News & Links

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

NY LGBT Center slammed as center of anti-Israel activity
New archive will document life in Old City from 1917-48
Judges Let New York City Ban Worship Services From Schools
Remembering Babe Ruth’s Concern For Jews During The Holocaust
Religion News: Orthodox rabbis seek ties to Christianity
Agudath de-blogs
Liberals celebrate a same-sex wedding
SALT Friday
Conflicting Kashrus Rulings Translated
Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel? (note parenthetical statement about Orthodoxy)
J’lem rabbi candidate calls for religious tolerance in city
Inmate sues over prisons’ decision to stop serving kosher food
New Day School Alternatives Set For Fall In N.J.
Recollections Of Dayan Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine
When Religious Doctrine Undercuts Mandated Reporting On Abuse
YU Shavuot To Go
JTS Women Grads Struggling For Pulpits
Ohel Campaign To Bolster Image Questioned
Bible lessons move to Facebook
SALT Thursday
Banning Circumcision: The Target Is Religion, Not Jews
Archive Fever
Only Hebrew academy in Toledo area to close doors
Bible lessons move to Facebook
Skverer Rebbe Speaks Out in Ami Magazine
Rabbi Dovid Feinstein and Other Leading Rabbis Forbid Anisakis Worm in Fish
SALT Wednesday
David Brooks: It’s Not About You
Frenemies
IDF intelligence gets first haredi officers
Jumping In With Open Eyes
Rabbi slams blind obedience to rabbis
SALT Tuesday
Guys and Modesty
Yoffie: Why Interfaith Dialogue Doesn’t Work — And What We Can Do About It
Catholic Charities ends foster care, adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents
Pampers in the orthodox sector
New questions surface about impartiality of Rubashkin judge
The Decline of the Main Minyan
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.

228 comments

  1. Re Rubashkin article-not sure what rulings they are challenging from the Judge-but as far as bloggers are concerned nothing in article would change anyones mind of whether or not Rubashkin was a saint or a chillul hashem-there are frequent Hirhurim bloggers on both sides.
    Main Minyan article raises a lot of interesting important issues.

  2. when did pampers become a problem?

  3. It used to be a big problem on Shabbos according to many but not all poskim. Rav Kafach even discusses it in his commentary to Mishneh Torah, which is a very unusual departure for him. But Velcro changed all that.

  4. GIL:

    so is the problem in israel with velcro diapers, or there they still use tape?

  5. “three-hour service in Hebrew”

    I attended a very nice three hour service this past Shabat morning. There was a lot of singing, very little talking, and a nice “sermon” by one of the rabbis on the week’s parsha. It was inspiring and uplifting. I would never want one of those “quick in-and-out” Shabat minyanim.

  6. Some interesting words from R’Lau: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4074795,00.html. A little extreme for me, but definitely important. Does this qualify for your News & Links, Gil?

  7. Should I be surprised that the Aish article decides to speak for all of Judaism about whether Judaism thinks machismo is a desirable trait, and in the process butchers Judaism?

  8. For example, there was this guy named Shimshon, and I don’t think there’s a more accurate description of what he did than “cracking heads and taking names”.

  9. “Rav Kafach even discusses it in his commentary to Mishneh Torah, which is a very unusual departure for him. ”

    Interesting trivia sidebar-to the extent that the late Rambam scholar spelt his name in Englsih it was Kapach-a transliteration of the Hebraization of his name. Most academic scholars refer to his name as Kafih-a transliteration of the name as pronounced in Arabic.
    My personal preference is to refer to people the way they refer to themselves-Kapach.

  10. “Charlie Hall on May 30, 2011 at 11:08 am
    “three-hour service in Hebrew”

    I attended a very nice three hour service this past Shabat morning.”

    Everyone has their own tastes-but doubt too many Hirhurim readers would enjoy a regular 3 hour Shabbos davening.

  11. “Some interesting words from R’Lau: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4074795,00.html. A little extreme for me, but definitely important”

    Thanks for the link-al regel achat his viewpoint (R Benny Lau) appears consistent with the OTD books.

  12. Too bad that was written by him – he can be brushed off as “one of those people with an axe to grind”. But I guess trying to get an insider that’s still in the fold would be impossible.

  13. S, the public silence of the Orthodox establishment outside of New Square in dealing with this horrific crime is to me the most disturbing element of this. The impulse is to cover up and pretend that this man getting burnt over 50% of his body had nothing to do with the campaign of harassment against this family in New Square. Harassment which every person reading this knows was permitted by the highest levels of New Square. We all know this has happened before minus the arson attack but we were all silent. Our leadership is still silent. This blog is still silent.

    Why? Is this not important enough? Is the OU to invested in maintaining a relationship with New Square that we still are silent against this type of violence?

    The rebbe was supposed to view his own role as including being the shepard of this man, even if this man had begun to reject him. Instead it took a week and the threat of a federal investigation to get him to call for prayers for the victim. What does that say?

    Let us be honest, even if the rebbe did not know this was going to happen – and that is not clear to me, especially since the assailant apparently lived in his house – how could he not have known what his followers were putting this man through? How could it not have happened without his approval?

    How could the rebbe still get esteemed visitors to his house in the immediate aftermath of this crime and the Square communities ambiguous (at best) response?

    It is very simply. The charedi have the courage to say when someone is not a Torah Jew to their standards. Or when a community is not a Torah community to their standards. Do the Modern Orthodox say violence is part of elu v’elu. Are we so morally bankrupt, that we
    stay silent now? It is disgusting.

    I spend my life keeping kosher at great social expense to myself. Yet I am not so morally blind as to not know that better I ate non-kosher every meal of my life then did what the criminal did here. So what does it say, when the rebbe of a large and well-respected Torah community – their intermediary to Hashem – is so invested in the religious purity of his shtetl that he can not immediately condemn this act. That we must question just how much he really knew about this.

    Had this been done by a Palestinian how would we have reacted? And the Palestinian had more cause and less of a relationship to the victim then here. Then the criminal was not a brother. The IDF would go house to house and we would applaud.

    The silence indicates a larger Orthodox community utterly unable to deal with basic issues lest relationships sour. Like, violence to maintain social order is bad.

    Let me state a warning to the Orthodox leadership, some of whom read this blog: condemn this now. Not merely the arson, but the whole enforcement of order through violence. Get ahead of this story if you still can. If the community doesn’t get in front of this how do you think us laity will view it when the government needs to come and (try to) address it?

  14. CHARLIE HALL:

    “I attended a very nice three hour service this past Shabat morning.”

    was it really that nice? what percentage of those who attended the service were present for the full 3 hours?

  15. The human mind can pay attention for two hours, tops. This isn’t a new thing, either: Shakespeare’s plays run for about two hours, as he even mentions himself.

  16. .” Yet I am not so morally blind as to not know that better I ate non-kosher every meal of my life then did what the criminal did here.”

    Sadly, the concern with ritual laws and no concern about bein adam lechavero is pandemic. Hypothetical-if one had the following scenario in a schul-someone going ballistic and yelling at people for talking in schul which would you expect a “Rabbi” of a schul to do-shev val taaseh and let things calm down, send out a letter reminding people of importance of mitzvah of malbin pnei chaveiro brabbim, or take the opportunity of turmoil not mention maniac behavior and sign letter about talking in schul.

  17. Lawrence Kaplan

    Nachum: Did you ever see an uncut Hamlet? Did you ever hear the Rav’s Yahrzeit derashos? Lincoln Douglas debates?

  18. “Nachum on May 31, 2011 at 4:31 am
    The human mind can pay attention for two hours, tops. This isn’t a new thing, either: Shakespeare’s plays run for about two hours, as he even mentions himself”

    Thus, schuls should not take long-popularity of hashkama minyanim even those not lucky enough to have as gabbeim of their minyan leading professors in Jewish studies from Hebrew U. Also hashkama minyanim are less likely to have machlokes relating to boredom issues-less time to get bored.

  19. “Did you ever hear the Rav’s Yahrzeit derashos?”

    It is an open question how many would listen to the Ravs lengthy shiurim quietly where they were not predisposed to think of the Rav as the A Gadol Hador and a talent that arises every few generations at best. I was once present where the Rav was part of a program at a MO schul-he spoke for a realtively short RYBS of a little bit over an hour but clearly had lost the interest of a great percentage of the audience way before he finished speaking.

  20. I happen to think that Reform Rabbi Yoffie’s article was great and very interesting. What are the thoughts of the commenters here?

  21. Rabbi Yoffe describes a type of “dialogue” that other might call a “talk shop” — about which I suspect he is correct. But, there are other types of interfaith dialogue.

    One that surprised me recently was attending Dr. Aviva Zornberg’s shiur at Union Theological Seminary. It was not dumbed down for the audience. Source sheets in both Hebrew and English, just as she provided in other shiurim of her that I have attended. There were some kippot in the audience, but as far as I know, the primary audience was Union Theological Seminary people.

  22. Where can I get a Pampers K’riat Sh’ma poster?

  23. Prof. Kaplan: Branaugh’s Hamlet is uncut; I saw it in the theater and own it on DVD. I like it very, very much and it takes about four hours. (There was an intermission in the theater.) But the consensus of Shakespeare scholars is that before Branaugh, the play was *never* performed that way. Shakespeare revised his own work and added and removed stuff; Branaugh is simply conflating versions, or rather copying the 18th and 19th century editors who gave us Shakespeare as we know it.

    Of *course* there are movies of more than two hours, and people sit through them and enjoy them. Ditto plays and operas, although there are intermissions there. But those are exceptions. As is the Rav and 19th Century speeches by Webster or Clay or Lincoln or Everett. And people may well be predisposed to be more bored at a religiously obligatory event than one they paid to get into knowing how long it would be.

  24. PROF. KAPLAN:

    “Did you ever see an uncut Hamlet? Did you ever hear the Rav’s Yahrzeit derashos? Lincoln Douglas debates?”

    how productive do you think your college lectures would be if they dragged on for 3 hours?

    although there are exceptions (particularly in grad school) college classes are generally last 50-75 minutes. and the exceptions that are longer than that generally have breaks, sometimes multiple breaks.

    and i will restate my question from above in a different way: what is the purpose of a 3-hour service if most participants are there for less–often *much* less–time than the scheduled 3 hour duration.

  25. I’m reminded of Rossini’s alleged critique of Wagner’s Operas: “some wonderful moments but awful half hours”.

  26. NAHUM:

    “Of *course* there are movies of more than two hours, and people sit through them and enjoy them.”

    which reminds me of the popular musar: you wouldn’t walk late into a broadway play (and then come and go at will), why so with davening?

    ” And people may well be predisposed to be more bored at a religiously obligatory event than one they paid to get into knowing how long it would be.”

    presumably then you’ve never paid membership in a suburban shul. people pay a lot for that privilige even though they know there is nothing fun in it for them.

  27. They do it out of obligation, I think.

  28. For what it’s worth, I once told a Catholic friend that the Saturday morning service took three hours, and he was flabbergasted. The Sunday mass (lehavdil) takes no more than 90 minutes, he told me.

    A big difference is that Catholics can go on to do whatever they please after church on Sunday.

    For Jews, who are subject to the Sabbath restrictions, the choice may be between being bored in shul or bored at home. Perhaps the three-hour service offers a variety of boredom. And there’s always the pot of cholent at the end of the rainbow.

  29. >Too bad that was written by him – he can be brushed off as “one of those people with an axe to grind”. But I guess trying to get an insider that’s still in the fold would be impossible.

    It will be said about any critic that he has “an axe to grind.” So unless you assume that somehow there’s this one society in the world that’s free of problems, he’s worth listening to. Besides, can anyone believe that he is lying about what he described?

