Weekly Links

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Rules: link (Note that this post will move every day until the end of the week. 3 most recent links show on the home page.)


  • Badatz forbids investing in Israeli companies: link
  • Audio: Sara Hurwitz on Zev Brenner show: link
  • R. Asher Lopatin clarifies his respect for Conservative Rabbi Shai Held (for what it’s worth, I have respect for plenty of Conservative rabbis and even some Post-Orthodox rabbis): link
  • Jerusalem: The city that drives people mad: link
  • Freedom and identity: An interview with Natan Sharansky: link
  • R. Avi Shafran: The Mike’s Always On: link
  • SALT today: link
  • Thursday

    • Moment Magazine asks 35 American Jews what it means to be a Jew today and what Jews bring to the world today: link
    • Hareidi Jews’ IDF enlistment rises: link
    • Op-Ed against R. Hershel Schachter by Conservative rabbi: link
    • Response to Op-Ed by R. Asher Lopatin: link
    • Dr. Alan Brill explores how Jews view other religions: link
    • SALT today: link


    • Business Halacha: Refund for Faulty Kashrus?: link
    • Comedian wins as ‘mother-in-lawsuit’ is dismissed: link
    • Religious girls compete for top math prize: link
    • Yuri Foreman on Jimmy Kimmel Live: link
    • SALT today: link


    • Frum book about teaching about sexuality to children: link
    • Much movie title meshugas (if only my uncle had lived to see this article!): link
    • American Girl’s newest doll: a Jewish New Yorker, just like you: link
    • Shazam! Berlin looks at superheroes’ Jewish roots: link
    • Whither Orthodoxy? Two Conferences Offer Contrasts in Israel: link
    • Orthodox Community at Penn Hosts “Being Frum and Gay” Shabbaton: link
    • David Greenfield’s inauguration (I tried to make it but couldn’t because of family obligations): link
    • Jewish groups disappointed in Supreme Court ruling: link
    • SALT today: link


    • R. Nathan Lopes Cardozo: God is Unjustifiable: link 1, link 2
    • Two Brooklyn teens arrested for roughing up rabbi: cops: link
    • Israeli invention sees through walls: link
    • No incidents as Goldstone attends grandson’s bar mitzvah: link
    • Where have all the boys gone?: link
    • RCA resolution on female rabbis leaves blatant loophole: link
    • SALT today: link

    About Gil Student

    Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


    1. MJ 05/03/2010 08:53 PM
      NLC: “Morality: Ethical behavior. Attempting to prevent human suffering and living by the highest ethical standards with the goal of achieving the greatest amount of happiness. ”

      It’s not by accident that he gives a utilitarian definition of the moral. But if you abandon a quasi naturalistic notion of the good then much of what he writes about theodicy does not quite follow.
      Michael_Rogovin 05/04/2010 09:44 AM
      Why is Rebecca Rubin news? The doll came out over a year ago.
      As for the Supreme Court – I think the orthodox, pushed by Chabad, are very much mistaken in supporting religious symbolism on public property. There is not need for it by Christians or Jews and much harm can result. There are many communities in the US that use explicit Christian prayer in schools, public events and official functions. I have personally been at a government conference on the procedures for closing Army bases where an Army officer led the entire group in an explicitly Christian prayer before a meal. This is directly connected to Cheches, trees, crosses and yes menorah’s on government land whether gov’t sponsored or privately sponsored. Let the government do its own thing and let churches, synagogues and mosques do theirs. There is no need to mix them.
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/04/2010 02:13 PM
      i read a very interesting article a few years ago, showing how this “american doll” phenomenom is really modern day avodah zara. esp the way these young girls are treating it ( = the doll).

      a number of years ago, i spent a shabat at u of penn, and first time i ever saw a young lady who came to minyan on shabat to say kaddish. slippery slope — there are actually groups of (supposedly) ortho gays and lesbians on that campus now who want to combine their jewishness with gay / lesbian lifestyle. does accepting feminism lead to accepting G/L lifestyle?

      and what does that lifestyle have to do with mikva observance?

      3. besides the halachic issues of affirming vs swearing, there is also the issue that this was a legally non-binding swearing / affirming – in, thus perhaps not halachically proper. but mazal tov anyway to reb gil on his son’s bat mitzvah, and on his candidate’s winning. from a former resident of bp / flabush.

      4. according to the forward then, reading superman (and derivative) comic books are also avoda zara?
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/04/2010 02:30 PM
      5. nice to know rabbi hier is the “chief rabbi” of hollywood. the go-to guy on jewish hollywood issues. even for the nytimes.
      JLan 05/04/2010 03:28 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
      1 person liked this.
      “a number of years ago, i spent a shabat at u of penn, and first time i ever saw a young lady who came to minyan on shabat to say kaddish. slippery slope — there are actually groups of (supposedly) ortho gays and lesbians on that campus now who want to combine their jewishness with gay / lesbian lifestyle. does accepting feminism lead to accepting G/L lifestyle?

      and what does that lifestyle have to do with mikva observance?”

      1) You are aware, I hope, that a great many poskim approve of and support women saying kaddish with a minyan, including R’ Y. H. Henkin’s grandfather, R’ Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, Ztl. It’s quite common at pretty much any MO shul out there.

      2) Penn gets a lot of women who come to shul on shabbat, and for that matter, during the week. I’m not quite sure what the problem is that you see with women coming to shul and davening on the side of the mechitza reserved for women, unless you’re a big fan of wasted architectual space.

      3) Did you read the article? It seems that there was a lot of discussion on accepting the gay/lesbian lifestyle (which was by no means settled in the affirmative). The only idea the article suggests was broadly accepted was the concept of not shunning gays and lesbians, which, again, is not something halacha necessarily requires. It needs to be noted: these are folks whose orientation isn’t going to change, no matter how much “therapy” you put them through, and who are not going to be celibate their whole lives.

      4) Presumably there are gays and lesbians who wish to generally observe halacha, to keep kosher, keep shabbat, daven three times a day, etc. There is, presumably, a tension there, and the reconciliation is interesting and intellectually broadening, not to mention relevant in terms of kavod habriyot and general interpersonal relations..

      5) There are a number of issues that would potentially come up for a gay or lesbian individual, of which mikva might be one. Most broadly, if there is now/can be derech chiba with someone of the same gender, then would there be issues of shmira negiah with one’s own gender? Additional tzniut restrictions required? How do you deal with davening, when the people you would be attracted to are on the same side of the mechitza? Is there now an issue of yichud with the same gender? Could nidah now be an issue? (which gets into the issues of both yichud and of what exactly relations are).

      -A Penn alum, with no connection to any of the groups in the article.
      Shlomo 05/04/2010 04:32 PM
      JLan, what meaning can it have to discuss “[halachic] issues that would potentially come up for a gay or lesbian individual”, when the entire discussion assumes that the individual does not intend to fully keep halacha (“are not going to be celibate their whole lives”)?

      -Another Penn alum
      Michael_Rogovin 05/04/2010 05:29 PM in reply to Shlomo
      So if a person who, for whatever reason, does not keep shabbat, would you say that they might as well not discuss issues of kashrut? Their orientation is not a halachic problem. Certain actions that they do are either biblical or rabbinic prohibitions. Without condoning anyone violating any type of issur, they should surely be educated in how to avoid other issurim and perform mitzvot and live as fully a halachic life as they can and desire to. The broader social issues of a gay couple in an orthodox community, have both halachic and communal aspects that could also be explored. In Israel, a number of centrist Rabbis have called for a more open approach to these issues and not dismissing gay and lesbian orthodox Jews
      JLan 05/04/2010 05:53 PM in reply to Shlomo
      “JLan, what meaning can it have to discuss “[halachic] issues that would potentially come up for a gay or lesbian individual”, when the entire discussion assumes that the individual does not intend to fully keep halacha (“are not going to be celibate their whole lives”)?

