 2011:

    When I deal with most products of today’s yeshivos, I have to assume they’re not proficient in independently learning a Mishnah Berurah, so I have to teach them how to read a Mishnah Berurah. I have to assume the only seforim they’ve seen in mussar and machshava are ArtScroll books, and so I have to get them exposed to primary sources. Many of them are not equipped to go through things inside.

  91. ruvie says:

    IH – that was IBC (which is somewhat surprising). i reported a while ago its was the students ( a significant number) in yp – (yeshiva program) that received grades of under 55 for a 4th grade level of hebrew which the ry refused (after r’ reiss agreed) to give an hour of their yp limudei kodesh time (is it 9am – 3pm?) a few days a wek for remedial hebrew. i wonder how much can they really be learning if they do not comprehend hebrew at the 4th grade level?

  92. Steve Brizel says:

    R Gil wrote in part:

    “Maharats are women rabbis”

    You can use whatever title you want or desire, but the mere usage of a title does not have halachic significance whatsover.

  93. Steve Brizel says:

    IH -why assume that one of R Meiselman’s incoming talmidim has any greater level of Torah knowledge than the average MO counterpart?

  94. IH says:

    Steve — I don’t.

  95. IH:

    i agree that MMHY’s broad statement is ridiculous. but very possible that as a subset, riets students are exceptions representing that subset that really did excel during those 10 years.
    also, the remedial coursework you referred to is for Hebrew. as pathetic as the situation is, it says nothing about gemara learning.

  96. JLan says:

    “MiMedinat HaYam, I don’t think your characterization of the JTS curriculum and its student body is accurate or fair. I graduated eleven years ago, and the curriculum has changed since then, but I know that in addition to the formal class hours, there is a fair amount of chavruta time; Gemara is more than just the few hours a week you mention (though you are correct that it is still not as much as at RIETS.”

    That’s fair, but I know a few recent JTS rabbinical school attendees (some who finished, some who left), all of whom felt that their gemara skills were inadequate. The one who left did so in part because he felt that his skills had actually gotten worse during the two years he was there (he had been at the Conservative Yeshiva for the prior two years).

  97. shachar haamim says:

    “Toanot etc. are new roles”

    a Toenet is not religious role. It is a licensed pratitioner who is authorized to appear before the rabbinical courts in Israel.
    Lawyers are also allowed to appear rabbinical courts.

    There is no difference between a toen/et rabbani who can represent clients before rabbinical courts and a certified tax practitioner who can represent clients in front of the tax authorities in Israel. These are apecific professional licenses which are exceptions to the general rules which allow only licensed attorneys to provide legal advice and represent clients in front of government and judicial bodies.

    I’m not even sure if a toen/et rabbani needs to be religious. A non religious – or even non-jewish lawyer can respresent clients in front of the rabbinical courts.

  98. mycroft says:

    “certified tax practitioner who can represent clients in front of the tax authorities in Israel. These are apecific professional licenses which are exceptions to the general rules which allow only licensed attorneys to provide legal advice and represent clients in front of government and judicial bodies”

    Which essentially is the same situation as the US.

  99. Nachum says:

    Steve, I still don’t get your distinction. Why is it important for a Rav to do chesed and his congregants not to?

    Also Steve: You won’t get any argument from me- virtually no IBC students go on to RIETS. (Although some do.) Ironically, the percentage may actually be a bit *higher* in JSS. Then again, the vast majority of YP students don’t either. It would make sense that the RIETS students are those with a stronger talmudic literacy and background.

    On the other hand, IH, you’re fooling yourself if you think the typical first-year (or even older) JTS student knows as much as a YU freshman four years younger than him.

  100. Nachum says:

    I’m wondering how the OU works here- if R’ Schachter thinks that meat and fish are not a problem, who ultimately decides the actual policy?

  101. ruvie says:

    does anyone keep separate frying pans or oven pans for fish and meat? or is the ou trying not to confuse people by being conservative?

  102. Gil Student says:

    The OU is clearly not recommending separate pots and pans for fish and meat. Just grills for the reason stated — they are very hard to clean.

  103. IH says:

    Abba – If they can’t comprehend Rashi in the Chumash, do you really think they can comprehend Rashi (let alone Tosafot) in the G’mara?

    —–

    Nachum – On a typical JTS Reb student: I don’t know and you don’t know. What you pointed out earlier, though, seems correct: their required course curriculum is designed to make sure JTS students have the necessary skills by the time they are ordained.

    In any case, my initial point was simply that competition within Modern Orthodoxy, now that YCT is on the scene, already demonstrates improvements have been made in RIETS vis-à-vis training in Pastoral Counseling. Likewise, the competition from RIETS pressures YCT on lamdus. Competition is good for consumers and keeps institutions from becoming “fat, dumb and happy” (think Detroit cars). I can’t imagine you don’t agree with that – which is why I found it odd you wanted to engage in this argument.

  104. ruvie says:

    i wonder if folks will agree with r’ yoel – the answer is women

    http://morethodoxy.org/2013/07/04/what-threatens-the-world-and-the-rabbinate-by-rav-yoel-bin-nun/

    “It is the women who are suffering, the women who are abused and crying, the women who are agunot and are refused a get. It is they that threaten the Torah world, with the potential of leading to its utter destruction, God forbid.”

  105. Gil Student says:

    Ruvie: in my opinion, your question (which does not appear here) is avak lashon hara.

  106. Nachum says:

    IH: I don’t want to argue the point at all, mostly because I agree with you. I was just pointing out that it’s not so revolutionary: RIETS began teaching these courses over a hundred years ago so as to compete better with JTS.

  107. ruvie says:

    Gil – it has to do with the quality of students or the teaching that go into rabbinical school for the pulpit positions. it also may have to do with the rise of orthodox scholars in the academic world and the increase of employment positions that may have went to the pulpit.

    either way, its worthy of discussion and anecdotals that may be out there. lastly, one wonders if there is measurable quality difference between different smicha programs and what they produce?

    we were discussing differences between course work at jts and reits (with yct as a side issue). why not discuss what they produce? is there a difference in between eras? – we already discussed sermons and the quality of those that give them between different eras

  108. lawrence kaplan says:

    The word “on the street,” at least as I heard it, was that RIETS did indeed “beef up” the practical rabbinics component of its semichah program in response to competition from YCT. Like IH, I cannot see why this should be seen as either problematic or controversial, and I agree with him that competition is almost always good and serves to keep institutions on their feet.

  109. Nachum says:

    The first paragraph in the Yated piece is delicious:

    “Living in Eretz Yisroel is great. The reasons for that are obvious and too abundant to enumerate. But one of the advantages that is somewhat unappreciated, if not completely unnoticed, is the benefit gained by the frum community due to the fact that the people in power understand their needs. The mayor knows about Shabbos, the city councilman understands kashrus. Sure, there are frictions and tensions, but, for the most part, one doesn’t need to explain why he can’t attend a certain event or must skip a Yom Tov meeting. There are no Yom Tov meetings.”

    Leaving aside that “the people in power” don’t just “understand” the “frum community” but are very often “frum” (of whatever stripe themselves, that’s really a great paragraph. I can barely keep myself from pointing out that the situation exists mostly because of people like Herzl, Rav Kook, Ben Gurion, and Begin, and the IDF.

    Oh, I just did. Sorry.

  110. Gil Student says:

    Ruvie: Not here. That’s gossip.

    Prof. Kaplan: I think we are all in agreement about that, just not with his dismissal of everything in the past.

  111. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-we are obliogated to do chesed, but as per a well known story related by RYBS as to the nature of a rav’s responsibilities that is attributed to RCS , the most important function of a rav is to do chesed-Bgufo UvMamano-that is why a rav does more than merely “officiate” at family simchos, and Tzaros and Smachos, and serves as a communal messenger when fulfilling Bikur Cholim. The rav must serve as an example in this area.

  112. IH says:

    his dismissal of everything in the past.

    This is imagined by the reader, not stated by the commenter (i.e. me). But. Nachum is correct that many of these innovations of the past were also a response to competition.

  113. ruvie says:

    worthy reading: orthodoxy and pop culture by alan brill….51 pages

    “The embedding of Orthodoxy in popular culture has changed traditional religion more than all the ideological topics that people debate about. ”
    “I have been asked to comment on the role of popular culture in contemporary modern Orthodoxy in light of the current research by social scientists and cultural critics.”

    http://kavvanah.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/orthodox-forum-2011-culture-final.pdf

  114. lawrence kaplan says:

    Gil: That’s why I used the phrase “beef up.”

    I should also point out that, if my memory serves me correctly, one of the main reasons YU started its Law School was in response to competition from Touro.

  115. IH says:

    Gil — cutting to the chase, do you think there is value in RIETS taking time away from core learning to require:

    C. Professional Classes
    Core Requirements –
    Six courses, offered on Fridays during the first two years of Semikha.
    a. Pastoral Psychology I
    b. Pastoral Psychology II
    c. Survey of Professional Rabbinics
    d. Survey of the American Jewish Community
    e. Public Speaking I
    f. Jewish Communal Leadership (or Group Facilitation for the ORG track)

    My sense from your comments (now and in the past) is that you are contemptuous of this.

  116. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie posted this superb link, http://kavvanah.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/orthodox-forum-2011-culture-final.pdf. For those interested in RAL’s written views, see By His Light, Pages 220-252, and Leaves of Faitth Vo. 2, Pages 309-329, 331-354.

  117. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-who says and advocates that there is a conflict between a talmid’s committment in RIETS to core learning and six courses that you listed? Once again, your thinly veiled contempt for RIETS and pipe dream that RIETS should be more like JTS ( as well as your openly stated lack of Kavod HaTorah for RYBS -which to paraphrase a line from Star Wars “is very disturbing”) speak volumes .

  118. Gil Student says:

    IH: Yes I see value in it. It can be overdone and a student can learn the basics without formal classes. But in itself, training is in theory good.

  119. joel rich says:

    One might pull out their copy of Community Covenant and Commitment to see R’YBS’s suggestions for the curriculum. My take is that we are unwilling to come to grips with the fact that it’s very hard to train a poseik/therapist/social worker/administrator/teacher in the time given. We want Moshe rabbeinu without the speech defect but in the real world which of the many requirements of the job to we place the highest value on?

    Beware of a corollary of Gresham’s law (“Bad money drives out good” ) Bad practice drives out good.