  30. SCOTT:

    “The Sunday mass (lehavdil) takes no more than 90 minutes, he told me.”

    again, most members of shuls with 3-hour long services are not actually present for the entire service.

    “he was flabbergasted”

    did you explain to him that the vast majority of us come late (in many cases *very* late), some leave early, and many feel free to come and go during the service or otherwise engage in non-worship related matters? does this describe a typical church service as well (i have no idea). do churches have kiddush clubs?

    “Catholics can go on to do whatever they please after church on Sunday.”

    false.

    “And there’s always the pot of cholent at the end of the rainbow.”

    and in many cases during the haftorah and rabbi’s speech as well, along with some shnaps 🙂

  31. “Of *course* there are movies of more than two hours, and people sit through them and enjoy them.”

    My impression is that the vast majority of movies are less than two hours-people don’t go to see the essentially identical movie every week

  32. ““The Sunday mass (lehavdil) takes no more than 90 minutes, he told me.””

    My impression is that the vast majority of Catholic masses take less than an hour including the homily.
    I have no first hand experience-my impression is strictly secondary info.

  33. >>“Catholics can go on to do whatever they please after church on Sunday.”

    >>false.

    Nah, it’s true. I don’t think that a Catholic who goes to the mall after church on Sunday considers that he has committed a sin.

    The main obligation is to participate in the mass. Beyond that, the Code of Canon Law requires Catholics “to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.” Sounds pretty vague to me.

  34. actually research studies show the adult human mind can concentrate consecutively for 20-25 minutes.
    Therefor a good lecturer gives a summary ,a story ,or joke to relieve the cocentration every twenty minutes.In davening there are periods of time that intent concentration is not necessary .
    EX.bein avra legavra and other times.

  35. That was me at 12:31.

  36. Comparing a Shabbat morning service to a play or a lecture is unfair. There’s a big difference between sitting through one type of activity (play, lecture, movie etc.) and a service that (a) has many different parts (e.g., davening, chazzanut, kri’ast HaTorah and sermon) where the switch mitigates against boredom, and (b) has some participatory parts (i.e., personal davening) as opposed to a constant watching or listening to someone else perform.

    This is not to say that I would enjoy a 3 hr. service. But I do like a main shul davening as opposed to a Haskama minyan one. Luckily, in my shul, the main minyan — mishabarachs, sermon, announcements, throwing candy at bar mitzvah and auf ruf etc. included) takes about 2:20-2:30. I wouldn’t mind cutting 10 or so minutes off that, but I’m rarely bored. Then again, I have plenty of reading material to keep me interested.

  37. SCOTT:

    “I don’t think that a Catholic who goes to the mall after church on Sunday considers that he has committed a sin.”

    then you don’t live in bergen county

  38. Shabbos davening is the same, week in and week out. And in many shuls, same tunes. I can’t survive the whole service without a book for reading during downtime, but since I won’t learn during repetition of Amidah there isn’t that much downtime.

  39. Lawrence Kaplan

    Nachum: I just read a brief scholarly description of Hamlet’s playing history on stage and screen, and it is an exaggeration to say that before Branagh Hamet was ‘never played that way.” Also, nowadays most editions of Hamlet (and Lear) are NOT conflated, but either print the Folio or (second) quarto version.

    Re Catholics and mass: I remember, many years ago, I was with family and friends walking in the local park on Shabbat afternoon, all of us dressed in our Sabbath finest. We somehow started talking to a Catholic man who told us that he was impressed by how we kept up our traditions. He was trying to persuade his daughter first go to mass on Sunday morning and then go skiing at Mount Tremblant. After he left, we commented to ourselves: “What a good deal. We go to shul in the morning, and then skiing in the afternoon.”

  40. >”It will be said about any critic that he has “an axe to grind.””

    Sure. But I’d say you’re significantly worse off having founded a Journal of OTD Literature.

  41. Lawrence Kaplan

    Scott’s quote from Canon Law would, indeed, seem to allow for skiing.

    I recently saw Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, one of my all-time favorite plays. It was 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15-20 minute break. Watching the waltz at the end of the last scene I was in tears, it was so moving

  42. Cheryl Kupfer’s article in The Jewish Press, “Jumping In With Open Eyes” (about the reality for most wives of kollel husbands), is extremely important. Many thanks for linking to it!

  43. SCOTT:

    1) just because they don’t have 39 melachos doesn’t mean that many christians don’t observe the sabbath in their own way
    2) of course it’s true that most christians don’t observe the sabbath in any meaningful way. but then again neither do most jews.

  44. PROF KAPLAN:

    “Watching the waltz at the end of the last scene I was in tears, it was so moving”

    and when was the last time you cried in shul?

    GIL:

    what does it mean for the rest of us that someone like yourself can’t sit through shul without some extracurricular reading material?

  45. Joseph Kaplan
    Please re-read what I said.
    That was exactly my point the davening has places during which one does NOT have to concentrate intensely.For” ex.bein gavra legavra and other times.”

  46. GIL:

    “Shabbos davening is the same, week in and week out.”

    worse yet, it’s in a language most of us don’t really understand too well, and in many not cases not at all.

    of course today there are so many ways to rectify ignorance of hebrew, and for those who choose not to there are plenty of translations to suit every tongue and taste. so what does it mean that most choose to avoid learning (or improving our) hebrew as well as ignore the translations (even when holding one in our hands!)?

  47. DAAY Y:

    “davening has places during which one does NOT have to concentrate intensely”

    if it doesn’t really require our concentration, then does it have any spiritual meaning?

  48. DAAT Y:

    i mean then what’s the point of including these sections in the davening to begin with?

  49. No intense concentration does not equal no spiritual meaning.
    Do you have different levels of concentration?
    Do yo have any different levels of spiritual meaning?
    Or is it all black or white?

  50. DAAT Y:

    please list the parts of davening during which one “one does NOT have to concentrate intensely” so i can better understand. thanks.

    as far as the gavra le-gavra you mentioned, i’ve never understand the point of the mi-sheberachs if no one is paying attention. e.g., shekol hakahal mispalelim ba-avuro: baavur mi al yedei mi?

  51. Read Joseph Kaplan of 12:35.

  52. DAAT Y:

    i guess i’m seeing things in black and white, but if most of the shul is not interested in the sermon, mi sheberachs, announcements, etc., then get rid of them.

    i guess these provide some concentration “down time,” but then i just don’t see the purpose. and saying (i’m not sure if you said this) that this down type of down is good because it gives concentration breaks sounds (imho) like post facto justification.

  53. “i guess i’m seeing things in black and white, but if most of the shul is not interested in the sermon, mi sheberachs, announcements, etc., then get rid of them”

    I think the issue may be that a different minority is interested in each one. The service is long enough that everyone is going to space out (or wander, or read) at some point, but different people have different priorities. Some things are less popular overall, but may be the favorite part of a small minority. And current decorum expectations make it OK to cater to those minorities without imposing too much on the others, who may wander or come late…

  54. There are serious issues about davening — both in private and betzibur; e.g., does it have any spiritual meaning for most of us, do we understand what it means, are we bored etc. But making a 3-hour service a 2 hour or hour and a half one doesn’t really deal with the problem. I would think (and maybe I’m wrong) that many (most?) people bored by a 3-hour service are bored by a 2-hour one as well, the only difference being an hour of boredom. Or, possibly, in a shul that has a rabbi who knows how to deliver a good sermon, perhaps some are bored less in the 3-hour service because there’s 20 minutes which they find really interesting as opposed to zero minutes in the shorter service.

    As I said, I think the issue of davening is a complex one, and focusing on a few minutes more or less is an easy way to evade the difficult questions.

  55. for whatever it’s worth, i totally agree with joseph kaplan. re: my previous comment i guess i would just add that not only does removing 10 minutes here or there not solve the real issues, but it is usually also not free: someone may like that part, or in the case of misheberachs, costly in the $$ sense….

  56. Here is an Eitzah that works for me-I will say Psukei DZimrah so that I finish ahead of the person who is the Shliach Tzibur-which gives me some time to learn in that stretch. I then continue learning Bein Gavra LGavra and announcements, but not during Krias HaTorah or Chazaras HaShatz.

  57. “But making a 3-hour service a 2 hour or hour and a half one doesn’t really deal with the problem. I would think (and maybe I’m wrong) that many (most?) people bored by a 3-hour service are bored by a 2-hour one as well, the only difference being an hour of boredom.”

    Disagree-it is the flow of the service-thus taking off even a couple of minutes from private shemonei esrei will help keep things flowing-eg chazaras hashas should aim to start at least in non yomim noraim at the 50% of dafveners. Rabbis should not take longer-they at least know ivris(t) better than most daveners.

  58. “was it really that nice?”

    Yes.

    “what percentage of those who attended the service were present for the full 3 hours?”

    Perhaps a quarter.

    “Rossini’s alleged critique of Wagner’s Operas”

    And he died before the premier of “Der Ring des Nibelungen” and “Parsifal”.

    “you wouldn’t walk late into a broadway play (and then come and go at will), why so with davening?”

    A lot of performing arts venues now enforce “no late seating” policies. I guess our society gives more kvod to performing artists than to our creator.

    ” Luckily, in my shul, the main minyan — mishabarachs, sermon, announcements, throwing candy at bar mitzvah and auf ruf etc. included) takes about 2:20-2:30.”

    Luckily, I have several shuls near me with three hour minyanim. What’s the rush — its Shabat!

    “then you don’t live in bergen county”

    ROTF!!!!

    “Shabbos davening is the same, week in and week out”

    So try a different shul from time to time! Don’t you live in a part of Brooklyn with a zillion shuls on every block?

  59. The article about seminary girls and expectations is so off the mark I do not know where to begin. Also, it assumes that people are too stupid because they made different choices then the author.

    It is such a red herring to say that tons of boys go to yeshiva, drop college and want to learn for life. Heads Up..Very few people learn for life even in the most right wing circles.
    I would venture that at yeshivas that attract boys who intend to go to college in the first place the number who plan on go to college who then do not attend is easily less than 5%. Going to Ner, or Ohr Hachaim usually involves college. The number that were not panning on being rabbanim or mechanchim and then decide to enter avodas hakodesh is much higher, but that is a different issue.

    Furthermore, the author seems to feel that the only good life for a nice frum girl is one of relaxation, luxury and gashmius. She does not recognize that ruchnius can be more satisfying than physical luxury even if one is physically tired and harried.

    Finally, even if a husband is not learning many women need to work to put food on the table and cannot just get a nanny. Alternatively, to afford the nanny her husband may be harried working 12+ hours a day in a good Jewish profession like law, with a 1 hour+ commute each day so they can live in a nice place like the 5 towns. I am unsure when he will have time to appreciate his perfectly parented children, clean house, to learn seriously or to daven with a minyan. I do not know her experience with kollel husbands, but they often do carpool and are home for lunch, dinner and bed time 7 days a week. They also have vacation for yom tov.

  60. lawrence kaplan

    Abba: I’m not sure you have the right to ask that question, but the answer is singing ve-khol maaminim and the kaddish after musaf on the Yamim Noraim. I confess it’s not just the words, but also the collective singing. And now, I will not respond to any follow-up questions.

  61. R.Lau obedience to Rabbis should have been more nuanced even in a short article.
    I am sure he does not mean that his shul should not listen to his piskei halacha.

  62. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. i once had a client who was involved in programming for encouyraging synagogue members to come to synagogue (oriented to wards C and R, but there wwere some veery few IO shuls who just came to hear some ideas,.) we ghavbe mnmuch much less issues than they do. and interrestimngly, rav lau (jr) doesnt have such pblms.