      -Another Penn alum”

      As Michael_Rogovin pointed out above, this is suggesting that failing to keep one (or two, or however many aveirot you want to account here) mitzvot means that this person should not keep any mitzvot. If someone does not keep shabbat, should they not keep kashrut, or vice versa? If someone wears shatnez, should they not keep taharat hamishpacha? If someone cheats in business (which could include quite a number of aveirot), should they not keep anything at all? Given the number of people and organizations who have within the last year supported a Jewish murderer in Florida and a Jewish cheat in a federal fraud trial, one would think that they’d also support a few Jews who committed no secular legal crime, have not brought potentially dangerous or impairing government attention down on the Jewish community, and who do wish to keep most aspects of halacha.

      The sort of attitude portrayed here is exactly the one that pushes people straight out of Judaism. Condemn what you wish to condemn, but do not condescend and do not reject people, rather than actions.
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/04/2010 06:32 PM
      to jlan:

      1. the end of the story i didnt mention (was not relevant till your reply post). when i mentioned it to my father he told me in hungary (his old country) it occurred very often. (and in hungary, women almost NEVER came to shul. not on shabat, chag, etc. barely for zachor and kol nidrei). (of course, note the klausenberger rebbe instructed his daughter to say kaddish for him.)
      my point is — the slippery slope argument. its not done (in america / iserael / today till recent few years.)

      2. my argument was not on women conming to shul (on shabat). that is settled modern custom today. even in hungarian communities. and was not on the issue of putting on the mechitza.

      3. do we allow a group of mechallelei shabat be’pharhesia to claim they are a orthodox group? or better yet, do we allow a group that says wednesday is shabat to have access to our religious institutions? no. but we allow them to come in and daven (proper davening to our relevant days). but not give them an hour in a shul for whatever they want to do, esp if its under the banner of judaism.

      groups like this want to be accepted as g / l jews, not as jews, and not as g / l. and that is wrong.

      3b. and the issue of therapy available: i dont see how that cannot help. somtimes, doctors prescribe a regimen that has only 20 – 30% validation rate. here, the opponents admit it helps 30 – 40% of the time. i double those figures, because of the biased grouo that criticises it. and not only criticises it, they consider it in opposition to their lifestyle values (they are proud of being what they are, and thus reject therapy to overcome it).

      4. i agree. even the group of wednesday shabat observers is entitled to eat kosher meat, to learn torah, etc. but they cant be my shochtim.

      5. i dont know if derech chiba is a reason for mikva observance in such a case. besuides the issue of unmarried women using a mikvah (a separate story i wont get into), i dont know believe halacha requires it. if it can be discussed within proper bounds, i wouldnt mind knowing. and / or cite references.
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/04/2010 06:35 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
      item 3B: medical doctors prescribe a regimen that has 10 – 20% validation rate …
      Steve Brizel 05/04/2010 06:35 PM
      I would suggest changing the link from the Forward article. The headline at the Forward site has nothing to do with the text and demeans RHS and R M willig.
      guest 05/04/2010 07:09 PM
      I would recommend changing the link on Tuesday to book about intimacy, not sexuality. Really, those words have very different meanings.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/04/2010 08:50 PM
      I would suggest that you did a fine job in bringing an interesting article to our attention and that you should leave your link title and the Forward title alone since both accurately describe different parts of the article.
      Steve Brizel 05/04/2010 10:08 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      I disagree. The title has nothing to do with the Psak of the Poskim quoted therein and mischaracterizes the same as censorship.
      Charlie Hall 05/04/2010 11:41 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
      When the 10% success rate is better than 5% with no treatment, yes, doctors will prescribe it, especially if the side effects are not major. But there is no therapeutic modality that has ever been shown to be successful at changing sexual orientation in a properly controlled study.
      Charlie Hall 05/04/2010 11:45 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
      I’m aware of a case of a woman saying kaddish for a parent 400 years ago. That predates a lot of today’s minhagim.
      Shlomo 05/05/2010 03:02 AM in reply to JLan
      I am in favor of all people knowing the halachot that are relevant to them. But here, in addition to the halachic facts, there seems to be an additional message. The discussion is not proceeding along the lines of “The halachic conclusion on this topic is X”, but rather “In order to keep halacha you should do/be aware of X”. The latter formulation ignores the elephant in the room, that the people involved have no intention of keeping halacha in a consistent manner. (I do not want to condemn or accuse anyone, I am simply basing myself on the organizers’ description of people who “are not going to be celibate their whole lives”.) The effect is to imply that it is legitimate to choose which mitzvot you want to keep and which you choose to ignore. I think it is possible to show sensitivity to the situation of gays without taking that approach. The difference in attitude is subtle, but it must be upheld.
      lawrence kaplan 05/05/2010 11:09 AM
      I agree with Steve Brizel that the headline of the Forward article is misleading and sensationalist, but that isn’t a reason for Gil not to link to a very interesting article. What exactly does Steve want?
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/05/2010 01:33 PM
      the math prize article references another article (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.asp…) that confuisingly cites the tosafot in sukkah calculating area of a circle using integrative math vs euclidian geometry. thus, its more complicated, not much easier. unless you want to learn integrative math.
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/05/2010 01:36 PM in reply to Charlie Hall
      is the parent 400 years ago?

      reminds me of the rebbe who gives his father shlishi every mincha shabat. he calls him,, says amen to his nonexistent bracha, and starts reading (the rebbe is the baal koreh). waits a minute, and says amen.

      wait till he gives his father hagba.
      Nachum 05/05/2010 01:57 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
      MiMedinat, the Breslov and the Lubavitch both due that as a rule.
      Steve Brizel 05/05/2010 02:07 PM in reply to lawrence kaplan
      Headlines in all media should be correct and misleading, as opposed to “misleading and sensationalist”.
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/05/2010 02:29 PM in reply to Nachum
      EVERY week EVERY mincha, as i said
      lawrence kaplan 05/05/2010 08:47 PM
      Steve: The issue is whether the misleding headline was suficient reason for Gil not to link to the intersting article? Is that what you were suggesting?
      Steve Brizel 05/05/2010 09:06 PM in reply to lawrence kaplan
      No. the article was indeed interesting and worth reading. The headline was awful.
      Y. Aharon 05/05/2010 09:09 PM
      MiMedinat HaYam, that article by the head of the mathematics dept. at Orot is unimpressive and, in parts, erroneous. Fermat, the famous early European mathematician was most definitely not a student of the Ralbag. In fact over 300 years separated the 2 savants. The talmud doesn’t deal with the area of a circle in Succah 6 or Eruvin 67. Rather it, mistakenly, deals with the perimeter of a circle relative to its inscribed square. It is the Tosafot that refer to the error made in substituting perimeters for areas, and show how to arrive at the area of a circle. Their method is both far simpler and more accurate (assuming that a proper value for pi is used) than the geometric method involving many-sided polygons, and is analogous to the methodology of integral calculus. Anyone with some familiarity with mathematics and some facility with the language can enjoy both the demo by the Tosafot of the area of a circle and the fact that the diagonal of a unit square is somewhat greater than the 1.4 assumed by Chazal.
      lawrence kaplan 05/06/2010 09:12 AM in reply to Y. Aharon
      Another terrible mistke is the mangling of the Gauss story. The point of the story, which I heard from teacher Mr Abraham (“Joey”) Gansler in RJJ– also by the way the teacher of Robert Aumann — is thatthe young Gauss, at the age of 5, wa albe ot fgure out the formula for adding serries of numbers. It wa never meant to suggsest that he was the first to do so. Give me a break.
      Lion of Zion 05/06/2010 10:01 AM
      i found it interesting that the critique of of RHS invokes r. hayyim david halevy as a proof for dynamism in gender and halakhah. RHDHL was indeed willing innovate, but as i recall not necessarily in the case of women’s roles.
      YM 05/06/2010 10:31 AM
      I know for a fact that Breslov does not give an aliyah to their deceased Rebbe.
      Jon_Brooklyn 05/06/2010 10:45 AM
      I think it’s really obnoxious for a Conservative rabbi to start bashing Orthodox rabbis publicly like that. If R. Lamm got attacked for “triumphalism,” what do we call this???
      Mordechai Y. Scher 05/06/2010 11:14 AM
      In addition to LOZ’s comment about Rav Haim David Halevy (correct, as I recall), it is ironic to invoke Rav Kook, who forbade women’s suffrage. If her forbade them the vote, it seems to me pretty clear from the same responsum that he wouldn’t even discuss a woman rav.
      anonymous 05/06/2010 11:33 AM
      What’s so disingenuous about Held’s piece is that the RCA Rabbis adopted unanimously at the very convention where RHS spoke a statement that heralds advancement in women’s learning and encourages a diversity of leadership opportunities for women. The RCA did not choose between Held’s straw men- Chadash Asur Min Hatorah vs. Conservative Judaism. It preserved and promoted the ideals of both tradition and innovation in a unifying fashion. By seizing upon an off-handed remark of RHS as “fighting words” and ignoring the actual substance of the convention, Held reveals that he is merely opportunistically seeking to promote his fully egalitarian agenda. He is more than welcome to promote his institution and its ideology. He should be embarassed by the demagoguery he uses to to do so.
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 02:31 PM in reply to anonymous
      I agree with Anonymous’ comments.
      S. 05/06/2010 04:59 PM in reply to Jon_Brooklyn
      >I think it’s really obnoxious for a Conservative rabbi to start bashing Orthodox rabbis publicly like that. If R. Lamm got attacked for “triumphalism,” what do we call this???