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  120. Shlomo says:

    worthy reading: orthodoxy and pop culture by alan brill….51 pages

    Had time to skim it during a pause at work today. It reminds me of Aviva Zornberg’s commentaries: you learn much more about the academic jargon in the author’s field than about the ostensible subject. I personally see the changing role of popular culture as more of a result than a cause of modern religious identity, and therefore would have appreciated some treatment of the broader philosophical issues pertaining to modern religion. Also, various Jewish communities outside MO – whether charedi, Israeli, or perhaps the liberal denominations – could and should have been used as controls and reference points.

  121. joel rich says:

    R’ Shlomo,
    He does ask some of the right questions imho. I often wonder how many folks are self aware enough to think about pop culture’s impact vs just take it for granted that we must submit to its demands.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  122. Steve Brizel says:

    This linked article is must reading for anyone following or interested in the responses to a certain article in the linked publication http://5tjt.com/?s=sholom+gold&x=0&y=0

  123. ruvie says:

    R’ JR- ” just take it for granted that we must submit to its demands.”
    what “demands” do you see?

  124. IH says:

    Interesting juxtaposition:

    Steve writes: Kavod HaTorah for RYBS -which to paraphrase a line from Star Wars “is very disturbing

    R’ Joel writes: I often wonder how many folks are self aware enough to think about pop culture’s impact

  125. Steve Brizel says:

    Re Professor Brill’s article, it would be interesting to compare his comments, stripped of the academic jargon, with the comments of RAL, Dr CS’s famous article, and the comments of at least one rav in a major MO community as to some of the issues that he sees that need rectifying in his community.

  126. Nachum says:

    Steve: OK, I think I got it. Maybe.

    “I should also point out that, if my memory serves me correctly, one of the main reasons YU started its Law School was in response to competition from Touro.”

    Interesting. One professor at Cardozo once pointed out to me that law schools are the cheapest thing for a university- a one-time investment in a library (and increasingly not even that), and you’ve got a cash cow.

    When did Touro start its law school? Here’s history: The school was originally on 44th Street, in a building bought from the government (it had been the Army & Navy Club) for a dollar, I suppose with the assurance that it would be a school. It wasn’t there long before moving to Long Island; the building was sold to the University of Pennsylvania for use as the Penn Club for a fortune. And that, ladies and gents, is how you raise money.

  127. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    “R’ JR- ” just take it for granted that we must submit to its demands.”
    what “demands” do you see’

    here is a short list-the deification of celebrity driven gossip, materialism and instantaneous gratification.

  128. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-I also remember that Sy Syms was also a response to Touro’s attraction to business majors. I remember very well the mantra voiced in my years at YU that YU was a liberal arts school, not a pre professional or business school, and that the often voiced notion that TuM was far more an elevated calling than Torah UParnassah.

  129. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-Law schools are like Lhavdil yeshivos and seminaries-all you need are teachers, students, classrooms and a research capacity. Law schools, as opposed to medical schools, are instantaneous cash cows.

  130. Steve Brizel says:

    Re Dr Brill’s article, I wonder how someone who grew up in a citadel of MO and then went to learn in Israel and then returns with a slightly more “yeshivishe” view of Talmud Torah and Avodas HaShem is treated in such a community. Would such a person be welcomed by his or her peers or viewed as having been brainswashed in his community of origin?

    Dr Brill’s expectation that the so-callled creme de la creme as he posits in his article would be in the intricacies of Mathew Arnold or post modernist philosophy is as unrealistic as expecting everyone to learn in Kollel 24/7 for the rest of their lives. I find it utterly unrealistic to expect such individuals to have chaburos in such esoteric realia.

  131. Steve Brizel says:

    Another must read letter in the FTJT http://5tjt.com/shooting-the-messenger/

  132. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Steve writes: Kavod HaTorah for RYBS -which to paraphrase a line from Star Wars “is very disturbing”

    Star Wars I was a great film and has many scenes which are a great tribute to the best movies that Hollywood produced in the 1940s and 1950s.

  133. IH says:

    here is a short list-the deification of celebrity driven gossip, materialism and instantaneous gratification

    Hmmm. Just substitute “Rabbi” for “celebrity”…

  134. ruvie says:

    nice little tidbit for those who believe in synthesis in the footnotes of alan brill’s article:

    “the dean’s office at yeshiva College sent a team to a conference on curriculum diversity sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. At one
    of the sessions the presenter described how some students in parochial colleges
    demonize secular studies. She offered criteria for assessment of the problem,
    and yeshiva clearly fell on the rejectionist far end of the spectrum. When we
    asked her how we could remedy the situation, she asked us in turn if we had
    heard that yeshiva College had a reputation for harmoniously combining torah
    and secular studies; could we speak to them for a solution? We answered that we
    were there representing yeshiva College and had failed her assessment criteria”

  135. Steve Brizel says:

    R Y Ben Nun’s comments re Halacha and the IDF IMO should be tempered by the fact that not all hesdernikim acted as their own Poskim, and that RSZA had a special hotline devoted to halachic inquiries from the chayalim of the IDF. R Rimon’s sefarim are also anyone who claims to have empathy for the IDF must acquire and learn so as to at least appreciate the halachic isssues confronted by the members of the IDF on a daily basis.

    There is a wonderful picture of R Nevenzal learning with soldiers in Lebanon in one of the volumes of HaTorah HaMamachas. I would also add that despite R Bin Nun’s comments re expertise in Hilcos Eruvin, none other than the CI was responsible for the expansion of study and application of this difficult area of Halacha, and that RHS’s expertise in teaching and rendering Psak on community eruvim is well documented as well.

  136. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote :

    “Hmmm. Just substitute “Rabbi” for “celebrity”…

    When one learns Gemara, one realizes very quickly that the most important criteria is whether the position taken by a Tana, Amora or Rishon makes sense-not who was his father, father in law or promoter of a certain hashkafic position. OTOH, emulation of a great Talmid Chacham because of his Lomdus and Midos Tovos is considered a means of Dveikus BaShem.

  137. ruvie says:

    one last quote from brill’s article is to answer this question: (btw, i agree with shlomo on some of his comments on the article):

    “Another approach, and the most thoughtful, would be to answer the question of what it means to be a Jew or what it takes to do
    God’s will that has built within it the ability to distinguish between the
    good and the bad, the pure and the impure, the holy and the profane.
    We need a new narrative that incorporates a bigger and more expansive vision. to judge as a ben Torah only those who devote themselves
    to rabbinic texts does not take account of Centrist life. Many of the
    classics of Jewish thought offered a broad vision for the age in which
    they were written. We may need a new narrative for the twenty-first
    century. What is Orthodox Judaism, and how can one be expansive?
    A theology of beauty or imagination in which art and creativity
    can renew awareness of the ultimate questions of who we are, where
    we have come from, and where we are going. We need to be part of
    the culture influencing the artists who will create the visual images,
    stories, and music that shape our time”

    i can only see this in israel and never in any broad sense in the usa.

  138. joel rich says:

    here is a short list-the deification of celebrity driven gossip, materialism and instantaneous gratification

    Hmmm. Just substitute “Rabbi” for “celebrity”…
    ====================================
    In many ways that was exactly my point, much like the music played at a wedding has been influenced by the “demands” of pop culture, the rest of our lives also get influenced. Just ask any rebbi about the differences in shannah alef now vs. 20 years ago.

    I called them demands because when you live in a society, it makes conscious and subconscious demands on you

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  139. IH says:

    R’ Joel — Yes, that is what I thought.

    Steve — When one learns Gemara, one realizes very quickly that the most important criteria is whether the position taken by a Tana, Amora or Rishon makes sense-not who was his father…

    Aside from being irrelevant, your statement is also far too glib — in fact, relationships are often key to the shaping of the argument by the Amoraim and our understanding of it today.

  140. Steve Brizel says:

    The following was noted by Dr Brill:

    “to judge as a ben Torah only those who devote themselves
    to rabbinic texts does not take account of Centrist life”

    Perhaps, the issue is that devotion to “rabbinic texts” or what is called being a “Ben Torah” or a “Yodea Sefer” is simply not a high value in some sectors of the MO world. A community that is more familiar with a theology rooted in “beauty or imagination in which art and creativity can renew awareness of the ultimate questions of who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going”, as opposed to the eternal and profound messages of Torah study, will always be on the defensive and seeking to rationalize the Torah in accordance with the demands of the time, without projecting the timeless message of the Torah as applicable for Jews , regardless of the so-called cultural norms of the time.

  141. IH says:

    i can only see this in israel and never in any broad sense in the usa.

    Ruvie — Within Modern Orthodoxy, I agree. Mainstream MO discourse in the US remains stultified by insecurity and “rules” that came about due to the mid 20th century culture wars. Whereas, in Israel there is much less of the insecurity and not a whole lot of baggage.

    As Gil points out, Israeli Orthodoxy has its own problems — that said, they are focused on present debates and not centered on 50+ year old debates that have little direct relevancy today.

  142. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Aside from being irrelevant, your statement is also far too glib — in fact, relationships are often key to the shaping of the argument by the Amoraim and our understanding of it today”

    The only relationship that counts is whether a talmid has accurately stated what a rebbe has imparted. That is why the Talmud on almost any page questions and seeks to prove or disprove such statements. WADR, you resorting to academic Talmud’s means of “our understanding of it today” illustrates why one must study Talmud without any external social, or intellectual baggage that impede one from understanding the Heilige Tanaim and Amoraim. Aside from the above, Kol Bar Be Rav Dchad Yoma can show you on any page in the Talmud where the Baalei HaTosfos openly and vociferously reject the views of Rashi.

  143. Steve Brizel says:

    IH wrote:

    “Mainstream MO discourse in the US remains stultified by insecurity and “rules” that came about due to the mid 20th century culture wars”

    I think that when mainstream MO is the subject of critiques from the LW of MO and the Charedi world-that means that politics makes strange bedfellows and that mainstream MO for the vast majority of its adherents is a very vital hashkafic POV.

  144. Gil Student says:

    Since we’re having this same discussion for the thousandth time, I will add that what IH calls being stuck in mid-twentieth century culture wars, I see as learning from the mistakes of the past two centuries of history.

  145. Steve Brizel says:

    R R Gil’s last comment, see the annexed link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Santayana

  146. ruvie says:

    Gil – maybe so but with a difference reference point – brill’s article. i think the point is the mo/dl community have different issues than the american mo community. one of the reasons is the denominational history here (insecurity or whatever you want to call it). if you have a better answer or theory – please offer it. another reason is that the divide is greater in israel of the 2 sides and there seems to be more tolerance of variations of dl/mo as oppose to here (and specifically those who claim themselves rwmo or moderate chareidi – more or less semantics).

    care to analyze?