    2. i used top thionk that the serm,on in shul derives from reform practice (which, iofg copuyrse, they got fropm the prortestants). however, i later fopund out that it was instituted by rev leeser, of the orthodox spanish portugese sdynahgoue of nyc sheaserit israel in the 1820’s.

    but every rabbi kbnows not to speak for longer than 11 minutes, except for those few who …

  63. MMY:

    “i used top thionk that the serm,on in shul derives from reform practice (which, iofg copuyrse, they got fropm the prortestants). however, i later fopund out that it was instituted by rev leeser, of the orthodox spanish portugese sdynahgoue of nyc sheaserit israel in the 1820′s.”

    1) leeser was never the rev. of shearith israel. he was the rev. of mikveh israel in philadlephia until they kicked him out and his supporters established for him beth el emet

    2) leeser did not insitute the sermon itself. the drasha existed well before leeser in europe and in america. as far as america, a sermon was printed already in 1773 (shavuos). presumably it wasn’t the first time a sermon was delivered. and gm seixas of shearith israel was the first in america to preach in english (d. 1816, sermons extant from 18th c.). the first to try to institute a regular sermon in america was indeed the reform as represented in the consitution of the reformed society of charleston in 1825. of course most of their reforms, including a regular sermons in the vernacular, have since been adopted by most orthos, certainly MO. leeser’s contribution was he was the first to push for regular sermonizing in the ortho synagogue in america (beginning in the 1830s). he was only somewhat successful during his lifetime. his shul resisted his efforts. the parnasim forced him to submit his sermons in advance for approval and he could only deliver them after services were over so that those who didn’t want to listen could go home.
    as i mentioned in europe too there were certainly ortho sermons. the debate there wasn’t whether or not to have sermons, but rather in what language. this debate didn’t exist in mid-19th c. america when there was no ideologically entrenched jewish vernacular.
    back to leeser. he himself considered his sermons his greatest contribution. he published them in pamphlet form and in his monthly Occident magazine and then in a 3-volume and finally a 10-volume edition (last volumes appeared posthumously). he considered this his spiritual yerusha to american jewry. (i don’t think it was, but rather his bible translation)

    “but every rabbi kbnows not to speak for longer than 11 minutes”

    the rabbi in my shul speaks for longer than 11 minutes. i don’t mind because he actually has something to say. personally i think he is a rara avis. 99% of the other pulpit rabbis i’ve heard shouldn’t even be allowed to speak for less than 11 minutes.

  64. CHARLIE HALL:

    “ROTF!!!!”

    glad i gave you a laugh, but not sure what’s so funny.
    any bergen county catholic (or rather christian, not sure why this started out only in reference to catholics) who wants to go to a mall on his/her sabbath will have to go out of the way to do so. bergen county has pretty strict blue laws (at least by NY/NJ standards).

    (as an aside, teaneckers who complain about sky high property taxes should consider the impact of blue laws)

  65. LAWRENCE KAPLAN:

    “I’m not sure you have the right to ask that question, but the answer is singing ve-khol maaminim and the kaddish after musaf on the Yamim Noraim. I confess it’s not just the words, but also the collective singing. And now, I will not respond to any follow-up questions.”

    you mentioned crying at the end of a long show in the context of a discussion about whether or not protracted services can be moving. i thought you were drawing a parallel and i was looking for the other end of that parallel to conclude relevancy, especially since i’ve never seen tears in shul. or perhaps there was no relevancy and you just mentioned it as an aside. so i wasn’t sure why you brought up your emotions to begin with and asked for contextual clarification. sorry if you thought i was mocking you or questioning your manliness or attacking you or just trying to pry. i intended none of the above.

  66. On the R. Benny Lau article, I was curious about the (mis)use of the word “laicization”. So, I hunted down the Hebrew version which, it turns out, was published Pesach time.

    If anyone else is curious, the original article is:
    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4055314,00.html.

    Note also the phrase דתל”ש – דתי לשעבר which isn’t used much in the US.

  67. IH:

    “Note also the phrase דתל”ש – דתי לשעבר which isn’t used much in the US.”

    anyone who watches srugim knows what a datlash is. hence the heter for watching israeli television to keep up with modern hebrew parlance 🙂
    (how else could i possibly know what לסמס mean?)

  68. one alternative to the long davening with no breaks is what i saw in a syrian shul in brooklyn. (although sephardim generally have less of a problem than we do in this area.) after leining they have a kiddush and then break up for shiurim (based on interest/ability) then they come back together for musaf.

  69. “(how else could i possibly know what לסמס mean?)”

    Or, for that matter, לפסבק (don’t remember if that was mentioned on the show, but I’ve heard it around).

  70. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba:

    sorry for the leeser / seixas confusion.

    the 1773 shavuot sermon / drasha is obviously the one rav chaim carigal gave at yeshuot yisrael (later the turou synagogue) in newport rhode island. it used to be posted on the shul website, but wasnt there a few months ago due to their “new” website. rev stiles prez / whatever of yale was there, was impressed with rav carigal, and .. eventually put “urim ve’tumim” on the yale seal in honor.

    you confirm my initial suspicions that the sermon / drasha has reform / protestant origins (in the colonies and in europe). till then, the only requirement for a drasha was on shabat hagadol and shabat shuva (however you want to spell it.) yes, there was an issue of the language (even today, the rav in a shul in mexico i used to visit often insists on speaking in yidddish, though few, and definitely less youth, understand it. foolish litvak.)

    the 11 minute limit — i’ve been in shuls where the rav (even a good speaker; or perhaps that is why he is a good speaker) concludes what he’s saying at 10-1/2 minutes, even in the middle of a thought, and gives short concluding remarks.

    back to topic at hand — abolishing the sermon. might work for some ppl. others might only listen to someone inspiring — rabbi sacks’s sheets are very popular in many MO communities, but a video hookup wont work. many think their local shul rabbi is inspiring (till they start walking out forthe kiddush club.)

    cutting out piyutim or other parts of tfillot — wont fly, or will partially fly. with the congregation and / or the rabbi and / or the neighbors …

    try something else.

  71. “teaneckers who complain about sky high property taxes should consider the impact of blue laws”

    Isn’t the blue law a *county* ordinance?

    In any case, Westchester County has no blue laws for most businesses but even higher property taxes. Having 48 school districts — twice as many as the entire state of Maryland — doesn’t help.

  72. ” gm seixas of shearith israel was the first in america to preach in english (d. 1816, sermons extant from 18th c.)”

    On my Facebook page is a scanned-in copy of his sermon from Thanksgiving Day 1789, in English, along with a prayer for the US government recited that day, also in English, and the order of service that included a not-quite half of Hallel.

    Happy Jerusalem Day!

  73. From Shulevitz “The Sabbath World” p. 191, 192 and 194

    “The Supreme Court’s decision in McGowan et al. v. Maryland (1961) upheld Sunday-closing laws on the grounds that the government’s interest in the well-being of the majority of its citizens overrode whatever burdens Sunday laws imposed on the minority.”

    “The group that really turned Sunday inside out, though, was women. As they poured into the workforce in the 1960s and the 1970s, they had less time to shop during the week. […] Businesses quickly perceived the demand for Sunday shopping and began lobbying state legislatures to make those hours legal.”

    “New Jersey allows municipalities to opt in to its blue laws; naturally few do (Paramus, which lies right across the Hudson River from New York City and has a high concentration of big-box stores, is one borough that has opted in, a fact that occasions bitter complaints from New Yorkers looking for weekend access to cheaper merchandise).”

  74. IH: Thanks for looking that up! We were wondering about that word.

  75. former yu,
    I thought the article was OK until I got to the Avi part – realistic job expectations are part of what we advise clients to ensure if they want to reduce their “bad turnover” statistics. Hameivin yavin.

    KT

  76. “She does not recognize that ruchnius can be more satisfying than physical luxury even if one is physically tired and harried”

    Often written by those not physically tired and harried.

  77. “especially since i’ve never seen tears in shul.”

    RCS in his famous article on Tradition mimetic Judaism etc discusses reasons why that may be true.

  78. ” realistic job expectations are part of what we advise clients to ensure if they want to reduce their “bad turnover” statistics”

    Perhaps realistic expectations are what is leading to OTD behavior-those who are not superior and are not from families where they can live from inherited wealth realize at a comparitive young age that they won’t be able to afford the NA MO lifestyle-thus leave on their own volition. Bread first then philosophy.

  79. Rabbi Yoffe complaining about dialogue:

    “Most of the time we go to great lengths to avoid conflict”

    IMHO that is a victory-to the extent that interfaith dialogue caused no harm that is an occasion to celebrate.

  80. Lawrence Kaplan

    Abba: The point I intended to make was not about tears per se, but about being moved at the end of a long complex play. I believe that people on occasion, particularly on the yamim noraim, are moved and uplifted by the service, even if they don’t cry. Then, again, if I were to see Arcadia every day, it might begin to pale.

  81. Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, the leading halachic decisor in the United States,
    ================================
    hmmmmmmmm
    kt

  82. I wonder whether it gives anyone pause that iiuc with all the handwaving the simplest explanation of the change in the fish psak is that chazal didn’t get the science right? fwiw i have little doubt that the meikilim will be forced to fold – I wonder if bees honey will be reexamined as well?
    KT

  83. What’s interesting is that the demographic that is coming up with most of this stuff is mostly litvakers who have enough scientific awareness to want to investigate the implications and basis of the pesakim logically, while the chassidim are less interested in this. It’s also interesting that the chassidim are joined on this point by many of the modern orthodox who realise that halacha is not based on objective reality but is rather a system of law that can only work within its own assumptions.

    IMHO, the most dangerous approach is that of these ‘strict constructionist’ litvakers, who, have a scientific mindset lemechtza, and therefore are going down a fairly hazardous road without realising it.

    One can see this in the debates over the definition of a reshus harabbim vis a vis eruvin in which the chassidim are usually happy to say that you need a literal 600,000 crossing that particular road (or point in the road) every day, whereas you’ll have some litvaks saying that since that’s not ‘factually possible’, we must come up with some other definition – to which the MO guy replies – well if you’re bothered about ‘factual possibility’, let’s talk about how shishim ribo men and their families stayed in the Sinai desert for forty years without leaving any historical trace.

  84. On tears in shul, when I was a kid we nicknamed the (hired) Yamim Nora’im ShaTz at our shteibel “rednose” because he cried so much. To this day, when I see the text of Hineni he’Ani, in my minds ear I hear his beautiful moving nusach and tears come to me eyes.

  85. ANON:

    “shishim ribo men and their families”

    that would be shishim ribo non-levite men between the ages of 20 and 60. total population would be in the millions. so how did 600,000 become important for eruvin?

  86. As Tosafot explain, we take the number of 600,000 because that is what is explicit in the pasuk.

  87. re: circumcision, i think writing the following is a huge mistake:

    “If circumcision was uniformly accepted by medical science as a hazard to minors, there might be room to argue for banning it. Society recognizes its obligation to protect children from parental decisions that are undeniably dangerous, when they offer no value other than the fulfillment of a religious precept.”

    Really? What about when psychologists unanimously decide that it is undeniably dangerous to teach your children that [insert religious precept here] since it will cause sexual or other maladjustment later in life. Will we just say OK? The fundamental issue, which the article otherwise seems to get, is whether people have a right to step outside of the dominant definition of “dangerous” itself (considering, for example, spiritual danger to be more significant than physical). I think it is a huge mistake to concede that they do not.

  88. personally I’d be perfectly happy if we reanalyzed halacha on an ongoing basis for alignment with scientific reality as understood in each generation – but only if it’s consistent , not “OK what can it hurt to be more machmir”.
    KT

  89. ANON:

    “As Tosafot explain, we take the number of 600,000 because that is what is explicit in the pasuk.”

    so they why doesn’t tosfos state that reshus harabim is an area with more than 600,000 non-levite males between the ages of 20 and 60?