      Old school.
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 05:37 PM
      I wonder why the editor allowed a C clergyman to write and publish such a noxious screed.
      Carl Attenstein 05/06/2010 05:38 PM
      who cares what some kofer who happens to wear a kippa and perform certain mitzvot says about Rav Schachter shlit”a?
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 05:41 PM
      I suggest that all interested read R Lopatin’s superb summary of RHS’s view of TSBP and then listen to RHS’s shiurim on the history of the Mesorah.
      Richard Kahn 05/06/2010 06:10 PM
      I’m not really that offended by R. Held’s op-ed. He disagrees with RHS on halachic methodology.
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 06:34 PM in reply to Richard Kahn
      Let me echo and support Carl Attenstein’s recent post. I am not concerned with the contents of the C clergyman’s post. I am concerned that the editor of the JW viewed a C Clergyman as being capable of offering a dissenting POV, when anyone familiar with such clergmen knows that their view of “halacha” is decidedly different and nowhere the same as the average RIETS musmach, let alone RHS. I think that RYBS once used the metaphor allowing a Democrat to speak at the Republican convention or allowing a capitalist to speak at an assembly of Marxists.
      Richard Kahn 05/06/2010 06:50 PM
      I am familiar with “such clergymen.” I am familiar with the halachic methodology offered at Hadar. It is quite different from the methodology offered at YU or any other Orthodox institution. (The construct of your second sentence is weird, as you seem to confuse “view” with “knowledge.”) However, seeing as both claim to be the followers of the true, historical Judaism, it would seem to be more beneficial to argue with him on content rather than reject him as “some kofer who happens to wear a kippa and perform certain mitzvot.” As Gil has commented in another post, Hadar does offer a real threat to Orthodoxy, and ad hominem attacks just make us look foolish.
      Richard Kahn 05/06/2010 06:54 PM
      Also, Steve, note that you don’t at all agree with Rabbi Lopatin, who gave a reasoned and thoughtful response to R. Held rather than expressing his offense that the Jewish Week would allow such a “kofer who happens to wear a kippa” to express his views.
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 10:10 PM in reply to Richard Kahn
      FWIW, the article in question was not in the hard copy, but was only on line. I wonder why.
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 10:12 PM in reply to Richard Kahn
      I can disagree with certain positions taken by R Lopatin but applaud his response to the article in question.
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 10:18 PM in reply to Richard Kahn
      Hadar is representative of Post MO or what others would call DIY Judaism and who have basically walked out of MO via their own decision. I don’t see it as a threat to that sector of MO that identifies with RIETS and its RY.
      Too Old to Jewschool Steve 05/06/2010 10:23 PM
      Are you guys really that insecure in your own beliefs that you must resort to namecalling when someone challenges them?

      Held simply disagreed with RHS, he didn’t accuse him of any criminal activity; he didn’t even criticize RHS. He articulated a position held by the vast majority of religious Jews in North America, regardless of how much you might not approve.

      Lighten up!
      Steve Brizel 05/06/2010 10:33 PM in reply to Too Old to Jewschool Steve
      There is a very instructive story about R Yonasan Eibeshutz or R Yaakov Emden, Zicronam Livracha who was asked by a high RCC official if the Torah itself says we follow the majority, why don’t all Jews convert to Christianity? R Yonasan reported;y reported that the quoted statement is correct-but only in a case of Safek.
      mycroft 05/06/2010 10:53 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      “R Yonasan Eibeshutz or R Yaakov Emden, Zicronam Livracha ”

      Either RYEibeshitz was a masis umediach or an unfairly persecuted zaddik. It is tough to imagine how both are of good memory. If he was unfairly persecuted by R Emden than R Emden was no zaddik-if he was a Sabbatean then it istough to believe that we would refer to him as a zaddik.
      Richard Kahn 05/06/2010 11:04 PM
      Notice that the opening of Lopatin’s criticism is “Rabbi Shai Held, Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Hadar,” while you refer to him as a “Conservative clergyman,” not even affording him a title. I think that Rabbi Lopatin would not like to be associated with someone who agrees with Carl Attenstein. You can’t agree with both: Either Shai Held is familiar with the way halacha works and is deserving of a thoughtful response or he is an intellectual lightweight who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
      Guest 05/06/2010 11:59 PM
      Steve –
      Hadar is not “representative of Post MO.”
      First of all, I don’t even know what Post MO means. Is there a community that self-identifies as Post-MO or are you using a term to describe a group of people in your own terms, perhaps in a pejorative sense?
      Second of all, Hadar is an outgrowth of the Conservative movement. All of the original founders of Hadar were gabbaim of their Conservative Minyan at their Hillel.
      I usually ignore your hevel pontifications from Queens but I couldn’t resist correcting an egregious mistake.
      Yissachar 05/07/2010 12:11 AM
      I think it’s clear that if Shai Held and his merry men had been born in China or the USSR they would be presenting Talmud and Rambam as advocating Communism, centralized power, and no civil liberties. His approach is clearly that the rabbi needs to make the Torah conform to whatever society he happened to be born into.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/07/2010 12:53 AM in reply to Steve Brizel
      The problem with your post, Steve, is that the JW is not a convention of Republicans or an assembly of Marxists or, most importantly, a newspaper of the Orthodox. Of course I would not expect, and indeed would think it foolish, had Kol Hamevaser published it. But to pick up on the Rav’s metaphor, newspapers often allow Republicans to write about and criticize Democrats or capitalists to write about and criticize Marxists. That’s all that happened here. (This comments has nothing to do with my thoughts on the substance of R. Held’s article.)
      Jon_Brooklyn 05/07/2010 03:39 AM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Again, the problem is that this amounted to a criticism of Orthodoxy as such. Held created a straw-man of R. Schachter’s views (as should be clear from R. Lopatin’s rebuttal) that allowed him to effectively dichotomize attitudes towards Halakha between “evolving” and “static.” But this is, very broadly, how Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism define themselves in relation to each other. It’s not criticism of R. Schachter’s approach, it’s criticism of him and his values, and by extension of Orthodox values, as such (this remains true whether or not you think R. Schachter represents Modern Orthodoxy ideals – I don’t, but it doesn’t matter). If you want a more accurate analogy while remaining in this political framework, it would be as though Milton Freedman walked over to Marx and said “you know what your problem is? You care about all these poor people too much. If you would just be like me and stop caring about poor people, we’d all be much happier with you.” Whether this takes place in newspapers or not (I don’t think it does quite like that) I think it’s inappropriate, and kind of sad if our interdenominational discourse is on a par with political punditry anyway.
      Nachum 05/07/2010 09:23 AM
      I think Milton Friedman cared about poor people a whole lot more than Marx, and did a lot more for them.
      joel rich 05/07/2010 10:38 AM

      The Times They are A Changin (proof of Rich’s rule of Change in orthodoxy – it will only happen when percieved as organic rather than forced from the outside)
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 10:50 AM in reply to Guest
      May I suggest that you read the discussions that R Gil initiated and which led to his coining of the term Post MO?
      Shlomo 05/07/2010 10:52 AM in reply to joel rich
      Joel Rich: It’s not clear if any real change has actually occurred. It is likely that the charedim involved are yeshiva rejects and that “respectable” charedim have not actually started serving in Tzahal.

