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Rabbis finally break silence on sex abuse
American Orthodoxy and Its Discontents
RCA Examining Its Guidelines For Individual Membership of Yeshiva Chovevei Torah
Big Brother at a kosher restaurant near you
How do Ashkenazim live long, despite bad eating…
Halachic and economic legacy of Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine, zt”l
Unearthing the First Shuls
SALT Friday
Brains behind Japan drug smuggling released from prison early
Watchmen – Shomrim
JTS Ordains Its First Openly Gay Rabbi
Ultra-Orthodox Group Affirms Abuse Cases Go First To Rabbi
Agudath Israel of America blog shut indefinitely
The Russian Wave
Expert warns religious educators of denial of sexual abuse
Controversial bill seeks to keep chief rabbis in office
Kiev Jewry’s Temporary Triumph Over Adversity
SALT Thursday
‘Open Orthodox’ Yeshiva Moves Toward Acceptance
Jewish Techs to Meet Face to Face
Agudath Israel of America starts blog
The high cost of kosher meat in Israel
OU Fund to Help Victims of Missouri Tornado
Lenin’s Jewish roots confirmed
Woman sues Chevra Kadisha over funeral segregation
Dutch Jewish Organisations Take State to Court on Kosher Slaughter
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Views on Orthodoxy in Israel
RCA Issues a Statement in Response to President Obama’s Statements on Israel-Palestinian Peace
RCA Joins with Other Organizations in Reaffirming its Opposition to Same Sex Marriage
SALT Wednesday
Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them
National memorial for fallen rabbi nears in Arlington National Cemetery
JPPI summarizes demographic trends
Stanley Fish: What’s Up With the Jews?
Israel’s Cedar wins award at Cannes
Treasury agrees to dramatic…
As the Generational Winds Blow
SALT Tuesday
The Anisakis Worm Rears its Ugly Head Once More
Ex police officer (sits next to me in shul) talks about coverup in the Orthodox Jewish community
New York City’s Smoking Ban: A Halachic Perspective
ZAKA thanked for aid in Japanese
Ask the rabbi: Does Halacha mandate paying local taxes?
American scholar to lecture on lack of Jewish vision
Englewood rabbi takes helm of Orthodox rabbinic group
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.

181 comments

  1. I’m glad they have someone watching you 🙂
    KT

  2. So, I guess joining the ranks of Glatt Turkey & Chicken, we will have Glatt Salmon 🙂

  3. the fish deal seems consistent iiuc with the general position that we accept science lhachmir and not lhakeil. Why that is is an interesting thing to think about.
    KT

  4. Not again…

  5. The ex-police officer is must viewing for anyone concerned about child abuse in the Orthodox community.

  6. why is the police officer afraid to name the rabbis who recklessly abused their position of authority?

  7. Catching up on paper periodicals, last week’s New Yorker has a fascinating Annals of Science article on Cultured Meat: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/23/110523fa_fact_specter?printable=true (the whole article requires a subscription or one-time fee).

    See also: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=98046&singlePage=true for the Touro College connection to this story.

  8. Lack of vision might be an issue the modox have to deal with
    In the hareidi world, you have startup spirituality. Rav Zvi mair Rav itchi mire both started a uniqu Revolutionary theology of how to be a Jew and connect to god based on chassidua and Kabbala

    Rav kluger from rbs is creative to inspire

  9. I am not making the charge that Orthodox Jews coverup for each other-but the perception is there in the law enforcement community that they do. Thus, when an Orthodox Jew gets caught the assumption often is that there is much more that they didn’t catch. I am not saying that the assumption is fair but it is reality.

  10. On the story about the hooligans who spit, technology can help law enforcement: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/edinburgh/DNA-kits-to-combat-spitting.2522084.jp

  11. Not sure why you linked to a two-year-old story about Jews spitting on Christians — which, it goes without saying, is disgusting behavior that makes all of us look bad. I did not notice the date of the article until I saw a quote from Daniel Rossing. I was privileged to have him guide me and a handful of other rabbis around the Christian sights in Jerusalem about ten years ago. He passed away in November, 2010.

  12. I didn’t realize it was two years old. It popped on my radar this morning.

  13. Re the Anisakis worm article-

    It is interesting that the letter declaring it not kosher will be signed by R. Dovid Feinstein. His father has a tshuva that explicitly permits it- and Rav Moshe surely knew that annisakis doesn’t form by spontaneous generation in the flesh of the fish.

    There is no new science here- and no new Torah either. This is an old debate, one that was decided l’heter by the previous generation of Gedolim. Back then, a young Rav Elyashiv assured annisakis infested fish, but nobody listened to him because he didn’t have the stature of Rav Moshe and the others who matired it.

  14. “Rav Moshe surely knew that annisakis doesn’t form by spontaneous generation in the flesh of the fish”
    How do you know what RMF knew or didn’t know?

  15. Woman sues [Netanya] Chevra Kadisha over funeral segregation:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4073579,00.html

  16. How do you know what RMF knew or didn’t know?

    How can you even ask that question? He had daas torah. He was all-knowing. Duh.

  17. if we are to apply the science and logic of assering the worms across the halachic board, then the laws of treifos should become much easier – after all, cows can live much longer than a year with most conditions which we consider to cause them to be treif. Of course, we don’t do so since the law has been codified in the SA and that is how we decide kashrut – which should also be the case for fish and worms.

  18. Was there a particular reason for the joint statement “Reaffirming its Opposition to Same Sex Marriage”? Or is this just an internal circling of the wagons?

    All indications are that by the time the Supreme Court rules on the test case (now procedurally delayed so that the California Supreme Court can rule first) the tide of public opinion will have decided the issue. What convinced me personally were these 2 sentences in Judge Walker’s ruling (p. 60):

    “Marriage in the United States has always been a civil matter. Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize marriages but not to determine who may enter or leave a civil marriage. Religious leaders may determine independently whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the relationship under state law”.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/35374462/California-Prop-8-Ruling-August-2010

  19. On the nexus of Civil Law and Halacha, it strains credibility to lobby the state to prevent same-sex marriages without equally lobbying that it should prevent a man remarrying his 1st wife once she has been divorced or widowed by a 2nd husband (Deut 24:1-4) – כִּי-תוֹעֵבָה הִוא.

  20. 24 May 2011 RCA statement in Response to President Obama’s Statements:

    “We note with grave concern, however, the President’s open declaration that the pre-1967 armistice lines, with land swaps, be the baseline for negotiations.”

    11 Nov 2010 Joint Statement by PM Netanyahu and US Sec Clinton:

    “The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement.”

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2010/Joint_statement_PM_Netanyahu_US_Sec_Clinton_11-Nov-2010.htm

  21. And a sneak peak at the negotiated settlement that is contingent on the Palestinians formally recognizing the self-determination of Israel as the Jewish State and renouncing any claims to a “right to return” beyond the negotiated settlement:

    http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/images/iht_daily/D171209/olmertmap.pdf

  22. It’s hard to understand the land swap map without a relief map superimposed. Has someone done a google earth version?

  23. Does anyone think the Agudah is ever going to explain why they caved on blogs? And to use Blogger? They couldn’t even go with WordPress and a URL so that they can pretend it isn’t a blog?

  24. – Did a reporter actually write the YCT puff piece, or was it turned in by the Yeshiva’s PR department.

    – Isn’t the best to root for at this point for the state to just get out of the marriage business altogether? I first saw this idea from Michael Kinsley 10-15 years ago, and more and more it seems like a best case scenario.