  90. I doubt that the contemporary poskim who declare the anisakis worm forbidden believe that the sages in Hulin were mistaken about the worm’s origin. Rather, they would argue that the worms mentioned in the gemara (kukiyani and durni) as acceptable aren’t the anisakis. The latter has a complex life cycle which involves migrations through successive organisms from crustaceans such as krill to small fish to large ones such as salmon to mammals (including humans). They may, possibly, concede that the later European poskim in the Shulchan Aruch made a mistaken extrapolation from the fish available to the Jews in Babylonia to those available in Europe.

    While audible crying in modern Shuls is probably rare, I would be surprised – if not shocked, to learn that even teary eyes are rare. If davening is never moving, then it has lost much of its value.

    Will those Srugim fans (I am one, as well) kindly translate the hebrew neologisms listed? I, for one, was surprised and amused at the number of Englishisms used by the Israelis such hi, bye, OK, date – not to mention a few cuss words.

  91. Shalom Rosenfeld

    R’ Joel,

    As I’ve heard it, this debate was hashed out a few decades ago:

    R’ Menachem Kasher (a Gerrer chosid) held we go with Chazal’s legislation based on their scientific understanding, whether l’chumra or l’kula.

    R’ Yosef Kapach (a Teimani hacham) held we take the principles and apply them to our scientific understanding, whether l’chumra or l’kula.

    As you’re saying, surprise surprise, people are being only more machmir.

  92. In R. J. David Bleich’s article on Anisakis, he says that the Gemara only permits fish when we can assume that the parasites grew in the flesh. That still stands. However, even Chazal would forbid when we know the parasites grow in the stomach.
    http://traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=105628

  93. Joel,
    One can read the first part charitably in that people should have open eyes and educating them about the reality of kollel life is important as long as people are allowed to make their own personal choices. However, the author claims “many” forsake college, which is demonstrably false. Also the author claims that the kollel wife is unhappy with her her life because she looked tired and busy supporting her family, even so the friend never said she is unhappy. Finally, I would add that sofo me’eed al techilaso and the author has a gashmiyus, let’s just enjoy life focus throughout.

  94. Y. Aharon

    לסמס = to send a text (from S.M.S.)

  95. Y. AHARON:

    “not to mention a few cuss words”

    predates srugim. 10 years ago i heard ehud barak repeat an english cuss word twice during a CNN interview

  96. R’Gil,
    I read R’ Bleich’s piece and noted at the time that it was intellectually consistent – whether it is what chazal actually meant is something we will not know in this world.
    KT

  97. history of sermons. Sure, we got it from the Reform, who got it from the Protestants. But, the Protestants got it from the Catholics, who got it from, well, us. Or what do you think the Midrashim and the Sheiltot are? Academic discussions?

    See, e.g., RD Davd de Sola Pool’s dissertation on Kaddish: http://www.beureihatefila.com/files/Kaddish_De_Sola_Poole.pdf

    Explore the rest of the Beurei haTefila website, it’s a great resource.

  98. So now corn on the cob is forbidden by some and most salt-water fish (salmon, sardines, herring, cod) by others. About the only kosher saltwater fish I saw w/o a significant aniskas issue is tuna.

    And why Gil is the only article you’ve run about New Square this one? You really think he believes that “Jews of all stripes have to start living together in harmony” in New Square?

  99. fwiw i have little doubt that the meikilim will be forced to fold –

    I am not sure you’re right. The change is quite extensive. You are essentially forbidding salt-water fish (unless its pureed?).

    is that chazal didn’t get the science right?

    Maybe. But they got the implications right. How could you live along the coast without fish? (I remember hearing once that fish was the primary protein in Israel.)

  100. IMHO, the most dangerous approach is that of these ‘strict constructionist’ litvakers, who, have a scientific mindset lemechtza, and therefore are going down a fairly hazardous road without realising it.

    I agree its very dangerous.

    In addition, any intellectual respect I could have for applying modern science to alter an psak and mesorah is removed when this is only used lechumra.

    The basis for no fish and meat together makes no sense and was based on faulty logic. The reason not to have aspirin on Shabbat doesn’t exist anymore since modern production of medicine arose. The reason for a 2 day yontev is no more and its basically to indicate we are not Reform. The kitniyot prohibition is based on a forgotten initial reason we can only guess at, is applied inconsistently, and applied irrationally (know why corn is forbidden as kitniyot: because we call it corn and not maize; know why peanuts are considered kitniyot: because enough did to make Passover peanut oil production unprofitable for the rest of us). The risk of a non-Jew consecrating wine is basically nill.

    Strawberries. Asparagus. Most fish. Corn. Broccoli. Brussel Sprouts. Raspberries.

    Being a Reformer to the right is called machmir even if its ruining life for everyone else.

    Do we really want to go down this road?

  101. >The reason for a 2 day yontev is no more and its basically to indicate we are not Reform.

    Have we had this conversation before? I wonder how you could say this when the Gemara itself confronts the fact that there is no contemporary reason for it, yet affirmed its continuing validity. It seems to me that therefore it is fundamentally different from kitniyos, etc. We at least claim to adhere to the Gemara.

    The rest? Yes.

  102. For 2-days? I don’t think we did but maybe.

    And I could also add glatt meat, the chumra that is not machmir. Or upside-down schechita (which is in fact more a kula in my view nowadays yet is required for meat to enter Israel so therefore kosher meat producers do it).

  103. The notice prohibiting the anisakis worms was very odd. Firstly, why do American rabbis have to give eidus that they know that Rav Elyashiv and Rav Vozner forbid something, which Rav Elyashiv and Rav Vozner go on to attest themselves? Secondly, why is the mem ommitted from Rav Elyashiv’s name the first time, and then spelled with it underneath the signature? Thirdly, does this mean that the American rabbis forbid it because they think it is forbidden or because of papal edict? Lastly, are we allowed to see Rav Elyashiv’s reasoning in writing or does the office of posek hador not permit us mere mortals to glance at things which are beyond our understanding?

  104. “Abba’s Rantings on June 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm
    predates srugim. 10 years ago i heard ehud barak repeat an english cuss word twice during a CNN interview”

    Abba, I remember that interview! I was agog. It was a great example of brash obliviousness.

  105. Moshe Shoshan

    The Hebrew slang word spell fei-quf means “a mess up” an certainly has its etymology in the English curse word. However, my sense is that except among English speakers, it is not considered a swear word in Hebrew. I am always shocked to hear frum Israelis us the term, even in shul or in the beit midrash. I wonder however, if increase exposure to English and American culture have not made the term less acceptable in polite company.

  106. I agree with Former YU-the much ballyhooed “shift to the right” and much of the comments, learned and otherwise about the same, fail to focus on where those who have shifted their POV are about 5 years down the line-which I think would include career plan, marital status, child rearing decisions. Looking at young men and women in the immediate afterglow of a year or two in yeshiva and seminary ignores the fact that educational, career and social outlooks can change.

  107. Re the curious move focused in San Francisco to ban Bris Milah, as opposed to far more dangerous activities that could pose a public health hazard ,infectious diseases or STDs, one can readily recognize an antecedent for the same in the actions of those Hellenists who also sought to ban Bris Milah. IIRC, the FSU also banned Bris Milah as well.

  108. I’ve even seen it written out (in English, as a quote) on the front page of a mainstream paper.

  109. STBO:

    “It was a great example of brash obliviousness.”

    the first time he said i was sure i misheard. then she (i forget her name) kept on pushing him and saying “but the arabs claim . . .” and then he got all upset and again said “i’m telling you it is [&$*#%#!*].”

    so what do you prefer, his style or netanyahu’s forceful elloquence?

  110. MiMedinat HaYam

    charlie h: “and the order of service that included a not-quite half of Hallel.”

    cause even then they had pblms keeping ppl in shul.

    2. mycroft — its rabbi dr HS, not RCS. the article is http://www.lookstein.org/links/orthodoxy.htm. and i do recall ppl crying in shul (my father crying at arzei levanon, remembering his parents, siblings killed in ww2, shavuot is coming up, so its relevant now). of course, that was in the old country (brooklyn), not in our suburbs today. pefhaps we should attribute lacksadaisacal (sp?) attitude to shul attendance as a sympton of suburban life.

    3. thanbo — we are talking about the (suburban) practice of rabbi’s (11 minutes) sermons in shul on shabat, not drashot, sheiltot, or other halachic or pilpulic discussions. are they a vestige of reform and protestant practices? (i dont think catholics do it; i’ll stand corrected if any commenters say its in bergen catholic churches on sundays; but the objection remains)

    and the nature of these shabat rabbi sermons are more of a moral or “light” discussion of some concept (a creative rabbi tries to stick in current events, or maybe a ten year old cuss of an israeli leader), not a serious halachic or talmudic exposition, a la shabat hagadol and shabat shuva drasha.

  111. Gil, since you linked to Skverer “Rebbe Speaks Out in Ami Magazine” you might want to link to the actual article now on a site you probably wouldn’t normally link to. A blatant, giant fluff piece with the only relevant snippet in the excerpt put in Vosizneias.

  112. “I don’t think Catholics do it” (above 6:37)
    The homily – or sermon – is integral to the first part of the Mass – the Litugy of the Word. There is a homily at every Mass every day of the week. According to the Cathecism (paragraph 1154) the intent of the homily – delivered by either a priest or deacon – is to extend the proclamation made at one of the previous readings. It may often include practical spiritual advice, explanation of a theological principal, or discussion of the life of a saint, if the day is a saint’s feast day.

  113. “Will those Srugim fans (I am one, as well) kindly translate the hebrew neologisms listed?”

    As Abba has already pointed out, לסמס is from SMS and means to text.
    He also noted, in his original post, דתל”ש – דתי לשעבר , that is, formerly religious.

    The one I posted, which I don’t believe has been used on Srugim but which I’ve heard around, is לפסבק, and like SMS, is a verb-ed noun transliterated; it’s pronounced “LeFasbek” and means “To Facebook.”

  114. Walking in to a bookstore before a lecture this evening, I noticed that R. David Hartman has a new book out, called “The God Who Hates Lies: Confronting and Rethinking Jewish Tradition”. Many Hirurim readers will be particularly interested in this chapter that I started to read in the shop: 5. Where Did Modern Orthodoxy Go Wrong: The Mistaken Halachic Presumptions of Rabbi Soloveitchik.

    JewishJournal.com has a review dated yesterday: http://tinyurl.com/3mvxkfj.

  115. “mycroft — its rabbi dr HS, not RCS. the article is ”
    I agree that it is RHS-a Rav should not sign ones name Dr. also. If the Rav is writing strictly as a secular persons skill, physician, economist, etc then he can sign with academic title but NOT as Rav. One can learn interesting Halachic practice from RHSs bar mitzvah-he was born 1st day of Succot yet his bar mitzvah was celebrated Parshat Haazinu.
    I first read RHS piece by accident-I was reading a book by U of Chicago on Fundamentalism- and his article first appeared there.
    A couple of years later it essentially appeared in Tradition-there are interesting differences-one that I do recall is that in the Chicago book he refers to by name Ponevetz Yeshiva as the place where on Yomim Noraim he felt fewer people were fearful of their lives than in the less traditional schul he was brought up in.

    ” i do recall ppl crying in shul (my father crying at arzei levanon, remembering his parents, siblings killed in ww2, shavuot is coming up, so its relevant now). of course, that was in the old country (brooklyn), not in our suburbs today. pefhaps we should attribute lacksadaisacal (sp?) attitude to shul attendance as a sympton of suburban life.”

