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Rethinking Egalitarianism
This column is anti-Orthodox
The answers lie in our love for our daughter (last paragraph!)
Men’s Soccer: A balancing act of Abrahamic proportions
Lord Sacks tackles tax dodgers
IDF commanders to get ‘haredi glossary’
Conversion and Naturalization
Bill to shift conversion responsibility to IDF rabbi
SALT Friday
Good Jewish boys don’t go to prison
Has the silence on sex abuse been broken?
The cost of shidduchim in the Haredi world
Teaching the Documentary Hypothesis in a pluralistic Jewish high school
Judge says no to Rubashkin request
Only 2 haredim for every 500 jobs
Shopping for Kosher? There’s an app for that
SALT Thursday
Exploring the generation gap among Jewish leaders
Orthodox Jews run medical-marijuana collective
Jewish Agency pledges funds for Falash Mura aliyah
Anthony Weiner: Failing To Recognize Jerusalem
Orthodox Jewish school battles in court to stay open
Jews and their historians
1,000 mark 20th anniversary of Kahane’s assassination
French court hears anti-semitic murder appeal
SALT Wednesday
Mishpacha Magazine on Orthopraxy
R. Natan Slifkin’s pamphlet responding to critics’ distortions
Stanley Fisch on conflicts between secular and religious law
Polling place at messianic building changed
Israel among OECD’s most corrupted
Jewish leaders slam archbishop’s remarks
Shmuley Boteach on Bible Codes and Kabbalists
Younger Jewish leaders not so worried about intermarriage
Help youth see the ‘privilege’ of religious observance
SALT Tuesday
Dr. Oz on kosher food
Israel wins Cambridge University debate
Arnie Eisen: Why JTS must find common ground with Islam
Make for yourself a (new) rabbi
Bishops urge Israel to end its occupation
David Goldman: Disappointing Bishops
Leo Strauss, destroyer of Judaism
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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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, 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. He also 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.

143 comments

  1. The NY Times misses the point about the Bishops synod. The OU/RCA/USCCB meeting last week addressed this specific issue.

    At a synod anyone can get up and say what they want, but it has no implications. After a year or two the Pope will issue an Official Statement based upon the Synod which will set Catholic Church policy.

    That is what people should keep an eye out for.

  2. But the article says “The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that the written communiqué was the official message of the meeting, not the remarks of Archbishop Bustros.” That seems to make it more important than simply the perosnal statement of the chairman.

  3. Press releases are meaningless for Catholic Policy. The Pope’s statement is what counts for the long term.

  4. >“▪ Arnie Eisen: Why JTS must find common ground with Islam”

    Sigh….. the article is as anodyne and formulaic as the title suggests.

  5. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Re: Bar Ilan

    Is this the first time they’ve offered Semicha? Will it be a Yoreh Yoreh? Will the RCA take it?

  6. The Bar-Ilan article is not coherent. it never explains what the new program is. The Machon Gavohah has always offered shiurim which follow the rabbanut smicha curriculum.

  7. Also, “Arnie”? since when are you on such chummy terms with Professor Arnold Eisen?

  8. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Moshe – thanks.

  9. I think that this article, entitled

    ‘We yeshiva students barely study’

    is worth reading

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3974053,00.html

  10. MiMedinat HaYam

    the dissapointing bishop article claims the greek ortho are a dying breed, but fails to note they have SUBSTANTIAL real estate holdings, not only in jeruisalem area, but in greece, too.

    which means they are not a dying ($) breed, which the pope (per nytimes article) may be interested in, but not at the expense of non celibate priests. too controversial for the cathloic church.

    wait for the pope’s statement for authoritativeness.

  11. >Mishpacha Magazine on Orthopraxy

    “deciding to be michalel Shabbos, eat items of questionable kashrus or not to put on Tefillin.”

    What makes this Orthopraxy?

  12. I agree with guest. Mishpacha magazine is describing the ‘Charedi-Light’ phenomenon (to user R. Harry Maryles term) or just plain hypocrisy but it in no way resembles Orthopraxy.

  13. R’LL
    Lite (not light)
    KT

  14. Ok, did you read the Mishpacha article? This aint your father’s Orthopraxy. Definition is deff expanding if it means that. Also, this article is pretty terrrible. Ipods! Ban em! Goyish music makes you be mechalel shabbos! I know a few of the mechanchim it quotes. They could not turn any teen with basic questions back to Judasim. What a joke.

  15. Does Mishpacha use the term Orthopraxy?

    Even if it does, it still makes no sense, unless Orthopraxy now means “wears a yarmulke and more or less lives in frum society.”

  16. I used the term Orthopraxy, having only skimmed the article. I’ve printed it out to read later. Sorry if it is imprecise.

  17. Does Mishpacha magazine think that reinforcing the idea that the threats are ‘out there’ is what will change this trend? That technology drives temptation and not the other way around? That American yeshivish communities are actually cloistered or insular?

    Wouldn’t it be more productive to admit that this was going on 80 years ago in Europe too and discuss strategies for dealing with it that understand it for what it really is?

