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The Human Spirit: Long-distance learning
The rabbi and imam, no joke
Do Israelis Speak Hebrew or Israeli?
Rabbi who allegedly made homophobic remarks remains police chaplain
Interview with R. David Bigman
OU convention audio and video
SALT Friday
Schneerson Library dispute
Support for choice means results
R. Dr. Adam Ferziger on non-Jews in Conservative synagogues
Marriage and Jewish Law: The Kohein’s Conundrum
Jews and the AFL
Classic Israeli authors bumped from religious curriculum
District Court sets precedent by upholding right of ‘aguna’
Michael Jackson’s rabbi tells all
Jewish ‘Library of Congress’ bounces back from debt
SALT Thursday
Exit Joe: Lieberman and His Legacy (including a piece from Rabbi Genack
What’s in a name? Everything!
Gen-Y is hungry
The Next Haredi Ban: Facebook
Court: Woman had no right to leave on head scarf
▪ No Jewish child left behind
▪ $5M suit over Jimmy Carter’s ‘Palestine’ book
▪ Englewood Charter Garners Major Orthodox Supporters
SALT Wednesday
Jewish philanthropists help people with disabilities
In switch, Brooklyn College will hire adjunct on Mideast
Rabbis sign on to battle with Beck
Minyan 2.0
Cyrus, Ahmadinejad, and the Politics of Purim
SALT Tuesday
Online course analyzes Agnon’s stories
New start-up: Kosher clothing stores
Haredi world mulls acceptance of civil unions
Yemeni Jewish Child Kidnapped in Amran
SALT Monday
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, 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.

83 comments

  1. >Yemeni Jewish Child Kidnapped in Amran

    “Sources said that the kidnapping of the child targeted to pressure the Jewish community to forgive Abdul-Aziz Al-Abdi, who shot dead a Jewish fellow citizen, Mashaa Yehiya bin Yaeesh Al-Nahari, and accept his fine in which he will pay 5.5 million riyals.”

    Just FYI, according to the conversion rate, $5.5 million Yemeni Riyal is $25,551.68.

  2. Just FYI, according to the conversion rate, $5.5 million Yemeni Riyal is $25,551.68.

    Jewish blood is indeed not cheap.

  3. >Jewish blood is indeed not cheap.

    $25 k for murder? I know Yemen is a poor country, but it’s still a good deal, i.e., a way to get away with murder. I know that’s the law, and applies to Muslims too – but IIUC it is entirely up to the family to accept or reject it. Certainly kidnapping a kid to compel them to accept the money is despicable.

  4. I was being sarcastic. The kidnapping is only one additional despicable step here.

  5. Sorry. I don’t know what happened to my sarcasm detector today.

  6. MiMedinat HaYam

    to l kaplan regarding last week’s post:

    dont know about vulcans, but klingons are mentioned by rashi in first perek of breishit as the guards of shamayim. (i guess christians call it st peter.)

  7. Re: outer space

    Thank you, R’ Nachum and Mori ViRebbi R. Kaplan, for your very kind words.

    R’ Moshe Shoshan, I agree with you that the space exploration concept can be used as a launching pad for Torah discussions (methodologically much the same as R. Shlomo Yosef Zevin uses Shakespeare as the launching pad for one of the chapters in Li’or Hahalakhah). In addition to the LMOF reference that you excellently cite, the gemara in Eruvin 21a calculates that the Oral Torah is 3200 times the size of the universe. Hence, all the excitement of astronauts and astronomers to explore the cosmos is a mere metaphor for the exciting mitzvah mission that a Jew possesses “to boldly go where no one has gone before” in exploring Torah Hashem.

  8. Moshe Shoshan

    I did not occur to me that anyone would take my Star Trek post too seriously. I just couldn’t resist the temptation to go after Prof. Kaplan. (I have a family mesorah for such activity)

    However, R. Spira’s comments require response. For the Rav, space exploration was a value in and of itself, not a metaphor for Talmud Torah. Neither space exploration nor Modern Orthodoxy are what they used to be.