    Perhaps-of course RHS was not brought up in Brookline his parents moved there when Maimonides moved to Brookline after the incidents reported by RHS.
    You can question my Yahadus-I’ve NEVER lived in Brooklyn.

  116. “the much ballyhooed “shift to the right” and much of the comments, learned and otherwise about the same, fail to focus on where those who have shifted their POV are about 5 years down the line-which I think would include career plan, marital status, child rearing decisions. Looking at young men and women in the immediate afterglow of a year or two in yeshiva and seminary ignores the fact that educational, career and social outlooks can change.”

    AGREED!!! I might change the date to 10 years later to give time for afterglow of Yeshiva in US to change-but agree with Steves priciple 100%-a lot of the “change” dissipates after 5 years

  117. “5. Where Did Modern Orthodoxy Go Wrong: The Mistaken Halachic Presumptions of Rabbi Soloveitchik.”

    Oh, joy. I’m really looking forward to hearing about this…not.

  118. Lawrence Kaplan

    I also glanced at Rabbi Hartman’s new book in a bookstore. Much of the chapter on the Rav is a strong critique of the Rav’s famous 1975 attack on Rabbi Rackman.

  119. As an aside, why is Dr. Hartman listed on the blurb as a “Modern Orthodox” thinker? I was under the impression that he had dissociated himself from Orthodoxy and become a sort of “post-denominational” figure.

    Gil,

    The parenthetical statement about Orthodoxy signifies very little. As far as I know, at least in Israel, the number of Religious Jews who have gone into full on “pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel” (in the sense of being outright anti- or non-Zionist, not in the sense of being in favor of peace treaties) mode is miniscule.

  120. He was certainly talking about the US and less than “full on pro Palestinian, anti-Israel”.

  121. Really, how many people on the dreaded LWMO side do you know who fit the description of people mentioned in the article?

  122. I don’t. That’s why I find it interesting.

  123. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Re: kosher in prisons.

    Some legitimate points are raised by the inmate’s lawyer, but I’m also reminded of what I heard from a Maryland prison-chaplain rabbi:

    “They ask for kosher food … I simply can’t give that which I don’t have. I told one guy, you want kosher food that doesn’t exist, and oness rachmana patrei; but on lo tirtzach, that you didn’t ask …”

  124. Re: the prison kosher food article, some context is needed to explain the Prison’s point of view:

    If it were just a matter of Orthodox inmates, or Jewish prisoners honestly finding religion, that would be fairly easy to accommodate. However, freedom to demand religious accommodation has given inmates a very mischievous advantage of being able to drive the prison administration to extreme and costly aggravation. Prisons are in no position to evaluate an inmate’s faith on any terms but the inmate’s. Often, the real reason for the switch is to have better food, or more free time to attend a seder etc. Yet the prison system would be in no position to object on grounds of insincerity. There’s no teudas giur or religious test administered or required. There are no grounds to refute an inmate’s stated change of heart, even many times a year. Years ago this nuisance led the Maryland Department of Corrections to come to a mediated compromise that allowed inmates to change their religion a maximum of twice a year. You can imagine what the inmates were demanding before the deal was worked out.

    It disturbs me that an observant Jew, af al pi she’chata Yisrael Hu, possibly one who was unjustly convicted or given a grossly unfair jail sentence for a minor crime that in halacha would only call for restitution, would have his request for Kosher food refused.

    But my knowledge makes me uncomfortably sympathetic to the State’s unwillingness to accommodate.

  125. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Yehupitz, very good point!

  126. The article on mandate reporters states:

    “In most states mandated reporters are teachers, doctors, lawyers and child care workers. In many locales clerics are also mandated reporters.”

    Anyone know where that last sentence is true? That strikes me as alarming and Constitutionally suspect. It’s one thing to regulate certain secular professions (if worse comes to worse, a religious person can quit his profession.) It is quite another for the State to draft clergy as its agents to report possible crimes.

  127. Gil, I can think of a few Orthodox people who are coming pretty close. I don’t think I have to fill in the names, but those who are “in” with the latest left-wing trends have learned to ape those same trends when it comes to Israel. I’ve personally heard a few drop such beauties as “I’m not a Zionist” or “There should be no Jewish state,” r”l. And that doesn’t include all those who, despite almost twenty years of being mugged by reality, are still pro-Oslo.

  128. Tal

    > It is quite another for the State to draft clergy as its agents to report possible crimes.

    Why is so terrible for clergy to report crimes, but not doctors? And if a doctor can quit his profession, why can’t a clergyman do the same?

  129. The black hats that I will see on Sunday at the Israel Day Parade in NYC were very rare (if non-existent) at the parade in the mid/late 1970s (excluding the NK counter-demonstration).

  130. As Former YU pointed out, the article about jumping in to kollel with open eyes is absurd. One can no more jump into the business world or university with his eyes wide open than he can with kollel. The most he can do is talk to people in the field and try to gain some perspective but until he’s in it, he won’t really know what it’s all about.
    At such time, anyone is free to leave whatever field they choose, be it business, university or kollel. Most people do not spend more than a few years in kollel at the maximum.
    Furthermore, claiming that seminaries don’t expose their female students to any view other than kollel is pure hogwash. I’ve sent three daughters to three mainstream sems in EY. Everyone of them heard all about the glories of kollel life and the other side of the coin too. There were symposiums where people from both sides of the aisle were invited to voice their opinions. They heard about the struggles and the splendor. They certainly weren’t presented with a picture that makes it seem all rosy and comfortable. Respected? Darn right. But mandatory or ideal for everyone? Not at all.

  131. >>Really, how many people on the dreaded LWMO side do you know who fit the description of people mentioned in the article?

    If support of New ISrael Fund counts, then I know several.

  132. @Abba:
    “so what do you prefer, his style or netanyahu’s forceful elloquence?”

    Certainly the ability to speak clearly, from a large dictionary and without scatology is quite an advantage over the inability to do so! So I’d vote for Netanyahu on that count.

    Today I see Barak’s performance then as representative of a deeper problem of Israeli officialdom’s broader inability to communicate with outsiders. Imagine a French, German, Swiss or Japanese high official dropping curse words and looking like an attack dog during an interview on global TV? It doesn’t happen.

    IMO it’s a cultural problem with identifiable origins….. but it really hurts Israel.

  133. “Why is so terrible for clergy to report crimes, but not doctors? And if a doctor can quit his profession, why can’t a clergyman do the same?”

    Are you serious? The issue here is not whether a clergyman can report crimes. The issue is whether the State can REQUIRE that persons in that profession, specifically, to report crimes.

    It is one thing for a State to regulate certain secular professionals (doctors, psychologists) and require them to be mandated reporters, i.e. to report suspicions of abuse. If your religion does not allow that (e.g. there is an issue of mesirah) then just quit that profession.

    But for the State to REQUIRE clergy to report confidential communications of their parishioners allows the State to destroy religion. In my view, that has a very serious Constitutional problem.

    Your suggestion of “just quit” means, in effect, the State can outlaw the profession of Rabbis or Priests. Maybe that worked in the Former Soviet Union, but in America such would be considered radical indeed.

  134. kudos to the jewish press for printing the op-ed. just one note:

    “In most states mandated reporters are teachers, doctors, lawyers and child care workers.”

    in new york state private school teachers are not mandated reporters. (and aren’t fingerprinted.) and as i’ve pointed out on previous threads, MO schools are not necessarily in the forefront of institution their own mandatory reporting programs (or fingerprinting), so keep that in mind before jumping on the RW.

  135. TAL:

    “That strikes me as alarming and Constitutionally suspect.”

    no more constitutionally suspect that clergymen being the *beneficiaries* of government regulation. when rabbis complain about getting parsonage and other tax benefits, government salaries (e.g., as chaplains), parking courtesies, menorah lightings on public grounds, etc., then i’ll take seriously complaints about constitutional considerations.

    “But for the State to REQUIRE clergy to report confidential communications of their parishioners allows the State to destroy religion. In my view, that has a very serious Constitutional problem.”

    again, this is no more problematic than government policies that protect such communication.

    also, isn’t confidentially in most professions overiden by the need to protect someone from harm?

  136. STBO:

    agreed. it’s a pleasure to listen to netanyahu. barak (and sharon and many others) sounded like bumbling idiots even without the profanity.

  137. > If your religion does not allow that (e.g. there is an issue of mesirah) then just quit that profession.

    It’s acceptable for the state to run Orthdox Jews out of professions? Rather, that is not what the state would be doing. Most rabbis probably have nothing to report, just as most teachers don’t, so it isn’t as if most rabbis can expect to have to quit or report (and here we assume that the religion prohibits them from reporting).

    In any case, from the POV of the state I don’t see why religion gives people a right to do or not do anything at all just so long as they understand that this is what their religion requires. Obviously there are some limits to this, and this might be one of them.

    Or, you would be right and it would not pass muster. But I’m hardly alarmed at the possibility. Why shouldn’t a rabbi who suspects abuse report it anyway? That would destroy religion?

  138. S:

    Let’s take it step by step. There is no State which requires everyone to report suspicions of child abuse. So for most people, even if they have direct knowledge of such abuse, there is no legal requirement to report.

    However, there are certain persons who, by reason of their unique position, often are made of aware of such situations, and the State has determined that these persons are “mandatory reporters” or some such term. Since the State licenses these professions — lawyers, doctors, psychologists — it can make a condition of one’s license compliance with the law as to reporting, as much as any other pertinent law. That might in some cases conflict with an individual’s religious principles, but that is no different than any other law that might, at times conflict with religious principles.

    (How often a particular professional might or might not be in that position is neither here nor there. Remember, however, that typically, these professionals have hundreds or even thousands of clients/patients per year. If a doctor (say a pediatrician) sees, typically, 500 to 1000 patients per year, then statistically there is a good chance that he will confront issues of abuse or suspected abuse with at least a few patients.)

    But clergy are not licensed by the State, and as far as I know every religion is free to ordain whatever clergy it sees fit. (That is probably required by the First Amendment) For a State to single out “clergy” as mandatory reporters is exploiting their religious position among their parishioners and potentially interfering with their religious function.

    A rov in a large community can be consulted by hundreds of people with thousands of questions. Most are routine and not particularly sensitive, but some can be extremely sensitive. Again, statistically, it is quite likely that every Rov will have a few of these over the course of a year. For the State to impose “mandatory reporting” requirements on a Rov as a Rov, in my opinion, is serious religious infringement. (Just FYI, I am a lawyer and am talking primarily as a lawyer.)

    Lehavdil elef alfei havdalos, the Catholics probably have it worse. Suppose a Catholic confesses to his priest that he has abused children in his care in some way. (Let’s say he is a teacher.) Is the priest now supposed to violate the sanctity of confession because of a State reporting law?

  139. Why shouldn’t a rabbi who suspects abuse report it anyway? That would destroy religion?

    1. There are serious issues of mesirah. I know about R. Elyashiv’s psak, and the latest controversy, but the issue is by no means clear cut.
    2. Because in order to deal with issues and shailos brought to him, a Rov needs persons to be able to confide in him.

  140. Tal — your step by step approach is correct. But, let’s back up to the beginning: in your view, does the State have the right and/or obligation to protect the constitutional and statutory rights of a child, if the child’s parent is not doing so?

  141. TAL:

    “But clergy are not licensed by the State”

    they are not licensed per se, but it is false that the state doesn’t otherwise single them by the nature of them being clergy. in addition to all the financial benefits, they can perform weddings (although they sometimes do this illegally), they can serve as arbitrators, etc.
    do you think that rabbis should give up all these benefits and priviliges as well?

    “For the State to impose “mandatory reporting” requirements on a Rov as a Rov, in my opinion, is serious religious infringement”

    how is this “religious infringment”?