      Also, I suspect most charedim do not actually hate the state but see work/army service as a big bedieved, and always (=for the last 50 years) have. It’s just that with the financial crisis, more people are forced to take advantage of that bedieved. Were charedi society to somehow receive a large influx of outside money right now, the trend towards army service would likely reverse itself.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 10:52 AM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Newspapers are not political conventions. That being the case, anyone who is even remotely familiar with how the media operates understands that there are many reasons why an article is “spiked” by an editor.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 10:58 AM in reply to joel rich
      I think that the article is illustrative of an important point. One sees in the Charedi media in the US across the board from Yated to Mishpacha displays of anti Zionist hashkafa. However, there are commentaries in Yated ( and I think as well in Mishpacha and HaModia) that express what one would classify as a strong hawkish POV. There are PACs that cater to the Charedi’ world’s support of Israel, and IIRC, a former head of AIPAC lost his job when he made some nasty comments about Charedim. I suspect that Charedi Nachal will attract many young men in the future. R D Landesman’s wonderful book has at least two superb articles expressing how and why Charedim are evolving in their values on this issue.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 11:00 AM in reply to mycroft
      In the absence of convincing proof , I think ZL is wholly appropriate.
      Guest 05/07/2010 11:09 AM
      Steve –
      A “coining of the term” and using it does not accurately describe any group of people unless that group of people chooses to use that term. Otherwise, a self-invented term to describe another group of people only serves to increase ambiguity and lack of clarity. In modern day sociology we attempt to use labels that groups of people use to identify themselves and not impose labels on them. It is very 19th century European colonialist to do otherwise. This is called sociology 101.
      joel rich 05/07/2010 11:12 AM in reply to Shlomo
      I suspect you are correct about the cause but once you open the barn door for whatever reason and the interaction continues, they”ll see the boogeyman doesn’t exist – which is why imho the leaders of that society try so hard to wall itself off (think lhavdil bishul akum)
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 11:30 AM in reply to Guest
      Sorry-I don’t use or care for terms like “the emerging Third World” or “Native Americans”. I think that the latter term is an excercise in post modern liberal guilt and which is vague inasmuch as any person born in America is a Native American . I don’t accept either the narratives set forth in the John Ford westerns or Dancing with Wolves of the conquest of the West and think that the truth is probably closer to that as expressed by Larry McMurtry in his novels. I similarly don’t use the term Palestinian, which is a label that had no historical antecedents.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 11:59 AM
      I think that the Badatz’s ban is fascinating because it shows how important Shemiras Shabbos is viewed as a core Jewish value within its community and that it expects those who follow its Psak Halacha to emulate such values, as opposed to playing lip service to the same.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 12:03 PM
      This week’s Yated featured an obit on R Abba Gorelick, ZL, the RY of the South Fallsburg Yeshiva. As a native of South Fallsburg, I think it is worth noting that R Gorelick ZL, as mentioned in the article, engaged in kiruv and gave classes with the local Jewish community in their homes. On a personal note, R Gorelick ZL was personnally involved with the Levayah of my father and uncle ZL, who were long time residents of the area.
      HAGTBG 05/07/2010 12:04 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      Steve. don’t reinvest history. I suggest you reread the discussion. First, Gil borrowed the term post-Orthodox from others in other blogs where it had gained no traction. Then he initiated use of the term on his own blog to both popularize the term and have the term usage conform to his own interpretation of it. There was certainly no conversation that culminated in his coining the term but the reverse.
      HAGTBG 05/07/2010 12:09 PM
      The most newsworthy item here is the ban of the Badatz on all Israeli investment vehicles other then ETFs. Assume the layman that follow this Badatz adopts this and we are talking about minimal available investment vehicles or complicated foreign investment (in short, one more way the community will remain poor). Assume those laymen with funds ignore the Badatz and it removes another level of charedi trust in their rabbinate.

      One can only hope they represent a miniscule portion of the community.
      HAGTBG 05/07/2010 12:10 PM in reply to HAGTBG
      reinvent history. reinvest would have been better for my following post.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 12:18 PM in reply to HAGTBG
      I agree that while R Gil borrowed the term , he ceratinly showed how it reflects a certain hashkafa or outlook that is quite prevalent.
      HAGTBG 05/07/2010 12:21 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      On the contrary, all it has come to mean the LWMO,- and now the RW Conservative as well, since its being connected to Hadar. The terms usage remaining vague and ill-defines, reflecting different if somehwta overlapping groups, it has remained exactly the pejorative the term’s detractors said it was.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 12:32 PM in reply to HAGTBG
      See R G Rothstein’s comment on how the boundaries between LW MO and RW CJ have become blurred at the RCA blog.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 12:39 PM in reply to Shlomo
      Dr S Heilman in his profile of American Charedim that predated the current market meltdown pointed out that many American Charedim were seeking vocational training because of their quite real concerns re providing a living. Anyone familiar with the growth of Touro College knows that one of its major sources of students is Charedi men and women seeking a college degree and or career training. I think that Charedi Nachal and the openning of Touro like programs in Israel in Charedi neighborhoods speaks to the need for similar programs within the Charedi world in Israel and the fact that in the current economic climate and for some time in the foreseeable future, there are not a lot of Givirim who exist who can carry the needs of every Charedi Mossad on their shoulders.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 12:45 PM in reply to HAGTBG
      I suspect that the sociologists already have works in progress on this phenomenon, as they do on all aspects of Jewish life.
      Guest 05/07/2010 01:12 PM
      Steve –
      You sure use the term “post-” a lot. Under what definition are you utilizing the term post-modern? It seems to me that its becoming a very vague catch all for you to describe anything you do not like. An intellectual history of the rise of the label “Native American” would show that it was very much a part of the modern historical movement and indeed has nothing to do with post-modernism. What philosophical works do you draw on to conceptualize the “Native American” phenomenon as post-modern? The decades old pop-movie Dancing with the Wolves?

      Furthermore, the term “Native American” is not vague precisely because a certain subset of the United States population has chosen to identify itself with that label. The label grew organically from within the population and its defining characteristics are clearly laid out. Thus far, no group in the religious Jewish demographic has chosen to label itself “Post-Modern Orthodox” so using a non-defined term for an amorphous group is what is vague and ambiguous.

      While the “Native American” and “Dancing with the Wolves” references were clearly wrenches you threw in to distract from the apparent lack of knowledge of post-modernism or sociology, I will not further be distracted by the Palestinian obstacle course you also hastily erected.
      Meir Shinnar 05/07/2010 01:49 PM
      Let’s distinguish several very different issues

      (BTW, the claim is made that Rav Held is Conservative – is this correct? Hadar, TTBOMK, does not affiliate, and some of its rabbanim have Orthodox smicha – I don’t know much about Rav Held (it is clear that Hadar is not within the Orthodox community, but not all non Orthodox are Conservative…))

      1. Was Rav Held disrespectful to rav schachter or Orthodoxy – no, except insofar as disagreements are…(and some of the posts were essentially how can a non O rav disagree with RHS..0

      2. Is Rav Held’s op ed in any way dependent on or assumes Conservative theology ? no – ignoring the heat that the individuals and particular issue generate, the general issue of innovation in halacha (in a very similar manner) was addressed by Rav Daniel Sperber in a Tradition article….(and the responses to Rav Sperber seem very similar to the defense by Rav Lopatin..)