  9. From Haaretz’s website:

    12:43 גלי צה”ל
    המרכז הלאומי להשתלות פרסם הבוקר נתונים לפיהם בחודש ינואר נרשם מספר שיא של תרומות איברים והשתלתם בישראל

  10. Lawrence Kaplan

    Moshe Shoshan: What exactly are you alluding to? You can send me a e-mail at:
    [email protected]

  11. Shades of Gray

    The following(see link) is an article by R. Cardozo, “A Plea to Bring Spinoza, Locke and Sartre into the Beth Midrash”:

    (While I would personally be wary of the suggestion below were I to be a mashgiach, and the Rambam in Hilchos Avodah Zarah would be an issue, it is interesting to note that R. Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz brought in a Conservative rabbi to YTV to test if some of his students were capable of debating him, IIRC from his biography)

    R. Cardozo writes:

    “Once in a while, a yeshiva should invite an apikores (heretic) and make him challenge the students’ beliefs. The debate that would follow would spark a whole new way of seeing what Judaism really has to offer. Instead of shunning such a proposal, it should be encouraged. Sure, this can only be done with mature and serious students and it needs to be carefully guided, but it would create strong religious Jews who know what they stand for, enjoy the challenge and move Judaism forward.”

    http://www.jewishideas.org/articles/plea-bring-spinoza-locke-and-sartre-beth-midrash

  12. Here’s a troubling bit from that VIN piece:

    Comment one:

    “And if they would have [told her to uncover her hair], I would have sued and/or picked up and moved to Eretz Yisroel (bli neder).”

    Comment two:

    “Bite your tongue -this is a medina shel chesel which has given us amazing religious freedom. For a minor inconvenience you would throw it all away? Shame on you.”

    I’m shocked that moving to Israel, for whatever reason, even incorrect ones, could be considered “throwing something away.” But not surprised.

  13. Boy, that lawsuit against Carter really is overreaching. It should (and probably will) be dismissed, with prejudice.

  14. Re Joe Lieberman: My impression is that those who admire him do so on substance, while those who dislike him resort to nasty personal remarks. This is borne out in the Forward piece.

  15. Re Joe Lieberman-Scott, my read of the comments is not so much of personal remarks but of style, it is possible that substance gets lost due to style (from one who recieved much tochacha in his school years, I can tell you style makes an unbelievable difference)
    KT

  16. Let me offer the following note which I also posted on the Forward website. When JFK was gearing up his presidential run, he either wrote, or as per the late Drew Pearson claimed, that a family friend ghostwrote a book entitled “Profiles in Courage”, which profiled Presidents and Senators who took stances that went against the then PC prevailing in their parties. I think that if that book was updated, Senator Lieberman would rate an entry because of his critique of President Clinton’s behavior and the current cultural milieu in Hollywood as well as his critical view of the slide towards appeasing terror and against a strong national defense in the Democratic Party.

  17. Lieberman became a hero of the Right, so it’s not as courageous as it sounds. One milieu rejected him, the other lionized him.

  18. “his critique of President Clinton’s behavior”

    Yes, he certainly talked the talk.

  19. S wrote:

    “Lieberman became a hero of the Right, so it’s not as courageous as it sounds. One milieu rejected him, the other lionized him”

    That is a very simplistic take on a politician who took some very principled stances and was merely applauded by those who became his most vocal supporters and friends. Can you imagine the 2008 election if he had been selected to run with McCain? The facts are that his views were not that far from those of a Scoop Jackson or Daniel Moynihan-who, once upon a time,were part and parcel of the Democratic Party.

  20. The book had nothing to do with running for president, at least not directly. Came out 2 years after he was elected to the Senate and 5 years before he became president.

  21. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve — you cannot take principled stands today in the democratic party. (sometimes in repub, but never in demo)

    mdj — but he won a pulitzer without admitting he didnt write it.