  18. R’MJ,
    Kach mkublani mbeit avi abba- The grass is always greener in the past 🙂

    KT

  19. The most interesting thing about that intermarriage article is that the statistics state a majority of Jewish leaders, both young and old, don’t actually care about intermarriage. That is worrying.

  20. MiMedinat HaYam

    to elon:

    not that they don’t care, but that anyone has a right to marry anyone.

    by our “future leaders”.

  21. With regard to Orthopraxy, the Mishpacha article is actually about the exact opposite – the “prax” in Orthoprax refers to practice, and is generally taken to refer to people who go through the motions or who keep the letter of the law while have beliefs that do not accord with Orthod”dox” beliefs. The article, on the other hand, is specifically about kids who are not keeping up with the proper practices.

  22. ^ What Aaron said. These kids have no clue about any dogma anyway. The point is that even the ones who are practicing may in their heart, or in private, do things that are ossur. Or just things any other kid does like listen to an ipod and want to watch tv.

  23. MiMedinat HaYam

    new youth nomenclature:

    “do you keep half shabbat (texting) or full shabat?”

  24. >“do you keep half shabbat (texting) or full shabat?”

    So far the only source for this – and no one online has independently confirmed this – is Alan Brill. Even searches of Facebook using different search engines and different spelkings turns up nothing. Of course I am not naive and this is possible, but in the mean time this “new youth nomenclature” sounds a lot like that SNL skit this past week, where an over-the-top TV reporter (meant to spoof a reporter on Dateline NBC) gives all sorts of preposterous and alarmist information about the dangerous sexual things kids are up to these days. So he’s reporting about a new trend: trampolining.

    Ominous voice: “If a girl trampolines ten boys, she receives a bracelet, and that’s what Silly Bandz are.”

    In short, until this is proven it’s just an Alan Brill post.

  25. MiMedinat HaYam

    So far the only source for this – and no one online has independently confirmed this – is Alan Brill

    source: yesterday (monday) morning interview of rabbis berman and felsenthal by nachum segal at the ou israel center on rechov strauss. i assume its in the online archives. http://www.jmintheam.com

  26. I am not familiar with “half-Shabbos”. However, on an apartment rental site for Orthodox singles on the Upper West Side (bangitout.com) there is a distinction between “Shomer Shabbat” and “Shabbat-Friendly” roommates. The same distinction applies to Kashrus.

  27. On a different note, what “Jewish leaders” do you mean when you write “Jewish leaders slam archbishop’s remarks”?

    All I was was two self-serving, alarmist, Jewish organizations with no constituency trying to get their names in the Press.

  28. FWIW, there is a poll being conducted under NCSY’s auspices as to the percentage of MO and Charedi teens who text on Shabbos and engage in halachically inappropriate activities during “spring break.” The Mishpacha article merely highlighted the fact that the revolution in technology and communications that begins with the Web and manifests itself on Facebook, etc. has to be viewed both as providing benefits and creating risks to a religious way of life in which we recognize that we are commanded to use such technology in a halachically appropriate manner. I remain skeptical, except and even within the Charedi world, whether bans of the same will work., and think that obviously open discussions as to how to use the technology in a halachically appropriate manner IMO would go a lot further in approaching this issue.

  29. >I remain skeptical, except and even within the Charedi world, whether bans of the same will work.

    Outside of the Charedi world, where are bans even on the table?

  30. “he Mishpacha article merely highlighted the fact that the revolution in technology and communications that begins with the Web and manifests itself on Facebook, etc. has to be viewed both as providing benefits and creating risks to a religious way of life”

    Where did the article highlight the benefits of these technologies?

  31. Emma-the benefits of communication were IMO obvious from a reading of the article. OTOH, the danger of unfiltered media was the focus of the article.

    Guest-think of those communities that demand no access to the web as a requirement for school admission.

  32. >Guest-think of those communities that demand no access to the web as a requirement for school admission.

    Right. They’re Charedi.

  33. note that the NCSY survey refer to by Steve, being conducted by Chana of Curious Jew, makes use of the term “half Shabbos” in the same way Brill does.

  34. Help Youth see “Privilege” of religous observance-one can see evidence of what some would call dialogue-attracting people to worship is a religous issue not a social issue-certainly the presentations are ones that to an uneducated layman border on religious/theological. I don’t know the OU representative-but certainly RFS would follow the Ravs guidelines and Dr. Berger I believe would also.
    Evidence that what the Rav meant in his guidelines is not as simple as many write.

  35. 1,000 people…I was there, and it was inspirational to see so many. Couldn’t stay to the end, as I had a shiur to go to; R’ Kahane, who valued limmud Torah over all, would have approved. 🙂

  36. “Half-Shabbos” is nothing new. When I was growing up, most people who attended my Orthodox shul on Shabbos morning went shopping or went traveling by car in the afternoon.

  37. There’s a great statement in a recent article by the dean of Columbia Law School:

    “We know that Jewish law requires us to fulfill 613 commandments every day, and we know that many of us will not fulfill all of them all of the time. But that does not make the goal less worthy, and it does not mean that our faith becomes irrelevant when we comply only partially. The goal and our efforts to attain it are still central to our lives.”