  142. TAL:

    “a Rov needs persons to be able to confide in him.”

    as opposed to a psychologist, teacher, etc.?

    and what if a rav happens to have knowledge of something independent of someone confiding in him. will this weaken his position of someone that people can confide in him?

  143. >Lehavdil elef alfei havdalos, the Catholics probably have it worse. Suppose a Catholic confesses to his priest that he has abused children in his care in some way. (Let’s say he is a teacher.) Is the priest now supposed to violate the sanctity of confession because of a State reporting law?

    Why should I be sympathetic to the immoral teachings of his confession? What makes the safety of children less important than the things the Church tells itself are from God?

    But I get the point – the state is not in the business of deciding what is and isn’t religion, or putting impediments in the way of religions and clergy. Yet I doubt a rav who yells fire in a crowded theater of iniquity because he is a kannoi will not be held responsible even though he could well believe that he acted in accordance with the obligations of his religion. As far as I know, Rastafarians aren’t allowed to indulge in marijuana in the US, although their religion requires it. So in principle I don’t know why this necessarily follows that the state can’t or should not want to make clergy mandatory reporters. You’ve outlined why clergy wouldn’t necessarily like it, but I’m sure doctors and teachers also don’t like it.

    Question: is a rebbe a teacher or clergy?

  144. TAL:

    ““a Rov needs persons to be able to confide in him.””

    is the imperative so preserve the aura of confidentiality really that absolute. take a different sitation. a rav who is presented with information that a person is on the verge of attempting suicide, should he not contact the health professionals or the authorities because then people might not confide in him?

    also, if the issue is about mesirah, then what does confidentiality have to do with it? those who are opposed to “mesirah” argue that it can be handled in house, but then this too can void confidentiality?

  145. S: is a morah (or in the few places that would still hire one, a moreh/mar/dr) a teacher or clergy?

  146. >is a morah (or in the few places that would still hire one, a moreh/mar/dr) a teacher or clergy?

    A morah is a rebbe. So the answer is the same for both, is it not? How about a nun? I dont know the Catholic halachos of confession, but presumably they are considered clergy.

  147. Abba: the title “rantings” in your post is apt. The fact that clergy may have certain legal benefits is not a basis to impose unrelated special legal restrictons on them. At least I know of no such authority under U.S. Constitutional law. Under your theory, every clergyman in the U.S. is no more than a State bureaucrat – the very antithesis of the First Amendment.

    “a Rov needs persons to be able to confide in him. — as opposed to a psychologist, teacher, etc.?”

    True, which is why there is such a thing as the attorney-client privilege and the psychologist patient privilege. Yet the State has decided that the privilege is overriden because of the importance of detecting child abuse. Debatable as a matter of policy, but certainly within the State’s constitutional powers.

    “and what if a rav happens to have knowledge of something independent of someone confiding in him. will this weaken his position of someone that people can confide in him?”

    But in that situation, a Rov is no different than anyone else. It is possible (though unlikeley) that anyone, clergy or not, could learn about abuse through mere happenstance. As I said to S., there is no general requirement of reporting crime or child abuse. If you want to make such a general law, fine, but there is no need to single out clergy or any other profession.

    As to your second question, clergy, like doctors and psychologists, are consulted by hundreds and thousands of people with personal issues, and thus statistically are much more likely to come across a situation where the reporting requirement is at issue. Reporting laws that single out certain professions are exploiting this situation. Defensible for secular professions; in my view, unconstitutional as to clergy.

    ← Older Comments

  148. Tal, do you think such proposals are actually an attack on religion (a deliberate attack) only the recognition that just as doctors and teachers are positioned in such a way that they’re likelier to encounter suspected abuse then everyone else, clergy are also positioned similarly? That doesn’t make any sense?

    I get that it would be challenged as unconstitutional (wouldn’t teachers do that too if they could?). Like any similar thing, some people disagree and the courts would decide.

  149. Joseph Kaplan

    “they can perform weddings (although they sometimes do this illegally), they can serve as arbitrators, etc.
    do you think that rabbis should give up all these benefits and priviliges as well?”

    And as (civil) wedding performers the State has the right to require them to follow certain rules; e.g., that those they marry have had whatever medical tests are required. If they don’t want to follow those rules, they don’t have to (civilly) marry people. But the state can’t regulate them in areas of pure religious function; taht is, they can’t say (which is what mandated reporting by rabbis would be saying, you can’t exercise you duties as a religious functionary if you don’t follow these rules. That’s an infringement of the First Amendment. Whether the alleged privil;eges and financial benefits are also violations is a sepoarate matter, but whether they are or not, it doesn’y kasher what would be a clear violation. (BTW, ANYBODY can be an arbitrator; rabbis have no special privilege in this regard.)

  150. S:

    I am not sure if I am getting through. I am speaking strictly as a matter of Constitutional law, not whether we are “sympathetic” or not.

    The point I am making is that there is a differenc between a general law with relgious objections, and laws which single out religion. Under Supreme Court precedent, the former generally pass muster and it is tough luck to the person whose religion conflicts with the law. The latter, however, is highly suspect.

    Here the State has not required all persons to report suspected abuse — only certain persons. These are persons generally who are consulted on sensitive issues and see a high volume of people, so statistically they are very likely to confront at least a few such cases over their careers. Among those singled out for this requirement is “clergy.” That, in my view, is exploiting a religious relationship between clergy and parishioner in a way that is Constitutionally problematic. I want to be able to go to my Rov with a shailo without the possibility of the State requiring him to disclose what I told him. (If HE determines that halakha requires him to report me to the police, that is different. That’s my problem for going to a Rabbi instead of a priest. Rabbis operate by halakha, not Catholic doctrine.)

    In the biography about R. Yakov Kamenetsky, a story is brought down about a woman baalas teshuvah who confided in him that she had been involved in some financial improprieties and asked him how to repent about them. He advised her what to do and how to make amends. I shudder to think that the government could pass a law requiring him to report her.

  151. JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    “And as (civil) wedding performers the State has the right to require them to follow certain rules; e.g., that those they marry have had whatever medical tests are required. If they don’t want to follow those rules, they don’t have to (civilly) marry people.”

    a rabbi (or any clergyperson) may not peform a wedding (in NY/NJ) if the couple doesn’t not have a civil marriage license. is this an infringement of the 1st amendment?
    (btw, are there states that still require medical tests?)

  152. TAL:

    “The fact that clergy may have certain legal benefits is not a basis to impose unrelated special legal restrictons on them. At least I know of no such authority under U.S. Constitutional law. Under your theory, every clergyman in the U.S. is no more than a State bureaucrat – the very antithesis of the First Amendment.”

    i’m not arguing that clergymen are state employees. just showing that they are already being singled out by the state as a distinct class, and with no seeming objections. either it is within the legal right of state to single out clergy or it isn’t. i’m not sure why specifically for mandatory reporting it’s a problem.

    in any case, this is the first time i’ve seen a discussion of rabbis as mandatory reporters. usually the issue is private school teachers, and there they are being singled out as teachers, not as rabbis. that they may be rabbis is incidental.

    JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    can any beis din act in a position of arbitration?

  153. TAL:

    “In the biography about R. Yakov Kamenetsky, a story is brought down about a woman baalas teshuvah who confided in him that she had been involved in some financial improprieties and asked him how to repent about them. He advised her what to do and how to make amends. I shudder to think that the government could pass a law requiring him to report her.”

    i can’t argue as a lawyer for a legal distinction, but is there a difference between a financial crime and a crime of violence (although of course financial crimes can also destroy lives)

  154. JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    if a judge orders arbitration, can anyone serve as the arbitrator. there are no regulations?

  155. Leaving aside legal issues, is there a halakhic category of rabbinic confidentiality? halakhically what should a rav (or anyone) do with knowledge of criminal activity in general or specifically when such knowledge is resultant from a private source?

  156. >I am not sure if I am getting through. I am speaking strictly as a matter of Constitutional law, not whether we are “sympathetic” or not.

    I got that. Fine, there’s no subtext on your part and you just care about the law, not rabbi’s rights. Fair enough. You know that what is Constitutional is whatever passes muster. We all have opinions. Some people are even of the opinion that the Constitution allows states to decide on abortion, but take that opinion and $2.25 and you can ride the subway.

  157. “Here the State has not required all persons to report suspected abuse — only certain persons. These are persons generally who are consulted on sensitive issues and see a high volume of people, so statistically they are very likely to confront at least a few such cases over their careers. Among those singled out for this requirement is “clergy.” That, in my view, is exploiting a religious relationship between clergy and parishioner in a way that is Constitutionally problematic.”

    The issue that is being missed here is that the State is interceding to protect the rights of children (who, as such. are not able to protect themselves).

  158. Shachar Ha'amim

    I think that Daniel Gordis’ parenthetical comment on Orthodoxy is actually quite accurate. There is certainly an upswing of anti-zionism on the left-wing of Modern Orthodoxy. One might view this as somewhat of a return to the yekkishe non or anti-zionist Orthodoxy that existed prior to WWII.

    I think what is actually more significant in Orthodoxy – and probably more prevalent and certainly not limited to the left – is the increase in “non-zionism” amongst younger Rabbis.
    20 years ago most rabbis on most modern orthdox shuls were almost always speaking about Israel. nary a week went by when some aspect of the weekly drasha or talk at seuda shlishit didn’t revolve around Israel. Now, it is my understanding that younger – and newer rabbis – simply don’t speak about Israel in public at all. It’s like it doesn’t exist – in reality as a geo-political entity, or as a mitzvah that a religious Jew strives to fulfill. It’s become like a korban mincha. A concept that’s “out there” but one hat people don’t really think about in their day-to-day lives.
    Sad, really.

  159. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba:
    “also, isn’t confidentially in most professions overiden by the need to protect someone from harm?”

    not for attorneys, not for doctors.

    (though, per the tendler case (and others), a rabbi can decide to waive the confidentiality on his (?her?) own, while a lawyer or doctor cannot waive.)

    2. also, a (civil) judge cannot order an arbitration (unless there is an arbitration contract.)

    and he cannot order an arbitration before a religious panel (unless there is an arbitration contract (shtar berurin).)

    3. to larry k:

    if a rabbi (or other officiant) performs a ceremony without a license, the marriage is valid (in many us states). (assuming they are able to be married, are of age, not related, and other such requirements in that particular state, such as different sexes, not cousins in some states, etc. and have blood tests, if required. (dont know that last one.))

    though you again bring up my question — can a state force a rabbi to perform a ceremony he opposes? (and does halacha care if a rabbi performs a ceremony between two non jews?)

  160. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding the ohel article — the in-house posek for ohel (cited in the article) is a “report all cases” type, even unreasonable, unfounded, etc cases. there was a split in hatzalah a number of years ago specifically about this; they used the same posek at the time.

  161. MiMedinat HaYam

    to larry k:

    let’s extend my last question, to keep it non religion based:

    can a state require a judge / county clerk / etc to perform a ceremony he / she finds personally objectionable?

    answer should be same for religious officiant.

    2. and can a (jewish) judge / county clerk perform a ceremony for two non jews, halachically speaking (if he knows “tiv chuppa ve’kiddushin, etc)?

  162. Tal,
    There is no physician(psychologist)/patient priviledge to shield the doctor from testifying in NYS law, nor as far as I am aware, in any other US juridiction.

  163. josh weblowsky m.d.