      3. Did Rav Held accurately represent Rav Schachter position? The issue, of course, what is meant by creativity – because the term is used in fundamentally different meanings by Rav Lopatin and Rav Held – so that both reflect the truth. There is no question that Rav Schachter is a very creative rav and posek, as Rav Lopatin ably demonstrates.

      However, Rav Held is using the term not in the sense of general halachic creativity – but in the sense of creativity in responding to novel social circumstances – which is a fundamentally different question – because the response depends not merely on halachic creativity – but the assessment of the desirability of a response and accomodation to that new circumstance. I think that this use of the term creativity is quite widespread – even in Orthodoxy – and the examples that he brings are in line with this usage.

      On many issues, Rav Schachter has clearly decided that such accomodation is not desirable – and has used his creativity to buttress that position.

      I think that many in the Orthodox community, including rabbanim and poskim, don’t necessarily share Rav Schachter’s assessment of many current social trends (to cite one relevant one, the rav’s position on the Conservative movement and sheat hashemad was framed in the era when the Conservative movement was seen by many as an acute danger to the survival of Orthodoxy – remember the predictions in the 50s of the coming death of Ortodoxy- when the language of she’at hashemad was applicable – as Rav Lopatin suggests. Current heterodox movements, while they still present a problem to Orthodoxy – are clearly not the danger to survival of Orthodoxy that the Conservative movement was, nor are they the Conservative movement- so the application of sheat hashemad ideas does not seem quite as relevant to many of us – even as we remain concerned) – and that tension is a real one within the O community – of how to adequately assess and respond to these changes.

      Rav Held is not the best person to raise this issue for the Orthodox community, because Hadar has crossed some lines, and to any Orthodox person, creativity (in the Rav Held meaning)and Halacha has limits. When one talks about a slippery slope, Hadar is one of the endpoints of that slope…. However, that issue of how to deal with modernity – which is not merely an issue of halachic creativity per se – is a real one..

      however, without reference to rav schachter – who was used, rightly or wrongly) primarily as the springboard to the general argument – many in the Orthodox community view recent trends in a similar light – that there is a resistance to legitimate change -someone who is creative with an issur will be accepted, far more readily than someone who is creative with a heter – who will be reviled as pseudo Conservative

      It is that attitude that is at the heart of Rav held’s article, and legitimate scepticism about the messenger should not obscure some real issues.
      guest 05/07/2010 02:29 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      It’s a bit depressing that they could not find any publicly traded companies that were ok to invest in.

      Hopefully that will be revised.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 02:50 PM in reply to Guest
      I use “post modern” in the way that it is used currently , namely that everyone has a “narrative” of sorts, as opposed to there being a right and wrong way to view history, politics, etc. I think that with respect to the American West, one can trace the origins of this to Bury Me Not at Wounded Knee, which all but equated the settlement of the WEst with genocide, when any history book will tell you that the “Native Americans” were all hardly noble savages and that most settllers were hardly genocidal maniacs. James Bradley’s and Clint Eastwood’s films about Iwo Jima ,Tom Hanks’ recent comments about WW2 in the Pacific, the claims advanced by Tom Friedman and others that they would prefer a one party Chinese totalitarian political system over an American multi party system or a recent HBO film that blames the US for the death of a UN diplomat in Iraq are other easy examples together with the obvious references to how both Jews and Arabs view HaR HaBayis.

      With respect to MO, I thought that R Gil succeeded quite well in describing a sensibility about issues such as homosexuality, gender as well as attitudes towards Emunas Chachamim and Ikarei Emunah that basically can be described in accepting what makes sense on these issues and rejecting that is contrary to the current Zeitgeist. I think that the term DIY can be used as well as Post Modern in this sense, but in any event, one cannot deny that such views exist .
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 03:06 PM in reply to Meir Shinnar
      Let mepose the following response to R Meir Shinnar’s well thought out comments:

      1) At least two posters here have pointed to the heterodox nature of the views of Hadar’s founders.

      2)I don’t think that the views of a heterodox leader should be given any credence with respect to their comments on Orthodoxy, especially as to the view of a Gadol BaTorah. Rashi on Bchukosai in the Tochacha has very strong views on the domino effect of such personae and their comments which are especially relevant in this context.

      3) While CJ may not pose the threat that it did in the 1950s, there has been an intellectual blurring of the lines and importation of heterodox result oriented thinking that has led to a lack of clarity between the boundaries of LW MO and RW CJ/ in views of how to approach Halachic and Hashkafic issues.

      4) Novel social circumstances do not invariably translate into a Kula or Chumra in terms of Psak. Anyone familiar with RHS and his derech will tell you that RHS is fond of saying that which was mutar or assur 20 years ago is not necessarily mutar or assur today and vice versa because TSBP , by its very nature, is given to Chiddushim-whether Lchumra or Lkula on issues of Halacha and Hashkafa.

      5) I reject your perspective that RHS is essentially Charedi. I think that it is fair comment that R Held restated views that you have often voiced here and elsewhere with respect to feminism and other aspects of Halacha and Mesorah.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 03:09 PM
      R Meir Shinnar wrote:

      “On many issues, Rav Schachter has clearly decided that such accomodation is not desirable – and has used his creativity to buttress that position”

      Proof please?
      Daniel 05/07/2010 03:16 PM
      R’ Gil has “respect for … even some Post-Orthodox rabbis” — why then pin a label on them that they wouldn’t choose for themselves?
      yirmiahu 05/07/2010 04:52 PM
      Regarding the Bedatz’s ruling (‘ban”) on investing in Israeli companies.

      This is a real halachic issue, so I would suggest that rather than whine about it people either show that their understanding of the metzius is wrong, or their understanding of the halachah is wrong.

      If neither is wrong then don’t shoot the messenger. I’m sure that their are plenty of American Orthodox who invest in Israeli companies. If they were to demand that their dollars be invested in Israeli companies which respect the Shabbos there would be companies that will see it to their advantage to keep those funds accessible to them.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/07/2010 04:56 PM
      Gil, you were doing so well, that I thought you had (silently) decided to act properly. Then, unfortunately, you revert to your foolishness and nastiness. Your son just had a bar mitzvah (mazel tov, BTW); it’s time you grew up too. But since you haven’t, ;et me remind you of something your parents probably told you; don’t call people names.
      yirmiahu 05/07/2010 05:01 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      “Post-Orthodox” is a value neutral term. Pretending the phenomenon doesn’t exist doesn’t keep it from existing, whether your comfortable with it or not.