    This attitude is now out of fashion, which is both good and bad.

  38. >We know that Jewish law requires us to fulfill 613 commandments every day

    The problem is this is not true. Jewish law does not require us to fulfill 613 commandments every day. This is a little bit of a straw man, since God knows we can’t all keep 613 every day, so it then becomes much more understandable and legitimate to neglect mitzvos. The actual number required to fulfill every day? < 613.

  39. Guest, thank you for seizing on a minor point, and missing the larger one completely.

  40. I like that Dr. Oz goes as far as stating the “most reliable” hechshers. I wonder if Hebrew National will respond…

  41. >Guest, thank you for seizing on a minor point, and missing the larger one completely.

    It’s not such a minor point. His way of putting it is permission to observe less, even though he thinks it’s a plea to observe more.

  42. Louis Finkelstein:

    “Judaism is very demanding. It demands of its people what other religions demand of those in religious orders. But because it demands so much, it never gets 100 percent. The fact that it gets any is remarkable.

    “A rabbi today has his work cut out for him, but he should not despair if people do not do as much as they should. Every parent has that with children. God is merciful.”

  43. Guest-Perhaps, you could clarify your comment with the well known comment of the Meshech Chachmah, that even if one cannot physically fulfill all 613 commandments which were commanded to the Jewish People, some of which are only commanded to Kohanim. Leviim and male Yisraelim, if one studies such mitzos via the overarching mitzvah of Talmud Torah, one can assume the persona of a Kohen, etc.

  44. I can’t believe you guys are focusing on the number 613. It’s just a symbolic number in this context. He means full observance versus partial observance. I’m amazed that I have to explain this to you.

  45. >Guest-Perhaps, you could clarify your comment with the well known comment of the Meshech Chachmah, that even if one cannot physically fulfill all 613 commandments which were commanded to the Jewish People, some of which are only commanded to Kohanim. Leviim and male Yisraelim, if one studies such mitzos via the overarching mitzvah of Talmud Torah, one can assume the persona of a Kohen, etc.

    I have no idea what this has to do with my comment.

  46. MiMedinat HaYam

    the generation gap article is off line. i think the author is busy putting on tfillin for mincha. perhaps he is under the effects of that state of washington product. that he claims was used to make “ketoret”.

  47. Guest-Can a Yisrael fulfil all 613 commandments? In practice-no. However, thru the medium of the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, one can become a Kohen or Levi.

  48. A kohen can’t fulfill 613 mitzvos either. What does he become?

  49. tHE mONTREAL cOURT cASE ON THE BASIS OF THE eNGLISH LANGUAGE DESCRIPTION SEEMS TO RAISE A LOT OF INTERESTING ISSUES

  50. Curius re the pluralistic school and the principal’s report re teaching of DH-could she verify the %s of graduates who are Shomei Torah UMitzvos?

  51. “Steve Brizel on October 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm
    Curius re the pluralistic school and the principal’s report re teaching of DH-could she verify the %s of graduates who are Shomei Torah UMitzvos?”

    A BETTER QUESTION IS WHAT % OF THE FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION ARE SHOMREI TORAH UMITZVOS?

    In the Metro Boston Area there are many Orthodox HS ranging from moderately chareidi to MO-it is very unlikely that many of the children come from homes where the parent gpoes to mincha during a lunch break during the week. The goal of pluralistic schools is not to make kids shomrei mitzvot.

  52. mycroft,

    What are HS?

    Also, why would an Orthodox Jew (or any denominational Jew, for that matter) send their kid to a pluralistic school, where their kid would be taught ideas antithetical to their way of thinking?

  53. MiMedinat HaYam

    to steve b:

    prob few, if any.

    this school is an offshoot of brandeis (i believe its next door to brandeis) and does not claim to be O, C, or R.

    its not pluralistic, its multilistic.

    the writer of this paper (who developed the curriculum) writes that she believes in DH.

    so what do you expect? (i wonder what standards, the lookstein center has for its papers / website articles?)

    2. interestingly, the author claims that belief in DH is policy of JTS dating back to the 1960s, when it still claimed some sort of halachic feasance. which just proves that mordechai kaplan, in the end, won out, as far as jts is concerned (last week’s news and views post).

  54. “Curius re the pluralistic school and the principal’s report re teaching of DH-could she verify the %s of graduates who are Shomei Torah UMitzvos?”

    Based on the article, it doesn’t seem like the goal of the school or the course is to produce people who are Shomrei Torah UMitzvot, though they certainly don’t consider keeping mitzvot a bad thing.

    In terms of teaching DH though, it brings up a question for all left wing and center MO schools:

    Given that some percentage (in some cases a very high percentage) of students will go to a secular university, and given that a good percentage may well take a course in bible, ancient Near Eastern history, or something similar, how are students in high school being prepared to deal what they will be taught in those schools?

    Or, put another way: given that many MO students will take a class where the professor will say that the bible was written by man, or that the Exodus never occurred, or that there never was a united kingdom of Israel, what ideas and philosophies should students be taught in high school?

