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â–ª Israel and the Youngs: New report rebuts claims of generational seachange
â–ª Society honors black renditions of Jewish music
â–ª Clifton-Passaic Y slated to close amid demographic change
â–ª Resisting snide comment with every fiber of my being
â–ª A call for a moratorium on Shabbat weddings
â–ª Beyond book bannings
â–ª
Top ten things parents can do to keep their children on the derech
â–ª ‘Sinner’ singer given 39 lashes
â–ª Gutenberg Bible completed
â–ª Shuls and air conditioning
â–ª A call for Haredi affirmative action
â–ª SALT Friday
â–ª Being a religious single mother
â–ª Lawsuit accuses IRS of screening Israel-related charities
â–ª High Holy Days are free at some shuls, and worshipers flock
â–ª Robert Alter on the Influence of the King James Bible
â–ª Haredi prurience off the tracks
â–ª
Violence rampant against Israeli teachers

â–ª SALT Thursday
â–ª Interfaith children and Jewish day schools
â–ª Teaneck’s young Orthodoxy
â–ª COJO Hard Hit Without Earmarks
â–ª Rabbi Slifkin and poetic justice
â–ª Muslim employee refuses to wear modified Disney uniform
â–ª Appreciating our Jewish education
â–ª God and man in the conservative movement
â–ª Zionism Derangement Syndrome
â–ª Ask The Rabbi: Can a non-Jew be buried within a Jewish cemetery?
â–ª Education Ministry approves girls school in Emmanuel
â–ª Yiddish store needs rich man’s help
â–ª
Lakewood “wall of silence” on abuse

â–ª SALT Wednesday
â–ª Prognosis for day schools worrisome
â–ª The uncircumcised Israel lobby
â–ª The case for Jewish day schools: toward a bright future
â–ª Eruv extension sparks crime fears in South Africa
â–ª Jerusalem light rail may have men-only / women-only cars (I can’t see anything wrong with this)
â–ª Pompeii’s destruction: Godly retribution?
â–ª One-way mirror to replace Western Wall partition
â–ª Residents and travelers now have more options in smaller US kosher markets
â–ª
McCarthyism and post-Zionism

â–ª SALT Tuesday
â–ª
Rabbi: Judges, anyone working for prosecutors cannot count for minyan

â–ª Brooklyn pols decry violence that took life of Yoseph Robinson
â–ª A Short Second Life for a Building With History
â–ª Are Muslims less rational than Christians?
â–ª Book review: The Balfour Declaration
â–ª R. Shalom Rosner wins fight for shul
â–ª Oy Vey, Obama
â–ª Yeshiva in the snoop
â–ª Satmar: Living in Israel forbidden
â–ª SALT Monday
â–ª Last week’s news & links
Rules: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief 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 of New Jersey, 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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and 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.

51 comments

  1. oy vey and yeshiva links are broken
    KT

  2. I would love to hear from some one with real knowledge of Islamic theology, but i am very suspicious of the idea that the issue which divides Jews and Christian from Muslims is one of Divine love verses Divine will.

  3. The rational strain in Western Christianity is Enlightenment, not Christianity.

  4. S.: What about scholasticism?

  5. Upon reading the article, it seems that by the weird definition of “rationality” used there, Judaism is right in the “irrational” camp along with Islam.

  6. >S.: What about scholasticism?

    What about Tosafos? All religions developed schools which rigorously dissected their texts.

    Like you noticed, they’re calling “rational thinking” Christian. I say, it’s Enlightenment.

  7. MiMedinat HaYam

    re: counting for a minyan
    a prominent suburban orthodox shul has a lawyer who defends al queda terrorists as baal tfillah on yamim noraim. if that’s not a “terrorist operative”, i dont know what is. shul rabbi doesnt mind.

    (of course, lawyers here will object: thats his job, etc. nevertheless, such a person is objectionable from at least a substantial segment of the kahal, and thus not fit to serve as chazzan, per specfic halachot of choosing a baal tfilah.)

    i’m not commenting on the ynet article itself; thats another matter.

  8. @ the Islam link: I guess we’re extremely irrational then.

  9. Be careful with that “retribution” stuff. Christians believe the Mikdash was destroyed as retribution for something that happened right next door about forty years earlier.

    In any event, it’d be more in keeping with Torah values to say that Pompeii’s well known sexual depravity had something to do with it. It’d also explain “Sodom Gomorrah” somewhat better, the presence of which is really, really strange no matter what it means. Interesting article.