  147. IH says:

    I see as learning from the mistakes of the past two centuries of history.

    Then why is this not shaping discourse among the Dati Leumi in Israel?

  148. Gil Student says:

    IH: Because the Chardal and Dati Leumi community in Israel don’t talk (much) to each other while in the US the rough equivalents sit down together all the time.

  149. IH says:

    Sorry, but I’m not understanding. What does “learning from the mistakes of the past two centuries of history” have to do with “the Chardal and Dati Leumi community in Israel don’t talk (much) to each other while in the US the rough equivalents sit down together all the time.”?

  150. Gil Student says:

    Because the people on the right of MO are the only ones willing to call out the reckless Left. The Center is bogged down in ambiguity. In Israel, the Right is in an entirely different camp than the Left so they don’t make a big stink. The Center objects to the Left but with so much complexity that it lacks all rhetorical value.

  151. mycroft says:

    “RAL, Dr CS”

    Both have Smicha from RIETS and Phds-why one Rabbi and one Dr. My personal preference is to simply refer to one who has smicha as Rabbi if we are dealing with their viewpoints on hashkafic matters. I believe RCS article that was first published in the Fundametalism series by U o Chicago and later Tradition is essentially a hashkafic argument.

  152. mycroft says:

    “mostly because I agree with you. I was just pointing out that it’s not so revolutionary: RIETS began teaching these courses over a hundred years ago”
    Agree with Nachum
    “so as to compete better with JTS.”
    I didn’t know that-but certainly it has kept practical Rabbinics for decades-at least for well over 70 years way after JTS ceased being competition

  153. ruvie says:

    Gil – “people on the right of MO are the only ones willing to call out the reckless Left” – well countless chareidim do it all the time – just look at the articles in yated, ami, and cross currents.

    “the Right is in an entirely different camp than the Left ” why is that? or is their rwmo really chareidi but here we label it differently since they are ok with secular studies? i find your distinctions not accurate to reality.

  154. IH says:

    Because the people on the right of MO are the only ones willing to call out the reckless Left. The Center is bogged down in ambiguity. In Israel, the Right is in an entirely different camp than the Left so they don’t make a big stink. The Center objects to the Left but with so much complexity that it lacks all rhetorical value.

    That’s just weird. Take, for example, R. Jeffrey Woolf’s participation in Beit Hillel. Par for the course in Israel; a non-starter in the US.

  155. mycroft says:

    “Steve Brizel on July 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Nachum-Law schools are like Lhavdil yeshivos and seminaries-all you need are teachers, students, classrooms and a research capacity. Law schools,…, are instantaneous cash cows”

    Agree with Steve-

    ” Steve Brizel on July 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Nachum-I also remember that Sy Syms was also a response to Touro’s attraction to business majors. I remember very well the mantra voiced in my years at YU that YU was a liberal arts school, not a pre professional or business school, and that the often voiced notion that TuM was far more an elevated calling than Torah UParnassah”

    For better or worse it is doubtful that there are more than a handful who have attended YU in the past few decades who believe in TUM as opposed to education for a parnassah-if I’m right how is that different in theory from BMG and its deal to get accounting degrees for its scholars etc.

  156. Gil Student says:

    Ruvie: Exactly. MO doesn’t exist in Israel. Broadly speaking there is Dati Leumi, Chardal and Charedi. If you try to impose American definitions on them, you will find some strange results. Put R. Shlomo Aviner in Lakewood and you will not see a natural fit.

    IH: Take, for example, R. Jeffrey Woolf’s participation in Beit Hillel. Par for the course in Israel; a non-starter in the US

    Exactly my point. He isn’t concerned about criticism from R. Shlomo Aviner. In the US, he might be. Then again, in the US, any criticism from the RWMO would be carefully weighed against causing too much internal strife.

  157. IH says:

    And… What does this have to do with why “learning from the mistakes of the past two centuries of history” is a dominant shaper of the American MO discourse, but not of the Israeli DL discourse.

    R. Aviner — your example from the right — is also not focused on “learning from the mistakes of the past two centuries of history” (and in many ways he is far more pluralistic about other Jews than his US analogs).

  158. Gil Student says:

    IH: It has to do with how loud the opposition is. In Israel, it is muted for the reasons I explained. You inference that they disagree abut history’s verdict is therefore questionable, in my opinion wrong.

    I agree that R. Shlomo Aviner’s openness is remarkable and worthy of emulation. But it has its limits.

  159. lawrence kaplan says:

    Mycroft: The title “Rabbi” is a professional one and should be reserved for a person who major job requires his being a rabbi and his possessing rabbinic expertise, e.g., the rabbi of a shul, Rosh Yeshiva, Dayyan, Rebbe in a High School etc. True, both Rav Lichtenstein and Prof. Soloveitchik have semichah, but the former has ben a distinguished Rosh Yeshiva, Rosh Kollel, and posek for many decades, and has written many works of traditional rabbinic learning, while the latter has been for many decades a distinguished Professor of Jewish History who has written many works of academic historical scholarship, many of which, to be sure displayed great rabbinic learning. There is a very good reason why one is called “Rav,” the other “Professor.”

    I also do not agree that Prof. Soloveitchik’s famous article, “Rupture and Reconstruction” was, in any of its versions, an article on “hashkafah,” and I very much doubt that Prof. S. would describe it that way.

    Re Torah u-Mada and Torah U-Parnassah: I also remember the days when the Dean of Yeshiva College regularly said that YC prided itself in being a “pure” liberal arts college and not having a business school. I am glad those days are over and that YU does have a business School. But the last I heard, YC does have an English major, a philosophy major, a history major, science and math majors, etc. Moreover, even business majors have to take some basic courses in science and humanities. To compare it to Lakewood, even in “theory,” is absurd.

    I also do not know how you know that no more than a handful of students over the past decades have been committed to TUM.

    Finally, Dean (or is it Vice-President) Stanley Boylan of Touro recalls that when he told the Rav about Touro and its TUP curriculum, the Rav exclaimed “You have no history major, no philosophy major? What sort of college is that?!”

  160. IH says:

    Gil — We’ll have to agree to disagree. In my view, the difference is that this discourse in Israel is focused on the windshield in preference to the rear-view mirror (which is the focus in the US).

  161. mycroft says:

    “lawrence kaplan on July 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Mycroft: The title “Rabbi” is a professional one and should be reserved for a person who major job requires his being a rabbi and his possessing rabbinic expertise, e.g., the rabbi of a shul, Rosh Yeshiva, Dayyan, Rebbe in a High School etc.”
    I agree

    “True, both Rav Lichtenstein and Prof. Soloveitchik have semichah, but the former has ben a distinguished Rosh Yeshiva, Rosh Kollel, and posek for many decades, and has written many works of traditional rabbinic learning, while the latter has been for many decades a distinguished Professor of Jewish History who has written many works of academic historical scholarship, many of which, to be sure displayed great rabbinic learning.”
    Agreed-of course one can’t forget that RCS was a RY in a very high level shiur for a couple of years. I suspect if he kept on teaching in the same style that he did he’d have very few students-whatever one thinks about RCS it is safe to say that he has great rabbinical learning.

    “There is a very good reason why one is called “Rav,” the other “Professor.””
    I happen to agree-I am opposed to people using Rabbi in their title if their primary job is sanitation worker, physician, or hockey player. Sadly, many do. I am also opposed to people and YU has done it not referring to people who had their positions because of their illustrious Rabbinical career or being a RY as Dr rather than Rabbi. Does one ever see a Jesuit institution refer to their Presidents who have Phds as Dr it is always Father

    “I also do not agree that Prof. Soloveitchik’s famous article, “Rupture and Reconstruction” was, in any of its versions, an article on “hashkafah,” and I very much doubt that Prof. S. would describe it that way.”
    It is not an article on hashkafa but clearly his hashkafa comes through-I believe that a lot of his comments agree with what his father believed. I remember reading it the first time -not even knowing that the article existed when I borrowed a Fundamentalism book edited I believe by M. Marty of U of Chicago and saw his article -later when I read essentially the same article in Tradition I only recalled a minor change-comparing his comments on the fear or lack of it of God and Yom Kippur by a Yeshiva in Israel which he attended -in the book he mentions the name and in Tradition he doesn’t.

    “Re Torah u-Mada and Torah U-Parnassah: I also remember the days when the Dean of Yeshiva College regularly said that YC prided itself in being a “pure” liberal arts college and not having a business school. I am glad those days are over and that YU does have a business School.”
    I have no objections to a business school-but one can’t forget YU used to have a major science grad school and BTW Nachum got the building to be a science center-just for referring to Nachums comment about Touros first building at 44th St. Full disclosure In the 70s I substituted a couple of times as a guest instructor for some night sessions at Touro.

    “But the last I heard, YC does have an English major, a philosophy major, a history major, science and math majors, etc. Moreover, even business majors have to take some basic courses in science and humanities. To compare it to Lakewood, even in “theory,” is absurd.”
    No-YU did not accept moire than minimal credits for Israeli talmud study-Dean Bacon cogently used to explain why-his truth is still accurate. The difference is a matter of degree rather than philosophy

    “I also do not know how you know that no more than a handful of students over the past decades have been committed to TUM.”
    I am relying on second hand readings including articles written by Jewish studies professors outside of YU who have taught in YU. If I’m wrong show me how you know I’m wrong-.

    Finally, Dean (or is it Vice-President) Stanley Boylan of Touro recalls that when he told the Rav about Touro and its TUP curriculum, the Rav exclaimed “You have no history major, no philosophy major? What sort of college is that?!”

    From Touros website

    A Touro degree can open the door to the career you want.

    Touro undergraduates choose from a wide range of disciplines—from the classic liberal arts and sciences to highly focused pre-professional programs. Our graduate programs are intensive and career-oriented; we give you the tools and support you need to thrive in the workforce and the world.