  25. S
    That was my second reaction, my third was will they monitor comments and my first was Dr. Johnson: “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”
    KT

  26. Still, I think they deserve some credit for not being all weasly about it and having one that can’t be proven to be authorized. Sort of like how Matzav.com is supposed to be the Lifshutz of the Yated’s proxy, but there’s no way to prove it.

  27. IH posted this link:

    “And a sneak peak at the negotiated settlement that is contingent on the Palestinians formally recognizing the self-determination of Israel as the Jewish State and renouncing any claims to a “right to return” beyond the negotiated settlement:

    http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/images/iht_daily/D171209/olmertmap.pdf

    Actually, the small print mentions that this was what Olmert , Israel’s least effective and probably most corrupt PM, purportedly discussed, not what the parties areeed to. Once again, it is a long way from any “negotiated agreement”, unless one views HaAretz as Torah MiSinai, which it is not-except in the far left circles of Israel’s cultural and intellectual elite.

  28. IH wrote:

    “Was there a particular reason for the joint statement “Reaffirming its Opposition to Same Sex Marriage”? ”

    Sometimes, even when the mood of the secular world is moving towards viewing that which the Torah views as unacceptable as not just normal but also deserving of legal protection, to paraphrase the Hakdamah of the author of Mesilas Yesharim, it is important to repeat and reiterate the obvious-namely our belief that marriage is a religious unity of a man and woman sanctified by Halacha in the presence of at least the smallest quorum needed to represent the Jewish community.

    As far as the YCT article is concerned, see the archives of the JW-the JW has been promoting YCT in its news coverage for years and the editor served as a moderator at least one YCT event.

  29. IH-Judge Walker’s decision in the Prop 8 case needs to be considered in light of a number of factors-IIRC, Judge Walker was a Clinton appointee, and the Ninth Circuit, which will hear the appeal, is widely known as the most liberal of all of the federal appellate courts. IIIRc, Judge Walker’s decision was criticized as reflecting another example of judicial substantive due process, with a lack of due deference to the views of the majority who voted in favor of Prop 8.

    It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court will rule, but the recent case involving the California corrections systems and how the Justices voted on that case may provide some clues.

  30. IH on May 25, 2011 at 11:02 am:
    >“On the nexus of Civil Law and Halacha, it strains credibility to lobby the state to prevent same-sex marriages without equally lobbying that it should prevent a man remarrying his 1st wife once she has been divorced or widowed by a 2nd husband (Deut 24:1-4) – כִּי-תוֹעֵבָה הִוא.”

    Huh? The proscription upon remarrying one’s since-remarried ex-wife does not define or redefine the institution of marriage itself. (Does the prohibition even apply under Sheva Mitzvos b’nai Noach in any event?)

  31. IH-thanks for the link. I stand corrected-the jurist in question is not only “out of the closet”, he is a social libertarian whose views affect other areas of the law as well.

  32. mitch morrison

    To LongTimeReader on May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm
    i agree…. while there are elements of YCT that i strongly support, i also am tired of these fawning pieces that do not take a critical look at Avi Weiss and the program he’s created.. I have enormous respect for Rabbi Yaakov Love, who is a major Talmid Chochom.. i do support a more open-minded approach in terms of how we relate to other Jews and other Jewish organizations, but the emphasis on certain hot issues instead of overall halakha is very disappointing and at the end of the day, once R Weiss is no longer there, i wonder what the future holds for YCT.

  33. IH on May 25, 2011 at 10:53 am:
    “Was there a particular reason for the joint statement “Reaffirming its Opposition to Same Sex Marriage”? Or is this just an internal circling of the wagons?”

    The reason is probably that the Orthodox organizations wish to be more vocal on this subject than they’ve been hereunto. Activist efforts to redefine marriage are continuing strongly, so those who oppose that campaign are responding.

  34. By the way, Benny Morris published the Taba map in his 2009 “One State, Two States” which can be seen on Google Books at http://tinyurl.com/3zodfb2. [The earlier Camp David proposal is also shown on the previous 2 pages].

  35. IH-WADR, with respect to the above linked map, IMO, a better description of the map in question is that the same is a fair and accurate depiction of what Clinton proposed and what Arafat rejected, thereby leading to Arafat’s launching of the second Intifada.

  36. STBO – Searching on the RCA website for “AGUDATH ISRAEL OF AMERICA” I found only one other joint statement, in July 2007, recommending a less restrictive security protocol for religious texts in federal prisons.

    Since you have identified a lacuna in my education, I would be indebted if you could point me to the (pre-20th century) halachic corpus defining “the institution of marriage itself” that distinguishes between the 2 toevot related to the present debate. Thanks in advance.

  37. Steve — I don’t disagree with your description (but, nor did I say anything that required that clarification).

  38. IH-WADR, the linked to page refers to Clinton’s plan-which was rejected by Arafat-are you denying that Arafat rejected the Clinton proposal or directed the commencement of the second Intifada? Presenting facts in a link with your commmentary/spin IMO does not aid in a reader’s reading of the link and what is contained therein.

  39. IH-see Rambam’s discussion of the institution of Kiddushin at the beginning of Hilcos Ishus. It is manifestly clear IMO that Kiddushin is defined therein as the halachic community’s sanctioning of the union of a man and woman, as opposed to two men or two women.

  40. No cigar. Rambam’s notion of “institution of marriage” there is that it is contractual (reading more into לישא אישה seems tendentious to me; it is obviously the norm — and still would be. And while I am no expert in such critical analysis, I expect there is a gender vs. sex text issue as well).

  41. steve, you are talking about how the “halachic community” defines marriage within that community. the RCA is taking a position about how the nonhalachic, nonjewish american community does so, and given that we don’t apply kiddushin to nonjews i am not at all clear on how the former automatically means something for the latter.

    IH – there is the oft-cited (by now) passage about how even the very evildoers did not write a ketubah for two men. further, while premodern rabbis did not speak in terms of “the institution of marriage,” i think it’s unfair to suggest that therefore they have nothing to say about such an “institution,” which certainly existed even if it was not talked about as such. in their world, marriage was highly gendered, with one of its major features being to alter the sexual, legal, and financial status of women. it is nonsensical to apply such a construct to coequal partners of the same sex.
    indeed, the only reason same-sex marriage is on the table now is that secular america has already changed the institution of marriage fundamentally, such that our family law no longer enforces different rights and obligations of partners based on sex alone.

  42. IH-I don’t smoke, but IMO, the text of the Rambam is quite explicit. Rambam is differentiating prior to and after Kodem Matan Torah. IMO, there is nothing “tendentious”, and Rambam is emphasizing that even though Kiddushin is rooted in contractual terms, the union of a Jewish man and woman still requires the approval of a bare minimum needed to form a community in other areas of Halacha so as to allow for the communal approval of the same.

    None less than R Asher Weiss suggests that according to this reading of the Rambam, that there may very well be no corresponding requirement for non-Jews, as opposed to the general Noachide prohibition against Gilui Arayos.

    WADR, reading a “gender vs sex text issue” is nothing less than importing an external basis for interpretation into the text.

  43. Emma wrote:

    “steve, you are talking about how the “halachic community” defines marriage within that community. the RCA is taking a position about how the nonhalachic, nonjewish american community does so, and given that we don’t apply kiddushin to nonjews i am not at all clear on how the former automatically means something for the latter”

    I would suggest that the the statement of the RCA and the other organizations is precisely that-a message to the non-halacha observing portions of the Jewish community-of how Halacha defines marriage.

  44. Emma – thanks. I agree with the point you make. The sociological norm for marriage in Jewish / Christian /Muslim cultures has always assumed a man and a woman. And I expect that most orthodox religions will continue to apply that norm for the forseeable future irrespective of the civil law. This is entirely consistent with Judge Walker’s point that made up my mind in respect of the political/civil issue.