      R. Gil’s just pointed out the elephant (or sacred cow) in the room
      Jon_Brooklyn 05/07/2010 05:01 PM in reply to Daniel
      Because it’s Gil who’s labeling them, for his own convenience, not their’s.
      Steve Brizel 05/07/2010 05:15 PM in reply to Guest
      Who do you consider a “modern historian”? HaShem Yerachem if the teaching of history has become relegated to the unabashed communist and anti Israel Howard Zinn or anyone who has a blame Amercica or Caucasian male attitude with a dislike for DWM culture for all of the problems of the world such as Eric Foner who engage in the historical equivalent of 20/20 hindsight. At least, Ambassador Orn will feel at home for the YU graduation, as opposed to the campaign of vilification that has been evident at Brandeis U.
      hirhurim 05/07/2010 05:17 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      If it makes you feel any better (it won’t), I got a pesak today that a prominent scholar who self-identifies as Orthodox but I would call Post-Orthodox is a heretic and I may not speak on a panel with that person. It cost me a decent honorarium and a good time.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      Joseph Kaplan 05/07/2010 05:17 PM in reply to yirmiahu
      It’s not value neutral at all; it implies that the people he’s describing are not Orthodox. Yes, yes, Gil, I know you said that’s not what you mean, but that’s how plenty of people understand it. So instead of being a mensch (which you usually are), in this case you stubborn continue to insult a group of people with your pious, though untrue statement: i’m not insulting them. Simple rule: don’t call people names they don’t like. It’s a rule you can tell to your bar mitzvah boy and his younger siblings; but first learn it yourself. And yirmiyahu, I’m not asking Gil or anyone else to pretend a phenomenon that they believe exists doesn’t exist; I’m asking him to use a different name. His refusal to so so unfortunately speaks volumes, and they’re not complimentary volumes.
      hirhurim 05/07/2010 05:18 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Although I should add that I don’t think everyone who is Post-Orthodox is a heretic.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      emma 05/07/2010 05:22 PM
      On the bizzare “Native american” tangent: Steve Brizel, what is your prefered term and how is it more precise?
      good shabbos.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/07/2010 05:33 PM in reply to hirhurim
      You’re smart enough to know that it doesn’t but you’re not smart enough to drop an insulting term. I guess you’re also not smart enough to think up a term that describes what you think the group signifies without insulting them. My guess, though, is that you are smart enough but you don’t do so for one of two reasons: (a) you’re arrogant and won’t change a decision you made in the face of even legitimate opposition or (b) you want to be insulting. You have many good traits but that’s whatever is the answer, that trait is not one of your good ones.
      hirhurim 05/07/2010 05:54 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      I think there are other possibilities, such as that (1) the term had already taken hold before a sufficient number of people here had announced that they take offense, (2) the few people who comment on this blog are not representative of the broader community, (3) no one gets to choose what they are called (I still call them Ultra-Orthodox and they still call us Modern Orthodox) and (4) the unlikelihood of them not being offended by a term that is acceptable to others.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      MiMedinat HaYam 05/07/2010 06:01 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      who’se father never “taught talmud at yu / riets”
      meirshinnar 05/07/2010 06:24 PM in reply to hirhurim
      Is there any history of the rav either speaking on panels with people we might consider as heretics, or ever giving a psak to anyone not to speak on a panel because person X was on it??
      yirmiahu 05/07/2010 07:15 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      then what?
      yirmiahu 05/07/2010 07:19 PM in reply to hirhurim
      Can you elaborate on what aspects of the scholars ideology is kefirah ( without giving away who it is)?
      yosef 05/08/2010 05:21 PM
      Is there a recording available of Rav Schachter’s speech when he discussed the ordination of women? I think many would like to hear it.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/08/2010 09:10 PM in reply to hirhurim
      1. I read a number of Jewish blogs, email lists, Jewish periodicals and newspapers, and this is the only place I’ve seen it used. I don’t recall any of the l;inks in the daily links you post (daily, of course) using the term. Never heard any of my friends use it. Maybe it’s popular in brooklyn; maybe it’s been used, before you started using it, in print. Please give me some citations (before your first use, of course). (2) true, but that’s your audience Gil. You’re not talking to the people who don’t read you; you’re talking to the ones who do. (3) I call Hareidim that because it what they prefer; I don’t call then ultra-O because they don’t like it. Conservatives get to be called conservative and not racists; liberals get to be called liberal and not communists. It’s how civil people act. You fight about substance; you don’t call people names. (4) Why I don’t think it’s a great term, maybe you should use Open Orthodoxy. I wonder what others think. But nothing you’ve said comes close to convincing me that you’re not being rude.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/08/2010 09:25 PM in reply to hirhurim
      Re your number 1: I just googled the term “post-Orthodox.” Of the first 20 hits: 10 were from Hirhurim or referred to Hirhurim or you; 5 were unrelated to Judaism; 2 related to a 2006 masters thesis which defined PO as” sense that the older definition [of O] has failed and that everything is now pitched a a question of boundary or heretic”; one used the term with no definition; one used it in the context of a Purim contest; and one referred to Gafni.

      So this bit of research found NO ONE other than you using the term the way you do. So where exactly has it “taken hold”/
      hirhurim 05/08/2010 09:53 PM in reply to meirshinnar
      I don’t know but the pesak I received was surprisingly lenient in most cases (e.g. Conservative and Reform).

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      hirhurim 05/08/2010 09:53 PM in reply to yirmiahu
      I’d prefer not to but you can e-mail me.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      hirhurim 05/08/2010 09:55 PM in reply to yosef
      I believe that it will be released but not yet. I still haven’t heard it although I spoke briefly with him about the Jewish Week Op-Ed that misunderstood him.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      Steve Brizel 05/08/2010 10:31 PM in reply to emma
      Ask the local residents-Commanche, Cheyanne, Navah, Apache, Sioux, etc were always how each tribe identified itself. “Native American” strikes me as a liberal guilt trip. BTW, there is a fascinating article about the Mexican American mayor of San Antonio , how Mexican Americans view the Alamo and how Texas broke away from Mexico and became part of the US and a comment from Samuel Huntington that the Southwest, because of our porous boundaries and immigration laws will become one huge unassimilated barrio. I suppose the same comment could have been made about portions of the South Bronx.
      Steve Brizel 05/08/2010 10:33 PM in reply to hirhurim
      IIRC, Professor Alan Brill deserves a lot of credit for identifying this POV and its adherents. I think that R Gil has merely been help focus on the issues raised and how they affect the next generation of MO.
      Steve Brizel 05/08/2010 10:36 PM in reply to meirshinnar
      See the letter in R Helfgott’s book re the questions raised by the JPS translation of Tanach. It is also well known that RYBS approved of participating in the SCA but not the NY Board of Rabbis based on his Klapei Chutz/Klapei Pnim POV.
      Steve Brizel 05/08/2010 10:39 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
      Ain Haci Nami-That is factually incorrect
      Steve Brizel 05/08/2010 11:26 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Ain Beis HaMedrash Bli Chiddush. I suspect that the specialists in Jewish sociology, MO journals and forums will explore the phenomenon that has generated many blog posts and articles , rather than pretend that the same is nonexistent. For one early and excellent approach, see R S Carmy’s article that he wrote to Atid.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/08/2010 11:34 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      You don’t seem to get my objection. I have no objection at all to Gil discussing what he perceives to be an interesting and important phenomenon. I object strongly to his using an intentionally insulting term that, once again intentionally, writes a group of people out of Orthodoxy. If R. Carmy discusses the phenomenon, that’s great; if he uses Gil’s insulting term, then I would criticize him too. But I doubt he uses it (you didn’t post a link to the article you referred to, so I haven’t read it), so I am not, of course, criticizing him.
      HAGTBG 05/08/2010 11:45 PM in reply to hirhurim
      (i) From the get go, around half of your commentators found the term PO offensive so what this “sufficent number” you were waiting for is appears quite arbitrary and … self-serving, (ii) you had no better group to go on, representative or not, (iii) everyone gets to choose what they are called (I do not call them Ultra-Orthodox, and I do not call you haredi), (iv) the people who are not offended by PO are often the people most vocally opposed to those they term PO. For example: You. Steve, Rabbi Pruzansky. That in itself indicates it is a pejorative.
      meirshinnar 05/09/2010 12:10 AM in reply to Steve Brizel
      You didn’t understand my question. Yes, there are positions that we object to, and yes, there are institutional entanglements with others that may raise problems. We are speaking of neither – we are speaking of appearing on a panel discussion with others – some of whom may hold positions we think are beyond the pale, others of whom may belong to institutions that we wish not to be involved with. Question is of a panel discussion – and while I know that in the 70s, some RW YU rabbanim did not like to be on a panel with Rav Greenberg, I don’t think anyone said it was assur…the issue of raising appearing with someone deemed a kofer in the same panel to a halachic level seems a new phenomenon….(even Gil says he was allowed to be on panels in the past with C and R rabbis..) therefore something else is going on here…
      yirmiahu 05/09/2010 01:37 AM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      “It implies” does not follow from “how plenty of people understand it”. Words have meanings.
      (Edited by author 2 months ago)
      thanbo 05/09/2010 02:10 AM in reply to Meir Shinnar
      Yes, Shai Held has Conservative (JTSA) ordination, although he was raised Orthodox. His older brother was in my class at Ramaz; I thought of them as one of the frummer families, not that I knew them that well.
      thanbo 05/09/2010 02:15 AM in reply to hirhurim
      Of course, because C/R are not a threat to Orthodoxy. But someone calling themselves Orthodox while undermining (the posek’s view of) Orthodoxy, that’s a direct threat to be avoided and/or attacked. If you speak on a panel with C/R/Rc rabbis, you’re clearly The Orthodox Guy, and they’re not.
      thanbo 05/09/2010 02:19 AM in reply to Steve Brizel
      R’ Brill’s definition is NOT Gil’s. In fact, R’ Brill argues against Gil’s definition. See my post here: http://thanbook.blogspot.com/2010/01/post-ortho… on the varying attempts to define “post-orthodoxy”.