    Those interested in social justice and community outreach should consider our law or social work and psychology programs. For those born to manage or with a head for marketing, we have the business education you need to get ahead. If you have an eye for good design and know your way around the web, take a look at our technology offerings. Future medical professionals will find that our ample medical and health sciences programs are second to none, and aspiring teachers have their pick of concentrations in education. And for those inspired by and dedicated to preserving Jewish culture and history, we have vibrant offerings in Jewish studies

    HJS 647A Varieties of Jewish Memoir Literature: From the Late Middle Ages to the
    Modern Period
    Dr. Moshe Sherman Wednesday, 11:00-12:50pm

    HJS 660A Jews and Modern Media
    Dr. Maya Katz Wednesday, 1:30-3:20 pm

    HJS 660 B Holocaust Compensation and Restitution
    Dr. Israel Singer Thursday, 6:00-7:50pm
    HJS 660C Echoes and Imprints of Purim in Medieval Jewish History
    Dr. Dana Fishkin Wednesday, 6:00-7:50pm

    HJS 663A Topics in the History of Halakhah: Early Rabbinic Literature
    Dr. Simcha Fishbane Monday, 11:00am-12:50pm

    LJB 603A Studies in Sixteenth-Eighteenth Century Biblical Commentaries
    Dr. Samuel Hoenig Tuesday, 12:30-2:20 pm

    PJS 615 A Reasons for the Commandments in Medieval Jewish Thought
    Dr. Moshe Sokol Monday, 5:30-7:20

    Of course Prof Kaplan you are well aware that Touro has a History department.

  162. lawrence kaplan says:

    Mycroft: I was quoting from memory what Dr. Boylan reported the Rav told him.

    A check of the Touro catalogues, however, reveals that while the women’s colleges do have History and English majors (my son teaches in the History Department of Touro’s Women’s College in Manhattan), the men’s colleges do not. None of the college allows for a philosophy major or even minor.

    The Jewish Studies courses you listed are for an MA. Note the course numbers.

    I’ll check with my son tomorrow to see if my info is correct.

  163. mycroft says:

    Prof Kaplan:
    That YU has more possible majors than Touro does not prove that YU is TUM versus Touro or BMG TUP.
    Harvard has the following undergrad courses of study per their website

    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Middle Eastern Studies

    General Education
    East Asian Languages and Civilizations
    Mind, Brain, and Behavior

    Graduate Seminars in General Education
    Economics
    Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Core Curriculum
    Engineering Sciences
    Music

    Freshman Seminars and House Seminars
    English
    Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

    African and African American Studies
    Environmental Science and Public Policy
    Neurobiology

    African Studies
    Ethnicity, Migration, Rights
    Oceanography

    American Studies
    Ethnic Studies
    Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

    Anthropology
    European Studies
    Philosophy

    Applied Computation
    Expository Writing
    Physical Sciences

    Applied Mathematics
    Film and Visual Studies
    Physics

    Applied Physics
    Folklore and Mythology
    Political Economy and Government

    Archaeology
    Germanic Languages and Literatures
    Psychology

    Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
    Global Health and Health Policy
    Public Policy

    Asian Studies Programs
    Government
    The Study of Religion

    Astronomy
    Health Policy
    Romance Languages and Literatures

    Biological Sciences in Dental Medicine
    History
    ROTC

    Biological Sciences in Public Health
    History and Literature
    Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia

    Biomedical Engineering
    History of American Civilization
    Slavic Languages and Literatures

    Biophysics
    History of Art and Architecture
    Social Policy

    Biostatistics
    History of Science
    Social Studies

    Business Studies
    Human Evolutionary Biology
    Sociology

    Celtic Languages and Literatures
    Humanities
    South Asian Studies

    Chemical and Physical Biology
    Inner Asian and Altaic Studies
    Special Concentrations

    Chemical Biology
    Latin American and Iberian Studies
    Statistics

    Chemical Physics
    Life Sciences
    Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology

    Chemistry and Chemical Biology
    Linguistics
    Systems Biology

    The Classics
    Mathematics
    Ukrainian Studies

    Comparative Literature
    Medical Sciences
    Visual and Environmental Studies

    Computer Science
    Medieval Studies
    Women, Gender, and Sexuality

    Dramatic Arts ”

    I submit YU doesn’t have many of those choices that does not prove anything about YU and TUM or TUP. Thus, that YU has more courses than Touro proves little about anything other than YU in general is a university with a history of being liberal arts.

    Another discussion is why pay to go to college to learn intellectual pursuits-one can learn them more effectively than the average teacher by taking many of the online courses. I have taken many MOOC courses including philosophy, history, philosophy -just finished Sandels Justice course will start Harari’s A brief history of humankind in a month, I have taken others in the past few months-even before MOOC I saw many open courses including Christine Hayes of Yale. There is just no reason why one should pay to get a basic education-the only reason to pay is credential ism which is a different issue. In general I’ve found edx courses to be harder than coursera

  164. Nachum says:

    Mycroft: I didn’t say it was a bad idea. Even if RIETS instituted it because of competition with JTS, they were wise to retain it.

    In fairness to those Chassidic singers, they do a very good God Bless America:

    I’m trying to imagine Irving Berlin’s reaction. Or the Baal Shem Tov’s.

  165. Shlomo says:

    That’s just weird. Take, for example, R. Jeffrey Woolf’s participation in Beit Hillel. Par for the course in Israel; a non-starter in the US.

    Beit Hillel is way to the right of yCT or whoever you are thinking of in the US.

  166. mycroft says:

    “Even if RIETS instituted it because of competition with JTS, they were wise to retain it.”
    Agreed-and they have retained it -and naturally there have been different teachers throughout the history of RIETS teaching it.
    Of course, YU like many institutions has often fallen guilty to the asher lo yada et yoseph syndrome-thus everyone previous is negated.

    A historical comment JTS predates RIETS.

  167. J. says:

    Agudah comes out swinging against R. Sacks:

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/07/04/statement-from-agudath-israel-of-america/

    Agudah accusing R. Sacks of being ‘uncouth’? Soon they’ll be blasting YCT for their lack of sensitivity towards homosexuals.

    And does “Charedi communities have developed … sophisticated relationships with …. public institutions” mean what I think it means?

  168. J. says:

    Although admittedly I am glad to see that Agudah has taken upon itself the role of calling out rabbis for divisive comments.

  169. mycroft says:

    “And does “Charedi communities have developed … sophisticated relationships with …. public institutions” mean what I think it means?”

    Of course Agudah has a Director of Government Affairs who according to their 990 is of apparent importance to them as their exceutive VPs

    Re Agudah and Hirsch to a great extent Agudah was a continuation of a separatist German group founded by SRH-His son-in-law Breuer and descendants were active in beginning of Agudah as of course was Rosenheim the ex dir of the Ger group and later Agudah. Of course, fascinating tidbit about early Agudah debates of the authority of laymen vs Rabbis in Breur vRosenheim is not known enough.

  170. ruvie says:

    “winter is coming”

  171. Hoffa Fingerbergstein says:

    http://hamodia.com/2013/07/02/israeli-bais-yaakovs-plunged-into-crisis-by-budget-cuts/

    So much for the promise that if chareidi institutions accept the core curriculum (which most BY’s teach in EY) their funding would not be cut.

    If wonder if Dov Lipman knows about this?

  172. emma says:

    did i read the boca raton article correctly that this ordination program is one year long? i wonder what the entry criteria are…

  173. Hoffa Fingerbergstein says:

    Reb Gil – I must protect your characterization of AYOA’s criticism of R’ Sack’s comments with that headline. Couldn’t you have left it at “Agudah Criticizes Rabbi Sacks”?

    A gutten Shabbos to everybody.

  174. J. says:

    Hoffa – I see you subscribe to Agudah’s mentality. They are allowed to be downright nasty to everyone (including the laughable accusation of divisiveness from the people who practically invented the term), but nobody else is even allowed to editorialise their statements.

  175. Nachum says:

    Personally, Gil, I like what you did with the headline very much. Sometimes your snark is perfectly placed.

    As to the article itself, what a load of ahistoric cliches. Sorry, that got away from me, but it’s true.

    Hoffa: Did you read through that article you linked to? It’s completely unclear what’s going on there.

    Emma: I had the same thought, especially in light of our discussion here. Of course, it’s a Chabad place, and they don’t stress, say, Chullin. I wonder what their professional rabbinic curriculum is like, though.

    The author of the piece on R’ Goldin seems not to realize that Boro Park was once a Modern Orthodox neighborhood.

    Who is the incoming RCA president again?

    Ruvie: Come again?

  176. Nachum says:

    Mycroft: Technically, Etz Chaim was founded in 1886, JTS in 1887, and RIETS in 1896 (chartered 1897). But you can react to competition from older institutions.

  177. mycroft says:

    “Technically, Etz Chaim was founded in 1886, JTS in 1887, and RIETS in 1896 (chartered 1897)”
    Etz Chaim was founded as a cheder type elementary school -despite YU’s detractors no one could claim any connection that modern RIETS has to the founding of Etz Chaim. My memory may be slipping but at times YU uses various dates for its founding and has used 1886-if my memory is not totally off circa 1961 they ran a 75th anniversary campaign based on 1886 date.

    “But you can react to competition from older institutions.”
    Agree-the main point is that YU for decades way before Richard Joel was born was running SR and equivalent courses for its smicha students.
    It certainly goes back to before Dr. Belkin was president.

  178. mycroft says:

    “emma on July 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

    did i read the boca raton article correctly that this ordination program is one year long? i wonder what the entry criteria are…”

    I found intriguing a program with a Rabbi Gruary as principal named after a Menachem.

  179. Gil Student says:

    Emma: Yes, the reason I linked to the article was for precisely that reason – a one-year semicha program.

    Hoffa Fingerbergstein: Intentional editorializing. I will probably write a response next week. They neglected all the nice things he said about Charedim.

    Nachum: R. Leonard Matanky. The First Vice President becomes President.

  180. ruvie says:

    Nachum – http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Winter_is_Coming_(motto)

    “Now is the Winter of our Discontent / Made glorious Summer by this sun of York…”

    the coming clash within jewry and specifically within orthodoxy about israeli chareidim. I have no idea how it ends but its only the beginning. it will depend who blinks first. the current government is undoing much more than just cutting funding to schools and draft.

    I wonder how long it will take for someone to demand the american idea that every child has rights to a minimum education of x or the school will not only be not funded but illegal and shut down. as the hareidi population grows to a more significant percentage of the population – it will happen plus advocacy for children’s rights. winter is here for the israeli hareidim and more to come. where will the american hareidim side will also be interesting (not the pr from the usual suspects but the baal batim and their pockets)…schisms are just multiplying in my view- esp. with no dynamic leadership anymore.

  181. Shades of Gray says:

    I question the title “Agudah Denounces Hirschian Outlook”. The issue is criticism in a public forum with non-Jewish leaders present. I remember Lubavitch Messianism being discussed on talk radio; the smartest caller, I thought, was the one who minimized the argument.

    Even in a different forum, the question is how to argue for your opinion without putting the opinion of others down; granted, the Charedi world does the latter sometimes(another issue, for the public at large, is how not to make disagreements personal).