  45. “I would suggest that the the statement of the RCA and the other organizations is precisely that-a message to the non-halacha observing portions of the Jewish community-of how Halacha defines marriage.”

    It seems to me a sad reflection of the disunity amoong American Jewish Orthodoxy, that one of the few things about which they can agree in writing is an emotive political issue about which they have no influence whatsoever and is completely irrelevant to their constituents in any practical sense. It is good they have their priorities straight (pun unintended).

  46. IH-WADR, obviously among Orthodox organizations, there are profound hashkafic differences on a wide variety of issues, as illustrated in the reaction to Dialogue. Yet, on a bedrock issue-the halachic definition of marriage-there is no dispute. IMO, it is simply presenting the Halachic POV, regardless of whether it is accepted by the cultural and intellectual elites. Sometimes, protest that will have no practical value is worthwhile.

  47. Emma — Apologies, but I missed an important part of your response:

    “indeed, the only reason same-sex marriage is on the table now is that secular america has already changed the institution of marriage fundamentally, such that our family law no longer enforces different rights and obligations of partners based on sex alone.”

    I am not sure I understand your point here. Most of the argumentation that I have seen in regard to single-sex marriages relates to issues of health/property/inheritance rather than children; so I don’t see the line you seem to be drawing from the changed role of women driving family law to same-sex civil marriage. Can you elaborate?

    Steve — surely there are other bedrock issues worthy of joint statements that are more impacting on American Jewish Orthodoxy. I again point to the RCA website’s archive of statements made jointly with Agudah.

  48. As a constructive suggestion, for example, how about a joint statement favoring advertising standards restricting barely-concealed nudity in public spaces. That would impact far more of American Jewish Orthodoxy than either of the 2 joint statements in the past 4 years found on the RCA website.

  49. IH-I disagree-standing up for the Halachic definition is a core bedrock issue simply because of the nature and basis of Kiddushin as a key halachic line in the sand between those who adhere to Halacha, regardless of Hashkafa, and those who do not.

    I think that there are hashkafic differences as well as considerations as to whom the RCA, the OU , RIETS and Agudah both serve in terms of their constituencies in approaching the key elements of Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim that militate against joint statements, which everyone remembers for a day, as opposed to working together behind the scenes or in unity on issues that don’t need or deserve a Kol Koreh such as Harbatzas Torah, etc.

    I do recall that in 2002 there was a mass Tehilim rally in the Wall Street area during the worst of the second Intifada that was co-sponsored by Agudah and the OU, with across the board participation. Even though Agudah did not officially support the rally in Washington that spring, it basically let its constituency march with their own hearts,minds and feet. I think (and R Gil can confirm the fact) that there are many instances of working together between the Charedi and MO organizations, behind the scenes on many halachic issues. There is also no shortage of examples of Talmidei Chachamim associated with the Charedi and MO worlds who consult with each other, despite their hashkafic differences.

  50. As a constructive suggestion, for example, how about a joint statement favoring advertising standards restricting barely concealed nudity in public spaces. That would impact far more of American Jewish Orthodoxy than either of the 2 joint statements in the past 4 years found on the RCA website.

  51. On the nexus of Civil Law and Halacha, it strains credibility to lobby the state to prevent same-sex marriages without equally lobbying that it should prevent a man remarrying his 1st wife once she has been divorced or widowed by a 2nd husband (Deut 24:1-4) – כִּי-תוֹעֵבָה הִוא.

    Or without lobbying for a prohibition on eating shellfish? The word “toevah” is used for many things of clearly differing significance. Homosexual intercourse and marriage is a death penalty offense in halacha which is vocally condemned by Chazal for both Jews and non-Jews. None of those factors applies to the 2nd-marriage prohibition.

    As a constructive suggestion, for example, how about a joint statement favoring advertising standards restricting barely-concealed nudity in public spaces.

    Many more of the public approve of provocative advertising than approve of gay marriage.

  52. IH-Such a joint statement would be effective if it presented a short statement on the Hashkafic fundamental that Halacha does not view women as sex objects, as opposed to suggesting a restriction on what is permitted under the First Amendment-which is how I understood your suggestion. A statement on marriage, OTOH, informs the unlearned American Jewish public of how Halacha looks at marriage.

  53. Well, if the death penalty is the variable, a refresher can be viewed at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_capital_crimes_in_the_Torah (Chazal then needs to be filtered in).

    “Many more of the public approve of provocative advertising than approve of gay marriage”

    So, since when is Orthodoxy constrained by popularity? [assuming your assertion is correct, which I suspect it isn’t today].

  54. Steve — I meant it for men as well as women. Tzniut applies to both; but, it is curious you responded as you did.

  55. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b: “Even though Agudah did not officially support the rally in Washington that spring, it basically let its constituency march with their own hearts,minds and feet.”

    actually, they did not let their constituency till too late. and few, if any agudah yeshivot participated in this kiddush hashem, which crowded ALL the rest areas in nj, de, md on the way back. truly a kiddush hashem. and credit is due where credit is due — r avi weiss called his own rally, forcing the presidents conference to do it.

    the thilim rally, on the other hand, was NOT cosponsored by agudah. they allowed their comsitutuents to go, unofficially.

    2. a joint statement on (near) nudity in advertising is not possible / practical now, due to the hillary / samantha powers photoshopping.

    besides, agudah may very well have insisted on a clause permitting (?advocating?) its hamodia / yated (etc) position, well before this happened.

  56. IH wrote:

    “I meant it for men as well as women. Tzniut applies to both; but, it is curious you responded as you did”

    Ain Haci Nami. I do feel that our young men and women should be educated to realize that viewing each other as sex objects is wrong.

  57. “I am not sure I understand your point here. Most of the argumentation that I have seen in regard to single-sex marriages relates to issues of health/property/inheritance rather than children; so I don’t see the line you seem to be drawing from the changed role of women driving family law to same-sex civil marriage. Can you elaborate?” – IH

    It used to be that being “married” involved a change of status the nature of which was dependent on your sex. For example: Married women’s property rights changed (a nice way of saying were eliminated), but married women could, in principle, sue their husbands for “support” if they were starving. Men kept their property rights and had no right to support. Marital rape was not a crime. For a while, in the infrequent event of divorce, the man automatically got custody. (Later I think that changed to the woman automatically getting young children.)

    I am rusty on this so I may have gotten some details wrong but not enough to detract from the main poitn, which is that in a marriage each partner had different rights and obligations, defined by their sex.

    That is no longer the case. Property, custody, and support are all governed by rules that are at least facially gender neutral; marital rape is a crime; and couples are free to sign prenups to alter many of the the default financial terms of marriage.

    Under the former regime marriage required a “husband” and a “wife” (each with defined legal rights and obligations). The “wife” had to be female, and the “husband” male. Now we have done away with the law prescribing different rules for “husbands” than for “wives,” but retained that one “spouse” must be male and one female. My point is that the real “redefinition” came with this idea of spouses as partners with formally identical rights and obligations. It is a slight extension of that idea to do away with the gender requirements for each partner. (Before, a man just couldn’t be a “wife,” even if he wanted to, because the role was perceived to be inherently enmeshed with sex.)

  58. MeMedinat HaYam-The Tehilim rally was massively attended by American Charedim, and by officials of Agudah, who IIRC, were co-sponsors. That’s why it had a “non-Tzioni” title. The Washington rally was not supported by the yeshivos, but Agudah, albeit quite belatedly, allowed its constituency, to attend.

  59. ‘The word “toevah” is used for many things of clearly differing significance.’