    I find mirrors as mechitzot very annoying. They often don’t “work,” and it’s kind of unnerving to think that there may be someone looking right at you from an inch away without you seeing them. They should man up (no pun intended) and make four foot tall mechitzot with glass tops. If men (or women) don’t like it, they can go to the far sides of the plaza or indoors. The current system, with women standing on top of chairs, is ridiculous and indecorous.

  10. Can’t see anything wrong? Why on Earth would you want it in the first place? There’s no halakhic need, and the crazies need to be stood up to.

  11. Can’t see anything wrong? Why on Earth would you want it in the first place? There’s no halakhic need, and the crazies need to be stood up to.

    Agreed. Also the charedi are about 11-12% of the Israeli population. Public transit is meant to be for everyone. Let’s assume every charedi person wants separate seating cars. That would mean every 9-10th car on the train, not 1 of every 4. And if you’ll say Jerusalem is more charedi then the rest of Israel generally, it’s worth noting the whole point is to bring in people from the suburbs for economic purposes and for tourism.

  12. If I may be unkind, I sometimes wonder where Charedi men are *going* in the middle of the day if, theoretically- nay, legally- they are full-time learners.

  13. HAGTB – I agree. I think seperate cars makes sense if it’s commensurate to the percentage of Chareidi commuters. Secular commuters shouldn’t have to choose between a crowded car and a single sex car. Having said that, if there are seperate cars I would probaly take advantage of them to avoid the serious histaklus issues presented by some Israeli women who unfortunately have no sense of modesty.

  14. IMHO the broader issue is that a certain community may gain a reputation as a “where’s mine” community. Studies have shown that players refuse to play with other players who are only focused on their own gain in a team type game setting.
    KT

  15. “I can’t see anything wrong with this.”

    Even if just one person is offended by it or doesn’t want it, that one person’s rights supersede a majority that wants something that is wrong, unnatural and leads to a backward and morally corrupt society. This is chasidus shel shtus, no different than what the Rambam had to say about societies that made a nidah live in a separate house.

  16. Avi,

    I’m not sure if you are speaking from the basis of Halachah or human rights. What I do know is that even though I am not an advocate of Mehadrin lines in general [while living in EY I made no effort to use those buses unless it was convenient] I can see a need for this. Bus lines within the observant communities are rarely problematic in terms of Tzniyus. Those outside of it pose huge problems and that would certainly be the case with a train that cuts across Jerusalem.

    I recently had occasion to travel to Manhattan by train and I was aghast at the immodesty on all sides. The ads alone were well beyond any decent standard and being that it was a hot summer day, the amount of skin on display was positively overwhelming. I will admit that it was an effort to keep my eyes glued to my mishnayos and I thanked G-d over and over that I don’t have to face this nisayon on a regular basis. I’m no fanatic – I share office space with eight women – but I can certainly hear why this idea has merit.

    If I dare say, the trains today are worse than the beaches of fifty years ago.

  17. “I sometimes wonder where Charedi men are *going* in the middle of the day if,”

    Picking up the kids from school, duh. Who else is going to do it?

  18. Mark,

    I too am appalled by the standards of immodesty in modern society. However, I don’t believe the Torah wants us live in shells removed from the outside world. Furthermore, I believe extreme segregation of the genders is unnatural, unhealthy and highly non-conducive to human progress in both secular and religious terms!

  19. MiMedinat HaYam

    there are two kinds of one way glass mechitza systems. the traditional one way glass has the pblms described above, and in the article.

    then there’s the bulkier one way system, ehich is supposedly very effective in allowing women to see 100% of the men, and men zero % of the women.

    check it out when you go to my friend rabbi marc schneier’s shul for men chazzan slichot,. he has the bulkier system

  20. Schneier’s shul where? His mechitza in the Hamptons is a series of short pipes.

    And like I said, I find the idea of someone looking at me from an inch away while I can’t see them is very disconcerting.

    Police and psychologists use one-way mirrors.

  21. R Slifkin’s comments illustrate who were his critics and illustrate why the individual who opined in such a nasty way re R TH Weinreb was not only over the top in his remarks, but who has a history of such remarks in other contexts, most particularly in a discussion on tape entitled “Modern Orthodoxy”, which is marked by good questions, but highly questionnable conclusions about the topic.

  22. Shachar Ha'amim

    “Feinstein also knew that religious extremism, instead of fostering modesty and chasteness, could lead to an obsessive preoccupation with sex and that this preoccupation is a function of too much free time.