  55. “why would an Orthodox Jew (or any denominational Jew, for that matter) send their kid to a pluralistic school, where their kid would be taught ideas antithetical to their way of thinking?”

    Many frum parents in Riverdale send their kids here:

    http://www.kinneretdayschool.org/

    There are a number of reasons I’ve heard:

    (1) It is substantially cheaper than SAR.

    (2) It is much more conveniently located, in South Riverdale, than SAR, which is in North Riverdale. South Riverdale has far more frum families.

    (3) It is even more Zionist than SAR (and that is saying something!).

    (4) It has a very rigorous secular education.

    (5) It really insists that kids become fluent in Hebrew.

    (6) It even teaches Yiddish.

    (7) If you want to bail on the cost of day schools, your kids will likely get into Bronx Science for high school.

    The parents tell me that the school is not hostile to Orthodox families.

  56. http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/749578/Mrs._Ahuva_Halberstam/Beyond_Outreach:_The_Abraham_Joshua_Heschel_School—_A_Case_Study_in_Inter-denominational_Collaboration

    WADR, I know what the purpose of such a school is, but one has to wonder what are the results of such an education, especially for those fund and support such a school. For those interested in why IMO, a MO parent with a choice of schools should not choose a communal/pluralistic/transdenominational school instead of a yeshiva ketanah, Beis Yaakov or day school,I suggest reading the above link. The school as described by its principal and mission statement IMO seems more like a sophisticated Hillel with all of the bells and whistles associated with a cutting edge Judaic and secular education with a religious and secular faculty and mission statement that aptly illustrates its goals.

    Yet, it offers precious little reason why any MO student attending would want to remain so or why such a student’s parents would object to their son or daughter marrying someone with a profoundly different understanding of Halacha and Hashkafa. The principal herself offers precious little detail as to the degree of observance or committment of their alumni other than to mention that many graduates spend a year somewhere ( but not necessarily a yeshiva or seminary ) in Israel.

    FWIW, I think such a school reminds me of what happens when one grafts two animals who give birth to an offspring that unfortunately is sterile. If anyone on this blog has ever spoken to a BT who grew up out of town well beyond the influence of any major O community except for a local O shul and a community kollel, who went to a “community school:, they will confirm that Judaic studies are watered down to the lowest common denominator and that one can hardly expect the O perspective to be taught, let alone dealt with in a proper manner. Sometimes, kolleleit will teach in some of these schools and have an influence on some students and their parents, but when the administration of a school views interdenominational cooperation as preferable to kiruv as an educational goal, that should send a clear and present warning signal to the average MO family that they should consider all other available choices before exposing their children and themselves to an educational philosopphy that views inclusion and pluralism as superior to kiruv , chizuk and growing in Avodas HaShem as a Ben and Bas Torah.

  57. Jlan wrote in part:

    “Given that some percentage (in some cases a very high percentage) of students will go to a secular university, and given that a good percentage may well take a course in bible, ancient Near Eastern history, or something similar, how are students in high school being prepared to deal what they will be taught in those schools?

    Or, put another way: given that many MO students will take a class where the professor will say that the bible was written by man, or that the Exodus never occurred, or that there never was a united kingdom of Israel, what ideas and philosophies should students be taught in high school?”

    Why should any MO student, regardless of whether they have spent a year post high school in Israel, even think that such courses are appropriate?

  58. >>The parents tell me that the school is not hostile to Orthodox families.<>In terms of teaching DH though, it brings up a question for all left wing and center MO schools:

    Given that some percentage (in some cases a very high percentage) of students will go to a secular university, and given that a good percentage may well take a course in bible, ancient Near Eastern history, or something similar, how are students in high school being prepared to deal what they will be taught in those schools?

    Or, put another way: given that many MO students will take a class where the professor will say that the bible was written by man, or that the Exodus never occurred, or that there never was a united kingdom of Israel, what ideas and philosophies should students be taught in high school?<<

    Um, exposure to these ideas and arguments is not limited to college students taking a bible class. It happens among many right-wing, but intellectually curious Jews, as well. I discussed as much bizmano:

    http://aiwac.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/silent-victims-intellectual-shutdown-orthodox-judais/

  59. Steve, you can ask why (I can think of several reasons), but the simple fact is that many *do*.

    Your description of community schools is, ahem, not quite accurate. There are quite a few with *very* serious Jewish studies; I know many graduates who are seriously committed and learned Jews. OK, so they may not be as focused on Gemara as you’d like, but then again no Jewish school was until, at the earliest, the late 19th century.

  60. Steve,
    you should go live for a few years in an “out of town” community, on with out a big enough chareidi population to hide in. It would do you good.

  61. If I may offer some facts to replace some of the speculation above.

    Assuming that one defines the Metro Boston area as not extending to Providence or Worcester there is 1 MO High School, one Chareidi boys’ school and a Beis Yaakov.

    The Tuition at Gann is significantly higher than any of the Orthodox high schools, so no one goes there to save money.