    One of which is dishonesty in business. Given the number of recent financial scandals involving members of the Orthodox community, we need to clean up our own act before shouting “toeiva” at others.

  60. “he is a social libertarian whose views affect other areas of the law as well.”

    ROTF!!!! As if the Antonin Scalia’s ideology doesn’t affect his decisions?

  61. Emma – an interesting hypothesis. Tangentially, it would be interesting to find evidence of Orthodox reaction to e.g. the Married Women’s Property Act 1870 (further broadened in 1882) of England & Wales.

    You may also be interested in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women%27s_rights_%28other_than_voting%29

  62. “but the emphasis on certain hot issues instead of overall halakha is very disappointing and at the end of the day, once R Weiss is no longer there, i wonder what the future holds for YCT.”

    Looking at their program and talking to their students, I certainly don’t see any lack of emphasis on halachah. And Rabbis Helfgot, Linzer, Love, and Katz are well worth hearing. You can download Rabbi Linzer’s daf yomi shiurim from the yctorah.org website.

  63. Paging Rabbi Slifkin and the brain death debaters – how many lives do we have here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/magazine/could-conjoined-twins-share-a-mind.html
    KT

  64. Joel,
    L’mai nafka minah. I ask this not because I think that the question is pointless, but because unless you can tell me what purpose you are asking for, the question cannot be answered.

  65. So, since when is Orthodoxy constrained by popularity?

    Since you argued that we should not express opposition to gay marriage because nobody will listen to us.

    [assuming your assertion is correct, which I suspect it isn’t today].

    Find me one candidate nowadays who feels the need to express a position for or against the outlawing of billboards featuring women in bikinis.

    One of which is dishonesty in business.

    Yes, I had that in mind too.

  66. R’MDJ,
    If r”l one of the twins stops breathing totally, is she considered dead and her heart may be taken for a transplant?
    KT

  67. “Since you argued that we should not express opposition to gay marriage because nobody will listen to us.”

    So, am I not writing clearly enough, or you not reading clearly enough that you derive this from my statement:

    “It seems to me a sad reflection of the disunity amoong American Jewish Orthodoxy, that one of the few things about which they can agree in writing is an emotive political issue about which they have no influence whatsoever and is completely irrelevant to their constituents in any practical sense.”

  68. Anonymous on May 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm was me.

  69. JOEL RICH:

    “If r”l one of the twins stops breathing totally, is she considered dead and her heart may be taken for a transplant?”

    they apparently each have a heart but share a circualtory system. i don’t know how that works, but could be that removing a heart from the shared circulatory system could put the other twin at risk?

  70. So, am I not writing clearly enough, or you not reading clearly enough that you derive this from my statement:

    It is alluded to by the statement which you chose to cut off your most recent quote:
    “It is good they have their priorities straight”
    Implying that this statement is not of importance.

  71. So I’m not accused of selectively quoting myself, one last try:

    “Since you argued that we should not express opposition to gay marriage because nobody will listen to us.”

    So, am I not writing clearly enough, or you not reading clearly enough that you derive this from my statement:

    “It seems to me a sad reflection of the disunity amoong American Jewish Orthodoxy, that one of the few things about which they can agree in writing is an emotive political issue about which they have no influence whatsoever and is completely irrelevant to their constituents in any practical sense. It is good they have their priorities straight (pun unintended).”

  72. OK, people, we get it. You think homosexual activity is the bee’s knees (who cares what God says? That’s sooooo old-fashioned) and should be promoted and encouraged wherever possible. We get it.

  73. Shmarya is reporting that the Agudah has shut down its blog, saying that it was not authoritzed

  74. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Emma,

    Regarding the changed role of marriage — interesting point, but actually irrelevant according to our tradition.

    The norms set up by the Gemara (where the husband is the main person for the bank account and the wife is supported) were clearly the default situation, but if the wife preferred financial autonomy, she could put that in writing (“eini nizonet v’aini osah”) and then she was on her own. Child custody, in the case of a divorce, follows best interest of child; the default rules of thumb here were dependent on gender and age, but it all depended on the case.

  75. how ironic. a comment relating to censorship is censored.

  76. “Ultra-Orthodox Group Affirms Abuse Cases Go First To Rabbi”

    the indivudual who affirned this at the AI conference is a board member of torah umesorah, to which many (most?) MO day schools belong as well. this, coupled with the presence of many AI-type menhalim and rebbeim in MO schools, should raise a red light.

  77. Nachum — that’s absurd on two counts. First: tolerance does not equal promotion. Second: God qually prohibited other sexual sins with the same punishment in the Torah that are quietly forgiven in Orthodox society such as adultery.

  78. IH:

    there is no movement to promote adulturous marriages as a healthy and normal lifestyle on par with faithful marriages. (ok, maybe a few eccentric outsiders, but no real movement.)

  79. IH wrote in part:

    “First: tolerance does not equal promotion. Second: God qually prohibited other sexual sins with the same punishment in the Torah that are quietly forgiven in Orthodox society such as adultery”

    WADR, tolerance implies, at the very least, acceptance. Please present proof that adultery is “quietly forgiven in Orthodox society”.

  80. “Regarding the changed role of marriage — interesting point, but actually irrelevant according to our tradition”

    I am not speaking about “our tradition,” rather making a point about orthodox jews caring about the supposed “redefinition of marriage” in the general society. My point being that the bulk of that “redefinition” happened already.

    As for your points about halacha, yes, some of the financial arrangements are default rules that could be changed. But the basic idea of a marriage as a status-based arrangement where the new-status-upon-marriage is different depending on gender, remains.

  81. STEVE:

    “Please present proof that adultery is “quietly forgiven in Orthodox society””

    oh please. what negative ramifications are there for an adulturer? a rabbi won’t perform a wedding for him after he finally gets divorced? no kibbudim in shul? cherem?

  82. STEVE:

    “Please present proof”

    do you really want names? there are adulterers in your own neighborhood, but i’ve already been censored once today.

    or by proof are you saying that unless two kosher edim witnessed the act of intercourse and testified as such before a properly constituted bet din, then it didn’t happen?

  83. Abba — point accepted. But as far as I know, people are adulterous by choice and are not discriminated against as such. Whereas the movement to promote same-sex marriage is redress to mitigate a form of legal discrimination. It is not promotion of homosexuality per se — and I think that is the change in American Public Opinion that ensures it is effectively a fait accompli.

    Steve — your challenge does not merit a response. Adultery is fact of life in all communities and for all people. The occasional sensational cases even make it into the media (and if memory serves, there was at least one such case on Hirurim in recent history).

  84. IH:

    “people are adulterous by choice and are not discriminated against as such. Whereas the movement to promote same-sex marriage is redress to mitigate a form of legal discrimination.”

    i’m all for hate crimes and other anti-discrimination legislation, etc, to protect gays. but i’m not convinced that laws against (or that preclude) same-sex marriages themselves are “discrimination.”

  85. Abba — Examples are Social Security, Medicare, medical leave, and other health benefits; property inheritance; the right to visit their spouse in hospital, and make medical decisions if they are incapacitated.

    Perhaps there were other ways to have solved this had their been sufficient political will 5-10 years ago, but same-sex marriage solves them in one go with minimal regulation.

  86. IH:

    personally my question isn’t why do groups like AI get so uptight about homsexuality but not adultery, but rather they care so much about homosexuality but not pedofilia. (and as i noted above, even though the recent statement came from AI, it has direct implications for MO schools as well)

  87. IH:

    hospital visitation, medical decision makining, etc. are easily addressed with simple legal documents.

    i don’t see the issue of the financial benefits as one of discrimination.