      In short, Gil uses the term to define the boundary between the Orthodoxy he likes and the Orthodoxy he doesn’t like, while R’ Brill mostly uses it for “yotz’im bish’eilah” – those individuals who chose Orthodoxy as adults, and later left.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/09/2010 07:42 AM in reply to yirmiahu
      I agree; words have meanings. “Post” means after. In this context, if there still is an Orthodoxy (which Gil, and I and I suppose you think there still is), after means no longer. Words have meaning and the meaning of the word Gil has chosen to use and stubbornly and insultingly continues to use despite objections, is insulting and exclusionary.
      hirhurim 05/09/2010 09:50 AM in reply to thanbo
      No, Dr. Brill’s definition is consistent with mine, as I argued in the comments to your post.
      meirshinnar 05/09/2010 10:16 AM in reply to hirhurim
      1 person liked this.
      The issue here is about the use of a term that may be useful in describing a sociological phenomenon – but the term is insulting to the people involved. As R Gil thinks that that is acceptable, let me propose another term for a related sociological phenomenon that has been discussed here (and on other blogs): The rise of a part of the Orthodox community that is medakdek ben adam lamakom, but lax on ben adam lechavero – (such as using pejoratives…). I would use the term Half Orthodox as a parallel term to Post Orthodox…
      Guest 05/09/2010 11:40 AM
      The invented term “Post-MO” besides being insulting is just simply put ineffectual. I have no idea who Gil is referring to when he talks about Post-Modern Orthodox rabbis or Jews. I can guess who he is referring to but since no living community of religious Jews uses that label to identify itself, it remains only a guess as to who he is referring to. So by using that term Gil is either a) wanting us to guess as to who he means b) is purposefully being ambiguous because he is using it in a pejorative way and thinks we all know who he is insulting. Either case, the end result is the same – he manages to be vague and elusive. This is hardly helpful when discussing actual content but perhaps that is no longer the point of his blog posts?
      lawrence kaplan 05/09/2010 11:55 AM
      My problem with the term is that Gil insists that post- Orthodox does not mean non-Orthodox, but, if words have any meaning at all, it clearly does. Post-Zionist is NOT a new variety of Zionism; it is is NON- Zionist. It may have grown out of Zionism but has left Zionism behind. Note that there are plenty of people who identify themselves as post-Zionist, none as post-Orthodox. If Gil means to suggest that Avi Weiss and co., in his view, can no longer be considered Orthodox, then let him come right out and say so.

      BTW, I, like my brother, had noticed that Gil, for a while, had not been refering to post-Orthodoxy, and, like my birother, assumed, as it turned out mistakenly, that he had wisely decided to quietly drop the term. Oh, we Kaplan brothers are such naive souls!
      lawrence kaplan 05/09/2010 12:21 PM
      Gil: If you must use a term, how about border-line Orthodox? It would imply, contra post-Orthodox, that this group is still Orthodox, but pushing the borders. I think this is what you want to say.
      Yissachar 05/09/2010 03:25 PM
      As Jews loyal to the halakhic process we should wait for Gil be dead for at least fifty years before debating what he meant by a certain word.
      ej 05/09/2010 04:46 PM
      The best thing that ever happened for Orthodox believers in evolution was that das torah banned Slifkin. All of a sudden ordinary people realized that gedolei yisroel were saying that their collective judgement can create historial realities, and that was an idea that was way too much for many.Similarly the best thing that happened to those who want to discuss the DH was when Rabbi Student attacked Kugel. Until then just mentioning the name was unacceptable. The topic was now in play, and once in play the arguments for and against began to be discussed. And so it goes for all the buzz issues. Banning women rabbis promotes the cause of Orthodox feminism, or as it is called here Radical Egalitarian Feminism. Four students at the Mahrit school, some of whom may never graduate or take jobs and thousands of rabbis and bloggers condemn this phenomenon as dangerous and forbidden. JOFA needs to be denounced time and again if it is ever to gain any traction. The same for Orthodox homosexuals, the YU debate and the YU rosh yeshivas response. Condemn and show no empathy other than nebich and maybe you could see a therapist was thought necessary to combat this threat. It backfired, because in the process the homophobia became apparent even when it hid behind halacha.

      Trying to define post MO follows a similar logic. The groups and individual to the left of YCT who do not think of themselves as Conservative, benefit from this compulsion to brand them in a negative way. What all these cases have in common is top down decision making, anger and hostility that is for the most part defensive, and a circling of the wagons that speaks only to the base and not to the disaffected. The condemnations are not creative solutions and as usual aggravate the problem. The best way for these heterodox groups to coalesce and become something more that imagined possibilities, is for the branding to continue until they are forced out from the Orthodox umbrella. Both groups would benefit, since these days every stripe need an enemy or two in order to discover its own identity. Where would charedim be today if there were no MO or Zionists to demonize?

      There you have it. Add this little rant to the previous zillion opinions.
      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 05:43 PM in reply to meirshinnar
      For those interested, read RYG’s article in the YUJudaica book and RAL’s strongly worded critique of the same, RAL’s refutation of RYG’s comments as to the roles of RAL and R W Wurzburger ZL in a so called “beth din” . A sustained critique of RYG’s theological positions can be found in R D D Berger’s critique of RYG”s most recent book in Tradition in which R D Berger wrote in very measured but in no uncertain terms that the theological bases of the book were beyond the pale of basic and traditional Jewish thought. Like it or not, RYG views himself as “non denominational” in his approach to both Halacha and Hashkafa and his wife asserts the rather meaningless mantra that where “there is a halachic will , there is a halachic way.” It is no small wonder that RYG’s actions, books and articles and his wife’s views have rendered the Greenbergs persona non grata in MO, as opposed to merely “some RW YU rabbanim.”
      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 05:45 PM in reply to meirshinnar
      Unfortunately, this exists regardless of one’s hashkafic description.
      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 05:48 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      R Carmy’s article was written for Atid and can be obtained by simply contacting Atid. I am not sure if the article is available on Atid’s website, but it should be.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/09/2010 06:14 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      “It is no small wonder that RYG’s actions, books and articles and his wife’s views have rendered the Greenbergs persona non grata in MO, as opposed to merely “some RW YU rabbanim.”

      Maybe in Queens where you live, but there are still MO communities where they are welcomed and respected.
      hirhurim 05/09/2010 06:49 PM in reply to lawrence kaplan
      From today’s NY Times, Post-Hispanic does not mean non-Hispanic. It means the term Hispanic has little meaning to him because he is part of a new generation where identity is more complex: http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=591141&f=37

      Border-line Orthodox doesn’t flow and it cannot be used for those who have crossed clear hashkafic or halakhic lines. I suspect that most of those whom I am calling Post-Orthodox see the terminology and movement boundaries as increasingly irrelevant in the twenty first century.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 07:05 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      I heard that RYG spoke in Riverdale where he was once the rabbi of RJC, but has RYG spoken in the recent past as a scholar in residence at any of the major shuls in Teaneck or the Five Towns? I can’t remember if and when RYG ever spoke at an OU regional or national event or at an RCA cnvention or at YU since he left YU for greener pastures. If anything is the case, the MO world is subjected to his claims that he is the “true” representative of MO in Jewish newspapers , his printed works and at venues such as JOFA than in the average MO community,. .I am sure that there are many MO who would daven elsewhere if they knew that RYG was a SIR in their shul or wonder why an MO shul was hosting someone whose views on the Bris Avos and Bris Sinai have long been viewed as well beyond traditonal notions of Hashkaafa and Mesorah.
      lawrence kaplan 05/09/2010 07:47 PM
      Gil: I don’t think your gezerah shavah of post- Hispanic and post-Orthodox is convincing. Hispanic is an ethnic category. Post-Hispanic is someone who is ethnnically Hispanic, but, for a variety of reasons, no longer thinks that the category is significant. But Orthdoxy is a matter of belief. If someone no longer thinks the category of Orthodox is significant, then, ipso facto, he is no .longer Orthodox.
      hirhurim 05/09/2010 08:03 PM in reply to lawrence kaplan
      Think of it as Post-Denominational for people who come from a sociologically Orthodox background. There is a group of people with a similar outlook who differ on various matters of belief and practice that are crucial for the definition of Orthodoxy but are still part of a general group with a similar agenda. They come from an Orthodox background and might not have deviated significantly from it.