    If my children’s grades are typical, a few more kids come out shomerei Torah umitzvot than go in that way. (Note that I distinguish between kids who are shomer torah u’mitzvot and kids whose parents are)

    A significant portion of the faculty is Shomerei Torah u’mitzvot. The headmaster is an Orthodox rabbi.

    Reasons MO parents send kids include specific difficulties with the Orthodox schools, the conviction that their children need to learn to function outside of the ghetto, the strength of the curriculum (both limudei kodesh and limudei hol and Hebrew language (whichever you want to call that) and the fact that the school does not try to force the students into a narrow mold religiously, socially or academically.

  62. “Or, put another way: given that many MO students will take a class where the professor will say that the bible was written by man, or that the Exodus never occurred, or that there never was a united kingdom of Israel, what ideas and philosophies should students be taught in high school?””

    At a very least it should be considered da ma shetashiv-but sadly schools like the Gann are probably teaching DT as the truth.

    “Why should any MO student, regardless of whether they have spent a year post high school in Israel, even think that such courses are appropriate?”
    It is not a question of whether or not it is appropriate-they will take such courses.
    One of the reasons that the late Prof Twersky was essentially the trailblazer for Frum Jewish grad students in academic Jewish studies is that at least some before him including musmachim felt that there were essential conflicts between the academic discipline and emunah. Of course, Prof IT cleverly avoided most of the problems by specializing in the Medieval time period.

  63. “Assuming that one defines the Metro Boston area as not extending to Providence or Worcester there is 1 MO High School, one Chareidi boys’ school and a Beis Yaakov.”

    Does Lubavitch have a HS?

  64. “At a very least it should be considered da ma shetashiv-but sadly schools like the Gann are probably teaching DT as the truth.”

    …and therein lies the rub. It’s one thing to present the various attitudes (DH, Mosaic authorhsip plus later additions as per the Zofnat Paneach, Rav Brueur and Rav Hoffman, Rav Bin-Nun &c) and let the students work out what they feel most comfortable with. It’s another to teach DH as the sole option.

    Personally, I think a frank discussion of these issues “on friendly ground” (i.e. 11th or 12th grade high school) would be much more more productive than the present “see no evil, hear no evil” attitude on the part of the Orthodox educational establishment.

  65. Why is tough economic times a reason for companies and people to obey tax laws-the answer unlike R Sacks should be simply dina dmalchuta dina.

  66. R’Gil,
    Can you tell what exactly does Dr. Prager want?
    KT

  67. I think Dr. Prager is clear that he expects Orthodoxy to eventually permit homosexual behavior. The Statement of Principles, he states, is the beginning of the Orthodox re-evaluation of homosexuality.

  68. Article by Conservative Rabbi showing vast differences between Orthodox Jews is of interest.

  69. Michael Rogovin

    RE Dr Prager’s article: I suppose the last paragraph is subject to interpretation. Tot he extend that we are re-evaluating an approach that involves shunning people because of who they are, as opposed to stating halachic requirements regarding what people do, then I think that a re-evaluation is in order. To the extent that signing a statement, even one that clearly and unequivocally restates the halacha prohibiting marriage or marriage-like relationships as well as certain physical acts brings condemnation simply for raising the issue publicly and acknowledging the pain that failing to treat people respectfully requires courage, then a re-evaluation is in order.

    Once you are on the Standard’s Web site, click on the link for Rabbi Zieler’s article on the same subject for another thoughtful Orthodox Rabbi’s view on the role of community newspapers.
    http://jstandard.com/content/item/whats_a_jewish_paper_all_about

  70. What did you mean “(last paragraph!)”?

  71. I meant where Dr. Prager says that the Statement of Principles is the beginning of the re-evaluation of homosexuality. Once again, the Statement of Principles is shown as part of a larger agenda, despite the explicit desires of its authors and signers.

  72. More accurately, I should have written “Last sentence!”

  73. The anti-Orthodox column was really, really dumb. There is no question that only those groups that the author points to believe in Torah MiSinai and Halakha as dictating by the Hakhamim and interpreted since is binding. I’d say that qualifies as something to designate both Avi Shafran and Avi Weiss as “in the same religious universe.” The only way one could think otherwise is if one deems the relationship between Halakha and Jews or Judaism as solely a means to some other “religious” end.

  74. R. Gil I think the “Orthodox position” he’s pointing to encompasses social as well as Halakhic attitudes. Most people seem to think the “Orthodox position” is telling gays to commit suicide like Freelance Kiruv Maniac. In that respect, the SoP certainly constitutes a re-evaluation of that attitude. I didn’t read apart from the last paragraph.

  75. I’m not so sure that everyone who calls themselves Orthodox believes in Torah MiSinai. Besides which, on many important issues of the day there is no single Orthodox position. That is his real point.

    Dr. Prager says that it is the beginning of the process.

  76. I find it interesting that the Jewish Standard has been unable to publish an OP-ED from anyone opposing the publication of same-sex “wedding” announcements. With all that is going on with them, I find it lacking in the “presenting the issue in its entirety” manner.

    Also, I find it kind of disheartening that nobody of community authority is willing to stand up and say, “this is why this is wrong.”.