  88. IH:

    adoption issues are thornier

  89. IH and Abba- The fact that that adultery occurs within the Torah observant community merely establishes that there are people within our communities who commit very grave transgressions such as adultery, Chillul Shabbos, improper business ethics that constitute a Chilul HaShem long before someone has to walk the equivalent of a “perp walk” or a newspaper article and worse. Viewing the same as tolerated is IMO a completely incorrect conclusion. The fact that there are a few notorious cases that hit the media does not mean that our communities are the silent equivalent of “Restless Housewives.”

    Adultery and homosexual relations betweeen men IMO are easily distinguisable. Adultery is an act of disloyalty by either spouse to each other that may act as the precipitating act in breaking up what had been a marriage. OTOH, if the offended spouse deems it worthwhile for a variety of reasons to do so, that is their decision, which noone has a right to comment or speculate about. The fact that the community does not shun such a person does not mean that the adulterer walks away morally free from his actions.

    OTOH, the Torah views marriage as the exclusive domain of a man and woman, as sanctioned by the community. No secular law or change in the surrounding society’s values can ever change that fact.

  90. Mea culpa-the reference should have been to “Desperate Housewives.”

  91. Whoops- I wrote:

    “OTOH, if the offended spouse deems it worthwhile for a variety of reasons to do so, that is their decision, which noone has a right to comment or speculate about.

    The word “not” should have preceded the phrase “not to do so.”

  92. BTW, a striking trend graph of American public opinion on same-sex marriage can be seen at: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/gay-marriage-opponents-now-in-minority/

  93. STEVE:

    “Viewing the same as tolerated is IMO a completely incorrect conclusion.”

    i challenge you above to demonstrate what steps your very own local holy “torah observant community” (as you prefer) has taken to demonstrate that [self-censored] was outside the pale with his adultery. has he been put in cherem? has his shul thrown him out or otherwise refused to give him kibbudim? did he have any problem finding a mesader kiddushin to perform a wedding with his adulterous partner? how many neighbors refused to attend the wedding?

  94. IH and Abba-I read Agudah’s statement. R C D Zwiebel stated very clearly why his community has qualms about such legislation re abuse and Mesirah. Yet, RHS has stated repeatedly that concerns about Mesirah should be dismissed. I would suggest that any MO school that seeks the guidance of RHS would not exactly be following what R S Gottesman claims is the view of RYSE.

  95. >”At the daylong “Halacha Conference for Professionals,” held in Brooklyn on May 15, speakers elaborated on a recent ruling by Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv, one of ultra-Orthodoxy’s foremost authorities on Jewish religious law, or Halacha. Elyashiv recently decreed that Jews with reasonable suspicions that a case of sexual abuse has occurred are permitted to go to secular law enforcement authorities, notwithstanding traditional religious prohibitions against mesirah, or informing on fellow Jews.

    >But at a panel discussion titled “Molestation Issues and Reporting: Current Halachic Thinking,” the panel’s leader, Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, cautioned that Elyashiv never explained what constitutes “reasonable suspicion.” To establish this, Gottesman said, a person should consult a rabbi “who has experience in these issues” before going to secular authorities.”

    A crazy world we live in. The rabbi says in this case you don’t have to go to a rabbi, so they interpret it to mean that in this case you have to ask the rabbis if you don’t have to go to a rabbi.

  96. STEVE:

    “I would suggest that any MO school that seeks the guidance of RHS would not exactly be following what R S Gottesman claims is the view of RYSE.”

    MO schools don’t necessarily have good internal guidlines for dealing with abuse. couple that with the fact that the menahel and and rebbeim may be AI-affiliated and its a recipe for disaster

  97. IH:

    relevancy of that link?

  98. Abba wrote:

    “i challenge you above to demonstrate what steps your very own local holy “torah observant community” (as you prefer) has taken to demonstrate that [self-censored] was outside the pale with his adultery. has he been put in cherem? has his shul thrown him out or otherwise refused to give him kibbudim? did he have any problem finding a mesader kiddushin to perform a wedding with his adulterous partner? how many neighbors refused to attend the wedding”

    I am not responding to a case of which I have no personal knowledge and refer you back to my prior post on the subject.

  99. Menachen Petrushka

    It seems that the Agudah was a bar bei Blog dechad yoma

  100. Lawrence Kaplan

    How come there hasn’t been any link ot the Skver arson? Or did I miss it?

  101. The Agudah’s blog was like Jonah’s gourd:

    שֶׁבִּן-לַיְלָה הָיָה, וּבִן-לַיְלָה אָבָד

  102. JTS Ordains Its First Openly Gay Rabbi

    An interesting linguistic point here: Lesbians are now “gay.”

  103. As I heard the Agudah conference it sounded to me like if you know someone is abusing, then you go directly to secular authorities ( I would define know as R’ Zimmerman did in his well known tshuva “Subterranean Homesick Blues” -“you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”)
    KT

  104. >An interesting linguistic point here: Lesbians are now “gay.”

    It’s not as new as you think. On Oprah’s Final Show (which I sleepily watched last night at 1 AM) she showed some clips over the years. One was a woman, in 1988, saying “I’m gay.”

  105. Quite so, but whoever coined the abbreviation LGBT thought differently.

  106. Curiosity on your well-taken point took me to:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT.

    Wow, I had no idea…

  107. You must lead a sheltered life.

  108. ‘An interesting linguistic point here: Lesbians are now “gay.”’

    That’s because they are happy now that the JTS will ordain them.

  109. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b:

    the thilim rally was not (officially) sponsored by agudah, but they unofficially participated in the planning and promotion. their official and publicized position at the time was no officiAl cooperation with MO. was specifically mentioned at the time, and OU and RCA was specifically mentioned.

    2. regarding adulterers marrying — the rca has no objections. they even have (one that i know about) prominent member. and he’s even a cohen.

    3. interesting comment about what will happen to yct once r avi weiss is no longer there. why, they probably will even (eventually) allow lesbian couples to marry. slippery slope, indeed.

    are both halves of the couple students, or only one?

    4. the agudah one day blog — thats what happens when you let a charedia talk on a cell phone — you end up with a blog.

  110. Outside of explicitly political contexts (and sometimes even within them) “gay” can be used in a gender neutral sense, esp. when the intention, as here, is to refer to both men and women with same sex attraction. This is the plain meaning of the word (along with a meaning that does refer specifically to men) that will be borne out by any dictionary.

  111. There is no question that adultery in the Orthodox community has been downgraded to a “whatever” by many people. There is also a gender bias here. A woman who commits adultery is still looked upon as a tramp. However, the social construct and dynamic of our shuls has allowed adulterous men to walk among us with head held high. This is especially true where they are either powerful or wealthy or popular. There are in my community (and I assume it to be true in any other urban/suburban OJ community) more than a few women who have stayed with their adulterous husbands in sham marriages, not just “for the sake of the kids” but because the women are far more likely to become pariahs in the community than their scoundrel husbands.

    The guys just go back to shul, go to their kiddush clubs, remain active members of the shul board, get aliyos, daven and lain for the tzibbur and all the other guys just pat them on the back. And then, when you ask the Rabbi why someone who is oveir on a yehareig v’al ya’avor is allowed to lain for the tzibbur, he just looks at you with a blank stare and does nothing.

    Rak ein yiras Elokim bamakom hazeh.

  112. I am surprised there have been no comments on the Agudah statement. In addition to being against the law, we are back to square one with them. They are saying that before you go to the police you have to consult with rabbis. This is the sort of thinking that got them into this mess to begin with.