    The cure, according to Feinstein, was not to force women out of sight, but to go out and get an honest, productive job. How right he was. ”

    boy, one can do wonders with the ironies that derive from this section of that op-ed…………

  23. Anyone who commutes by public transit or works in NYC, especially Manhattan, would be hard pressed to disagree with Mark’s comments. Shemiras HaEnayim makes learning on the train or bus with some sort of Torah text an absolute necessity and Nisayon on a daily basis.

  24. Precisely – it’s not about living in a “Shell” as some would have you believe. It’s a minefield and the Torah certainly doesn’t want us walking in those.

  25. As someone who takes the NYC subway daily, I agree with Steve and Mark. The beauty of the lightrail is that you can accomodate the chareidi commuters with a proportional number of cars without forcing the secular commuters to sit in a gender seperate environment.

  26. The beauty of the lightrail is that you can accomodate the chareidi commuters with a proportional number of cars without forcing the secular commuters to sit in a gender seperate environment.

    No you can’t. New York trains, for instance, are 8 cars long (though in the past it was 6 and they’d go to 10 now except for the cost of extending the stations). I have no idea what Jerusalem has planned but I’m not expecting bigger then NY. Since charedi are around 12% of the Israeli population, any cars more then 1 in 9 is disproportional in their favor.

    Second, rights are based on the individual. I can therefore understand well why a woman would be offended being segregated by taxpayer money because the train is to crowded one day & she’s forced into that car, whether proportional or not.

    In addition, it will not only be a segregated sex car, it’ll be mostly haredi with some other Orthodox and some of other faiths. You’ll be segregating by religious observance and I am not sure at all that is a good idea. In fact, I’m pretty sure its a bad one.

  27. HAGTGB – (1) what is the percentage when you factor in orthodox jews (like myself) who would prefer such a car as well those of other faiths you mention in your last paragraph?
    (2) The Chareidim are also citizens and it makes sense to accomodate them within reason. They also might be put in a situation where the seperate car gets crowded and they have to choose between a seperated car and a car with more space. No one is forced anywhere. Just like I can choose to get on a crowded NYC subway or wait for the next train and get to my destination later (I usually choose the crowded train).
    (3) I don’t see how the faith based seperation would apply any less in a non-seperated car. people tend to gravitate to other people like themselves. In any event this would not be institutionalized in a seperate car

  28. MiMedinat HaYam

    us law — any mode of public accomodation (i.e., any public transport system, whether privately owned or publically owned) is (theoretically) forbidden to discriminate. civil right act of 1964 (the famous one johnson pushed throuigh congress against its will).

    most sources consider separate gender seating, separate bussses, front / vack of bus type arrangements as discriminatory,. even if the public wants it.

    so much for us law. israeli law — ???

    thus there is a pblm with boro park / willy bus, monsey bus, etc. the problem crops up every now and then.

    boro park / midtown bus supposedly diesnt have this pblm =– they are a private “club” (or rather a shul). you must buy tickets in advance (in book of 20 or so, i dont recall that detail) from a club / shul type org, that only sells to its “members”. the quality of the bus is similarly deficient, but seating is separate or separate busses.

    new square / kj busses have a minyan with sefer torah, so they are even more intersting. but not for publication.

    2. you must mention that religious single mother should be labeled “single mother by choice”.

  29. MiMedinat HaYam

    to sachar haamim:

    your preaching to the converted.

    why is this in a jpost editorial, instead of in a charedi newspaper? signed by the usual “suspects”, who sign everything else? moetzet/ot and usual RY and rebbe’s.

    2. the single mother argument has been made numerous times over the centuries, as an argument against “cherem d’rabbenu gershon” on behalf of infertile wives.

  30. Avraham,

    (1) I don’t know that percentage. I also don’t know the percentage of haredim who would prefer to sit in a non-segregated car or the percentage of tourists who, even if haredi, come from places where public transportation is generally non-segregated (Monsey excepted).

    (2) The charedi are being accommodated with equal access to all cars just like everyone else. An all man half of a car by definition discriminates against women and vice versa. No one would bar a charedi from a regular car but charedi would bar women (or men) from parts of the segregated car.

    I am not a fan of special group rights that come at the expense of others. That really just means favoring some individuals over others.

    (3) I take public transportation every day and I very much disagree. There is some congregation with other frum people, yes, but mostly the frum sit apart based on how they got on the train, like everyone else. Maybe its different in Israel (though I don’t remember it being so any more then NY) but if it is, its because they have separate bus lines and because charedi men and women ask others of different gender to move to different seats.

  31. “us law — any mode of public accomodation (i.e., any public transport system, whether privately owned or publically owned) is (theoretically) forbidden to discriminate. civil right act of 1964 (the famous one johnson pushed throuigh congress against its will).”