  22. MDJ-The book was indeed written or ghost written ( possibly as Drew Pearson claimed by the late NY Times reporter and columnist Arthur Kroch) as you mentioned in 1955 and won a Pulitzer Prize. One year later, JFK was a candidate for VP at the 1956 convention, and emerged as a star of the future, even after Estes Kefauver won the VP nomination and lost with Adlai Stevenson for the second time to Ike and Nixon.

    JFK and RFK then played a huge role in the McCllelan Committee’s hearings on Hoffa and the Teamsters. With HHH , LBJ or other Senators with far more experience being unable to mount a campaign in 1960 that would unify the entire Democratic Party, unable to match JFK’s spending on the campaign or to offer movie star charisma that the media gobbled up and covered for his questionnable personal behavior, especially JFK’s pal Ben Bradlee of the WP, Kennedy won the nomination and eeked out a win over Nixon based on their performance in the debates.

    Viewing the book as having nothing directly to do with the campaign is almost as illogical and naive as assuming Obama’s books had nothing to do with establishing a first term Senator and war hero with no legislative accomlishments as a serious national candidate.

  23. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve — forgot the name of the writer, but he was known to be jewish. which is why JFK couldnt attribute it to a jew, per his fear of his father — old man joe, a known anti semite (jacobson curse) though JFK was not a known anti semite.

    not only no legislative accomplishment — he had the worst attendance record in the senate (even accounting for his time laid up with as foot ailment), a record that stands to this day. and only one bill he introduced — and a minor one at that.

    eked out a win — with assistance of daley the first. (and we now see his successor). and ‘bama’s books say nothing in them. though we now known who wrote at least one of the books.

  24. >That is a very simplistic take on a politician who took some very principled stances and was merely applauded by those who became his most vocal supporters and friends. Can you imagine the 2008 election if he had been selected to run with McCain? The facts are that his views were not that far from those of a Scoop Jackson or Daniel Moynihan-who, once upon a time,were part and parcel of the Democratic Party.

    You’re the one who’s being simplistic. I’m realistic. A principled stance is one in which you don’t exchange one set of fans for another, but one in which you exchange your fans for . . . scorn.

    I’m not saying he didn’t really believe the positions he took, but so what?

  25. Does anyone know why the religious court system was unable to deal with the Agunah case?
    KT

  26. MMHY,
    Ted Sorenson was Jewish?! He seems to be the main candidate for the ghostwriter.

  27. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/fashion/03HATS.html?_r=1 with hats now being associated with a particular segment of society, will it change orthodoxies view of the hat?
    KT

  28. Well, fedoras were originally a woman’s hat…

  29. By the way, that Chabad story is a chilul Hashem. Just thought I’d say.

    By the way:

    1) Who is “Chabad” in this case? In any case? Who would get the books?

    2) Doesn’t Chabad run Judaism in Russia anyway? Why don’t they build a library there?

  30. From the NY Times’s obit:

    Theodore Chaikin Sorensen. . . . described himself as a distinct minority: “a Danish Russian Jewish Unitarian.” He was the son of Christian A. Sorensen, a lawyer, and Annis Chaikin, a social worker, pacifist and feminist.

  31. >By the way, that Chabad story is a chilul Hashem. Just thought I’d say.

    >By the way:

    >1) Who is “Chabad” in this case? In any case? Who would get the books?

    >2) Doesn’t Chabad run Judaism in Russia anyway? Why don’t they build a library there?

    I disagree. The Russians are thieving thieves, and they should be called on it and return the damned thing.

    I agree that who “Chabad” is is a good question, to be determined by a competent court, but it sure as heck isn’t the Russian government.

  32. As to Sorensen’s contribution to Profiles in Courage, check out the video on the Times’s obit page, around the 6th and 7th minutes.

  33. lawrence kaplan

    I agree with S. that the Russians are thieving thieves, but Chabad ought to to clearly and unequivocally that they will NOT attempt to legally seize any Russian art on loan to US museums.

  34. Took the words out of my mouth, Professor. I agree with Fred (S.) as well, of course, but can’t help but think the materials would be better off in a public institution.

  35. >Took the words out of my mouth, Professor. I agree with Fred (S.) as well, of course, but can’t help but think the materials would be better off in a public institution.