    Here is what they want people to do. If you suspect abuse, you go to the rabbi and the rabbi will decide if the abuse is taking place, and if it is, if it is a serious enough offense to require going to the police. What crazy mind came up with this idea? This is not what appears in the teshuvos published in Yeshurun. The teshuvot are explicit that if you suspect you go to police, they don’t say, and R. Elyashiv doesn’t say, that you go to the rabbi first.

    Doesn’t Agudah realize that this is going to lead to more cover-ups of sexual abuse, because the rabbis will often protect their own. We already have seen this numerous times. The Church also tried the route of self-policing, and look where that led.

    Why is Agudah more concerned with Mesirah than with children? I thought that the Agudah was changing but now I see that it is the same organization it always was. It is willing to sacrifice the children in the name of frumkeit.

  113. >Doesn’t Agudah realize that this is going to lead to more cover-ups of sexual abuse, because the rabbis will often protect their own.

    Yes. Mistama they think that some cover ups can be successful.

  114. I don’t understand. The law says that certain people are obligated to go immediately to the police. Agudat Israel tells them not to do that. Isn’t that a crime itself? Can’t Agudat Israel be charged? Is Agudat Israel going to pay the lawyers bill when one of the people who listens to their criminal advice ends up going to jail because he knew about abuse and was told by a rabbi not to report it? Shouldn’t the headline of the story be that Agudat Israel is urging members to violate the law?

  115. Not everyone is a mandated reporter. The Agudah’s abhorrent and Reformist interpretation of R. Elyashiv’s clear psak was not specifically directed to mandated reporters. So in all likelihood there isn’t even any gray area about breaking the law. You’re allowed to tell a general group of people to do something even if among them there might be someone who isn’t allowed by law to do it. I don’t think anyone will be considered a criminal if they stand up at a wedding and tell everyone to drink a toast, even though surely some minors who aren’t supposed to drink alcohol are present.

  116. S, they issued instructions that mandated reporters have to get approval of rabbis before going to the secular authorities. If its merely to notify the rabbis it is not a violation (probably) but if its to give the rabbi discretion over whether the mandated reported files when they otherwise – which do you really believe is not the case? – then the conference was telling people to violate the law. I have met someone who works with a prominent Jewish organization offering social services in NY and my understanding is, as of only a few months ago, abuse claims have to go through the rabbis. So I am not surprised that the status quo is maintained.

    Between this and the New Square arson/attempted murders – which follows a campaign of harrasment permitted from the highest levels of Square – and which for some reason some in the Jewish community seem hesitant to discuss – I am trying to think of which speaks poorer of our community.

  117. >S, they issued instructions that mandated reporters have to get approval of rabbis before going to the secular authorities.

    They said this specifically? That seems dumb. Like you said, if the idea is that they are supposed to report either way then the Agudah probably is in the clear.

  118. S, the article states “Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudah’s executive vice president, told the conference that even mandated reporters — teachers, social workers and people in certain other professions who are required by law to promptly report any suspected cases of sexual abuse — should consult a rabbi before going to the police.”

    At the major Jewish agency providing social services, you need approval of the agency rabbi/ies and if you don’t have that approval the agency will not support you reporting the claim of abuse. Which is to say they will not support you following the law.

  119. I was mistaken. I was basing my comments on Rabbi Gottesman’s decision to darshan R. Elyashiv’s psak to mean the opposite of what he said. I don’t realize that Zweibel (he’s a lawyer??) actually said that.

  120. You know, recordings of the conference are available on CDs and MP3s, so one can confirm what was said (assuming no editing has been done).

  121. HAGTBG:

    “Agudah’s executive vice president, told the conference that even mandated reporters — teachers, social workers . . . who are required by law to promptly report any suspected cases of sexual abuse”

    private school teachers are *not mandated reporters. (and as an aside, they also don’t have to be fingerprinted.)

    i would encourage any MO who thinks AI’s position is silly to inquire of their kids’ schools what their policies are regarding mandatory reporting (and fingerprinting). you might be surprised (not in a good way).

  122. There is a fascinating piece about Syria in the current NY Review of Books, that includes some history regarding the Alawi religion which may be interesting to Hirurim readers:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/09/storm-over-syria/?pagination=false

    A taste:

    “The Alawis of Syria, who make up only 12 percent of its population, split from the main branch of Shiism more than a thousand years ago. Before the twentieth century they were usually referred to as Nusayris, after their eponymous founder Ibn Nusayr, who lived in Iraq during the ninth century. […] Like many Shiites influenced by ancient Gnostic teachings that predate Islam, they believe that the way to salvation and knowledge lies through a succession of divine emanations. […]

    like other schismatic groups residing in Syria, such as the Druzes and Ismailis, the Nusayris do not take their beliefs literally, but understand them as allegorical ways of reaching out to the divine. While this may be true of the educated naqibs, or spiritual elders, such belief systems may have different ramifications for semiliterate peasants, reinforcing a contempt or disdain for outsiders who do not share these beliefs. […]

    It does not take much imagination to see how such beliefs, programmed into the community’s values for more than a millennium, and reinforced by customs such as endogamous marriage—according to which the children of unions between Nusayris and non-Nusayris cannot be initiated into the sect—create very strong notions of apartness and disdain for the ‘Other.’”

  123. STEVE:

    “The fact that the community does not shun such a person does not mean that the adulterer walks away morally free from his actions.”

    great. so let’s apply the standard to homosexuals. let’s not shun them, because after all regardless of our reaction they aren’t walking away morally free from their actions.

    “OTOH, the Torah views marriage as the exclusive domain of a man and woman, as sanctioned by the community. No secular law or change in the surrounding society’s values can ever change that fact.”

    of course! so then who cares how the government defines marriage? it’s not like the LOR will suddently have to start performing homosexual marriages just because the state sanctifies them.

  124. GIL:

    it’s your blog and you can obviously censor comments as you feel appropriate. i’m just curious as to the standard. why do some commenters (ahem) get carte blanch to single out certain jews as self-haters but i can’t?

  125. IH:

    in a wierd way AI’s position on homosexual marriage makes perfect sense. the truth is many AI-type rabbis have no use for civil marriage altogether. in some circles the de facto practice is to perform weddings without the couple having a civil license (this by the way is illegal in New York and I think in NJ). so if jews can (and regularly do) get married without needing the state to sanctifiy it, why do homosexuals need the state’s blessing to get married?

  126. Abba —

    What about the RCA and OU, though?

    BTW, anyone doing genealogical research in 19th century Galicia records will understand the phenomenon you describe. For various reasons, usually attributed to State anti-Semitism, Jews didn’t register marriages. When the 1st child was born, he was registered under his mother’s (maiden) surname, often as an illegitimate child, because the parents were not married from the government’s perspective. It eventually got fixed to ensure inheritance, etc.

  127. For those of you with subscriptions to The New Yorker, check out the piece called Stash in this week’s The Talk of the Town. Particularly, the reference to “…spends several hours each day studying the Torah and the Talmud in the same Brooklyn warehouse…”. Priceless.

  128. >“Charlie Hall on May 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm
    ‘The word “toevah” is used for many things of clearly differing significance.’

    One of which is dishonesty in business. Given the number of recent financial scandals involving members of the Orthodox community, we need to clean up our own act before shouting “toeiva” at others.”

    Huh? That line of logic is a total non sequitur.

    It would be equally sensible to argue that as long as there is sexual impropriety or homosexual activity in the Jewish/Orthodox community, we need to clean up our own act before making noise about financial integrity.

    Do you really believe that?