    R. Yitzchak Blau describes the challenges of buiding up one’s opinion, without putting other opinions down in the Orthodox Forum:

    “The preceding paragraphs should not be our main focus; we cannot build an identity upon attacking other groups. Nonetheless,
    Modern Orthodox spokesmen need to explain why we prefer our
    path, an endeavor that sometimes involves noting the shortcomings
    of alternative models. I imagine a critic responding that doing so will mean our functioning in the very same way as the Ḥaredi world we criticize. Can we resent their triumphalism while emphasizing the advantages of our approach?”

    There are indeed past models of Hirschian criticism of insularity, IIRC. For example, R. Hirsch argued that insularity over years was not a Torah ideal, but rather a result of exile, IIRC. R. Shimon Schwab in “These and Those” likewise criticized Torah Only. However, I would argue that there is a context for those criticism–it wasn’t before non-Jewish leaders(the times have indeed changed from R. Hirsch, with a Rav at Breur’s deemphasizing or rejecting TIDE, and also, secular culture becoming more degenerate).

    I think that R. Sacks could have found a better way to express the legitimate ideological issue with insularity which has both strengths and weaknesses. As R. Michael Broyde wrote about MO beliefs(“Letter to a Friend about Modern Orthodoxy”) “quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus remains true[“sometimes even Homer nods'], and even the best of Torah scholars or rabbis can make mistakes”.

  182. mycroft says:

    “Who is the incoming RCA president again?”

    Rabbi Leonard Matanky

  183. Nachum says:

    Mycroft: Of course JTS is older. (As it happens, YU celebrated a 50th anniversary in 1936 and, of course, a hundredth in 1986. I think they marked 125 a couple of years ago. And they marked RIETS’ 100th in 1997.) I was just filling in details.

    Gil and Ruvie: Thanks for the answers.

  184. Ari Kinsberg says:

    GIL:

    “Agudah Denounces Hirschian Outlook”

    Your policy isn’t to change headlines. Interesting choice here.

    “The Kosher side of Organ Donation”

    Says nothing of importance, unless I missed it. I read it twice and I see general reference to being in favor or organ donations according to halacha. No chidush here. Question of course how they determine death.

  185. Gil Student says:

    General policy, with occasional exceptions

  186. Ari Kinsberg says:

    GLATT:

    “There is no one I have heard from today’s generation of YU rabbis who can equal a Rabbi Lamm or Riskin or Pelcovitz or JJ Schacter in delivering a great sermon.”

    1) I wonder how typical those individuals really are compared to their peers. Is it possible they too are atypical among their peers (it’s not like you’re picking random names from earlier generations), and that today there are as well some younger atypical rabbis you haven’t heard? Also were those rabbis as great when they themselves were younger, or did they grow into it? Maybe there are some younger rabbis who will grow into those shoes?

    2) One thing they all those names have in common is a PhD, which someone (Jonathan Baker?) once pointed out to me goes a long way in contributing to a good sermon, particularly with regard to organizational abilities. I would add to that clarity, proper and precise language, and most importantly originality and critical thought (I don’t mean that in the negative sense, unless one thinks that novel thoughts are ipso facto heretical even if the content of the thought isn’t.) I’m not saying that a PhD is a sine qua non for a good baal darshan, but it provides years of good training that can’t be duplicated by a couple of semesters of homiletics.

    As an aside, the best sermonizer I’ve ever heard (by far) is R. Moshe Sokol (PhD), rabbi of the Yavne Minyan of Flatbush (and dean of Lander), who possesses every quality (those I mentioned above and others) necessary for a great sermon. A Shabbat morning highlight.

  187. J. says:

    Shades of Gray – He wasn’t merely trying to explicate his outlook, he was issuing a call for change. He wishes that segregationist Orthodoxy would stop being segregationist in the same way the Satmar rebbe would much rather every religious zionist accepted the truths of Va’Yoel Moshe. He’s allowed to feel that way, and Satmar or Agudah are entitled to disagree.

  188. lawrence kaplan says:

    While I, as did Nachum, liked your snarky title, I still think that as a matter of principle you should not change titles.

  189. Shades of Gray says:

    “He’s allowed to feel that way, and Satmar or Agudah are entitled to disagree.”

    Gil mentioned that he also said nice things about Charedim. I didn’t see that written, but if that’s the case, I only question the forum which had non-Jewish leaders.

  190. Obnoxious Guy says:

    “Most important, Rabbi Sacks seems not to comprehend that the very insularity and intensive focus on Torah that characterize the charedi world are no mere sociological trends. They are, rather, the means to accomplish the ultimate mandate for all Jews: the preservation of our mesorah, and its transmission, in as pure and clear a way as possible, to the next generation and beyond.”

    Really? Haredism is a recent invention; prior to the advent of haredism, how was the mesorah that it purports to protect and transmit transmitted? Evidently there’s more than one way to skin a cat and more than one way to ensure transmission of a tradition. Unless the “tradition” you purport to be transmitting isn’t really a tradition at all.

  191. Jacob Sasson says:

    Re: Agudah denounces Hirschian outlook.

    Shame on Rabbi Adlerstein for (1) publishing an attack on a major Talmid Hacham, and (2) closing the post to comments.

  192. Gil Student says:

    R. Adlerstein doesn’t run the website. He just posts there occasionally.

  193. mycroft says:

    “can equal a Rabbi Lamm or Riskin or Pelcovitz or JJ Schacter in delivering a great sermon”

    “One thing they all those names have in common is a PhD,”

    I am not as a matter of principle rating ability of individual Rabbis to deliver sermons-but the comment those names all have a Phd is irrelevant IMO to all 4 names listed as far as ability to give a great sermon. I may be mistaken but I am not aware that Rabbi Pelcovitz has a Phd. Rabbis Lamm, Riskin and JJ Schachter all received their Phd well after each were known for their homiletic ability. None received a Phd at close to an age which one usually associates with receiving Phds.

  194. mycroft says:

    acob Sasson on July 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    “Re: Agudah denounces Hirschian outlook.

    Shame on Rabbi Adlerstein for (1) publishing an attack on a major Talmid Hacham, and (2) closing the post to comments.
    Gil Student on July 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    R. Adlerstein doesn’t run the website. He just posts there occasionally”

    Rabbi Adlerstein posts there more than occasionally-he may be the most frequent individual poster. I don’t recall Rabbi Adlerstein ever refusing to take comments about what he wrote-for better or worse its their call Rabbi Shafran posts wo comments allowed amd obviously I assume you’re referring to Rabbi Menken’s major quoting of Rabbi A Feldman-I would guess that was Rabbi A Feldman’s decision.

  195. lawrence kaplan says:

    Mycroft, you are right. Rabbi Pelcovitz does not have PhD.

    Re Cross-Currents: Rabbi Shafran’s posts are always closed for comment; all other posts alow for comments. I assume the reason Rabbi Menken’s post was closed for comments was because it basically just posted a speech of Rav Aharon Feldman, and how can one even begin to imagine a gadol being questioned?!

    I would suggest comparing Rav Feldman’s speech with the recent post of Rabbi Karlinsky or some of Rabbi Adlerstein’s recent posts about the situation in Israel. The difference in quality is striking.

  196. shaul shapira says:

    I disagree that Agudah ‘Denounced the Hirschian Outlook.’ They basically claimed that they DO follow a ‘Hirschian’ outlook. i.e. they did not say that they’re in favor of “embrac[ing] Judaism and reject[ing] the world”, but rather that the we in fact do no such thing. (Of course it’s watered down to the point of barely being TuP, but they did NOT say that we really should be anti-Hirschian and cut off from reality. I’m also not claiming that there aren’t people who do in fact “embrace Judaism and reject the world”- just that there was no Agudah statement to that effect.)

    “Portraying the “ultra-Orthodox” world as detached from awareness of, and interaction with, the larger world betrays an astounding ignorance of reality. Not only are charedim in the workplace and the “outside world,” but the charedi universe has played a leading role, if not the leading role, in outreach to the rest of the Jewish community with a wealth of chesed, limud haTorah and kiruv projects. Many charedi-sponsored initiatives touch the non-Jewish world as well. Charedi communities have developed healthy, sophisticated relationships with their governmental representatives and public institutions. Rabbi Sacks appears not to know the world he arrogates to judge.”

  197. Shades of Gray says:

    “Rabbi Shafran’s posts are always closed for comment”

    Re. R. Shafran, he used to allow comments and he responds to emails. What I think happened (R. Adlerstein who read comments wrote about this) was that people started to see his name as a Pavlovian trigger to criticize everything about Agudah, even things which weren’t relevant to a specific post of his. I agree in a post like the one about R. Sacks he should allow comments.

  198. Jacob Sasson says:

    The post was not a Rabbi Shafran column. It was a statement by the Agudah. Cross Currents can close comments to Rabbi Shafran’s columns but it should not allow him to grant his “immunity” to others. Moreover, this was an attack on a Chief Rabbi, a well respected Talmid Hacham, and one of the leading proponents of Torah Judaism in the world today.

  199. lawrence kaplan says:

    CC moderates comments and could refuse to post “irrelevant” ones. I think that, to use a tired but true cliché, if R. Shafran cannot stand the heat, he should stay out of the kitchen.

  200. Ari Kinsberg says:

    MYCROFT:

    I am probably confusing 2 Pelcovitzes.

    I didn’t mean to imply that it is the piece of paper at the end of the process that magically transforms someone’s communication abilities. The actual date a PhD is awarded isn’t really relevant, as it is a very long process. I guess the question is when these rabbis first commenced their graduate years (or perhaps in general academic type publishing). IIUC specifically in one of the cases above the process was drawn out the by the mentor.

    Perhaps it is a correlation rather than a causation. Someone who has the skills to get accepted to grad school and excel there will utilize those same skills for a good sermon. But IMO grad school at the very least hones those skills, even if already present to a certain degree. That’s my guess.

  201. Machshavos says:

    Regarding R. Sacks and Agudath Israel, are the facts on the ground in America and Britain the same. Do events like those that hosted the National Anthem Hasidic version take place in Great Britain?

  202. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    for once, r gil retitled the news posts. but interestingly, you stated a few years ago that hirschian outlook has been replaced by yeshivish / lakewood outlook (see your post on the 100th yartzeit of RSRH seudat shilishit in breuers. would be a good idea to cite the link (cant find it.))