    I disagree. First, if it’s stolen then who is a better custodian is really immaterial, especially since we’re not talking about Chabad being so inept that they’d let the books rot or get ruined.

    Secondly, although it’s true that Chabad does not have a good record as far as access to it’s rare Chasidic materials to outside scholars (or so I’m told) in other ways they have an AMAZING record. There has got to be 20,000 items on Hebrewbooks.org from the Chabad library, many many hundreds of which are rare, and which they made freely available to the public.

    Thirdly, what makes whatever Russian library they’re housed in more public? Although it’s true that Russia’s great Judaica collections are relatively accessible to scholars now, Russia is still far away from where the Jewish action is these days.

    Fourth, this isn’t exactly a legal argument, but maybe Russia shouldn’t get away scot free for its poor record toward Jews? No one is saying that they should “return,” let’s say, the Firkowicz collection to which was purchased fair and square by Russia, to “the Jews.” Why should Russia retain something that it confiscated just because it wants to? Even the freaking CCCP eventually realized it needed to give this to Chabad. Tough luck, it collapsed. But it simply isn’t right for them to keep it just because they have it.

    Chabad obviously needs to weigh what it does, and if they come off looking bad or greedy that’s their problem. But how else can they receive what justly belongs to them?

  36. lawrence kaplan

    I agree with S. that the Russians are thieves and Chabad ought to get the collection. I think, however, they should make it clear that they will not do so by attemptin to seize Russian paintings on loan to US museums. First, they will never succeed in a million years. And, second, all they will achieve is to delay, if not cancel, the planned loans and incur a lot of bad will.
    N.B.I write as an art lover.

  37. Our community proudly remembers marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
    ======================
    The orthodox community?
    KT

  38. S wrote:

    “You’re the one who’s being simplistic. I’m realistic. A principled stance is one in which you don’t exchange one set of fans for another, but one in which you exchange your fans for . . . scorn.

    I’m not saying he didn’t really believe the positions he took, but so what?”

    That is exactly my point. Just as the personae who were the subjects of Profiles in Courage were pilloried for their unpopular stands, Lieberman was practically run out of the Democractic Party for his stances.

  39. lawrence kaplan

    S. One more point: You write: “If they [Chabad] come off looking bad or greedy, that’s their problem.” Really? Only theirs? I an afraid that many people may say, “That’s how religious Jews behave.”

  40. >S. One more point: You write: “If they [Chabad] come off looking bad or greedy, that’s their problem.” Really? Only theirs? I an afraid that many people may say, “That’s how religious Jews behave.”

    I don’t know if it’s so bad. Only Russia gets to play hardball? What other leverage do they have?

  41. MiMedinat HaYam

    the nyt article glosses over (or perhaps the institutions involved gloss over) the fact the institutions themselves can put tremendous pressure on the russian govt to comply with the russian courts own decision to return the library to chabad. and by the way, the owner of the library is the (supposedly / generally accepted as) non meshichist governing body of chabad.

    2. instead of commenting on the kohen story (which was extensively discussed here a couple months ago), you should link to another huffpost story http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/28/hasidic-mom-sues-for-cust_n_815424.html which would be more timely / open to discussion. (but do it on sunday or monday, so it doesnt get lost over the weekend. that commmonly happens here.)

    3. the cjh is a great resource, but it could use more friendliness from staff and access policy.

    4. a better lieberman post would be about his new book on shabat. (i doubt he will have a ghost writer.)

  42. MiMedinat HaYam

    joel rich on February 3, 2011 at 9:37 am
    Does anyone know why the religious court system was unable to deal with the Agunah case?
    KT

    because not all cases are ones which require a husband to give his wife a get.

    unlike the rca policy, every other bet din the world over has three choices — a: husband MUST give a get, under penalties of ?whatever?. b: its a good idea for him to give his wife a get — give him some encouragement, or c: the couple should get back together (i know of cases where that worked.). (by the way, nys (old) law is similar. not always is a divorce granted. insufficient grounds.)