    The issue of mesirah and going to the archaos has already been decided by the poskim .See the Torah Journal Yeshurun 6765.
    Th only issue that remained is who decides if there is enough suspicion.
    The Agudah interpreted that ONLY the Rabbis can decide.In fact they can tell even mandated reporters that they cannot report till discussing this with a Rabbi or Beis Din.
    The Rabbis have no expertise to evaluate ,no investigatory powers and no subpoena ability.If you were just robbed would you call the police first or your Rabbi to get permission to report.
    Thus,continues Rabbinic power to control what occurs in child abuse to the detriment of our children.
    Dr.Salomon is to be applauded for his professionalism,courage and following Halacha,in his article .

  164. With regard to confidentiality.There are many areas where a physician or mental health professional is requiresd by law to breach confidentiality.
    1)child abuse
    2)initiate involuntary hositalization
    3)duty to protect others
    4)intention to commit a future crime
    5)commission of a past treasonous act
    6)bullet wounds
    7)sexually transmitted diseases

  165. Joseph Kaplan

    “can any beis din act in a position of arbitration?”

    Yes; but so can any three (or one) person if the litigants sign a submission to arbitration form.

    “if a judge orders arbitration, can anyone serve as the arbitrator. there are no regulations?”

    There are, indeed, regulations governing arbitration (in NY its Art. 75 of the CPLR), but there are no regulations who may serve as an arbitrator. Very often, people who are not lawyers or rabbis serve as arbitrators (accountants, businesspeople etc.)

    The point is that rabbis and other members of the clergy have no special rank or status with respect to arbitration.

  166. Joseph Kaplan

    “can a state require a judge / county clerk / etc to perform a ceremony he / she finds personally objectionable?

    answer should be same for religious officiant.”

    I disagree; I think the answer may be different; that is, while the state may give one of their employees a conscience waiver, they would have to do so under the First Amendment, I believe, for religious officiants. The more difficult question is could they say that any rabbis who refuse to marry single sex couples cannot be officiants under the DRL? I’m not sure of that, but my guess would be “no.” IOW. once you let clergy be officiants at civil weddings, I think that the FA requires the state to let such officiants follow their religious law with respect to who they will marry (e.g., Orthodox rabbis can refuse to marry a kohen and divorcee). An Orthodox county clerk would not have that right necessarily as a matter of constitutional law.

  167. On two separate issues:

    1) “S: is a morah (or in the few places that would still hire one, a moreh/mar/dr) a teacher or clergy?”

    I know of several MO day schools that, under a particular set of circumstances (recommended to them by their law firm) allow female teachers to take parsonage. The requirements do include involvement in leading services, but I think that’s generally interpreted as supervising services and possibly assigning roles beforehand. Make of that what you will in terms of whether they’re clergy.

    2) “I think that Daniel Gordis’ parenthetical comment on Orthodoxy is actually quite accurate. There is certainly an upswing of anti-zionism on the left-wing of Modern Orthodoxy. One might view this as somewhat of a return to the yekkishe non or anti-zionist Orthodoxy that existed prior to WWII.”

    I’m kind of curious where people are seeing this. The “left-wing” of Modern Orthodoxy is often associated with YCT, but most of the people I’ve seen come out of YCT are strongly Zionist, and R Avi Weiss is, of course, quite right wing on the matter. Then you’ve got people like R Asher Lopatin, who’s making aliyah and is apparently bringing others as well. Where exactly are these non-Zionists?

    “I think what is actually more significant in Orthodoxy – and probably more prevalent and certainly not limited to the left – is the increase in “non-zionism” amongst younger Rabbis.
    20 years ago most rabbis on most modern orthdox shuls were almost always speaking about Israel. nary a week went by when some aspect of the weekly drasha or talk at seuda shlishit didn’t revolve around Israel. Now, it is my understanding that younger – and newer rabbis – simply don’t speak about Israel in public at all. It’s like it doesn’t exist – in reality as a geo-political entity, or as a mitzvah that a religious Jew strives to fulfill. It’s become like a korban mincha. A concept that’s “out there” but one hat people don’t really think about in their day-to-day lives.
    Sad, really.”

    Again, not what I’ve seen at all. But in some ways, if this is true, maybe it’s a good thing. MO 20-somethings are likely to have friends who have made aliyah, have likely visited Israel several times, and are probably more familiar with Israel than their parents. But because of that, they don’t need to hear about Israel all the time; they talk with their friends over Skype, rather than seeming to lose them in a foreign land, and their friends’ concerns are not the imminent threats to the State but instead the rise in price of vegetables. Is this really such a bad thing?

  168. On (2), I agree with JLan. I have a number of friends who could be considered LWMO, and they are all universally very strongly pro-Israel. Of course, most of them don’t think it makes sense to build random caravans on hilltops in the middle of nowhere so that they can be destroyed (which some people manage to interpret as anti-Zionist), but then, neither does Gordis, so I’m not sure what he could be referring to.

    Similarly, if I heard my shul rabbi talk about Israel every time he spoke, I’d be very annoyed – and it’s for precisely the reason JLan points to.

  169. I’d like to join in JLan’s questions: who are the supposedly LWMO non-Zionists? Not my friends with a possible exception of one or two (who would deny being non-Zionist). And, as many will not be surprised to hear, I have plenty of LWMO friends.

  170. “though, per the tendler case (and others), a rabbi can decide to waive the confidentiality on his (?her?) own, while a lawyer or doctor cannot waive.)”

    I know of Rabbis who were furious that other Rabbis took the position that they could betray confidences-the end result is that I would be very wary of trusting a confidence to a Rabbi as opposed to a lawyer

  171. I’d be interesting in studying what halakha has to say about rabbinic confidentiality, and how that compares to Catholic notions of the inviolate sanctity of their sacrament of confession. As far as marriage licenses, I believe, like Ron Paul, that gove’t should not e in the business of issuing marriage licenses. If the gov’t was removed from that, than the entire gay marriage debate would become irrelevant.

  172. I think Gordis is referring to a an extreme fringe of LWMO. I know that there are a small group of people in my shul who support what J-Street does, but it is not something they talk about publicly. But when it comes to other LWMO issues there is a very vocal debate.

  173. Joseph Kaplan

    “I think Gordis is referring to a an extreme fringe of LWMO.”

    As if there is some group that doesn’t have an extreme fringe.

  174. The Post article on the NY LGBT Center piqued my curiousity as it seemed to conflate a Jewish organization (the LGBT synagogue) with a secular organization that I recently passed while walking in NYC.

    A clarifying update can be found at: http://www.gaycenter.org/node/6780

    Sounds like a storm in a teacup in terms of the Jewish angle.

  175. Joseph Kaplan: “As if there is some group that doesn’t have an extreme fringe.”

    That’s exactly my point. The anti-Israel attitude that Gordis describes is NOT popular among LWMO and to whatever extent it can does exist, it seems to be among the extreme fringe. Sorry I wasn’t clear on that point.

  176. Even support for J-Street doesn’t make someone “anti-Zionist”, unless you’re paying really close attention to what they’re doing. Even then, one could support J-Street for the function they serve. Anti-Zionism would really have to be more robust than that, and Ive never encountered anyone in that galaxy from LWMO. What Gordis describes for CR is vastly different.

  177. “Peace initiative proposed by French FM Alain Juppe incorporates the position that the goal of negotiations is ‘two states for two peoples,’ not just ‘a two-state solution.'”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/french-peace-plan-would-require-palestinian-recognition-of-jewish-state-1.365621

  178. For anyone seriously interested in fish as food, particularly in regard to farmed fish, I would recommend this fascinating book:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/books/review/Sifton-t.html?pagewanted=all

    The paperback edition was just released.

  179. The Matzav article is very good.

    Q: Does anyone NOT hold of the “microscopic” teirutz? IIRC, someone, I think maybe R. Moshe, wrote a very simple proof for this. Every cup of water that comes from a well or spring in fact contains thousands of microscopic bacteria. If these were visible, then they would be shrotzim. Yet klal yisroel has been drinking water for thousands of years. Is it possible that we all are eating thousands of shrotzim every day? The answer is that a microscopic being is simply not considered to have any halakkhic importance.

    Does anyone disagree?

  180. The Matzav article is the best example of cognitive dissonance in action that I could conceive of. Each side is stepping over itself to condemn the “scientists” while at the same time using them to support their side. It’s very amusing, to me.

  181. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Now, it is my understanding that younger – and newer rabbis – simply don’t speak about Israel in public at all. ”

    they’d be out of a job in america very soon. (unless they’re charismatic or have a following, like r lopatin, rosner, riskin. other’s dont care, like r lieff, wein. (but the last two became charedi, or more chareedi than previously. interestimg.)

  182. “and newer rabbis – simply don’t speak about Israel in public at all. ”

    Speak about the importance of something they don’t do-that would just be hypocritical-by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.

  183. Joseph Kaplan

    “by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.”

    Mycroft, that’s really ridiculous.

  184. Tal,
    IIRC the first to state this was the aruch hashulchan.
    KT

  185. Re Daniel Gordis’s excellent article, IIRC, in one of the YCT threads, it was mentioned that more than one student at YCT had been a member and active supporter of RHR, whose definition of “human rights” is curiously limited to the rights of Palestinians to oppose any actions taken by the IDF in Yehudah and Shomron, and that even the leadership of YCT was appalled at a YCT student being involved in such a group. I was surprised that the author did not discuss the influence of RHR among young heterodox rabbinical students.

  186. Mycroft wrote:

    “by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism”

    Mycroft-I second Joseph Kaplan’s comment.

  187. IH wrote:

    ““Peace initiative proposed by French FM Alain Juppe incorporates the position that the goal of negotiations is ‘two states for two peoples,’ not just ‘a two-state solution.’”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/french-peace-plan-would-require-palestinian-recognition-of-jewish-state-1.365621

    I wouldn’t count my breath on a Fatah-Hamas coalition ever agreeing to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. OTOH, the article also states that if this trial balloon isn’t accepted, the forum for recognition of yet another state rooted in terror is the UN.

  188. R D Hartman has long ceased to be regarded as a person who is an authentic talmid of and transmitter of RYBS’s Halachic and Hashkafic views, and long ago severed any connections that he had with the MO world in the US. Why would anyone be surprised at such a view now?

  189. Steve — but, that’s the point. At 80 years old, R. Hartman is articulating *why* he believes his Rebbe, RYBS, was wrong about his Halachic and Hashkafic views.

    I have ordered the book, but not yet read it. It will be interesting to see how it is reviewed in the coming months.

  190. “Joseph Kaplan on June 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    “by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.”

    Mycroft, that’s really ridiculous”

    “Steve Brizel on June 5, 2011 at 12:15 am
    Mycroft wrote:

    “by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism”

    To the best of my knowledge all 3 of us live in the US-to the best of my knowledge all of us do what we believe is crucial to be an observant Jew-we are all Shomer Shabbos, we all go to schul regularly, we all went to Yeshiva etc but none of us LIVE in Israel. None of us would dream of being mechallel Shabbos for a job but all of us live in the diaspora if it were crucial in our minds we wouold be there.

  191. ““by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.”

    Mycroft, that’s really ridiculous.

    What is so ridiculous about it?

  192. “I am curious from the Rambam experts around here, thoughts?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/30/AR2008123002789.html

    I’d say that the Greek influence on the Rambam was much greater than the Islamic influence, certainly if we exclude from our definition of “Islamic thought” the many ideas which are just Greek ideas repeated by Muslims.

  193. Joseph Kaplan

    ““by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.”

    Mycroft, that’s really ridiculous.

    What is so ridiculous about it?”

    Well, I’m not a doctor or a farmer but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re crucial for society. Or, for that matter, I’m not a rabbi, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re crucial for Judaism. Had he said that by living here rabbis are saying they don’t think aliyah is imperative, I might not agree but I wouldn’t say it was ridiculous. But his overbroad, sweeping and typically cynical and impugning other people’s motives type remark was truly ridiculous.