  129. “i would encourage any MO who thinks AI’s position is silly to inquire of their kids’ schools what their policies are regarding mandatory reporting (and fingerprinting). you might be surprised ”

    Doubt too many would be surprised

  130. “OTOH, the Torah views marriage as the exclusive domain of a man and woman, as sanctioned by the community. No secular law or change in the surrounding society’s values can ever change that fact.”

    of course! so then who cares how the government defines marriage? it’s not like the LOR will suddently have to start performing homosexual marriages just because the state sanctifies them”

    WHY SHOULD WE CARE WHAT THE STATE ALLOWS IN MARRIAGE? It is a civil matter. Do we care halachically who the state allows to perform marriages? Halacha does not require a Rav-state law requires generally someone licensed-a clergyman, certain officials etc.

  131. Interesting article linked about YCT

  132. Abba-WADR, I think that you are confusing adultery and homosexuality in terms of the issues presently being discussed, as well as the term “self hating Jew.”

    Like it or not, adultery exists, but I would tend to disagree that it is present on as a massive scale, together with so many purportedly unhappy marriages, as you claim in the MO and Charedi worlds. When adultery happens in our communities, no adulterer demands legitimization of his lifestyle unless he wants to be the star of a show on HBO. OTOH, demands for tolerance/respect of a gay life style is the demand that a serious prohibition be written out of the Torah to accomodate the contemporary Zeitgeist.

    When I and others use the term “self hating Jew”, we are using the definition as posed by Natan Sharansky- a Jew who applies standards to the Jewish community and specifically Israel that he or she would never dream of applying to such beacons of human rights such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran or Zimbabwe.

  133. Gil (and Mycroft),
    You do realize that the YCT article today is just MAtzav’s (illegal) reprinting of exerpts from the JW article in Wednesday’s links?

  134. I would argue that how the state defines marriage is a value statement of immense proportions. Marriage can be looked as a merger of two person’s bank accounts purely for economic reasons or a means of allowing a man and woman to unite for the purposes of raising a family.

  135. IH,
    Re “Stash”. I have been trying to wrap my head around that since Tuesday.

  136. Mycroft wrote;

    ” Halacha does not require a Rav-state law requires generally someone licensed-a clergyman, certain officials etc”

    I think that Rashi in Gittin cautions against Kiddushin and Gittin being performed by those who are not familiar and knowledgeable ( Aino Bkian) with the halacha.

  137. STEVE:

    “WADR, I think that you are confusing adultery and homosexuality in terms of the issues presently being discussed”

    i don’t think so

    “Like it or not, adultery exists, but I would tend to disagree that it is present on as a massive scale, together with so many purportedly unhappy marriages, as you claim in the MO and Charedi worlds.”

    where did i “claim” any of this? the only thing worse than when you obfuscate by going off on irrelevant tangents is when you obfuscate by putting words in someone else’s mouth they never said.

    “When adultery happens in our communities, no adulterer demands legitimization of his lifestyle”

    you’re missing the whole point. no adulterer needs to demand legitimzation of his lifestyle. for the most part, after his adultery becomes public knowledge his life basically continues as before without any communal ramfications.

    “When I and others use the term “self hating Jew” . . .”

    i don’t necessarily agree with that definition, but in any case don’t worry, you’d probably agree with me concerning the person at whom i leveled the accusation

  138. Why is “Rabbis finally break silence on sex abuse” only being reported in England when the event happened in New York?

  139. MiMedinat HaYam

    to abba — while adulterers do not demand recognition of their subsequent marriage (resulting from the adultery), homosexuals do demand recognition of their status, legal, and religious-wise.

    and by the way, like it or not, other parents will (mostly, in our society, both charedi or and MO) shun the children of such relationships, and have their children avoid them. right or wrong, that is the situation. (ditto children of interacial couples, etc. i just saw it this past pesach at a hotel i was at.)

    also, the adulterer demands recognition in the sense that rabbis perform their remarriages, and we still socialize with them. (call me angry — a friend of mine divorced a couple years ago at his wife’s unreasonable request, then his sister did at her ex husbands unreasonable request, then it turned out the (now divorced) spouses were having an affair, and subsequently remarried, and of course, the children / cousins are really confused.)

    mycroft — dont be so sure the govt wont soon require religious functionaries to perform cermonies they find objectionable (mixed marriages, improper cohen marriages, same sex marriages, non jew to non jew marriage, who knows what other combos). the trend is there; the legal justification is definitely there — its just a political issue, and we are on the wrong side of the political issue.

    (side question — are there halachic issues with performing a non jew to non jew secular ceremony?)

  140. MiMedinat HaYam

    a simple out from mandated reporting — the inevitability of a bet din awarding damages for wrong reporting of wrong suspicions. (civil law gives immunity, but any semi decent lawyer can overcome that immunity; a bet din even more so.) and if a MO bet din declines to award damages, that makes the bet din a laughingstock. (not that the rca bet din isnt a laughingstock now.)

  141. It would be nice to know who the “Rabbis [were who] finally br[oke] silence on sex abuse”

  142. MMHY: “dont be so sure the govt wont soon require religious functionaries to perform cermonies they find objectionable.” My guess and/or legal analysis is no better than yours, but I think the First Amendment would preclude this.

    “If a MO bet din declines to award damages, that makes the bet din a laughingstock.” A laughingstock because it upholds the immunity?? I would think the contrary would be true.

  143. lawrence kaplan

    Joseph: The name of Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn is mentioned explicitly.

  144. Abba-let’s clear the air-you made the comparison between adultery and homosexual relations in a number of posts. You bemoaned the seeming lack of attention to the conduct of adulterers and their status in the community and alleged that there are scores of unhappy marriages-all without a shred of evidence.

  145. MiMedinat HaYam

    to jkaplan — if the immunity is improper? if a person was improperly accused? if (as often the case) the reporter is just a pawn in a divorce battle? if he / she has a good lawyer (vs the often lousy lawyer an ins co will provide?) if the state refuses to back up the reporter? (in the case of rca betdin — if his / her LOR is influential in rca?)

    just some strategies, off the top of my head.

  146. MiMedinat HaYam

    first amendment can also require one to perform such a ceremony in a non discriminatory argument (otherwise, the govt sanctioned religious functionary violates 14th amendment.)

  147. “first amendment can also require one to perform such a ceremony in a non discriminatory argument (otherwise, the govt sanctioned religious functionary violates 14th amendment.)”

    Really? Then how can the rabbi discriminate against non-Jews, or do you believe that he (or she) has to perform ANYBOD’s wedding that is valid under secular law?

  148. And re immunity. I wasn’t responding to your statement that immunity can be breached (though I am underwhelmed by your strategies, to be honest). I was responding to your claim that batei din that sided with the reporter would be laughingstocks. I believe they would be admired in the MO community.

  149. Lawrence: I noticed the name; I also noticed that “rabbis” implies more than one.

  150. MiMedinat HaYam

    i said an argument can be made mandating rabbis be required to perform objectionable ceremonies. of course, they will start with same sex weddings (which is what they are driving at); cohen marriages are not of (direct) interest to them.

    2. in an egregious case (and or a case where the LOR is powerful, influential) even the rca bet din would be a laughingstock. they actually are not so respected anyway (they pick and choose cases, they do not allow experienced toanim, their gitten are pro forma, etc.)

    3. many non jews have elaborate bar mitzvah’s (secular). one of these days, they will want a rabbi wedding.

  151. MiMedinat HaYam

    http://www.jewishaz.com/issues/story.mv?110527+bramly though i dont know if this is an egregious case. (and the reporter is not at issue.) but if it were, how should the ra react? give him immunity? reasonable ppl can say no. and the ny immunity may not be valid in arizina.