    If my recollection is correct-segregation in interstate transportation was already banned in the 40s-well before Brown vs Bd of Ed in 54-case after case was decided chipping away at segregation and discrimination.

  32. Shachar Ha'amim

    “An interesting note: While in Eretz Yisrael the author of this piece expressed this halachic musing to a gentleman sitting next to him. The gentleman, a rosh yeshiva of a boys’ high school in Yerushalayim, was so enthralled with this discussion that he offered the author a position teaching in his yeshiva.”

    I appreciate Rabbi Hoffman’s finer points in discussing the aspects of shabbat that are deo’rayta and derabban in view of the weather and the availability of air conditioning.
    But just to show the complete disconnect between these types of halachic discussions and the real world we live in, if one takes the last sentence at face value then Rabbi Hoffman no longer has a heiter to leave Eretez Yisrael, and ceratinly no basis not to live here permanently – al pi deorayat according to most poskim. On the assumption that he is married, and that he has learnt torah (reasonable asssumption based on the most learned discussion of a/c on shabbat) now that he has a job offer in E”Y what is his hieter to leave?

  33. “Allah can make any sort of world he wants, or indeed a different world from one day to the next.”

    Don’t we frum Jews believe that, too?

    “Shemiras HaEnayim makes learning on the train or bus with some sort of Torah text an absolute necessity and Nisayon on a daily basis.”

    I take the subway rather than drive whenever I can in order to have more time to learn, and always have both a sefer and an audio shiur with me. The problem I face isn’t so much the exposed flesh but the overcrowded trains. It isn’t easy to follow a daf yomi audio shiur with an open gemara while standing in the middle of a subway car with a hundreds of your closest friends. The 6 train at rush hour is particularly bad.

    “New York trains, for instance, are 8 cars long (though in the past it was 6 and they’d go to 10 now except for the cost of extending the stations). ”

    This is not true; the number of cars in a single train depends on the line and the length of the car. The 7 line has 11 car trains.

    “civil right act of 1964 (the famous one johnson pushed throuigh congress against its will).”

    Against its will????

    It passed the House by a vote of 290 to 130 and the Senate by vote of 73 to 27. It could have been passed over a Presidential veto! It was, however, against the will of the southern segregationists, who never forgave the renegade Johnson or the Democratic Party. (Within months, Strom Thurmond became a Republican and the rest of the segregationists either retired or followed Thurmond. This was despite the fact that northern Republicans were almost as strong in their support of the law as northern Democrats.)

    “segregation in interstate transportation was already banned in the 40s”

    Not true. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Rides.

  34. “Shemiras HaEnayim makes learning on the train or bus with some sort of Torah text an absolute necessity and Nisayon on a daily basis.”

    Yet according to an earlier thread here, it may in fact be assur!

  35. interesting article in the jpost about a singing sinner getting lashes – the talibaization of juadaism is starting — maybe chenek is next. will it ever be exported to the states? in 10/20 years? troubling.

  36. “segregation in interstate transportation was already banned in the 40s”

    Not true. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Rides.”

    “June 3, 1946 – In Morgan v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court invalidates provisions of the Virginia Code which require the separation of white and colored passengers where applied to interstate bus transport. The state law is unconstitutional insofar as it is burdening interstate commerce – an area of federal jurisdiction.”

    The overturning of segregation started to take place way before MLK and his marches-ThurgoodMarshall is probably much more responsible. BTW marches, activism, etc are usually not the cause of succesful change-despite the claims of the “activists”.

  37. MiMedinat HaYam

    i stand corrected on the timing of interstate transport discrimination, but the fact remains it wasn’t enforced till the 70’s, based on the by then public acceptance of 64 civil rights act.

    and it is the quintessential example of johnson’s ramming his “great society” through congress, based on his experience as majority leader (and ramming things through then.) but that is irrelevant to discussion here.

    in the us, such an idea doesnt fly (except in certain routes that have their own enforcement (or refusal to follow legal requirements; based on using their own political power to prevent enforcement.) another story, not for here.

    2. the nypublic lib on 42 st has a guttenberg bible on permanent display. i go to see it often. its beautiful, printed on deer skin vellum.

    sifrei torah were originally written on deer skin, but it doesnt last long (and is the origin of the requiremnent to roll on a “tefer” when doing glilah; does not apply to today’s “gasot”).

    perhaps someone should commission a sefer written on deer skin, for beauty (but not permanence) purposes. of course, making the deer skin would be a pblm, so the economics would not be there.