  203. mycroft says:

    “Ari Kinsberg on July 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    MYCROFT:

    I am probably confusing 2 Pelcovitzes”

    Rabbi Pelcovitz has 2 sons who in different context are both Dr Pelcovitz- Dr. Nachum Pelcovitz a podiatrist and Dr David Pelcovitz a psychologist. Dr. David Pelcovitz is likely the Dr Pelcovitz who my guess more Hirhurim readers are familiar with.

    ” The actual date a PhD is awarded isn’t really relevant, as it is a very long process. I guess the question is when these rabbis first commenced their graduate years (or perhaps in general academic type publishing)”
    Other than RJJS who commenced his doctoral program almost immediately after receiving his BA it is my impression that the other 2 did not commence their doctoral work soon after college.

    BTW-my personal opinion is that a Phd does not help a Rabbi prepare good sermons-a Phd to the extent it is in a field that one could get another job makes it easier for a Rabbi to operate independently and adds a psychological respect that the Rabbi is not necessarily doing the activities of Rabbanus because he had no other way of making a living. I suspect that advantage of a Phd is less important today-given the lack of Phd employment possibilities in many fields.

  204. joel rich says:

    The juxtaposition of the Agudah and R’ Feldman statements being closed to comments reminded me of R’YBSs distinction between a shiur and a sermon – IIRC it went something like this: In a sermon the speaker says I know everything, you know nothing, now be quiet and I’ll tell you what you need to know. In a shiur the teacher says I know something, you know something, come let’s see if we can figure something more out together.

    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  205. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    RJ”R, what’s coming to mind is this quote from RARR:
    “Look, I know shas and poskim whether or not they give me a kibbud at the wedding. But a chassidishe rebbe without the kibbudim isn’t a rebbe!”

  206. Ari Kinsberg says:

    MYCROFT:

    Yes, thinking of Dr. David P.

    Actually there are many more opportunities for Jewish studies PhDs than ever before. Also more competition for those opportunities than in the past, but many more opportunities.

    Historically rabbis didn’t get PhDs in order to operate independently, etc. They got them because they were an adjunct to rabbinical training. (Think of the Hildesheimer requirement.) Not because it could offer them an independent career. How many chairs were there in European universities for Jewish studies other than Semitics/Bible, and how many would have hired Jews, much less Orthodox Jews? Even in pre-war America there were only 2 chaired positions in Jewish studies. It was definitely considered that the role of the PhD degree made one a better rabbi (at the very least a more respected one) that couldn’t otherwise be produced.

    As an aside on PhDs, I always wonder if the explosion of Jewish studies PhD programs over the last generation has created a brain drain on the MO rabbinate (perhaps on Jewish leadership in general).

  207. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    S. — thanx for the cite.

    regarding the aguda – sachs issue — why is agudah sticking their nose into this? unless they are afraid r sacks will now enter the fray without his (british) kid gloves?

    ari k — all the more so, since chairs were very cheap then. (yu has a major problem now with old chairs that have very small endowments behind them.)

  208. IH says:

    Videos of הכנס השנתי של המחלקה לתלמוד בנושא: תלמוד, הלכה ומשנה לרגל פרסום ספרו של פרופ’ יוסף תבורי ‘כתבור בהרים’ שנערך ב-17 ביוני 2013 באוניברסיטת בר-אילן are now online at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXF_IJaFk-9DFfRKpZ_Zf3CinE3paZcVt

    (h/t: Menachem Mendel)

    Thus far I’ve only heard Prof. Tabory’s charming closing speech; Menachem Mendel highlights Prof. Fuchs’ speech on the orality of the Talmud during the Geonic period.

  209. shaul shapira says:

    ▪ The National Anthem – Hasidic Version (video)

    Very cute. Now I’d like to hear HaTikvah.
    There’s a certain delicious irony in the fact that the words sound better in a Chassishe havoorah than the Israeli Havarah (Try it.)

    http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%94%D7%AA%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%95%D7%94#.D7.94.D7.9E.D7.99.D7.9C.D7.99.D7.9D

    השיר נכתב בהברה אשכנזית, והדבר ניכר הן במשקל שלו והן באופן שבו הולחן. ההלחנה מחייבת גם כיום לשיר את ההמנון בהטעמה אשכנזית, השונה מההטעמה המקובלת בעברית ישראלית (המבוססת על ההגייה הספרדית). השורה הפותחת את הפזמון החוזר של התקווה:

    While I’m at it, I liked this from Bialik:

    https://he.wikiquote.org/wiki/%D7%97%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9D_%D7%A0%D7%97%D7%9E%D7%9F_%D7%91%D7%99%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%A7

    “עומדים שני ליצים, אוחזים בעצים, מכים בביצים והמיטיב להכניס ללוך[1], הרי זה משובוח.”

    That’s supposed to rhyme, BTW.

    Gitshabbes…

  210. Ari Kinsberg says:

    SHAUL:

    there was an essay in shema ca. 1990 arguing for a new Israeli anthem on various grounds, one of which being that it is difficult to impossible to sing according to grammatical Hebrew.

    and a lot of this early Zionist poetry was composed with havara ashkenazis in mind.

  211. lawrence kaplan says:

    Ari Kinsberg: Think of such rabbis-scholars-intellectuals from earlier times as Rabbis Walter Wurzburger, Emanuel Rackman, and Jacob Agus, all of whom obtained PhDs. Had there been full time university positions for them in Jewish Studies, would they have gone into rabbonus? Who knows?

  212. mb says:

    I’m not sure what is wore. The peculiar Agudah statement or R.Feldman’s incoherent rant.
    Here are just 3 of his gems

    Do you know how they teach arithmetic in Israeli Arab schools? “Ten Jews are standing at a bus stop. A suicide martyr kills seven of them. How many Jews are left?” Yet we dare not interfere with their educational system.

    Or this
    Moreover, Gemara prepares a person for modern technology more than even math and science.

    This is good for a laugh.
    The claim is that the Charedim take billions from the government in welfare, and do not pay taxes, thus they must be forced to work and pay taxes. This is sheer demagoguery. Even those in Kollel have wives who work and pay taxes.

  213. Shades of Gray says:

    R. Nathan Lopes Cardozo writes that Rabbi Sacks acheivements were becuase of his own challenges. One can use the same idea of making Judaisim one’s own, as Jonathan Rosenblum writes (see below), even if one is not familiar with the works cited below:

    “Rabbi Sacks was able to do so only because he had the great merit to have not learned in conventional yeshivot. He had to discover Judaism on his own, guided by some great teachers. He didn’t fall victim to mass education; instead, he benefited from individual tutoring. People can grow into great leaders only when they encounter doubt, struggle with their own faith and are challenged to the extent that they nearly fall of the cliff. That is exactly what turned Rabbi Sacks into a great leader.

    …They probably do not even understand some of Rabbi Sacks’ writings because they lack all background in religious philosophy, have never contemplated the issues that Rabbi Sacks struggled with, and have never learned the art of thinking independently. While they are familiar with Judaism, they are unacquainted with works of other important monotheistic religions, with Hinduism and Buddhism, and with the writings of people such as Avraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Buber, Mordechai Kaplan, David Hartman, David Weiss Halivni, and Arthur Green. Had they climbed intellectual mountains, had the courage to go their own way, and seen the need for an overhaul of Orthodox Judaism, they would have been great leaders. But alas, there is no indication that they ever went through religious doubt and pain, and one sincerely wonders how they can guide many Israelis who live in doubt and in desperate need of seeing the beauty of Judaism.”( “The Rebellion of Chief Rabbi Sacks”, 7/4/13)

    Jonathan Rosenblum puts the idea this way(“The Necessity of Choice”, 11/20/07), without endorsing the works mentioned by R. Cardozo:

    “If, as Rav Dessler maintains, the exercise of one’s free will only begins where the parental model ends, the initial bar was set higher for Yitzchak than anyone who had ever proceeded him. What could Yitzchak hope to add to the path of Avraham? Yet in order for Yitzchak to be considered a tzaddik he had to do precisely that.

    Only when he had added an entirely new derech of avodas Hashem, gvurah, to the chesed of Avraham, could Yitzchak be considered a tzaddik. Even when performing the same external actions as Avraham – e.g., digging the same wells that the servants of Avraham had dug – Yitzchak brought something of his inner being to those actions, and made them his own.

    …The problem, in Rav Dessler’s terminology, is that the mitzvos always remained external; they never became something truly theirs – internal – through the conscious exercise of choice. They brought nothing of themselves to their mitzvah observance — no thought, no feeling. And then one day, the emptiness hit…”

  214. IH says:

    On women kashrut supervisors:

    According to the women, there is no halachic reason preventing them from doing so, and in some communities women already work as kashrut supervisors after receiving the consent of local rabbis.

    I’ve been waiting for the standard response of many Hirhurim readers along the lines of “not everything permissible by halacha should be permitted”. Or as Marc Shapiro recently wrote: “Something can be a bad idea, even a very bad idea, and deserve to be rejected even if there is no technical halakhic objection to it.”

  215. IH says:

    Note also the leveraging of (activist) judicial process:

    The Emunah women’s organization, together with graduates of its kashrut supervision course for women, petitioned the High Court of Justice this week, demanding that it order the Chief Rabbinate to recognize the certification of 16 women as kashrut supervisors and allow them to engage in a field dominated by men.

  216. Shlomo says:

    there was an essay in shema ca. 1990 arguing for a new Israeli anthem on various grounds, one of which being that it is difficult to impossible to sing according to grammatical Hebrew.

    How about:
    http://www.yeshiva.org.il/wiki/index.php?title=%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%A8_%D7%94%D7%90%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%94

  217. Shlomo says:

    OK, I admit that’s unrealistic under current conditions, but long ago in yeshiva we saw it as an alternative national anthem…

  218. Nachum says:

    I have a (very) elderly neighbor who grew up in Rechavia in the 1920′s. He remembers Bialik visiting his school and being upset that they were learning his poetry in havara sepharadit, as it was written in (and for) ashkenazis. (Said neighbor is, by the way, an actual Sepharadi.) My Hebrew major father says much the same, and sometimes speaks modern Hebrew in ashkenazis.

    If anyone’s being a demagogue, it’s R’ Feldman and the rest of the Cross-Currents posters:

    1. It is simply a lie that Arab schools teach that way. I actually have firsthand knowledge of Arab math instruction, and that’s simply a lie. (And even if it was true: So what? Do two wrongs make a right?)

    2. I can understand (even if I don’t agree) with an argument that Gemara, say, helps you think logically or whatever. But to say it helps you understand technology *more* than math or science? Try understanding technology *without* that.