  43. “Our community proudly remembers marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
    ======================
    The orthodox community?”

    As many people claim to have marched with King as claim to have seen Bobby Thompson’s home run.

  44. MeMedinat: Looks like he’s writing it with David Klinghoffer, of all people.

  45. I take pride in having made the Lieberman-Klinghoffer shidduch. He’s a good writer and someone who fully appreciates Shabbos because came to Sabbath observance as an adult. Rabbi Genack was involved in the book’s Torah content.

  46. S:

    “although it’s true that Chabad does not have a good record as far as access to it’s rare Chasidic materials to outside scholars (or so I’m told)”

    i’m not interested in rare chasidic materials and can’t comment cn this, but i used the chabad library 770 extensively for my research in a different area. i found the access to be just as good as at any other academic rare book room.

    “I don’t know if it’s so bad. Only Russia gets to play hardball?”

    agreed. anyone who follows the news knows that the russian government and its institutions are vile and corrupt. there will be no response to asking nicely.

  47. PROF KAPLAN:

    “and incur a lot of bad will”

    on the list of our activities that incud bad will, this doesn’t quite rank so high. so curators and art lovers are miffed? big deal. how about all these curators take a principled stance and refuse to deal with russian state museums until they return the library?

    “N.B.I write as an art lover.”

    N.B. i write as a lover of our literary patrimony and historical record. i couldn’t care less about your art.

  48. >i’m not interested in rare chasidic materials and can’t comment cn this, but i used the chabad library 770 extensively for my research in a different area. i found the access to be just as good as at any other academic rare book room.

    I haven’t, but I have heard that (from you and others). It’s davka the Chasidic materials that (supposedly) they are not open.

    I’m glad you agree with me. It’s outrageous that this library can be claimed by Russia just because.

  49. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: Indeed you are ranting. I said the Russians are thieves and that Chabad should get the collection, and I do care about our patrimony. I still do not believe that threatening to confiscate paintings on loan is the way to do it. There are other ways to play “hardball,” trade agreements, for example. You and I can disagree with each other without questioning each other’s good will.

  50. PROF KAPLAN:

    i think it is completely unrealistic to expect the US government to hinge foreign and economic policies vis-a-vis a country of such importance as russia on the return of a library to some jews in brooklyn. not only is it unrealistic, but it is unwarranted. as much as i want the books returned, american policy interests should not take a back seat to russian books. (jews yes, judaica no.) unrealistic, unwarranted, and moreover misplaced concern.

    you are concerned about the “bad will” resultant from postponed or cancelled exhibits (i.e., something that will really have zero impact in the real world), but not about the “bad will” that would result from the very real impact (in the US and in Russia) of trade sanctions? you think people who lose the ability to feed and shelter their famlilies will be more understanding than someone who has to figure out what to do on sunday afternoon because an exhibit was cancelled?

  51. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: I wasn’t referring to trade sanctions. But you and S. were taking about playing “hardball.”

    I am troubled by your contemptuous attitude towards culture.

  52. PROF. KAPLAN,

    i can’t claim to be a lettered man and i admit that i lack an appreciation for visual aethetics, but what makes you conclude that i have a “contemptuous attitude towards culture”? wadr, i’m not the one who had to google “vulcans.” 🙂

    and i’m troubled by your paranoid concern for the relatively minor fallout in the wake chabad’s harmless tactic.

    “I wasn’t referring to trade sanctions.”

    then i misunderstood your reference to trade agreements. please explain.

  53. R Gil wrote:

    “I take pride in having made the Lieberman-Klinghoffer shidduch. He’s a good writer and someone who fully appreciates Shabbos because came to Sabbath observance as an adult. Rabbi Genack was involved in the book’s Torah content”

    This sounds like a great book, which we need more of, especially in light of the recent discussions re texting and other impermissible activities on Shabbos.