  77. Moshe Shoshan-Perhaps, the MO and RZ communities should stop living in their respective ivory towers and see what community kollelim have accomplished both in terms of kiruv and
    chizuk in many communities that have neither a strong MO or Charedi community.

    Mike S wrote :
    “Reasons MO parents send kids include specific difficulties with the Orthodox schools, the conviction that their children need to learn to function outside of the ghetto, the strength of the curriculum (both limudei kodesh and limudei hol and Hebrew language (whichever you want to call that) and the fact that the school does not try to force the students into a narrow mold religiously, socially or academically.”

    If you were discussing Charedi schools, you would be correct. MO schools have all of the academic bells and whistles, but have legitimate expectations as to what is their views towards Halacha and Hashkafa and where , in terms of higher education, those views will not only survive, but flourish. The notion that MO schools essentially steer their 12th grade students into Charedi yeshivos and seminaries is incorrect simply because if a young man or woman “flips”, that process happens in the lofty spiritual atmosphere of Israel. Functioning “outside the ghetto”, however one defines that term, is an important and necesary skill, but not one IMO of such paramount importance where one runs a significant risk of a young man or woman jettisoning his or her base committment to Torah and Mitzvos.

  78. “I’m not so sure that everyone who calls themselves Orthodox believes in Torah MiSinai.”
    Do you mean Rabbis or laity?-of those who received smicha I can only think of one possible person who sometimes claims to be Orthodox about whom I am not sure that he claims to believe in Torah Misinai. I know of NO pulpit Rabbis who I am unsure about.

    “Besides which, on many important issues of the day there is no single Orthodox position.”
    Certainly true and that includes fundamental matters such as is a dead Rebbe the Messiah? Is the state of Israel a positive matter or an act of Satan.
    That is his real point.

  79. MiMedinat HaYam

    mycroft on October 29, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Article by Conservative Rabbi showing vast differences between Orthodox Jews is of interest.

    but he has it all wrong. as someone posted here a few days ago, we have more in common with our charedi counterparts than with our conservative counterparts.

    and many of his (sociological) facts are wrong.

    2. the princeton soccer article — for a similar story, read (i’m sure its online somewhere) yesterday’s us today listing of the winners of the siemens (westinghouse) science competition. MANY yeshiva students and their yeshivot listed. central has several. (intersting — more young ladies than young men listed). and bx high school of science only one.

    3. i see the title is lord for the jewish chronicle, not lord rabbi. (from a former headline writer for the commentator; i know the issues, but still …)

    4. the DH story — the article is clear that the instructor believes in the DH. and that the students preparation for it is very weak — three years of (a probably muddled) textual study focusing on dikduk and other such issues, obviously a (philosophical) preparation for this DH course.

    “da mah shetashiv” would probably be more appropriate for the soccer player, who prob has (should have) the background on campus; though the princeton cjl orthodox rabbi is a yct grad, we must know his philosophy.

  80. mycroft: Do you mean Rabbis or laity?

    Rabbis

  81. Moshe Shoshan wrote in part:
    “you should go live for a few years in an “out of town” community, on with out a big enough chareidi population to hide in. It would do you good.”

    WADR, that comment shows that you know very little about my roots. I grew up in and my in laws raised their family in a small town and a suburban community respectively with a strong Jewish secular population during the 1960s and 1970s, where day schools struggled to stay open and where kiruv and chizuk were not exactly popular with local Baalei Batim and the local rabbinate. Both communities were inundated by waves of assimilation and intermarriage as the local secular Jewish establishment bought into “Jewish continuity”, but only very recently have seen the establishment of strong Charedi elements nearby. I know what it is like to not to go to a concert, attend a basketball game or ski on Shabbos when your classmates are participating. Without the support of parents, local spiritual figures and appropriate role models, preserving one’s Jewish committment in such an environmental is not only difficult, but almost impossible.

    In the absence of NCSY and YU Seminar , I suspect that neither my wife nor I would have become Torah observant Jews.

    Today, my old community is the home for a major Charedi yeshiva and a city in my wife’s home state, which had become a Jewish desert, now has a K through Kollel community within commuting distance of the NY area.

  82. “The notion that MO schools essentially steer their 12th grade students into Charedi yeshivos and seminaries is incorrect simply because if a young man or woman “flips”, that process happens in the lofty spiritual atmosphere of Israel”

    I disagree with Steve-it is not a matter of Israel it is the institution that the child goes to in Israel. If I remember correctly Prof Waxman was interviewed about “Flipped Out”-he replied to a question it is a matter of the school-if one sends one child to a school in the US the same effect could happen. Then he I believe recalled that he was of the first class of Americans in KBY in 1957. Since he had gone to Telshe for HS-KBY was a liberal influence on him.

  83. Mycroft wrote in part:

    “At a very least it should be considered da ma shetashiv-but sadly schools like the Gann are probably teaching DT as the truth.

    “Why should any MO student, regardless of whether they have spent a year post high school in Israel, even think that such courses are appropriate?”
    It is not a question of whether or not it is appropriate-they will take such courses.”