    3. So charedi women work. You know what? Plenty- most, probably- of non-charedi couples both work and pay taxes. They have to. So, at best, charedim are paying half the taxes of others. In reality, many Israelis, including, especially, those charedi women, don’t pay income taxes.

    4. I notice how he backs down on the solidly disproven claim that Bennett said charedim are worse than Iran without actually admitting it was a lie. He then transfers it to others. The fact, of course, is that no one said that. At most, they say the *problems* associated with charedi separatism are a greater threat. And didn’t Chazal say that sinat chinam, not the Romans, destroyed the Mikdash? Where’s the mesorah?

  219. joel rich says:

    The thing I wonder about is who is R’ Feldman’s intended audience? Based on the writings I have to assume it is those already within his camp who are looking for something to hang their hats on. I find it hard to believe that a man of his stature would believe that this essay would convince anyone else (e.g. did he have it peer reviewed by someone who would tell him what R’ Slifkin would write about it over at rationalist Judaism)
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  220. Shades of Gray says:

    “You don’t need to be a general to understand that a general cannot issue a command to march tomorrow, call up the commander of the Charedi unit, and have the other say “wait a minute, tomorrow is Sukkos, I have to ask my Rav if we’re allowed to march.” You can’t run an Army in that fashion, and the Army itself says so…Even were it true that it had the status of pikuach nefesh, which it does not, Charedim cannot serve in the Army. Spiritual pikuach nefesh is of no lesser importance than physical pikuach nefesh. We should have the status of conscientious objectors in any democratic society.”

    I don’t believe in forcing the issue of the draft, but I have a question on this. Especially in kiruv, we say that “Torah is supposed to be lived in this world”. Here is a situation where Torah can’t guide a country.

    A different angle is a thought experiment of how people would emigrate to America today without being assimilated, if we would have to do it again. Although there wouldn’t be organized Orthodox lobbyist organizations, hopefully anti-Semitism would be less, and the frum world would be able to organize itself better. Orthodoxy would organize itself in large numbers to preserve Jewish life as best as possible. Having an army to run a country is like emigrating to America and trying to make it work.

  221. Nachum says:

    Note. by the way, that the title of the internet page- which you can see only in the browser, not on the page itself- is “Lapid’s Campaign Against Judaism”, which is of course a simple libel.

    I also liked this line:

    “an improved and expanded version of his remarks”

    “Improved”? Does that imply that the original version was not perfect? Where’s the daas torah?

  222. Shades of Gray says:

    I’m listening now to the Zev Brenner program which has on a Rebbei from Yeshivat Hesder Hameiri who believes that the government effort to draft Chareidim is counter-productive.

  223. Nachum says:

    And he knows this because he’s the head of the IDF manpower division?

  224. shachar haamim says:

    The chassidim who removed their hat and covered their hearts were quite blatantly in violation of chukas aku”m. There are explicit nosei keilim who state that removing the hat as a sign of respect is chukas hagoyim..
    I wondre if they’ll think of that the next time they refuse to wear a tie because of chukas hagoyim.

  225. IH says:

    Back to the Agunah Summit, some data from Israel in: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4400770,00.html

    And, Steve, regarding pre-Nups (in Israel), note:

    “I still recommend signing them, but one must know that it does not offer full protection. A husband can open the signed agreement today, and even demand that it be canceled as a condition for a divorce – and the rabbinical court will allow it.”

  226. Nachum says:

    IH, that’s nonsense. Once the divorce is given, the pre-nup is cancelled. That’s the whole *point.*

    Considering that the first half of the statement clearly suffers from a translation problem, I wonder what on earth the second half even *means.*

  227. Shlomo says:

    Unfortunate IMHO on multiple levels. But worth discussing.
    http://www.kipa.co.il/jew/52428.html

  228. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “IH, that’s nonsense. Once the divorce is given, the pre-nup is cancelled. That’s the whole *point.*”

    Not necessarily. Husband refuses to give a get; amount owed under pre-nup adds up but remains unpaid. After a few (or more than a few) years, husband finally agrees to give get (perhaps because he now wants to get remarried). At this point he insists on canceling the pre-nip and the unpaid damages that have arisen. I’m not sure this is what she meant but it is, unfortunately, similar to other scenarios that get refusers have followed.

  229. Nachum says:

    OK, I get that- but don’t you think she’d rather take the get and be done with it?

    Look, both he and the bet din can be evil and/or stupid and cancel it *before* and then he backs out. But you can’t account for every evil and stupidity in the world.

  230. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “Not necessarily. Husband refuses to give a get; amount owed under pre-nup adds up but remains unpaid. After a few (or more than a few) years, husband finally agrees to give get (perhaps because he now wants to get remarried). At this point he insists on canceling the pre-nip and the unpaid damages that have arisen. I’m not sure this is what she meant but it is, unfortunately, similar to other scenarios that get refusers have followed”

    Is this an actual case or merely a theoretical fact pattern? I agree with Nachum-Halacha, like any other legal system, can only go far in preventing vile actions. It is height of misguided utopian thinking to assert that anything beyond the adoption of the PNA, which AFAIK, is becoming close to totally adhered to in the MO world, will solve a problem that is caused by the evil conduct of one party to a marriage.

  231. IH says:

    My takeaway from the article is that Nachum’s “evil and stupidity” and Steve’s “vile actions” have become the new normal.

  232. Steve Brizel says:

    Take a look at the Cross-Currents recent postings on the recent discussions in Israel re who should serve in the IDF. One continues to look in vein for either any evidence of empathy, as oppposed to crocodile tears for those who serve in the IDF, or an acknoledgement that the Charedi world and the RZ Hesder world are equally susceptible to the OTD phenomenon. Instead, what the reader is left with is a “no true Scotsman” like assertion that it is impossible to serve in the IFF and be a Ben Torah. IMO, none of the articles in the Charedi media, the local freebies that appear every Thursday and Erev Shabbos or at the no questions allowed Charedi spin sessions in various communities have addressed the same. There have been some excellent letters, especially in the FTJT , that have raised some important issues. It remains to be seen whether the Charedi media and “truth squads” that purport to address this is issue will address the same or continue to insist that only a complete acceptance of their hashkafic approach are the only acceptable ground rules for any “discussion” of the same.

  233. Steve Brizel says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/world/middleeast/service-brings-scorn-to-israels-ultra-orthodox-enlistees.html?ref=todayspaperOnce again, extremist rehtoric in Meah Shearim ( the ground zero of the Charedi world in Israel)and the actions of a few in Bayit Vagan should be seen as the acts of a few extremists. Can those who claim to represent the Charedi world in Israel and the US repudiate the same as beyond the pale?

  234. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Is this an actual case or merely a theoretical fact pattern?”

    If you actually thought about what I wrote before you immediately disagreed, you’d understand that it was, and was meant to be, a hypothetical, explaining why Nachum’s “ridiculous” isn’t ridiculous at all. But, as I also noted, “I’m not sure this is what she meant but it is, unfortunately, similar to other scenarios that get refusers have followed.” And as for your “it is height of misguided utopian thinking to assert that anything beyond the adoption of the PNA, which AFAIK, is becoming close to totally adhered to in the MO world, will solve a problem that is caused by the evil conduct of one party to a marriage,” well, we’ve been around the block on that all too many times to make worth repeating my position yet again.

  235. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Can those who claim to represent the Charedi world in Israel and the US repudiate the same as beyond the pale?”

    Perhaps the failure of those representatives, like the failure of the leadership in Beit Shemesh to repudiate the harassers of young girls and older women tells us something about where the “pale” is in that community.

  236. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “If you actually thought about what I wrote before you immediately disagreed, you’d understand that it was, and was meant to be, a hypothetical, explaining why Nachum’s “ridiculous” isn’t ridiculous at all. But, as I also noted, “I’m not sure this is what she meant but it is, unfortunately, similar to other scenarios that get refusers have followed”

    Let me repeat my query-is this a hypothetical or a real case in the US?

  237. Shlomo says:

    My takeaway from the article is that Nachum’s “evil and stupidity” and Steve’s “vile actions” have become the new normal.

    Guys, we’re talking about divorce here. Evil and stupid was *always* normal, on both sides…

  238. Nachum says:

    Steve, in all fairness, that wasn’t your original query. *You* just added the words “in the US” to your question, which changes a lot. The original article was about Israel. Where, let’s not forget, some guy who’d been in jail ten years got away from his guards, jumped out of a second story courthouse window, and ran off rather than give the get.

  239. Steve Brizel says:

    Nachum-it is my understanding that the RCA PNA is used solely in North America. If I am wrong please correct me. My comments as to its effectiveness are limited to North America. However, any person who refuses to give a get is acting in a vile manner -he should be condemned, not the Halacha that he is disobeying.

  240. Steve Brizel says:

    One can disagree with some aspects of CR Sacks’s valedictory address and recently published pamphlet without reacting in the manner voiced by Agudah.

  241. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Let me repeat my query-is this a hypothetical or a real case in the US?”

    Do you bother to read before you copy and paste? What part of “it was, and was meant to be, a hypothetical,” don’t you understand?

  242. Nachum says:

    A PNA exists in Israel; it is similar to the RCA one, although not identical- you always have to adjust for jurisdiction, even between US states, and the Israeli one is also binding on both sides- and I imagine it was based on it or at least inspired by it. My wife and I signed one and R’ Rakeffet, our mesader kedushin, was happy to accede to our request to announce it under the chuppa. Said announcement had the desired effect, as at least two of our friends who were present have since signed it before their respective weddings.

  243. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan-I think that your hypothetical was designed to demonstrate your continued dismissive view of the PNA. Perhaps, your contentions would have more merit if you could cite an actual court case in which a court refused to enforce the RCA PNA. Mere fear that the RCA PNA won’t or can’t be enforced IMO is really not comparable to demonstrable proof as to how courts have treated the RCA PNA.

  244. lawrence kaplan says:

    Steve B: The issue raised was specifically regarding pre-nups in Israel and how the rabbibc courts THERE treat it. So the RCA pre-nup in the US is really not to the point. Moreover, my brother’s saying that pre-nups may not solve all problems doesn’t sound dismissive to me. Finally, my brother commented to begin with, as he has explicitly said, in response to Nachum saying that Dr. Levermore’s scenario was “ridiculous.” His whole point is that it was not ridiculous. Indeed, the same hypothetical scenario he raised occured independently to me–great minds run along the same track!–but he beat me to the punch. Really, Steve, sometimes you just seem to be spoiling for a fight.