  54. Abba and Larry Kaplan-it seems obvious that the Russians want to have their proverbial cake and eat it as well. Allowing the West and US access to Russian art that the Russian authorities deem appropriate while maintaining access over what appears to a huge library of documents that the Russians acquired by dint of war, as opposed to any other means, that would be of interest to anyone interested in the origins and development of Chabad Chasidus.From a legal perspective, can anyone tell whether the Russians contested the court’s jurisdiction, and the results of the same, or if the Russians have simply defaulted and consider themselves beyond the jurisdiction of the court, a dubious proposition under elementary principles of federal jurisdiction? Why shouldn’t the Russians think of the consequences of not adhering to a Court Order, in the absence of a real objection by the Russians to like any other litigant in an American court?

  55. >From a legal perspective, can anyone tell whether the Russians contested the court’s jurisdiction, and the results of the same, or if the Russians have simply defaulted and consider themselves beyond the jurisdiction of the court

    They didn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. They claim that Chabad can file suit in Russia if they want to, but a US court has no jurisdiction on them under international law, which may well be true for all I know. Chabad apparently doesn’t trust the Russian legal system (shocked, I tell you) and from their perspective, presumably, they’ve already won the legal battle, they only need to get the Russians to comply. I mean, what would be gained if they went to Russian court and lost? That would be a disaster, so it obviously isn’t an option for them.

    As far as the larger issue, I must again agree with myself (and Abba) that Chabad isn’t doing anything so terrible by interfering with art interchanges. Let the art community stand behind Chabad, who are only trying to retrieve stolen materials from the thieves.

  56. S & Joseph Kaplan-wouldn’t you agree that the Russians were mistaken if they thought that any American group, with the same predicament as Chabad, would never consider accepting their invitation to have this dispute adjudicated in Russian courts? That sounds like what judges call “forum shopping” by the home team.

  57. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: I wrote that I thought Chabad’s threatening to have the US government seize Art loaned by the Russians was a mistake, and I expressed concern that it might cause possible ill will. I may be wrong, but for you to describe such a concern as “paranoid” is extreme, unjustified, insulting, and really over the top.

    There can be a hardening of position re trade and implicit threats and understandings without any formal, official sanctions. It is not all or nothing.

    I confessed to being unfamiliar with the Vulcans. But I never expressed nor do I feel any contempt for those who watch Star Trek.

  58. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: In your last e-mail you wrote “Joseph” when you obviously meant “Lawrence.”

    S.: Thank you for expressing your disagreement with me in a courteous fashion focusing on the substance of the issue.

  59. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: I see I did not answer your question as to what made me think you are contemptous of culture. I thoght that your reference to “someone who has to figure out what to do on a Sunday afternoon because an exhibit was cancelled” sounded contemptuous.

  60. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. trade agreeements wont cut it. besides, russia prob doesnt want to cut its tariffs on us goods. they sell relatively little to the us, so there is no give (or take).

    2. chabad managed to get a russian court order that it is the owner of the library (“agudas anshe chabad”, i think is the legal nsme of the entity that inherited the rebbe z”l’s estate.) however, as we know (khodorvsky – yukos oil, other cases) there is no rule of law in russia. so extra legal (not extralegal) measures must be taken. such as enforcing through us courts.

    3. the real pressure would be from businesses and institutions that the russians are courting for business / cultural / pr reasons/ and this is the best way to have them pressure the russian govt.

    4. note there is a big dispute within chabad between a rabbi cukin of los angeles (the rebbe’s representative on the library issue) and rabbi xxxx the “chief rabbi of russia” and putin’s “friend” regarding how to pressure (If at all) the russians.

  61. PROF. KAPLAN:

    “I wrote that I thought Chabad’s threatening to have the US government seize Art loaned by the Russians was a mistake, and I expressed concern that it might cause possible ill will. I may be wrong, but for you to describe such a concern as “paranoid” is extreme, unjustified, insulting, and really over the top.

    a) i think it’s paranoid because i fail to comprehend the nature of this ill will. i mean what type of ramifications are you afraid of?
    b) accusing me of being contemptuous to culture is “extreme, unjustified, insulting, and really over the top.” and why? because i’m not sympathetic toward art lovers who might have one less exhibit to see this year?