    Assuming that Gann & Co. teach DT as the truth, one has to assume that most students will reject its POV and maintain that perspective in a college course that is probably far more sophisticated and hostile to Moshe Emes UToraso Emes than even the course taught at Gann. IMO, that is a dubious premise.

  84. MiMedinat HaYam

    to steve b:

    if you grew up “out of town” you should know that the vast majority of non proper background students will readily accept the statements of a teacher who genuinely believes in the DH.

  85. To mycroft:

    Lubavitch, last I heard, was trying to restart a high school. I believe they now go up to 8th grade for the boys. I am not sure about the girls–my daughter was in this year’s eighth grade class until 4th grade when the number of girls dropped to the point we considered it socially unworkable.

    “At a very least it should be considered da ma shetashiv-but sadly schools like the Gann are probably teaching DT as the truth.” Not so, as I think the article makes clear.

  86. Steve:

    I was not referring to sending kids to chareidi yeshivot, but to the pressure to be strongly academically minded regarding both Jewish and Secular studies, and the very limited scope for creativity permitted. And one skill important to surviving outside the ghetto is the ability to treat those who do not share one’s beliefs respectfully, even while strongly maintaining one’s beliefs. That includes not assuming that all those who are not Orthodox are either ignorant, lazy or overwhelmed by temptation.

  87. “And one skill important to surviving outside the ghetto is the ability to treat those who do not share one’s beliefs respectfully, even while strongly maintaining one’s beliefs. That includes not assuming that all those who are not Orthodox are either ignorant, lazy or overwhelmed by temptation”

    And as I believe RAL once wrote one need not assume that those who don’t believe like we do are motivated by bad faith-but even assuming that would be the case nothing is gained by stating it.
    I may be misquoting him but this is what I recall from a letter by RAL to the Jewish Press about 13 years or so ago about the Neeman Commission responding to R S Berman.

  88. .” One of the benefits of the Orthodox synagogue, my friend said, was that his children weren’t expected to sit in one seat for the whole service. They shuttled from parent to parent, giving both of them temporary breaks during which they could actually daven. Of course, the kids ran around themselves too, as is the de facto culture in many traditional places of worship. This, my friend observed, was far better for the children’s sanity and their parents’ prayer lives. A few decades ago, we were told that the family that prays together, stays together. But if the family stays together in synagogue, often no one prays at all.”

    Something to think about-from egalitarianism article.

  89. http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=193278

    What is wrong with this world? I really hope there is an organized response to this garbage.

  90. Why does he need to wear a kippa if he’s wearing a stocking cap?

    That article about the “Orthodox” isn’t…*technically* wrong, but it’s full of so many simple errors I can’t take it seriously. The Agudat HaRabbanim is to the right of Chassidim? (Or even exists?) “Chassidishe shechita” is noted for those who *don’t* keep it? OU “and Canada”? “Young Israels”?

    Ah well.

  91. Steve,

    I think I have a pretty good idea of the positive effect Chareidi Kollelim have in out of town communities. My brother in law isRabbi Bentzi Epstein, the driving force behind the much lauded Dallas Kollel. I am quite appraised of his work.

    my point about going out of town, is that despite your out of town roots, you consistently write with out much sympathy or understanding for life outside of KGH and places like it. That was relfected in your comments on community day schools.

  92. Gil
    I think that you misconstrue Prager’s word’s. You have accused an Orthodox Jew in good standing of advocating an anti-Halakhic position. Why not contact Prager for clarification?

  93. Incidentally, a discussion has started on lookjed on the question of teaching DH (or at least the questions that led to it) in school. Well worth the look.

    http://lookstein.org/lookjed/read.php?1,19050,19050#msg-19050

  94. ““I’m not so sure that everyone who calls themselves Orthodox believes in Torah MiSinai.”
    Do you mean Rabbis or laity?-of those who received smicha I can only think of one possible person who sometimes claims to be Orthodox about whom I am not sure that he claims to believe in Torah Misinai. I know of NO pulpit Rabbis who I am unsure about”

    I meant to imply that I know of no pulpit Rabbis etc who will not claim to believe in Torah misina-of course to the extent that any Rabbi-puplpit, RY, Mechanech, member of a beis din etc acts in an immoral way-making halachik decisions that will benefit his machers that he would not do if the parties were reversed,-one can question not only if the Rav does not believe in Torah Misinai but does he more fundamentally believe that there is lifnei mi ata atid latet din vecheshbon.

  95. “I find it interesting that the Jewish Standard has been unable to publish an OP-ED from anyone opposing the publication of same-sex “wedding” announcements. With all that is going on with them, I find it lacking in the “presenting the issue in its entirety” manner.”

    I believe it published an Op-Ed article by R. Goldin doing just that.

  96. Re community papers they all publish about events that would be anathema to SHomrei Mitzvot-even if the owners are Orthodox. Just read for example the Intermountain Jewish News-what it covers is essentially indistinguishable from other community papers. R Hillel Goldberg and some of his family often write frum columns-but it covers everything. BTW-thats INHO the way it should be.

  97. “Louis Finkelstein:

    “Judaism is very demanding. It demands of its people what other religions demand of those in religious orders. But because it demands so much, it never gets 100 percent. The fact that it gets any is remarkable.”

    Probably true for mainlie Christianity-but Islam where the vast majority fast for 30 days straight(sunrise-sunset) is far from easy.

  98. The other eleven months aren’t so bad, though, although you’re correct- it’s a lot more than Christianity, a lot less than Judaism.

    (It’s all much easier- even Ramadan- if you live in a Muslim country.)

  99. The very weak in which we read about the purchasing of the cave of the patriarchs in the Torah, is when the UN decides to say that such a cave does not belong to Jews, but is rather a Palestinian mosque…

    And it appears that nobody here cares about it.

  100. “Nachum on October 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    The other eleven months aren’t so bad, though, although you’re correct- it’s a lot more than Christianity, a lot less than Judaism.

    (It’s all much easier- even Ramadan- if you live in a Muslim country.)”

    Sadly far more people fast for Ramadan in than do for Yom Kippur. that statement is trune in the US.

  101. Well, the rates for fasting are quite high here in Israel (though many cut corners, such as fasting half or most of the day or drinking water). This is the case even with avowedly secular Jews.

    I have to wonder why the US has such a low rate…?

  102. Why should anyone care what the UN says?

  103. “Nachum on October 31, 2010 at 4:03 pm
    Why should anyone care what the UN says?”

    If one thinks the UN is a paper tiger look at Kosovo. If the UN Security Council imposes sanctions-or lets say puts observers in area of the”Palestinian Authority” and those observers are Russian Troops-you certainly care about the UN. As long as the US vetoes resolutions Israel is OK-Security Council only thing that has enforcement power in the UN. But sadly I am not so sure of continued US vetoes.

  104. “aiwac on October 31, 2010 at 3:49 pm
    Well, the rates for fasting are quite high here in Israel (though many cut corners, such as fasting half or most of the day or drinking water). This is the case even with avowedly secular Jews.

    I have to wonder why the US has such a low rate…?”

    In Israel even the government closes down things that are usually open on Shabbos-airport, border crossings etc Secular jews are part of Jewish nation in Israel-sadly the vast majority of Jews in US do not really identify primarily as part of Jewish people/nation.

  105. >“moshe shoshan on October 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm:
    Gil
    I think that you misconstrue Prager’s word’s. You have accused an Orthodox Jew in good standing of advocating an anti-Halakhic position. Why not contact Prager for clarification?”

    I’m never against more clarity, but Dr. Ken Prager’s article seemed pretty clear in its direction and goal. He admits that the SoP “reaffirm[s] the Torah prohibition against gay sexual acts, [but] advocates understanding, compassion, and inclusion of gay Jews within the Jewish community.”

    If that were all the SoP did, it would be meaningless and anodyne b/c almost no sensible Orthodox rabbi believes differently about how to respond to a self-identified gay person. The only real question is what role in the community can be held by someone who openly, publicly twins their identity with something that is prohibited by the Torah.

    But the SoP is ultimately more than that — it’s about the sought after trophy of “re-examining the Orthodox position on homosexuality”…. something that Dr. Ken Prager believes has already begun.

  106. “but Dr. Ken Prager’s article seemed pretty clear in its direction and goal. He admits that the SoP “reaffirm[s] the Torah prohibition against gay sexual acts, [but] advocates understanding, compassion, and inclusion of gay Jews within the Jewish community.”

    If that were all the SoP did, it would be meaningless”
    No it wouldn’t be meaningless-for awhile I attended a daf yomi class given by a talmid a world class gadol-a he referred to the gadol as claiming homosexuals are all reshayim. To me they are no worse than mechallei Shabbos-certainly one can’t be a Rav and be mechallel Shabbos but you are welcome in schuls.

  107. “Why should anyone care what the UN says?””

    UNESCO is one of those few UN organizations that everybody respects.

    Also, the United States in this case agrees with the UN.

    But yes, why should we care what anybody thinks regarding the Me’arat HaMachpela, when the entire point of Avaraham paying for it, we are told, is to ensure that nobody can say it is not ours.

  108. “when the UN decides to say that such a cave does not belong to Jews, but is rather a Palestinian mosque…”

    In fact it IS a mosque and has been in continous use as a mosque since the seventh century except when the evil crusaders were in control. The site is maintained by the waqf.

  109. moshe shoshan

    Gil,

    I say again, contact Prager and ask him.

  110. “In fact it IS a mosque and has been in continous use as a mosque since the seventh century except when the evil crusaders were in control. The site is maintained by the waqf.”

    And how do you explain them declaring Rachel’s tomb as a mosque as well?

  111. “And how do you explain them declaring Rachel’s tomb as a mosque as well?”

    since Islam tends to make mosques out of other religions religious sites UNESCO is simply explaining what will happen to the site if thePalestinian Authority expands its control a few yards further. The over/under of maintenance of site as aJewish religious site is within a few hours of how long the” Tomb
    of Hoseph” lasted until it was burned down.

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