    By the way, re Israeli rabbinic courts: See the recent article of Amihai Radzhiner in the Fordham volume (2012) of JLA, where he showed how rabbinic courts there now more and more retroactively invalidate gittin, relying on rejected minority opinions. But, hey, I guess if it comes from the “right” it’s OK.

  245. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Steve, once again you write without reading. I have written many times including on this thread that I fully support the PNA, believe it has helped alleviate the agunah situation, and was happy that my daughter and SIL signed one at their wedding. So to say that I’m dismissive of the PNA is false, either knowingly false or out of ignorance. What I have said is that the PNA is not the panacea you and others claim it to be and that other solutions are necessary.

    As for court cases, I have seen only one in which a Connecticut court found it enforceable, a decision I read and agreed with. Are you aware of any other cases? If you are, I would appreciate their names and citations.

  246. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    ” What I have said is that the PNA is not the panacea you and others claim it to be and that other solutions are necessary. ”

    I never claimed that the PNA was a panacea, but rather the best solution to a problem and social pathology that Poskim cannot offer a better solution without wrecking havoc to the Halacha itself. I reiterate that no legal system, regardless of its penal code, can prevent people from acting in sociopathic or similar behavior, and that anyone who subscribes to such a belief is engaging in utopian fantasy. When you claim that are solutions other than the PNA “are necessary” and out there, , IMO, you are are undermining the need for communal acceptance of the PNA and the rabbonim who sweated out the drafting of every phrase with great Talmidei Chachamim so as to avoid even a remote possibility of a Get Meusah. As far as the article cited by your brother, let’s see if and when major Poskim use Hafkaas Kiddushin other than in cases of extreme mental illness as cited by RMF and as recently discussed by R Asher Weiss in his recenty released shut Minchas Asher.

  247. IH says:

    Steve — Why are you so sure that innovative approaches to the Agunah problem will “wreck havoc to Halacha”? Prof. Kaplan provided a précis of the Agunah Summit that WADR included people far more competent to make that determination than you.

  248. mycroft says:

    “As far as the article cited by your brother, let’s see if and when major Poskim use Hafkaas Kiddushin”

    “: See the recent article of Amihai Radzhiner in the Fordham volume (2012) of JLA, where he showed how rabbinic courts there now more and more retroactively invalidate gittin, relying on rejected minority opinions”
    I haven’t read the article but at least as far as my interpretation of Prof Kaplan’s comments he was referring to an article concerning retroactively invalidating gittin which IMO could have devastating results.
    Prof Kaplan is that article available online?

  249. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Poskim cannot offer a better solution without wrecking havoc to the Halacha itself.”
    Here’s one area in which we disagree.

    ” no legal system, regardless of its penal code, can prevent people from acting in sociopathic or similar behavior, and that anyone who subscribes to such a belief is engaging in utopian fantasy.”

    Here we don’t exactly disagree. Legal systems cannot stop people from acting badly. What they can do is punish such behavior or change the results of such behavior. For example, federal law cannot stop people from being racist or acting in a discriminatory manner. What it could do and did in the cra was punish such behavior in hiring, for example, and make the racist firing or refusal to hire meaningless by ordering the person discriminated against being hired. No one can stop a man from saying I don’t want to give a get. It can take steps to undo the marriage without his agreement. And if that’s done a few times, I believe men would stop refusing because their refusal would be meaningless.

  250. mycroft says:

    ,” you are are undermining the need for communal acceptance of the PNA and the rabbonim who sweated out the drafting of every phrase with great Talmidei Chachamim so as to avoid even a remote possibility of a Get Meusah.”
    As a non expert and layman I tend to agree with Steve on the substance of the PNA and the lack of likelihood of success in many other approaches.
    However, I disagree with the argument that one must accept the PNA because ” rabbonim who sweated out the drafting of every phrase with great Talmidei Chachamim”-The issue is not the integrity, knowledge of the Rabbonim behind the PNA-the issue is the effectiveness and are there any better alternatives. I am not an expert and suspect many if not most of Hirhurim commentators are not experts. Certainly REB was a bigger expert than any Hirhurim blogger and he felt there should be another approach. As a layman I am interested in the different viewpoints-I almost wish someone could publish the arguments wo names attached and then one could discuss the issue wo it being clouded by various people defending the viewpoints of their Rebbe or Rabbi on both sides of this issue.
    OF COURSE, ONE MUST REMEMBER WE ARE DEALING WITH ISSHUT AND POTENTIAL MAMZERUT.

  251. mycroft says:

    “No one can stop a man from saying I don’t want to give a get. It can take steps to undo the marriage without his agreement. And if that’s done a few times, I believe men would stop refusing because their refusal would be meaningless”

    How does that approach fit into the current system of kiddushin and gittin which are both from the Torah? REB proposed changing future kiddushin to make them al tnai-my kiddushin were not al tnai and I suspect none of us had such a kiddushin-how can one override the apparent requirement of Gittin.

  252. STBO says:

    “No one can stop a man from saying I don’t want to give a get. It can take steps to undo the marriage without his agreement. And if that’s done a few times, I believe men would stop refusing because their refusal would be meaningless.”

    It seems to me that this would vitiate the basic principles of volition underlying kiddushin and gittin. If refusal is “meaningless” then the man’s opinions and actions are ipso facto irrelevant.

  253. lawrence kaplan says:

    Let me correct a mistake of mine. It was not Dr. Levermore’s scenario, but Prof.Ruth Halpern-Kaddari’s.

    The point is that she was clearly referring to the possible undoing of Israeli PNAs in Israeli rabbinic courts. Therefore, the fact of PNAs success so far in the US says little or nothing about their success in Israel. My point about Prof. Radziner’s article (which I do not believe is available on-line) where Israeli rabbinic courts more and more retroactively invalidate a get based on the minority view of the Maharam (which is forcefully rejected by the consensus of aharonim) was to show how the Israeli rabbinic courts are often unsympathetic to wives in divorce cases.

  254. Shlomo says:

    Israeli rabbinic courts more and more retroactively invalidate a get based on the minority view of the Maharam (which is forcefully rejected by the consensus of aharonim)

    Which view is that?

  255. shachar haamim says:

    Aside from the chukas hagoyim issue, after seeing that chassidic rendition of the US national anthem, I understand much deeper how charedi orthodoxy in the USA is already on its final approach to the end.

  256. mycroft says:

    .” My point about Prof. Radziner’s article (which I do not believe is available on-line) where Israeli rabbinic courts more and more retroactively invalidate a get based on the minority view of the Maharam (which is forcefully rejected by the consensus of aharonim) was to show how the Israeli rabbinic courts are often unsympathetic to wives in divorce cases.”

    Query to Prof Kaplan-I haven’t read the article but could Israeli rabbinic courts rejecting gitting retroactively not be a case of lack of sympathy to wives but simply carrying on a chareidi power play like they’ve done in the past decade rejecting conversions that they accepted in the past simply to deligitimize anyone who was involved which is the bulk of mainstream Orthodox Rabbis? The Yossi Fackenheim case is an obvious example someone comes to give a get who was married by the Israeli CR gets told youcan’t give a get you aren’t Jewish. Contrast that approach with the Ravs who stated that a Reform converted couple who were married by a Reform Rabbi followed by a civil divorce that the women can’t get married wo a get. Issues may often have little to do with women but power play with the consequences irrelevant to Rabbinical decision makers as long as their kavod is sustained.

  257. lawrence kaplan says:

    Shlomo: Resp. Maharam of Lublin, #122.

    Mycroft: Prof. Radzyner sees the retroactive invalidation as part of a struggle of authority between the rabbinic and civil courts. But the fact that the rabbinic courts are willing to invalidate gittin on questionable halakhic grounds as part of that struggle seems to me to reflect a lack of sympathy for the women in question.

  258. emma says:

    dr kaplan, in the spirit of friendly correction, note the correct spelling of dr Levmore’s name: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/rachel-levmore/

  259. lawrence kaplan says:

    emma: oops. Thanks for the correction. My apologies to Dr. Levmore.

  260. Nachum says:

    By the way, I have no doubt a man could go to the Rabbinic Court and say, “Oh, here’s this ridiculous Modern Orthodox American import I signed,” and the dayanim would go, “Tossed! Let’s start over.” Except it wouldn’t be too hard for the woman to have it enforced in regular court, unless it’s seen as a family thing. Come to think, all sorts of nonsense can be and is pulled.

  261. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “Husband refuses to give a get; amount owed under pre-nup adds up but remains unpaid. After a few (or more than a few) years, husband finally agrees to give get (perhaps because he now wants to get remarried). At this point he insists on canceling the pre-nip and the unpaid damages that have arisen. ”

    according to the RCA, the penalties are ALWAYS waived when the get is finally given. (similar to the waiver of the ketuba zuzim, and other parts of the halachic property settlement, vs the civil property settlement.)

  262. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Even if he refused a get for 5 years and never paid?

  263. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    j kaplan — thats the “incentive”

  264. Joseph Kaplan says:

    So doesn’t that make the PNA, in such cases, meaningless? The husband waits until, for whatever reason, he agrees to give the get, and then never has to pay what was provided for in the PNA. And since you know about this, I assume get refusers do too and thus can pay the PNA no mind if they so choose. Not a solution for such people.

  265. Nachum says:

    Joseph: So why wasn’t he sued before that point? Choosing not to enforce the PNA in a secular court (or via a sheriff or whatever) would be the fault of the person seeking the get.

  266. lawrence kaplan says:

    Joseph and Nachum: Take a look at the Israeli pre-nup of Dr. Levmore which is available on her website on-line. The obligation of spousal support kicks in after 180 days (or in some instances 270 day)s after one of the spouses formally notifies the other that he or she requests a get. If after that time the notified party (whether the husband or wife) refuses to cooperate the first party can sue for support.

  267. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Now we get fact specific. Did the husband threaten that if she sued under the PNA he would never give her a get? Did the beit din tell her to try to work it out?Monetary damages is really a weak stick to use against get refusers. I believe that the PNA is not useful because it provides for these damages (in the name of support). Rather, the signing of a document has an effect on a person. Not always, but it happens a lot. So when a PNA couple get, unfortunately, to the get stage, it’s harder for the husband to refuse a get. But if he’s one of the really recalcitrant ones (like the guys who sit in jail in Israel), the PNA, weaker than a jail term, won’t do much good.

  268. Nachum says:

    Yes, well, Joseph, you can make the point that someone who refuses a get tends to have been a jerk from day one (thus leading to the idea of mekach taut), whereas someone who signs one is not a jerk and won’t become one. I imagine there are many exceptions on both sides, of course. Nature, nurture, yada, yada.

 
 

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