    “There can be a hardening of position re trade and implicit threats and understandings without any formal, official sanctions.”

    You want the US government to threaten a world power over books? you really think that even informal government threats are less dangerous than interfeing with the art calendar?

    “I confessed to being unfamiliar with the Vulcans.”

    there was smiley face after my vulcan comment that moved.

  62. PROFK:

    just because i think your concerns for the implications for the art calendar are misplaced doesn’t make me contemptuous of anything. if there are any other ramifications of chabad’s tactic, please explain.

  63. sorry, i meant PROF KAPLAN

  64. >S & Joseph Kaplan-wouldn’t you agree that the Russians were mistaken if they thought that any American group, with the same predicament as Chabad, would never consider accepting their invitation to have this dispute adjudicated in Russian courts? That sounds like what judges call “forum shopping” by the home team.

    I don’t think the Russians give a you-know-what. It’s a fancy way of saying “We’re never going to give it to you.” I suppose it would be interesting to see what would happen if they actually lost in a Russian court, assuming that could happen, but I’m sure we’ll never get the chance to see.

  65. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: Had you said, to begin with, that my concerns were “misplaced,” that would be a fair disagreement. I took offense at your use of the term “paranoid.” I note you did not respond to that. I cited th eohrs wch led me thn yuexresse ctot.i lletreads judge.

  66. Lawrence Kaplan

    I hit the post comment button too quickly. The last sentences should read: I cited the remark of yours which in my view was contemptuous. I will let the readers judge.

    To continue: I do not believe you appreciate the time, money, effort,knowledge, and (wo)manpower involved in arranging large scale international art exhibitions.

  67. Lawrence Kaplan

    BTW, has the Chabad organization in Russia gotten involved in or commented on this dispute? They are reputed to have a good deal of political influence.

  68. Did everyone forget lieberman’s recent role in abolishing “don’t ask,don’t tell”policy

  69. “http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/fashion/03HATS.html?_r=1 with hats now being associated with a particular segment of society, will it change orthodoxies view of the hat?”

    It will be a long time before this filters down to the heterosexual community…

  70. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: I am sorry that that in my most recent replies I missed your 2:50 PM response.

    So you stand by your characterization of my expression of concern about possible ill will as paranoid. I really have nothing more to say in response to that. I will say that all your remarks about the significance or (in your view the extreme) insignificance of disrupting major international art exhibitions are dripping with contempt. Each time you deny it you confirm it.

    Medinat Ha-Yam: I think our point number 3 makes good sense.

  71. Joseph Kaplan

    From what I’ve read in the papers, I have little faith in the Russian system of “justice.” However, from a jurisdictional perspective, let’s switch things around. Scenario: there’s an art collection in a museum of the US that some Russians say belong to them. Does anyone think the US museum would feel bound to follow a decision from a Russian court? (I think I’m agreeing with Steve; R. Enkin, do I have to make a shehechiyanu? :-))

  72. i think the implausibility of Joseph Kaplan’s hypothetical is tied to the problems with Russian rule of law (or lack thereof). If it were a bunch of brit who sued in UK court, it is quite plausible that a US museum would comply, no?

  73. “Did everyone forget lieberman’s recent role in abolishing “don’t ask,don’t tell”policy”

    He’s a fairly garden-variety liberal, with all that entails, although the fact that he’s obviously not an anti-semite or anti-Zionist makes him stand out a bit in those circles.

    Unfortunately, there are many Orthodox Jews who are willing to ignore the former because of the latter, or because he’s Orthodox (or whatever), or because they’re just fine with positions like that or are even enthusiastic supporters of them, as oxymoronic as that may seem. And lots are in the OU.

  74. “Unfortunately, there are many Orthodox Jews who are willing to ignore the former because of the latter,”

    Or maybe Orthodox Jews support conservative politicians becasue they perceive they support Israel despite other positions that they hold which maybe anti-Torah hashkafa. Orthodoxy is neither a subsidiary of the RNC or DNC.