      Frankly, my use of the term in this post is too vague to have offended anyone. You (not you in particular but generally) should not have even objected.

      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
      Joseph Kaplan 05/09/2010 08:26 PM in reply to hirhurim
      One question and one comment:

      1. Do you know of any other “post” group — post-zionist, post-hispanic etc. — where the title was imposed by someone from the outside and the people being so described objected? That might be a gezeirah shaveh. (This is aside from my brother’s explanation of why your post-Hispanic analogy doesn’t hold water.)

      2.You’re a schmuck. Oh, you’re offended? Really? I didn’t mean to be offensive; it’s just a funny word from the tit

    2. Joseph Kaplan 05/09/2010 08:26 PM in reply to hirhurim
      One question and one comment:

      1. Do you know of any other “post” group — post-zionist, post-hispanic etc. — where the title was imposed by someone from the outside and the people being so described objected? That might be a gezeirah shaveh. (This is aside from my brother’s explanation of why your post-Hispanic analogy doesn’t hold water.)

      2.You’re a schmuck. Oh, you’re offended? Really? I didn’t mean to be offensive; it’s just a funny word from the title of a new movie. (Obviously you’re not a schmuck; just wanted to make the point clearly; IT’S NOT UP TO YOU TO DECIDE WHAT OFFENDS OTHER PEOPLE. The fact that you can’t grasp what is essentially a relatively simple idea speaks, I believe, not to your intelligence, but to your stubbornness; absolute refusal to concede a mistake. BTW, I notice that you haven’t given me any citations to anyone using the term before you made it up with your definition, nor have you shown us how/where it has, as you have alleged, “taken hold.” Maybe Bing will help you because Google certainly doesn’t as I have shown.

      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 08:43 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Why? I suspect that the doyens of Jewish sociology will be writing articles about the future of MO for a while and that they will be using this or similar terminology.
      hirhurim 05/09/2010 08:51 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Except I haven’t called anyone specific, and certainly not you, Post-Orthodox.
      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 09:20 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Post Zionists such as Yossi Beilin proudly proclaimed themselves as such in the late 1980s and early 1990s as they bent over backwards for the world’s approval in their rush to the exercise in appeasement and great photo opp known as Oslo I.
      Joseph Kaplan 05/09/2010 10:31 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      Exactly; Beilin called HIMSELF a Post-Zionist; no problem in you or anyone also using that title. The people Gil is talking about are not calling themselves Post-O; that’s where the improper usage and insult come in. Thanks for the help; surprised you’re on my side.
      Steve Brizel 05/09/2010 10:38 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
      Just wait for the sociologists who deal with Chilukei Deos within Orthodoxy. They have already written on the phenomenon without using the terminology. See Samuel Heilman’s most recent book, where he explores the future of MO.
      HAGTBG 05/09/2010 10:43 PM in reply to hirhurim
      You’re right Gil, you called no one Post Orthodox. It describes no one. Right. Let’s play that game.

      (And I believe you called R A Weiss Post Orthodox in the old comments)
      Joseph Kaplan 05/09/2010 10:44 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
      You may be right; the critical point for the discussion to which you are responding is “without using the terminology.” My point, as Gil understands, is with that he IS using the terminology with its exclusionary connotation. I have no problem with him discussing any phenomenon at all, although I do, of course, reserve the right to disagree with his analysis. 🙂
      Nachum 05/10/2010 02:32 AM
      I’m not sure why everyone is getting so worked up about Gil’s stubbornness. I think Gil is a great guy and I think his blog is a great thing (and his other endeavors are very worthy as well), but this little detail of his personality is something that’s been sadly evident for quite a while, and not just in substantive controversial areas. Like most people I admire, I’ve learned to live with it. Most great people have some flaw, and you either accept it and move on or dump them entirely. (This is where da’as torah crashes and fails- claim people are perfect, you’re going to have a disaster when it inevitably proves false.) It would be nice if Gil made a cheshbon hanefesh, of course, but until then…
      Nachum 05/10/2010 02:34 AM
      Interestingly, Steve, of all the essays written on the Rav in the Commentator, R’ Greenberg’s was the *only* one that didn’t make it into the book. This was a conscious decision, and not a very pleasant one. (I printed it out and tucked it in to the book.) Agree or disagree with him, there are certain things you don’t do.

      Coincidentally, I just saw passed him on the street this past Shabbat. I know for a fact that he’s perfectly at home at his shul in Riverdale and most Orthodox Jews don’t mind him.
      joelrich 05/10/2010 05:37 AM
      Most great people have some flaw, and you either accept it and move on or dump them entirely.
      my girsa doen’ include the word great, but it is magnified in a public person.

      HAGTBG 05/10/2010 07:17 AM in reply to Nachum
      Nachum, it is precisely the many admirable qualities of this blog and its founder (and the respect and audience they receive) that make this campaign so notable and potentially dangerous (if you are against the schism being advocated for).
      joel rich 05/10/2010 10:47 AM in reply to HAGTBG
      Would some power the gift to gie us to see ourselves as others see us
      lawrence kaplan 05/10/2010 12:48 PM in reply to Nachum
      Nachum: Are you sure he wrote a separate article about the Rav? .His article on YU in the 60s is in My Yeshiva College together with Rav Lichtentein’s critical. reaction and Rabbi Greenberg’s reply.
      hirhurim 05/10/2010 12:53 PM in reply to lawrence kaplan
      1 person liked this.
      I think he means Hillel Goldberg’s articles. They were omitted from the book for technical reasons.
      Nachum 05/11/2010 12:53 AM
      No, Yitz Greenberg wrote an article in the “Legacies” section. You can read it here:


      The complete list of articles is here:


      Note that only one, Yitz Greenberg’s, did not make it into the book.

      Hillel Goldberg did not write any pieces here; I was not talking about the YUdaica book.
      lawrence kaplan 05/12/2010 01:13 PM in reply to Nachum
      Nachum: You are right., and I apolgize for questioning you.What a disgrace! It’s shameful. As someone whose contribution is in the volume, I feel that whole book is tarnished.
      Nachum 05/12/2010 03:29 PM in reply to lawrence kaplan
      And a very important contribution you make…I think there was a letter about “Nefesh Achat” I wanted to slip in as well, but didn’t have it.
      lawrence kaplan 05/12/2010 06:36 PM
      Nachum: Thanks for your kind words.

      Re the missing letter: .Unfortunately, through an oversight, Rabbi Carmy’s letter re nefesh ahat was not included. Indeed , if you will look carefully, the version of my article that appears in the book differs slightly from the version that appears in Commentator. I kept on sending the Editor disc after disc updating my article, and it seems that by mistake in the book they printed an earlier version. So, once you are at it, why not print out and slip into the book the Commentator version of the article.
      Nachum 05/13/2010 01:55 AM
      Hee! OK. That is, if my copy wasn’t on the other side of the Atlantic…

      But…discs? In the year 2007?
      lawrence kaplan 05/13/2010 09:08 AM in reply to Nachum
      I meant file attachments. Hard to kee.p up with all the changing technology and terminology

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