    3. resist snide comment — good.

    4. what’s gonna happen to the nytimes — no more society weddings in the sunday paper! and the protestants can now have weddings on saturday, since it wont be in the paper with all those jews! ( = traditional reason for wasps not getting married on their preferred saturday) (i.e., those wasps not marrying jews)

  38. Allegedly gevil (“gawil”) sta”m are available (albeit not from deer hide)

    http://www.globaljms.co.il/SKIN-NEW/Html/pay.htm

  39. MiMedinat HaYam

    to s:

    deer skin is “translucent” — part of its beauty.

    are there deer in israel?

  40. I’ve never seen a Torah written on deer skin, but I have seen an old Torah written on gevil (perhaps 100-150 years). It was owned by a certain Spanish-Portuguese congregation. It felt almost like felt or a really soft leather glove and was beautiful and tan/ cream colored.

    I don’t know about where there are deer (there certainly are some sort of deer species in Israel) but if their skin really doesn’t last that long then I can see why it is not used. Of course you can make the argument that the dyo we use has numerous longevity problems and that should be revamped.

  41. MiMedinat HaYam

    dyo (ink) we use is essentially garbage — no halachic requirements (though i am waiting for hechsher zedek to require soy ink; i have a feeling it doesnt last long, either).

    actually, there is a requirement that it not be too thick, but that is prob a utilitarian requirement, not strictly halachic. ditto magic marker ink the other way.

    dont know if black ink is required, but tfilin batim can be any color (or no color) except for one side (some oppose two sides, but its found) of r’tzuot which must be black.

  42. tfilin batim can be any color (or no color)

    See Orach Chaim 32:40 and Mishnah Berurah 184.

  43. >dyo (ink) we use is essentially garbage — no halachic requirements (though i am waiting for hechsher zedek to require soy ink; i have a feeling it doesnt last long, either).

    That’s exactly the point. Even thought there are of course traditions and even strong traditions, there’s no reason why the recipes can’t be tinkered with for permanence (although I’m sure it quietly happens anyway; I recall reading about a sofer who used some kind of calligraphic ink for his tagin and a mini-brouhaha resulted, but since he did nothing wrong, he emerged unscathed).

  44. I’ve seen some deer Sifrei Torah. Kehillat Achdut Yisrael (the Irgun-Lehi shul), where I davened this morning, has one, written in Egypt in memory of Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Tzuri.

    And there are deer in Israel, certainly. There’s even a “deer crossing” sign by the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens, practically in the middle of the city, although I’ve never seen one there myself.

  45. Shachar Ha'amim

    “And there are deer in Israel, certainly. There’s even a “deer crossing” sign by the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens, practically in the middle of the city, although I’ve never seen one there myself.”

    the “deer” crossing sign in Jerusalem is b/c of a herd of gazelle (tzvi) that live in the “valley of the gazelle” below the botanical gardens. technically they are not “deer”

    Persian Fallow deer were once native to the Lland of Israel and were re-introduced on the last flight to Israel out of tehran before the fall of the shah (there is a very interesting story about how that cam eabout, but time precvents me from writing it all out). These deer have been raised in captivity and now re-introduced into the wild in the hills above Beit Shemesh area as well as the Carmel forest area near Haifa. These are the “bambi” type deer which are also kosher animals (the yachmur)

  46. re the lashes:

    watch the videos.

    1) the singer seems to be a follower of RAY – RAY is sitting at, and perhaps performing at, the separate seating (or men only?) concert on the second video.

    2) the singer is doing this voluntarily, coming to the bes din for a penance (kaparah) for his (earlier) career singing for mixed audiences.

    3) watching the “flogging”, it’s done with a soft leather strip, about 4×16 in., and is done very lightly. IOW, it’s purely symbolic.

    4) many (chasidim?) have the custom to administer symbolic lashes on Erev YK. I’ve seen my LLR in Park Slope and his 2 older sons do this for each other on Erev YK.

    So, despite the inflammatory prose that makes it out to be Talibanesque, what we have is, apparently, a BT doing rather extreme teshuvah, which is RAY’s stock in trade.

    The equation of singing in mixed company with “machti es harabbim” (did he force them to buy tickets?), or Jesus’ sin, is odious.

  47. “many (chasidim?) have the custom to administer symbolic lashes on Erev YK.”

    That was the version of kapparot before the chickens came around. Artscroll refers to it only obliquely.

  48. R. Gil,
    Have you seen R. Rafi Feuerstein’s piece on Ynet (Hebrew) on the SOP? I think you would appreciate it.

    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3945121,00.html

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