    “Or maybe or because he’s Orthodox (or whatever),”
    good point-it is likely that Lieberman is a Right wing Conservative Jew which there are probably very few left of. He has many positions which are inconsistent with Orthodoxy-it is tough for most to realize because he is shomer shabbos.

    “or because they’re just fine with positions like that or are even enthusiastic supporters of them, as oxymoronic as that may seem. And lots are in the OU.”

    Re OU-if I recollect correctly Lieberman during the 2000 campaign resigned from the OU. I believe he was asked onthe campaign some questions did he believe X which is apparent Orthodox dogma etc-the dogma would be inconsistent with one that an American leader could hold-I believe that is when he resigned from OU. Its more than a decade memory hazy but certainly there are those in the blogosphere who would recall that if I am correct.

  75. Nachum: He’s a fairly garden-variety liberal, with all that entails

    I think the world sees him (and Gore and Clinton) as a centrist.

  76. Shachar Ha'amim

    Gilad Zuckerman is very controversial – he’s like Noam Chomsky and mixes up the political with the academic.
    As Prof. Avshalom Koor always likes to point out – Zuckerman lives in chutz laaretz and his children do not speak Hebrew – or ‘Israeli’ as Zuckerman calls it.

  77. PROF. KAPLAN:

    “So you stand by your characterization of my expression of concern about possible ill will as paranoid.”

    yes. a few times already i’ve asked you to define this ill will you are concerned about. ill will by who, toward whom, and with what type of manifestation. what are the ramifications of this ill will?

    “I took offense at your use of the term “paranoid.” ”

    i’m sorry about that. i didn’t mean to imply any clinical implications a la DSM by using the term paranoid. i was using it colloquially, i.e., you seem overly concerned about something without just cause.

    “BTW, has the Chabad organization in Russia gotten involved in or commented on this dispute? They are reputed to have a good deal of political influence.”

    the chabad establishment in russia is a 21st century rabbanut mi-ta’am (irony of ironies). don’t confuse political influence with the ability to exert political pressure.

    “I do not believe you appreciate the time, money, effort,knowledge, and (wo)manpower involved in arranging large scale international art exhibitions.”

    actually part of my work involves exhibitions, including arranging and facilitating loans.

    “I cited the remark of yours which in my view was contemptuous.”

    all from one remark? in any case i’m contemptuous not against culture but rather against “art above all”

  78. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: Thank you for your (rather belated) apology for using the term “paranoid.”

    I don’t have in mind any specific ramifications. I do not think , and I beieve this is a traditional Jewish view, that it is a a good idea to engage in actions that might stir up ill will towards religious Jews in influential non-Jewish circles. We, of course, live in and are citizens of a free country, and ahould act to secure our rights, but need to do this senstivity and thoughtfulness.

  79. Lawrence Kaplan

    To continue: I do not believe in ” Art above all.” In the 70s and 80s I would regularly participate in public protests in support of Soviet Jews outside of Montreal’s Place des Arts when visiting Soviet Ballet Companies would be performing. But your remarks seemed to me to trivialize the interest in great art.

  80. Mycroft, you’re thinking of the time when Howard Stern asked him if (Orthodox?) Judaism disapproved of intermarriage, and he said “no.”

  81. Reminds me of the time Napoleon asked Rabbi David Sinzheim if Jews are forbidden to marry non-Jews, and he replied “Of course not, only the seven nations. But of course rabbis can only consecrate the union between Jews, no different from priests and Catholics who marry.” Howard Stern is taller than Napoleon though.

  82. MiMedinat HaYam

    to nachum:

    besides being a liberal, he is (was, during the lewinsky matter) called “the conscience of the senate.” (which gives you an idea of their conscience.)

    as for the o-u, he was on the board of the o-u for several years.

    and how can r gil call clinton / gore centrists?

    2. as i commented before, there is a schism in chabad between r cunin (of chabad of los angeles) and the chabad chief rabbi of russia (considered a personal “friend” of putin, whatever that means; he definitely is pretty close, even though he was once denied a visa) over the books issue. (r cunin is the rebbe z”l’s special representative on the library issue.)

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