    (your possible argument of a “chilling effect” is not an issue for a bet din — its an societal issue.)

  152. IH, the settlers’ greatest accomplishment is that missiles are not fired on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem like they are on Sderot.

  153. how does one distinguish between the chalutzim of yesteryear and the mitnachalim of today?

  154. STEVE BRIZEL:

    “You bemoaned the seeming lack of attention to the conduct of adulterers and their status in the community”

    don’t get so dramatic. i bemoaned nothing. i merely pointed out the self-rightious hypocrisy of individuals, rabbis and communities that spurn homosexuals and welcome adulturers in their midst. (just for record, i’m on the fence with certain issues of public and communal policy regarding homosexuals, but when people like yourself get so fixated on homosexuality it actually puts it into greater perspective for me and makes me more tolerant. go figure.)

    and what does “*seeming* lack of attention” mean? am i oblivious to something?

    “and alleged that there are scores of unhappy marriages”

    i’m not sure what unhappy marriages has to do with anything and this is the second time you are putting those words in my mouth.

    “all without a shred of evidence.””

    what type of evidence would you like? you want me to name someone in your community or name a community that had a problem and get banned from commenting here? (i admit this isn’t evidence, but consider that i’m not the only one here claiming that it exists.)

  155. lawrence kaplan

    Joseph: Good point. But the article referred to mental health experts who addressed the conference, and similarly only identified one by name, Dr. Alison Feit. Still, as you say, it would be good to know which rabbis, other than Rabbi Eidensohn, participated.

  156. “when people like yourself get so fixated on homosexuality it actually puts it into greater perspective for me and makes me more tolerant. go figure”

    This is what happened to me. While was tolerant of homosexual domestic partnerships, I was opposed to the insitution of same-sex marriages (as late as 2009). The more hysterical the anti sentiment, the less rationality I saw in my position. And then Judge Walker’s crisp statement nailed it:

    “Marriage in the United States has always been a civil matter. Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize marriages but not to determine who may enter or leave a civil marriage. Religious leaders may determine independently whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the relationship under state law”.

  157. “IH, the settlers’ greatest accomplishment is that missiles are not fired on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem like they are on Sderot.”

    Shlomo – and before Mr. Settlement, Arik Sharon, implemented his unilateral withdrawal from Gaza that enable the rockets, the settlers prevented suicide bombings in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem?

  158. IH – Of course not, I didn’t say that.

  159. And for the record, there were no suicide bombings before the beginning of the “peace process”. (Which the left has no abandoned in favor of unilateral moves, seeing that they no longer need the pretense of peace in order to achieve Palestinian supremacy.)

  160. To me, the two most important parts of Goldberg’s piece were:

    “The settlement movement, its supporters, and its apologists (in Israel and in America) have successfully conflated support for their movement with support for Israel and for Zionism itself. They have created a reality in which criticism of the settlement movement has come to equal criticism of Israel.”

    and

    “the settlements should be fought as if there was no such thing as anti-Zionism, and anti-Zionism should be fought as if there were no such thing as the settlements.”

    I agree with both positions, with the caveat “new settlements” — i.e. I am not opposed to expansion of the established settlements that are expected to become part of Israel in any negotiated settlement.

  161. “I think that Rashi in Gittin cautions against Kiddushin and Gittin being performed by those who are not familiar and knowledgeable ( Aino Bkian) with the halacha”

    Kol sheeno baki btiv gittin vkiddushin lo yihea esek emahem-

    Before Shabbos-no time to look it up-but isn’t it found in a gemarrah in kiddusin someplace near the bottom third of a page

  162. “Shlomo on May 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm
    And for the record, there were no suicide bombings before the beginning of the “peace process”.”

    Are you sure-but the peace process began after the 1st Intifada which began in Dec 87 after lel hagalshanim-BTW it was not a real surprise-when I vistied Israel with Mrs Mycroft for Succott 87-I was commenting to ppeople I knew in Israel how tense things appeared and they knew it to-I was asked to speak at Shalosh shudas after I came back for my impressions and stated that it appearedto me that things were about to explode and things had changed since a few years earlier-I was accused of having no faith similar to the mraglim.
    About a year earlier I believe Zev Schiff of Haaretz advocated giving back Gaza and putting amoat around it in order tobe able to same most of Yehudah vShomron-of course the Yisrael hashleimah peole were furious -today the arument wil be around will Efrat stay in Israel-and Israel must return equal territory from pre 67 Israel.

  163. mycroft – The first intifada resulted in a handful of Israeli deaths, while the peace process and concurrent attacks in hundreds of deaths (even before 2000). The motivation for mass casualty attacks was always high, but our withdrawal provided the necessary opportunity.

  164. Looking for cause and effect is a fool’s errand. There are too many moving parts. Drive looking forward, while glancing back; not the other way around.

  165. Brother’s Kaplan,
    this link describes the even more fully, including listing the Rabbis and mental health professionals. FTR, the only other rabbi seems to have been R. Blau.
    http://www.jewishpress.com/printArticle.cfm?contentid=48291

  166. The Agudah Conference on sexual abuse continues the same method.Go to our Rabbis.They are the only ones who have the power to allow you to goo to the authorities.They went so far as to state that even mandated reporters must go to the Rabbis first and get their permission..Who is there to protect the child victims.Rabbis do not have any investigative powers or professional training to decide if there is sufficent evidence.

  167. Lawrence Kaplan

    MDJ: Thanks for the link. Rabbis Eidensohn and Blau– the usual suspects. Oh well.

  168. IH and Mycroft-I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any “negotiated settlement”, especially given Hamas’ view of Israel.

  169. For those interested in what could be an interesting case of Hirhurei Teshuvah at the least, see this link.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/magazine/david-mamet-talks-about-his-shift-to-the-right.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

  170. IH wrote:

    “Looking for cause and effect is a fool’s errand”

    WADR, that’s what scientists, doctors, and historians have been doing for centuries because as Santayana pointed out, those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.

  171. Anyone who has followed the so-called “peace process” can see that it did not bring peace and that the Israeli public long ago rejected the premise that it would do so at the polls. As recent articles in both Azure and Commentary demonstrate, that fact has led the left to be the force propelling the various elements of the BDS movement, both within the usual Israeli academic and journalistic circles, but also as well in Europe and the US.

  172. “can see that it did not bring peace and that the Israeli public long ago rejected the premise that it would do so at the polls.”

    Adding up votes of parties the Israeli public has certainly rejected the desirability of settling areas like Hebron, Shechem-maybe not the Israeli public that agrees with some YU RY but Sfon TA counts too.

    For a moderate Israel blog-see
    http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/

    especially recent posts on the 1967 line, and on changing dynamics of the conflict.

  173. Mycroft-Nortbh TA, with its “yeled vkelev” crowd, is akin to Park Slope-not necessarily representative of the Israeli voting public.

  174. “Steve Brizel on May 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm
    Mycroft-Nortbh TA, with its “yeled vkelev” crowd, is akin to Park Slope-not necessarily representative of the Israeli voting public.”

    Agreed but they are just as representative as YU RY and anyother individual. One finds out what is representative but seeing results of Knesset elections.

  175. Mycroft wrote:

    “Agreed but they are just as representative as YU RY and anyother individual. One finds out what is representative but seeing results of Knesset elections”

    WADR, your comparison is inaccruate. The views of the”Yeled vKelev” crowd are confined to their representatives in the secular media and acasdemic post Zionist elites and their MKs and the self perpertuating members of the HCJ. I think that a case can be made that their views are a distinct minority whose influence lies in their being quoted by the American and European media where their views are presented way out of proportion to their actual influence in Israel.

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