  194. Lawrence Kaplan

    I am not qualified to speak about the influence of Muslim jurisprudence on Maimonides. I will say that the influence of Farabi and Averroes on the Rambam is irrelevant in terms of “Muslim” influence. The Rambam, to my knowledge, NEVER speaks of Greek philosophers or Arabic or Muslim philosophers. He speaks of the ancient philosophers (the Greeks) and the modern philosophers (Muslims or Arabs). For Maimonides philosophy is neither Greek nor Arabic nor certainly Muslim, but universal.

  195. “layman on June 5, 2011 at 3:52 am
    ““by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.”

    Mycroft, that’s really ridiculous.

    What is so ridiculous about it?”

    Would one expect a Rabbi who does not learn to preach the importance of Talmud Torah-no it would be hypocritical to do so-so why would it not be hypocritical for a Rabi to preach the importance of living in Israel while living in North America?

  196. Lawrence Kaplan

    Perhaps Mycroft might wish to emend his comment to read “by living in North America they are stating that LIVING IN Israel is not crucial to Judaism.”

  197. “Well, I’m not a doctor or a farmer but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re crucial for society. Or, for that matter, I’m not a rabbi, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re crucial for Judaism. Had he said that by living here rabbis are saying they don’t think aliyah is imperative, I might not agree but I wouldn’t say it was ridiculous. But his overbroad, sweeping and typically cynical and impugning other people’s motives type remark was truly ridiculous.”

    Odd. By this logic, does it mean I can not keep shabbat, not eat kosher, and in general not keep any of the mitzvot, as long as I think its important that other people do keep those mitzvot?

  198. Lawrence Kaplan

    layman, like mycroft, confuses “Israel” with “living in Israel.”

  199. “Lawrence Kaplan on June 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm
    Perhaps Mycroft might wish to emend his comment to read “by living in North America they are stating that LIVING IN Israel is not crucial to Judaism.””
    Fair enough see my 11:11 AM comment with typos expressed the thought the way you state I might wantto change my comment.

    “mycroft on June 5, 2011 at 11:11 am
    “layman on June 5, 2011 at 3:52 am
    ““by living in North America they are stating that Israel is not all crucial to Judaism.”

    Mycroft, that’s really ridiculous.

    What is so ridiculous about it?”

    Would one expect a Rabbi who does not learn to preach the importance of Talmud Torah-no it would be hypocritical to do so-so why would it not be hypocritical for a Rabi to preach the importance of living in Israel while living in North America?”

  200. “Lawrence Kaplan on June 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    layman, like mycroft, confuses “Israel” with “living in Israel.””

    Interesting thread could be how central is Israel to Judaism.

  201. “layman on June 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    “Well, I’m not a doctor or a farmer but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re crucial for society. Or, for that matter, I’m not a rabbi, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re crucial for Judaism. Had he said that by living here rabbis are saying they don’t think aliyah is imperative, I might not agree but I wouldn’t say it was ridiculous. But his overbroad, sweeping and typically cynical and impugning other people’s motives type remark was truly ridiculous.”

    Odd. By this logic, does it mean I can not keep shabbat, not eat kosher, and in general not keep any of the mitzvot, as long as I think its important that other people do keep those mitzvot?”

    Agreed-one should not preach anything that one does not do oneself.

  202. IH,
    I conntinue to fail to understand why you must make personal comments.Furthermore what Meir Dagan did publically is quite controversial and may be harmful to Israels defense.
    As you know we cannot lose one war or have one nuclear bomb dropped on us -or there will be no more Israel.

  203. Joseph Kaplan

    “Agreed-one should not preach anything that one does not do oneself.”

    Really? Sounds pretty overbroad to me (again). For example, parents who did not go to college should not urge their children to go to college (if they are college material)? Or I shouldn’t have urged my kids to spend their gap year in Israel? Life is simply more nuanced and complex than you like to make it.

  204. Daat Y — there was nothing personal. Steve consistently labels every Israeli with whom he disagrees politically (most recently Gershon Gorenberg & Amos Oz) a BDS Supporter. He set the tone and I am just ribbing him about it.

  205. Gershom, that is.

  206. “I know of several MO day schools that, under a particular set of circumstances (recommended to them by their law firm) allow female teachers to take parsonage. The requirements do include involvement in leading services, but I think that’s generally interpreted as supervising services and possibly assigning roles beforehand. Make of that what you will in terms of whether they’re clergy.”

    I don’t see how any MO school could claim any female qualifies as a clergy for parsonage see eg

    “Tax Court held in Lawrence v. Commissioner, 50 T.C. 494, 499-500 (1968), that a “minister of education” in a Baptist church was not a “duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed” minister for purposes of IRC § 107. The petitioner held a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from a Baptist Theological Seminary, but was not ordained. Although his church “commissioned” him after he assumed the position, the court interpreted the commissioning to be for tax purposes, as it did not result in any change in duties. Most significant, however, was the court’s analysis of petitioner’s duties or rather, the duties he did not perform. He did not officiate at Baptisms or the Lord’s Supper, two Ordinances that closely resembled sacraments, nor did he preside over or preach at worship services. The court concluded that the evidence did not establish that the prescribed duties of a minister of education were equivalent to the duties of a Baptist minister”

  207. “Joseph Kaplan on June 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm
    “Agreed-one should not preach anything that one does not do oneself.”

    Really? Sounds pretty overbroad to me (again).”

    No -one should not preach what one is able to do and does not do it.

    “For example, parents who did not go to college should not urge their children to go to college (if they are college material)? ”
    Or perhaps parents who did go to college depending on circumstances
    need not encourage their childto go to college-that is entirely different than a Rabbi preaching somethingthat he does not do. A way around it-compliment those who made aliyah at appropriate times-eg ifthey comne back to US to visit schul etc-but don’t preach Aliyah if you are here. Compliment those who did it.

    “Or I shouldn’t have urged my kids to spend their gap year in Israel? ”
    If I am correct there were maybe 2 schools-KBY and Shaalavim that existed for thise programs back then and then fluency in Hebrew was required to enter the program. My interview was at the Jewish /Agency in Hebrew-didn’t go for better or worse my mother talked me out of going to KBY.

    “Life is simply more nuanced and complex than you like to make it.

    Life is nuanced but one should not preach to others what one does not do oneself.

  208. IH, that response wasn’t a response, and you know it. It was at best a sermon. She didn’t respond to a single point Gordis made, not even saying “well our students wouldn’t purposely shop for a tallit not made in Israel.” All she did was say “well our way – that is, not discouraging such behavior – is more effective.” It’s yet another demonstration that in Heterodoxy, rabbinical school is often a form of kiruv – but that’s tangential. There was no reason for you to post that here except to try to annoy people.

  209. “IH on June 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm
    Dean of the the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College responds to Gordis’ “Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel?””

    An interesting history could probably be written how a Hebrew College which decades ago had many Orthodox graduates see eg the late son -in-law of the Rav RD I Twersky-has become an institution that has a non orthodox Rabbinical College.

  210. Daat Y-I agree with your POV re Meir Dagan’s comments and would never place or associate his PPV as a former Mossad chief with the views advocated by the numerous Israeli supporters and advocates of BDS.

  211. Mycroft wrote:

    “To the best of my knowledge all 3 of us live in the US-to the best of my knowledge all of us do what we believe is crucial to be an observant Jew-we are all Shomer Shabbos, we all go to schul regularly, we all went to Yeshiva etc but none of us LIVE in Israel. None of us would dream of being mechallel Shabbos for a job but all of us live in the diaspora if it were crucial in our minds we wouold be there”

    I am not sure what you meant in the above cited post-but if we had the wherewithal and no other issues to worry about, I would make aliyah tomorrow solely for the spiritual quality of life where Erev Shabbos isn’t a rush to get home, grab a shower, get changed and turn the house over and where Chol HaMoed has real religious content. One need not have the sensitivity of a Ramban or R Yehudah HaLevi to sense the innate Kedushah of living in Israel, that one looks for vein IMO in many Torah observant communities-both Charedi and MO.

  212. Jon, in response to IH wrote:

    “IH, that response wasn’t a response, and you know it. It was at best a sermon. She didn’t respond to a single point Gordis made, not even saying “well our students wouldn’t purposely shop for a tallit not made in Israel.” All she did was say “well our way – that is, not discouraging such behavior – is more effective.” It’s yet another demonstration that in Heterodoxy, rabbinical school is often a form of kiruv – but that’s tangential. There was no reason for you to post that here except to try to annoy people”

    I agree. The author neither directly nor indirectly addressed any of the points raised in the Gordis article because the author, as are so many of the recent graduates of the heterodox rabbinical seminaries, only view Judaism in universal, as opposed to particular terms.

  213. Perhaps, the students that the dean of the aforementioned heterodox rabbinical school should see the annexed link as part of their education about why the Land and State of Israel are the Jewish state, and one should never confuse Palestinians with American Indians. http://www.badeagle.com/2002/04/09/indians-are-not-palestinians/

  214. IH wrote:

    “Steve — but, that’s the point. At 80 years old, R. Hartman is articulating *why* he believes his Rebbe, RYBS, was wrong about his Halachic and Hashkafic views”

    Whoever gave RDH any right to voice any perspective on the views, Halachic and Hashkafic views of RYBS-other than RDH? RDH long before he made aliyah, once asked two very highly Talmidim of RYBS who were visiting his community, which Masecta RYBS was giving his shiur on, and when he was told Masecta Nidah, RDH commented that he wondered why -since noone kept Taharas HaMishpacha in our generation. RDH’s other views and writings render him IMO far from a person qualified to engage in such claims. The fact that a person has reached the age of 80 by no means entitles him or her to a POV of the purported Halachic and Hashkafic views of someone who was once his rebbe, if he has by his own admission long ceased to be a Talmid Vasik UNeeman of his Rebbe’s total perspective.

  215. “Whoever gave RDH any right to voice any perspective on the views, Halachic and Hashkafic views of RYBS-other than RDH?”

    I never knew one had to get permission to voice an opinion or perspective. God forbid such permission should ever become necessary.

    “The fact that a person has reached the age of 80 by no means entitles him or her to a POV of the purported Halachic and Hashkafic views of someone who was once his rebbe, if he has by his own admission long ceased to be a Talmid Vasik UNeeman of his Rebbe’s total perspective.”

    He is entitled to a POV not because he is 80 and not because he was once the Rav’s student. He is entitled to a POV because he is an extremely smart person who has studied the halachic and haskafic views of the Rav. That doesn’t make his POV right, of course, but it is an ample basis for him to have and one and write about it. I would add that people like you and me who do not have the knowledge RDH has in this area would do well to take what he says seriously (without, again of course, any obligation to agree with it).

  216. Joseph Kaplan-take a look at the Talmud’s requirement in Sanhedrin ( around 6a-b) that a talmid obtain the equivalent of a teacher’s license from his rebbe. Like it or not, RDH has never been considered one of the Talmidim Neemanim UMuvhakim of RYBS in either Halacha or Hashkafa.

  217. FWIW, there is a well known ShuT CS, that a sefer should not be written without a Haskama that testifies as to the worthiness of the Talmid as to being a Talmid Chacham and his character.

  218. Jon — I don’t get your comment of 1:24 am. Gil posted the Gordis piece and it is reasonable for people to be aware of the response. Whatever makes you think I agree with the piece? And the notion that I posted it to annoy people is contemptible.

  219. Joseph Kaplan

    We’re not talking about teaching licenses; we’re talking about a scholarly examination of the Rav’s halachic and haskafic positions. You want to bar people from making and publicizing such examinations because you don’t like their religious philosophy. I’d rather deal with such examinations on the merit and not black list anyone from making them.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter


The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

Archives

Categories

%d bloggers like this: