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Will Rabbinical Court get female director?
Open Minded Torah: A Conversation
Horse Drawn Carriages and Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim
10 Ways to Stay Poor Forever
Young Judaea to become independent Zionist youth movement
The Kosher Bookworm: A father’s legacy
The Freedom of the Café
SALT Friday
Jerome Chanes: Hebrew Charter Schools Are Not the Answer
Major Effort To Promote Day Schools Shows Mixed Results
Schechter Institute locks out striking employees
The Mainstreaming Of Chabad Rabbis
Orthodox Homosexuals And The Pursuit Of Self-Indulgence
SALT Thursday
Jewish burial ritual: Respect for the dead and comfort for the living
Orthodox Jew accused of religious discrimination
Do We Still Need Jewish Feminism? (“Even the modern Orthodox in the United States are edging towards egalitarianism”)
Conservative synagogue body restructures, reduces dues
Top evangelical to Anthony Weiner: Try Jesus
Why do Jews sway when they pray? Some notes on Shokeling.
JAFI to decide on Orthodox conversions for aliya
Italian Jewish Community In Shock Over Murder Of Synagogue Member
SALT Wednesday
IDF chief sides with Almighty to settle dispute over prayer for fallen soldiers
Anthony Weiner and the National Adultery Ritual
Criminals, remove your kippah!
Knesset aide nudged by early morning tefillin SMS
Holocaust-Era Mezuzahs Found in Dutch Home
Dissident Jews say enclave in NY oppresses them
SALT Tuesday
Anti-Semitism and Man at Yale
Anti-conversion group to soldiers: Don’t conver
19 Kollel students join Traffic Police
Rethinking Music Making: A Teshuvah for the Conservative Movement
Kiddush clubs declare boycott
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 of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

323 comments

  1. I don’t think there are words that can describe my rage at the “anti-converts”.

  2. Who is behind the anti-conversion campaign?

  3. Looks like Chardalim.

  4. I find it amazing how the Conservative movement (which I was a part of in my youth – I had a female singer with band at my bar mitzvoh at Beth Torah Congregation:) hasn’t instilled in its members, who attend services, to know and sing along with some basic and regular negunim, and require the artificial sound and chillul shabbos of musical accompaniment. What I also like about being Orthodox, and something that I wish my non-observant family could experience for themselves, is a shul filled with mispallelim singing mimkomcha, or Hallel, or other parts of the davening together, in unison and harmony, to a beautiful niggun.

  5. Rafael — Thank you for your thoughtful biographical comment. I know several Orthodox women who had a similar reaction after davening with an egalitarian minyan for the first time. How could they ever go back to a shul where the women are there as an accommodation, to be kept out of sight, rather than as an integral part of communal davening.

  6. See http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/conversion-or-genocide-1.243571 for background on the Rabbi Naftali Shriver (mis-transliterated) in the anti-conversion article.

  7. IH:

    “mis-transliterated”

    Schrijver, Schreiber‏‎, Shriver, etc. are all acceptable transliterations.

    (thanks for the link)

  8. Fair point, Avah 🙂

  9. Gee,

    What a nice guy. Once again we see how radical Charedim and secularists are natural allies. Les extremes se touchent.

  10. The article on rethinking music making got me rethinking. Personally, I am not a big fan of musical instruments during davening, Shabbat or not. But, I am an avid music listener with eclectic taste.

    I never put it together before, but I’ve always wondered why many (most?) chazzanut recordings and concerts have musical instrument accompaniment. It seems unnatural and unnecessary to me. And yet…

    Courtesy of YouTube, a 1912 recording of Yossele Rosenblatt’s Kol Nidre – “This was recorded while he was engaged by the Congregation Ohab Zedek in New York.”

  11. Charedim and secularists are very close in their worldviews. They agree 100% that the Torah is irrelevant to life. They just disagree on which of the two to choose in practice.

  12. Great Israeli TV report on “secular Torah study” in contemporary Israel:

    http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=806642&sid=126

  13. David, nice report. Thank you. Last night, Dr. Erica Brown mentioned this phenomenon (with admiration)…

    For those not clued in, Kobi Oz, who appears in the report, was the band leader of טיפקס‎, which represented Israel in Eurovision 2007.

  14. Kobi Oz now has an album of “Jewish music” inspired by his Torah study at some of these secular batei midrash. Yehudah Mirksy wrote about this phenomenon for Jewish Ideas Daily last summer.

  15. In the Sept 2010 New Yorker profile of Israeli author David Grossman:

    “Grossman is a leftist and an atheist, but every Thursday night for the past twenty years he has studied the Hebrew Bible with two friends—a female poet of diametrically opposed political views, and a religiously observant male philosopher—at the pace of a few verses a month.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/09/27/100927fa_fact_packer?currentPage=all

  16. IH-IIRC, the shiurim of Nechama Lebowitz ZL as well as that of RYBS also attracted very wide audiences as well.

  17. From interviews, it seems like Netanyahu’s number one pride and pleasure is learning with his son.

  18. “Knesset aide nudged by early morning tefillin SMS”

    funny article. especially the picture. someone should tell her to remove the tefillin from boxes before donning them.

    unless israel has laws against text advertising, how is this harassment?

  19. “unless israel has laws against text advertising, how is this harassment?”

    It may not be legal harassment, but don’t you think they should have stopped sending her the messages when she asked them to do so. So it may have been perfectly legal, but now tefillin have been made a mockery of. Let me put it this way: how about substituting “lack of derech eretz” for harassment?

  20. although the subject is ortho, no real jewish angle in this article:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/06/14/2011-06-14_unfinest_treatment_cop_punished_for_doing_right_thing_in_dwi_bust_of_prosecutor_.html?r=topnews

    nevertheless always interesting to read about frum jews in unconventional jobs (not lawyers, doctors, accountants)

  21. JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    “but don’t you think they should have stopped sending her the messages when she asked them to do so”

    yes

    “but now tefillin have been made a mockery of”

    so you think a woman putting on tefillin is a mockery? (don’t respond to this, i’m just kidding with you)

    “Let me put it this way: how about substituting “lack of derech eretz” for harassment?”

    agreed. particularly at 7am

  22. Re: Criminals, remove your kippah!

    What would the reaction have been had this article been written about some of the American Orthodox perps as OpEd in an American newspaper?

  23. On the Holocaust-Era Mezuzahs Found in Dutch Home article. One of the very best Shoah memorial sites is joodsmonument.nl which helped me learn more about some of my own family (who were among the >75% of Jews in Holland who perished in the Shoah).

    Typing the name of the woman’s maiden name from the article will get you more details and if you then search on the name of the street (e.g. Nieuwe Keizersgracht) you can virtually walk down the street and learn about every murdered Jew, building by building.

    Amsterdam is a Google Streetview city, so you can then walk down the given street and often see the buildings as they are now, and where then.

    Also, the Amsterdam Jewish Museum website includes their archive holdings which include Shoah-related artifacts.

  24. One further thought on the Shoah story: 18 months ago I re-united a 1st cousin of my father with the widow of another mutual 1st cousin who had last met in newly liberated Holland in May 1945. It happened because I was researching that part of my family and it turned out that each one enquired of me what became of the other. That same week, a story broke about a similar touching experience that happened in Russia to Ed Milliband (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8295394.stm). These stories dribble out month by month as survivors, in their old age, are finally willing to talk.

    If you have survivors in your family – meaning anyone who was living in Europe and survived the war, not just the old definition of camp survivors. Please write down their stories.

    And please, please, please make sure that your family’s victims are documented in the Yad VaShem database (they have instructions on their website). We are losing our eyewitness survivors one by one; and soon there will be none. If your shul has not actively participated in the Yad Vashem initiative; please make sure they do.

    This is surely one of the most important mitzvot at this time and place!

  25. Did anyone notice the two lawsuits filed this week against Hasidic communities of kiryat yoel and new square?
    Is it me or does anyone else see the beginning of the end of Hasidic led communities in america…..waiting for the eventual criimminal investigations by government agencies. Most troubling is the police activity in new square as enforcers if proven true– this the beginning of the end.

    http://m.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110614/NEWS/106140315/-1/SITEMAP&template=wapart

  26. Ruvie-take a look at the website of the lawyer cited in the article. I think that there is no doubt that he has a LW and ACLU type of POV which would dictate a militant view in favor of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as opposed to a legislatively approved view of permitting the Free Exercise of Religion. Unfortunately, such groups and lawyers have a long track record against opposing any reasonable accomodation or not offering support to Orthodox groups that seek to build shuls, yeshivos, mikvaos and eruvs.

  27. “Is it me or does anyone else see the beginning of the end of Hasidic led communities in america…..”

    A little of premature pronouncement, no?

  28. Rafael – not at all unless one is blind to the ramifications of what yet is to be discovered and the many unhappy in those communities …. It takes time like communism.

  29. steve b. – why don’t you look at the picture of the hasid who is leading the lawsuit – there is a dissident group in kj that have made some very serious claims. there seems to be a LACK of religious freedom in both places. just follow the money and it lead to people going to jail. remember – absolute power corrupts absolutely especially with religious people because their god is on their side and everyone else is well not in the same parsha (or treif).

    where is there any accommodation or any potential of one (except for threats on the internet to those that dare speak out in kj)? why do you consistently tar others with lw aclu type of talk – a lawyer represents his/her client – who cares of his/her politics (as if that matters).

    i guess you are ok with what is being reported in the last 2 weeks. the kj complaint details 10 years of harassment … most troubling is police action (or lack thereof) in protecting its citizens.

  30. MiMedinat HaYam

    rafael — does montreal have similar issues? (you know whom i mean.)

    though i doubt canadian law would mind it. their concept of freedom of / from religion is different.

    ruvie — the residents dont care. nothing to do with getting used to communism.

    2. i am reminded of the hidden stop sign i saw when entering new square a few decades ago. i was told its to have a legal excuse for the police to stop “unwanted” guests. similar to the 25mph speed limit signs all over nj.

  31. mimedinat hayam – i meant it is like communism in that it takes a long time to crumble even after they ran out of money. same too here to a certain degree – just mho – the stricter they get the worse it will be.

  32. ruvie wrote in part:

    “where is there any accommodation or any potential of one (except for threats on the internet to those that dare speak out in kj)? why do you consistently tar others with lw aclu type of talk – a lawyer represents his/her client – who cares of his/her politics (as if that matters).

    i guess you are ok with what is being reported in the last 2 weeks. the kj complaint details 10 years of harassment … most troubling is police action (or lack thereof) in protecting its citizens”

    I by no means condone what happened in NS, but everyone knows that dissident groups have existed in KY for years. The bottom line is that a resident of either community who is unhappy can easily move to or become affiliated with another similar community-which Dr S Heilman documented years ago is not uncommon. As far as my POV re the lawyer is concerned, I think that the ACLU’s record on such cases speaks volumes-they are always in the thick of Establishment Clause litigation, but rarely, if ever, on the side of someone asserting a Free Exercise Clause violation.

  33. Let’s be serious. No one can, as you claim, “easily move” not least one who lives in a town run by a cult.

  34. “The bottom line is that a resident of either community who is unhappy can easily move to or become affiliated with another similar community”

    Except that this is the United States, and the majority has no right to harass a minority religion (or sect) to move, even if that sect’s existence offends them.

  35. I would certainly not call either KY or NS towns that are run by a cult. No one forces anyone to live there unless they consider themselves Chasidim, in which case, they implicitly, if not explicitly agree to live their lives as Satmar or Skever Chasidim.

  36. Isn’t the “dissident” group in KY the Zalmis (followers of the Satmer Rebbe Zalman, since KY is wholly under the grip of the Aharonis (followers of the Satmer Rebbe Aharon)? That is a whole different ball of wax from what is happening in NS.

    Mimedinas HaYam – I know of no such concerns in Kiryas Tosh. Of course, I don’t know what goes on there. However, given the extreme anti-religious climate in la belle Province, its existence is somewhat surprising to me. Don’t be suprised if local and provincial governments put legal and other pressures on it to curry “pure laine” xenophobic Quebec votes.

  37. IH – you have revealed your innermost thoughts. Chassidus is a cult. Very nice.

  38. http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2011/06/lawsuits-against-skevrer-rebbe-and.html

    “As sorry as I feel for the residents in both communities who see their lives in terms of purity and holiness through their dedication to their beloved Chasidic Rebbes, they are living in a cult –- whether they understand that or not. It is one thing to live like they do, practicing whatever Chumros their lifestyles demands of them. It is another to believe that that lifestyle must be forced upon everyone through violent means – even if those who live there agreed to those rules before they moved in.”

  39. > The bottom line is that a resident of either community who is unhappy can easily move to or become affiliated with another similar community

    I won’t use the C word, but you know that no one can “easily” move out if they are pegged as a dissident. It is not easy to remake your lives and move away from family and friends, make cultural adjustments, etc. (And if the allegations are true that dissidents are also treated to the inability to sell their home for a fair price then that is another thing which is not “easy.”)

    It’s one thing to have sympathy for the idea of a place like Skver and its another thing to just be blind to the fact that it’s not easy at all if you can’t hack it in such a place. Furthermore, since many people are second generation they also never really chose to live in such a place any more than most people who live in Bangladesh really chose it.

  40. Steve, Rafael — feel free to take up your fight over the word “cult” with self-identified RWMO R. Maryles who had the integrity to call it as it is earlier today.

  41. >IH – you have revealed your innermost thoughts. Chassidus is a cult. Very nice.

    Is Chassidus then Skver as it is presently constituted? I thought only Chabad has the right to use “Chassidus” and their own group as synonyms.

    You’re Canadian. Isn’t Lev Tahor “Chassidish” too?

  42. IH-I think that R H Maryles is mistaken in branding Chasidus a cult. I think that the term not only is not helpful-but fails to provide any meaningful analysis to the issue. One could call residents of any Charedi or MO community by the same label-especially with respect to their hashkafic views on any issue.

  43. I find it ironic that some of the posters here who consider Ahavas Yisrael a primary Midah Tovah simply have none where Charedim, especially Chasidim are the subject.

  44. steve b. – “The bottom line is that a resident of either community who is unhappy can easily move to or become affiliated with another similar community”.
    “No one forces anyone to live there unless they consider themselves Chasidim, in which case, they implicitly, if not explicitly agree to live their lives as Satmar or Skever Chasidim.”

    so force is ok in america….restricting freedom is ok – anyone’s freedom – as long as you can leave. you ok with someone putting a flaming cross on someone’s front lawn too? i guess those statements prove that you would condone in some way what is going on (eventhough you said you do not condone such action). the issue in the end will be people’s rights and discrimination as well as following (sources and uses) the government money and transparency.

  45. >I find it ironic that some of the posters here who consider Ahavas Yisrael a primary Midah Tovah simply have none where Charedim, especially Chasidim are the subject.

    Your emotional appeal almost had me in tears, but stick to the issue. You’re engaged in a shakla vetarya. If you have a response to substantial points, let’s hear it.

    I said that people can’t really easily move out. (And so what if they could?) What say you?

  46. Ruvie wrote:

    “so force is ok in america….restricting freedom is ok – anyone’s freedom – as long as you can leave. you ok with someone putting a flaming cross on someone’s front lawn too? i guess those statements prove that you would condone in some way what is going on (eventhough you said you do not condone such action). the issue in the end will be people’s rights and discrimination as well as following (sources and uses) the government money and transparency”

    First of all, any comparison between Charedi life and the KKK IMO is inappropriate, at the least, and borders on the obscene and disgraceful. Freedom is not absolute-but the right to move is absolute.

    Then again, you applauded about a play that was filled with Nivul Peh against a group of Christians who are great friends of Israel and just might be Bnei Noach as well.I can only wonder what you would have said about a play with similar language that would have bashed Charedim or RZ. I think that it is ironic and sad that those RZ in Israel have no comment on the fact that while RZ has been living off the trough of the Knesset for decades, they view with disdain the rights of Charedim, especially Chasidim, to organize under the protection of the law-which none less than RSRH accomplished with Austritt. I think that your views reflect politics, as opposed to any POV that can be associated with RZ.

  47. Anonymous wrote:

    “I find it ironic that some of the posters here who consider Ahavas Yisrael a primary Midah Tovah simply have none where Charedim, especially Chasidim are the subject.

    Your emotional appeal almost had me in tears, but stick to the issue. You’re engaged in a shakla vetarya. If you have a response to substantial points, let’s hear it”

    Sorry-I don’t consider Ahavas Yisrael merely a slogan. There is no coincidence that this issue as well as any other that implicates the Charedi POV attracts posters like flies to honey.

  48. “Except that this is the United States, and the majority has no right to harass a minority religion (or sect) to move, even if that sect’s existence offends them”

    This is a gross oversimplification. A religious group certainly has the right to police its membership to make sure they conform its religious beliefs and practices, so long as the methods used are lawful. While violence is both abhorrent and criminal, consider the following methods:

    1. Person is acting against the interests of the religious community, hence he may not be afforded religious honors (e.g. aliyos, kaddish, etc.)

    2. Same, except the person is not counted for a minyan or afforded other religious rites (e.g, lehavdil elef alfei havdalos, the Catholic Church denying communion to politicians who support abortion).

    3. Same, except the person is subject to “shunning” — no one in the religious community may talk to or do business with that person, or come within 6 feet of him.

    4. Same,except that the same shunning is applied to the person’s immediate family — his children are expelled from religious schools, and no one deals with his family.

    All of the above are not only permitted by American law but arguably protected by the First Amendment. Most people could be driven out of town (at least a Chassidic enclave like New Skver) using any of these lawful methods.

    (Unfortunately, Chassidim in my experience have little regard for the law of the land. As the person who burst into the press conference said, they do not live in America, they live in “Jewland.”)

  49. “I think that R H Maryles is mistaken in branding Chasidus a cult.”

    He didn’t (and nor did I).

    “I find it ironic that some of the posters here who consider Ahavas Yisrael a primary Midah Tovah simply have none where Charedim, especially Chasidim are the subject.”

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks

  50. steve b. – the comparison is easy – let them move – no harm done. one is racism and the other is discrimination because of different life style choices or not kowtowing to the rebbe of a town – people want other people to feel unwelcome in their hood. they BOTH end badly for everyone. – and it begets violence in both cases.

    since you didn’t see the play do not assume it was bashing (actually the mormons didn’t protest it at all). it also had a positive religious message too. its humor – something you should purchase in a store if you can.
    as to my politics – i am a registered independent my whole life (i am no longer young) eventhough i may have voted more republican than anything else (surprise) i dislike both parties in general (i just hate being lied to).

  51. IH-Ahavas Yisrael IMO in your case, apparently, is reserved only for the assimilated, as opposed to Charedim-whether of a Litvish or Chasidish orientation. What a perversion of the meaning of a Mitvas Aseh.

  52. steve b. – no idea what this has to do with anything we are discussing:

    “the fact that while RZ has been living off the trough of the Knesset for decades, they view with disdain the rights of Charedim, especially Chasidim, to organize under the protection of the law-”

    please explain – i don’t understand what you are talking about here. what rights? i dislike people who do bad things across all religious denominations equally.

  53. Steve — you charges do not stick, because they are false. It is consistently yourself who uses ugly rhetoric against other Jews. You have zero credibility on this, so stop the ad hominem.

  54. MiMedinat HaYam

    chassidim of old had no problem in moving to another chassidic town, davening in the shtiebel of another rebbe, etc. (sometimes, still remaining a chasid of an original rebbe. sometimes not.) etc complications.

    apparently, this does not exist anymore. or does it?

    (i’m not getting into issues of ari’s vs zalmi’s. thats another manifestation of the current pblm.)

    2. ruvie — they’ll ca$h out before withering away like communism.

    (on the other hand — the communists ca$hed out while they were busy withering away.)

  55. >Sorry-I don’t consider Ahavas Yisrael merely a slogan. There is no coincidence that this issue as well as any other that implicates the Charedi POV attracts posters like flies to honey.

    Where’s your ahavah for the people who say they are ostracized and terrorized? It’s easy to move, that’s your ahavas yisrael?

  56. “I think that the ACLU’s record on such cases speaks volumes-they are always in the thick of Establishment Clause litigation, but rarely, if ever, on the side of someone asserting a Free Exercise Clause violation.”

    I think you don’t know what you’re talking about. See http://www.aclu.org/search?logic=any&cpi=i649&type=blog,news_press_release,other,legaldoc,multimedia,case. Lots of Muslim Free Exercise cases. Also lots of Free Exercise cases protecting Jews, Sikhs, Christians, Jehovah Witnesses, Buddahists, Native American religion etc. So which pure Free Exercise cases did the ACLU not agree to get involved in when asked?

  57. Tal Benschar’s legal analysis is correct except for no. 3: “Same, except the person is subject to “shunning” — no one in the religious community may talk to or do business with that person, or come within 6 feet of him.” This could be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (e.g., firing such a person for his religious beliefs). But while I agree with the analysis otherwise, the claims against the Skver community are that they went beyond the limits TB discusses; they used violence, damage done to property etc. And that is NOT protected under the First Amendment, even if done by people who claim that it is necessary for their religious beliefs (God forbid).

  58. “Tal Benschar’s legal analysis is correct except for no. 3: “Same, except the person is subject to “shunning” — no one in the religious community may talk to or do business with that person, or come within 6 feet of him.” This could be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (e.g., firing such a person for his religious beliefs).”

    That’s true if you are his employer, not for everyone else in town. And I am not even clear that that would apply, since the issue is not his beliefs but rather his refusal to abide by the religious authorities. (It would be an interesting case.)

    As for the claims against the religious community, so far they are just that, claims. One person committed violence. Was that sanctioned or encouraged by the community? Or did they simply suggest legal methods, and one person decided to take matters into his own hands? I have to hear much evidence on either side. Time will tell which is the correct view.

  59. Interesting article in the new Jewish Action by R’ Weil on R’YBS’s famous “Surrendering To The Almighty” (the anti-R’ Rackman Agunah solution). Particularly interesting in that he extracts the theory without ever mentioning the specific issue of tan du (which imeho would cause many to question the theory)
    KT

  60. Lawrence Kaplan

    I thought the article of R. Weil was very weak. It didn’t give the background, didn’t mention R. Rackman’s name, didn’t, as Joel Rich said, discuss the instance of tan du, and didn’t engage in any critical analysis. It was just a mediocre paraphrase and rehash of the Rav’s ideas. What may be of interest, if anything, is the possible polemical point or target of the article.

  61. Joseph Kaplan wrote and cited this link:

    ” think you don’t know what you’re talking about. See http://www.aclu.org/search?logic=any&cpi=i649&type=blog,news_press_release,other,legaldoc,multimedia,case. Lots of Muslim Free Exercise cases. Also lots of Free Exercise cases protecting Jews, Sikhs, Christians, Jehovah Witnesses, Buddahists, Native American religion etc. So which pure Free Exercise cases did the ”
    ACLU not agree to get involved in when asked

    Try to find a link to an ACLU case where they sided with a party who desired to build a mikveh, shul, yeshiva or eruv. My searh showed lots of cases defending Moslems, but none for a mikveh or eruv. When you do, then we will see whose depiction of the ACLU is more accurate.

  62. Lawrence Kaplan

    Tal Benschar: The police have stated that there were instances of harrassment and destruction of property. Whether there was a criminal conspiracy remains to be seen.

  63. Ruvie wrote:

    “please explain – i don’t understand what you are talking about here. what rights? i dislike people who do bad things across all religious denominations equally”

    WADR, you have a long track record of Charedi bashing. I think that your analogy to cross burning is beyond the pale of legitimate comment.

  64. IH wrote :
    “you charges do not stick, because they are false. It is consistently yourself who uses ugly rhetoric against other Jews. You have zero credibility on this, so stop the ad hominem”

    Once again, a plea for “tolerance” reveals itself as only being tolerant of those who are as liberal as or more so than oneself.

  65. R. Weil’s article was meant for the masses, for the people who are unaware of the Rav’s speech or needed reminding of it. It was intended to be nothing more than a paraphrase.

    You might recall that the Rav did not mention R Rackman’s name either.

  66. By coincidence, I just reached R. Hartman’s first (powerful) discussion of Agunah in his new book. From pp. 70-71:

    “Other rabbis, apparently attempting to convey solidarity with the plight of agunot, abdicate their moral and halakhic responsibility by describing the issue in terms of an unbearable and inscrutable theological test – for themselves, as rabbis. “This is my personal akeda,” one major modern Orthodox halakhic authority once told me, referring to his sense of helplessness at not being able to formulate an acceptable halakhic solution based upon available precedents. “Your akeda?” I responded. “Is that supposed to bring comfort to the abandoned woman whose life is passing her by?”

    This theological posturing, with its distasteful rhetoric of rabbinic helplessness and suffering, nevertheless constitutes an acknowledgment of the moral issue. In a sense, this can be seen as the most openly critical stance that has been offered by traditional rabbis. If my rabbinic colleague had not felt the moral weight of the issue upon him – had he not felt implicated in its shame – there would have been no need to construct such a bombastic, self-aggrandizing, response. […]

    The various internal religious mechanisms applied to the aguna problem have failed. Many women still suffer this unjust fate at the tradition’s hands. Rabbi Yonatan’s caution [IH: previously discussed re: Ben Sorer u’Moreh] has gone unheeded by the halakhic authorities of our time.”

  67. I must say, I am amazed by this language of “was meant for the masses” which Gil has used previously. How charmingly transparent.

  68. IH: Thank you for reading charitably and assuming good intentions. I’m glad that even on the Internet there are still gentlemen who are willing to get past cynicism and be melamed zekhus.

  69. Gil, it wasn’t a criticism of you personally, but it wasn’t the first time you’ve used it and — knowing a bit about how language is used in businesses — it seems to reflect language that is used among the Orthodox establishment (e.g. OU). It is not a helpful expression.

  70. Steve b – avoid the question with accusations. You do not have to be a genius to see that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. We are not in a court of law. You on the other hand say it’s a free country and they should leave ( real easy when the community is told not to buy the house or way below value) Even Harry Maryles called for the disolving of ky and new square.

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2011/06/lawsuits-against-skevrer-rebbe-and.html
    .

  71. Notice how Steve changes his argument when he gets caught. He first claimed (falsely) that the ACLU is “rarely, if ever, on the side of someone asserting a Free Exercise Clause violation.” When I showed that was completely false and there are many cases where the ACLU supports Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Jehovah Witnesses etc. in Free Exercise cases, he doesn’t admit error. He makes a NEW claim and ignores his earlier untrue one. So he switches and now says “Try to find a link to an ACLU case where they sided with a party who desired to build a mikveh, shul, yeshiva or eruv.” So I guess he’s saying if you support Free Exercise claims made by Muslims, Jews (in cases other than eruv, shul, mikveh, yeshiva), Christians etc. then you’re rarely on the side of someone asserting a Free Exercise claim, no matter how many cases there are. In any event, Steve, you’re wrong once again, and your challenge is easily met. See, e.g., http://articles.philly.com/2002-01-09/news/25345285_1_zoning-board-township-officials-zoning-ordinance for a case where the ACLU supported a synagogue. (Took me about 60 seconds to find it. Now you’ll probably say that acse doesn’t count because it was a Reform synagogue.

    It’s perfectly okay for you not to like the ACLU. It’s not alright for you to make false claims about it and then try to weasel out of those false claims.

  72. Had another 60 seconds. Here’s a recent situation where the ACLU supported Chabad building a shul. http://www.acluct.org/legal/religiousliberty/litchfieldtemplehasprotect.htm. So now I’ve found two links in two minutes.Still say the ACLU doesn’t support Free Exercise claims including Jews building shuls?

  73. Gil, additionally, I think the recent discussion we had on RHS’s interview in Kol Hamevaser regarding Conversion is also relevant to this semantics issue.

    I get the impression there is an underlying elitism in which yourself, RHS and others in the establishment mistakenly believe in a medieval form of ha’mayvin ya’vin in which different things can be said to different people with no consequences. This will end in tears. First, because we live in an age of unprecedented Torah knowledge; and, second, because of the lessons we have learned from Wikileaks and, closer to home, the RCA Va’ad Halacha’s Brain Death debacle.

    Today’s 20-somethings are a different breed from what the establishment perceives of as “the masses”. ‘Diss them at MO establishment’s peril.

  74. “Notice how Steve changes his argument when he gets caught.”

    Nope, never noticed 🙂

  75. “vEven Harry Maryles called for the disolving of ky and new square.”

    You don’t say! Harry Maryles is an out and out Charedi basher and would happily dissolve the entire Charedi world if he could. His distaste for all things Charedi [Harry – if you’re out there reading this please don’t bother telling me that you’re not mochel me for this slander. I’m ok with that.] is apparent in every one of his blog posts and comments. Quoting HM as proof is like quoting David Duke to support your thesis that the Holocaust was nothing more than a minor squabble.

  76. David F. – If you look at the writings of charedi spokesmen such as Rav Shach (Michtavim U’Ma’amarim) or the Steipler (Kerayna De’Igresa), you’ll see that a large proportion of it is bashing others, and general ‘playing nasty’. I’m not quite sure why those who follow these doctrines expect a free pass from everyone else, for criticizing them in a far more mild tone than they criticize others.

  77. r’ih,
    my impression is it’s more of “it’s too complicated to try and explain(and people will not devote the time needed to understand and thus might not get the correct take away), so let’s keep it simple and leave out what might cause “confusion””

    is that the best approach- i suppose it depends how you define best (as in don’t fight too hard against red bendels if you can’t substitute some other belief connection)
    KT

  78. R’lk,
    your bracha achrita was exactly what i meant when i said interesting
    (or as r’ybs would say “interesting is” :-))

    KT

  79. “David F. – If you look at the writings of charedi spokesmen such as Rav Shach (Michtavim U’Ma’amarim) or the Steipler (Kerayna De’Igresa), you’ll see that a large proportion of it is bashing others, and general ‘playing nasty’. I’m not quite sure why those who follow these doctrines expect a free pass from everyone else, for criticizing them in a far more mild tone than they criticize others.”

    Anon,

    Not to mention the Brisker Rav’s habit of viciously insulting practically everyone he disagreed with.

  80. david f. – my line about reb harry was a little tongue n cheek. i think he is closer the rwmo than lwmo but a straight shooter in general (and i think respected by r’ gil – not here long enough to know).

    my other thoughts on the “news” in the charedei world is an extrapolation of the eventual outcome of an insular world gestalt and absolute power. just look at mea shearim to see its future (even the police are afraid to go in there – not that it is same but similar of the atitude of the leaders in power except in america there are values held by most for freedom and its culture).

  81. As a conservative, I think the ACLU is a disaster. (Steve will ignore this caveat.) But I will admit that they are, most often, *consistent* in defending anyone who needs it. I suppose that you have to weigh whether it’s worth it at the end.

    Don’t confuse them with other liberal groups who are actively *against* religion. The ACLU is a bit lonely here.

    IH, I’m not sure if you’re including this, but the internet helps too. I was at a shiur last night on the definition of “Torah min Ha-shamayim” and even those not so Jewishly learned in the audience knew something about the Ibn Ezra and so on. “HaMaven Yavin” hasn’t really worked since Spinoza, anyway- so long as there’s someone willing to bellow the “secret truths,” there’s no point in winking.

    David F., you’ve never actually read Mr. Maryles’ blog, have you? He has a real soft spot for charedim.

  82. “joel rich on June 15, 2011 at 5:25 am
    r’ih,
    my impression is it’s more of “it’s too complicated to try and explain(and people will not devote the time needed to understand and thus might not get the correct take away), so let’s keep it simple and leave out what might cause “confusion”” ”

    tend to agree

    “is that the best approach- i suppose it depends how you define best (as in don’t fight too hard against red bendels if you can’t substitute some other belief connection)
    KT”

    I don’t believe dishonesty is ever the best approach in religion-first comes truth before anything else-emes attah hu rishon….

  83. IH,

    I had the opposite reaction to Hartman’s response as you quoted it. It sounds full of angry and pompous self-righteousness itself and shows an utter lack of tolerance for those who feel bound to religious law and their own conscience. Personally, I salute the Rabbis who agonize over this or over other issues like a clear-cut mamzerut case. It shows that they care.

    Maybe things are obvious to Hartman up on Mount Sinai. To us normal humans, sometimes there are problems and dilemmas that have no good solution. It doesn’t mean we’re all heartless.

  84. Nachum,

    Who gave the shiur?

  85. Calev Ben-Dor. Have you heard of him? I’m a big fan.

  86. Can’t say I have, nor can I find anything on him via google. What are his credentials (or at least fields of expertise)?

  87. He works for the Foreign Ministry- he’s got a blog with links to his shiurim. “Just” a well-educated guy who can put together an engaging shiur.

  88. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: If both my brother and Nachum– from opposite sides of the political spectrum– criticize you re the ACLU, you might as well give up. Not to mention that you’ve been caught red-handed regarding the facts.

  89. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: Oftentimes a polemical tslk will not explicitly identify its taget. But for an article about the polemic not to do so is unacceptable.

    “The massess” who read Jewish Action are thoughtful and intellegent people. They deserved a better and fuller analysis of the Rav’s talk than R. Weil offered them.

  90. aiwac – I would agree that R. Hartman’s new book is the product of a simmering anger; but, it is constructive anger in the spirit of one of the Ne’veim. Sometimes anger and indignation are appropriate emotions.

    I have not yet finished the book, but thus far it is thought-provoking (while also written for the general reader).

    In an earlier chapter, btw, I was thinking about you because of his discussion of the importance of Judaism as a social community. It’s his first break with RYBS in the book, commenting on “lonely man” (p. 44):

    “Nevertheless, I question the importance assigned to the single individual by traditional Judaism. Fundamentally, Judaism is the way of life of a community and provides understanding for someone who seeks to build a spiritual life within the language and structures of a community”.

  91. STEVE B:

    i’m not an aclu fan but your comments regarding it are preposterous. as is your suggestion that “a resident of either community who is unhappy can easily move to or become affiliated with another similar community.”

  92. Irrespective of one’s views on feminism or reform Judaism, I think one’s stomach has to turn at some of the quasi-theological statements in the Jewish feminism article (e.g., “as we increasingly pray to Shechinah, the Presence, who is female as well as male,” “In Jewish theology, identity politics—driven by the theories of difference feminism—has brought about the effort to reimagine God as Shechinah (fem., the Presence) or Yah (the Breath of Life), instead of as Adonai (Lord) or Melech (King)—though we have not quite gotten as far as Goddess.”).

    I try to take comfort in the (hoped for) fact that this is just gobbledy gook and that no one actually means anything by this.

  93. R’Tony,
    You’re a better man than I, I started to skim and realized my processor wasn’t computing so I gave up.
    KT

  94. “I would agree that R. Hartman’s new book is the product of a simmering anger; but, it is constructive anger in the spirit of one of the Ne’veim. Sometimes anger and indignation are appropriate emotions.”

    Sure, like the indignation I feel to comparing a self-aknolwedged apikorus to the Neviei Yisroel.

  95. “Jewish burial ritual: Respect for the dead and comfort for the living”

    couln’t they use a dummy instead of a live volunteer?

  96. IH: “…but, it is constructive anger in the spirit of one of the Ne’veim. ”

    Should I bother waiting for you to use such a positive phrase with regard to the anger of the Brisker Rav or R’ Shach? Or is only the left wing that is allowed to have constructive anger?

  97. Not to mention that the R’ Hartman’s anger seems to be at the halacha, for causing agunot to suffer and so on. In contrast, the neviim’s anger was at those who rejected the halacha.

  98. “You’re a better man than I”

    Freudian slip, R’ Joel? 🙂

  99. “R’ Hartman’s anger seems to be at the halacha, for causing agunot to suffer and so on.”

    The question he is struggling with, from what I have read thus far, is: “What happens when halakhic commitment conflicts with moral conscience?”

    This is fair game to explore within Modern Orthodoxy (but, admittedly is viewed as apikorsut in the Yeshivish/Charedi velt).

  100. Anon,
    “Anon on June 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

    David F. – If you look at the writings of charedi spokesmen such as Rav Shach (Michtavim U’Ma’amarim) or the Steipler (Kerayna De’Igresa), you’ll see that a large proportion of it is bashing others, and general ‘playing nasty’. I’m not quite sure why those who follow these doctrines expect a free pass from everyone else, for criticizing them in a far more mild tone than they criticize others.”

    I’m not an expert in their sefarim but I’ve used both of the quoted sefarim rather often and would take issue with your assertion that a large portion is bashing others. Not at all.
    Furthermore, Rav Shach and the Steipler were not “spokesmen” but great leaders who were not afraid to speak their mind and take a public stand because they were expected to as leaders.
    The vast majority of what they wrote and spoke about had nothing to do with criticizing others or anything of the sort. Of course, most of that is not newsworthy and therefore no one really remembers much of it.

    HM, on the other hand, is not the Steipler, Rav Shach, nor should he ever be mentioned on the same day as them. His entire existence is predicated upon bashing others with a special affinity for anything Charedi. How he affiliates [RWMO or LWMO] is irrelevant. He can call himself Satmar for all I care. He’s a mediocre irrelevancy who thanks to the internet has been assumed a role that sounds important but to anyone who knows him, it’s a joke.

  101. ‘The question he is struggling with, from what I have read thus far, is: “What happens when halakhic commitment conflicts with moral conscience?”’

    Again??? People have been talking about this for the past century. Why is this book worth reading?

    a) As Prof. Brill said: “Rabbis Amital, Wurzburger, and Jonathan sacks said same thing without all this emotional drama”. The difference is, RDH takes himself far more seriously.

    b) Any answer that’s “well we’ll ditch the Halakha BUT” is no better than “well we’ll suspend the ethical BUT”. Something actually creative would have involved some sort of argument, or perhaps a way to say “well in this case x, in that case y” or at best, a comprehensive approach for mediating between the two.

    So really, it sounds like the book is worthless, and that the only reason I’d read it (let alone buy it) is because it’s (bound to be) controversial.

  102. David F: “HM, on the other hand, is not the Steipler, Rav Shach, nor should he ever be mentioned on the same day as them.”

    You just did.

    But really – correct me if I’m wrong – your argument boils down to “R. Shach and the Steipler were better than RHM.” That, my dear fellow, is not an argument. Nor is any variation thereof.

  103. Jon — I’m reasonably well read and think he is saying some new things. Frankly, even if they were old ideas, the casting is placed in a contemporary reality (e.g. his daughter’s partnership minyan) which makes it worthwhile. And at 80, he is still being respectful, but much more direct, in his dissent.

    On Prof. Brill’s comments, I don’t understand them. He seems to have read a different book than the one I am reading. I will comment further there after I have finished the book.

  104. I share Nachum’s views of the ACLU. However, in all fairness to Nachum and Joseph Kaplan, one link to supporting Chabad’s application to build a Chabad house in tony Enfield, Conn and support of a R Temple, is all that is present on the ACLU website. I saw nothing therein re any amici or the equivalent in any of the numerous litigated cases surrounding mikvaos, shuls, yeshivos or eruvs that some have used zoning laws as a pretense of claiming a “NIMBY” argument.

  105. IH quoted this passage from R D Hartman’s book:

    “Other rabbis, apparently attempting to convey solidarity with the plight of agunot, abdicate their moral and halakhic responsibility by describing the issue in terms of an unbearable and inscrutable theological test – for themselves, as rabbis. “This is my personal akeda,” one major modern Orthodox halakhic authority once told me, referring to his sense of helplessness at not being able to formulate an acceptable halakhic solution based upon available precedents. “Your akeda?” I responded. “Is that supposed to bring comfort to the abandoned woman whose life is passing her by?”

    This theological posturing, with its distasteful rhetoric of rabbinic helplessness and suffering, nevertheless constitutes an acknowledgment of the moral issue. In a sense, this can be seen as the most openly critical stance that has been offered by traditional rabbis. If my rabbinic colleague had not felt the moral weight of the issue upon him – had he not felt implicated in its shame – there would have been no need to construct such a bombastic, self-aggrandizing, response. […]”

    I can’t help but wonder who this conversation took place, but my suspicion is that it was RYBS-who publicly stated in the shiur on Gerus how he agonized on such halachic inquiries, but yet was bound by the Mesorah. Why is such a response “bombastic, self-aggrandizing” as opposed to one rooted in an extreme sense of intellectual honesty. IMO, the erroneous assumption posed by R Hartman is that Halacha can or should solve all problems-even when it is impossible to fashion a solution that is Halachically justifiable.

  106. Just curious-wonder what RDH thinks of the RCA’s PNA. Does RDH have any idea of what it took to get major Poskim ( RZNG and ROY) on board?

  107. “He’s a mediocre irrelevancy who thanks to the internet has been assumed a role that sounds important but to anyone who knows him, it’s a joke.”
    I thought that whole sentence was supposed to be applied to anybody who criticizes the haredim for anything when not being haredi themselves, ever?

    Well, okay, maybe not Dennis Prager. Besides him.

  108. R D Alan Brill suggested that anyone interested in R D Hartman’s book should read the review by R D Landes, the response of R D Hartman and R Landes’ response which can be accessed from Tikun’s website.

  109. David F.,

    Check out the sefer hanhagot Hagriz some time with its demeaning references to Ravs Kook and Herzog.

    IH,

    1) The quote you provided does not give me the impression of constructive anger but more of a narcissistic temper tantrum. Respectful, it ain’t.

    I am also sick and tired of every self-styled moral critic taking on the mantle of a “navi”. Unless God actually speaks to you, your words are just as human and fallible as ours. Righteous anger does not make one necessarily right or even fair.

    2) I’m curious as to why the issue of the strictures of a community would remind you of me.

  110. R’ Gil, I believe that your criteria for acceptable comments includes not engaging in ad hominem attacks on other bloggers. Why, then, do you allow such irrelevant and hateful comments about Harry Maryles? Is this blog to become a hangout for people with personal grudges?

  111. IH-the interchange between R Landes and R Hartman is fascinating. The real issue remains to what degree are R Hartman’s theses consistent with the fact that HaShem is viewed as Shomea Tefilah, as opposed to Mkabel Tefilah, that the Ol Mitvos demands our “obediance, submission and self denial”, to use RDH’s exact terms, especially when we know that TSBP demands that we live with a Kashe and Teiku as answers for the hashkafic and halachic issues for which we have no good answers in our lives, but reject that which is a Tiyuvta.

  112. Anon at 3:26 was me.

    Steve:
    “However, in all fairness to Nachum and Joseph Kaplan, one link to supporting Chabad’s application to build a Chabad house in tony Enfield, Conn and support of a R Temple, is all that is present on the ACLU website. I saw nothing therein re any amici or the equivalent in any of the numerous litigated cases surrounding mikvaos, shuls, yeshivos or eruvs that some have used zoning laws as a pretense of claiming a ‘NIMBY’ argument.”
    The support for the Reform temple included an amicus specifically targeting the zoning argument. While the ACLU’s pro-Reform-temple press release is on the website, for some reason their amicus is not. It can be read here though:
    http://classic-web.archive.org/web/20061130213421/http://www.becketfund.org/files/08e0b.pdf

  113. Steve — The Landes review, is of RDH’s 26 year old “A Living Covenant”. I read the book circa 25 years ago and, frankly, remember little of its substance.

    As far as I can tell from the snippets that R.D. Brill has posted, the new book addresses different issues.

    BTW, my reading was that the akeda comment was made by someone still alive (rather than your conjecture of RYBS) and that it is up to that person to volunteer his identity if he wishes.

    Aiwac — perhaps my memory is failing, but I recall you repeatedly commenting on how Orthodoxy is primarily social. Forgive me if I am confusing you with someone else.

  114. IH-I think that R Landes in his final response touched on a critical issue in his quote from a Piyut that is sung with dveikus right before the Vidui HaKatzer in Chazaras HaShatz of YK-our dual relationship with HaShem as Our Father and King, etc. In this respect, I think that it is important to mention how RYS contrasted man in his private tefilah and Vidui and public Tefilah and Vidui-as an individual, man is contrite and offers no excuses whatsoever. as part of a community-man is triumphant, and offers songs of praise of his relationship with HaShem before reciting Vidui. Again, one can find echoes of Tefilah either being spontaneous in nature ( ala Rambam as mentioned by R Hartman) or as reflecting an Es Tzara ( ala Ramban, as explained by RYBS). I think that R Landes has raised an issue of immense importance-namely Tefilah, especially for modern man, must underscore man’s ultimate humility and reliance on HaShem, regardless of man’s ability to engage in acts of improving this world and acting in the Divine Image.

  115. Thanks, Steve. If I ever choose to read RDH’s 26 year old book again, I’ll be sure to re-read R. Landes’s review (which also didn’t make a lasting impression on me, since I was a Tikkun subscriber way back then). The new book is what I am reading and commenting on.

    BTW, I believe RDH’s work on Rambam is taken seriously by most.

  116. IH-R Brill suggested that we read the interchange between R Landes and R Hartman. To the extent that the new book by RDH questions the halachic and hashkafic views of RYBS, IMO, the linked review,and responses with respect to RDH’s older work are an excellent introduction for the interested reader, apart from being a superbly written interchange of ideas.

  117. Alan Brill | June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Above is about the 26 year old book, A Living Covenant- not the new book.

    I want to understand his older views before starting the new book.

    —–

    For myself, I have no plans to re-read the 300+ page 1985 book anytime soon, but I have it on my shelf should R.D. Brill note something of interest that would make me change my mind.

  118. I’m beginning to get the impression this easy to read little 182 page book is more important than I first assumed (especially given its unappealing, to me, title).

    The reactions seem to be like the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression. So, perhaps, ultimately there will also be Acceptance…

    Now I’m wondering of the commented upon Jewish Action article (I have nor read) was a prophylactic measure and not just the coincidence I assumed.

  119. STEVE:

    1) stop saying the ACLU doesn’t take on jewish cases
    2) if you are implying that the ACLU has an actual anti-jewish agenda, then stop (i apologize if i read too much into your commets)
    3) consider for a momemt that perhaps the ACLU take on more muslim cases because there are more muslim cases to take on (because they are hated more we are and are less established in this country than we are)

  120. “The reactions seem to be like the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression. So, perhaps, ultimately there will also be Acceptance…”

    IH, this statement (which avers that disagreement over tone and substance is merely a psychological/emotional block or denial) is very insulting and condescending. I don’t have a problem with disagreement, but show us some respect. We have brains too, you know.

  121. Mea culpa. I lived in the UK for too long and forget there are irony-free zones.

  122. Abba-Take a look at the ACLU’s website and search it re any cases re litigation re mikvaos, eruvs , yeshivos and shuls. Thanks to Joseph Kaplan’s diligent efforts, the Chabad case was the closest that I found with respect to a Free Exercise case for an Orthodox based group. It will represent Jewish plaintiffs who challenge what they perceive as violations of the Establisment Clause in publc facilities, etc, and what it perceives as persecution of the ethnic group whose members killed a US Senator, and bombed the WTC, and who make no pretense about having Sharia being viewed as a valid legal syste,and whose organizations ( CAIR) counsel against cooperation with law enforcement and the FBI.

  123. IH-I share Aiwac’s POV. Like it or not, merely publishing a book does not per se insulate the same from criticism. A reader’s critical reaction should not be viewed in a supercilious fashion as “Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression”, that might lead to acceptance.

  124. Steve — I apologized. It was in jest.

    ——

    On a more serious note, due to my own ignorance I was unaware of Rav Kook’s view that, according to halacha, Jewish women should be denied the right to vote.

    Others may be interested in this Edah article I found when looking it up: http://www.edah.org/backend/JournalArticle/1_2_debate.pdf

  125. IH-thanks. It should also be noted that while R Chaim Ozer CC , and,the Gerer Rebbe, Zicronam Livracha championed the BY movement, the AS, ZL who is somehow perceived as less Charedi, opposed formal women’s education.

  126. “what it perceives as persecution of the ethnic group whose members killed a US Senator, and bombed the WTC, and who make no pretense about having Sharia being viewed as a valid legal syste,and whose organizations ( CAIR) counsel against cooperation with law enforcement and the FBI.”

    The “ethnic group” Steve? Really?

  127. IH,

    Rav Kook was a complex, multi-faceted individual. He was not as liberal as some would like to believe, nor was he always conservative. He was not a persona who could be “pigeon-holed” into any category.

  128. STEVE B:

    ” what it perceives as persecution of the ethnic group whose members killed a US Senator, and bombed the WTC, and who make no pretense about having Sharia being viewed as a valid legal syste,and whose organizations ( CAIR) counsel against cooperation with law enforcement and the FBI.”

    so you don’t think they should represent muslims because some (or many–it doesn’t really matter) advocate/practice violence and/or have disdain for civil authorities. hmm, so why do you think they should they help the jews?

    in any case, did you even read my comment before “responding”?

  129. Baruch Pelta- the difference between the US and the Israelis in their combatting terror is quite simple-the US is guided by what appears to be a suspicious object, whereas the Israelis engage in profiling of potential terrorists. When one thinks about who committed the criminal acts in question, I think that the real issue is whether profiling of terrorists is a constitutional violation. Congress and the President, by deeming an ordinary criminal trial of 9-11 involved terrorists as not worth the logistical effort to be held in NYC, and by recognizing that the residents of Gitmo are encarcerated under conditions more akin to a hotel than Rikers Island, has IMO realized that the war against terror may necessitate some form of profiling if we are to have any sucess.

  130. Abba wrote:

    “so you don’t think they should represent muslims because some (or many–it doesn’t really matter) advocate/practice violence and/or have disdain for civil authorities”

    Not at all. I was merely pointing out the irony of representing Muslims who advocate terror and whose groups openly encourage non-cooperation with the FBI as opposed to the utter paucity of supporting any Free Exercise claim involving a shul, yeshiva, mikva or eruv, when confronted with the pretense of a zoning violation.

  131. STEVE:

    how about i chage your statement a bit:

    ” the ethnic group whose members fireombed a dissident and engaged in other acts of violence, and who make no pretense about having halacha being viewed as a valid legal syste,and whose organizations (agudah) counsel against cooperation with law enforcement and the FBI.””

  132. Abba-I appreciate the proposed change, but to compare what happened in NS with 9-11 is rhetorical overkill, at the best.

    AS far as halacha and the legal system, the Piskei Din of the BDA are as enforceable in NY as that of any other Beis Din. To equate Halacha with the Jihadist goals of Islam and Shariah grossly mistates the aims of both legal systems. Halacha is viewed as what should guide a Jew’s life. However, there is no Halachic mandate to take over a society and have the secular world dominated and dictated to by Halacha or to engage in acts of Jihad. ( WASR, the Mitzvah of Mchiyas Amalek, especially as understood by RYBS, is that one must respond to threats against the Jewish People and evil in general-as opposed to having a pacifistic non responsive response-IMO, it is a gross oversimplication to equate the same with Jihad.)

  133. Steve asked earlier “what RDH thinks of the RCA’s PNA”. The Pre-Nup, per se, does not seem to be addressed in the book; but see pp. 104-106 (top) at http://tinyurl.com/3n9br7e on Google Books.

    Aiwac – on Rav Kook, I was familiar with the general point, but not this specific example.

  134. Abba-The issue of profiling is a fascinating issue-think about who would be profiled in the instances of white collar crime or inner city crime, in addition to potential terrorists.

  135. STEVE:

    i’m curious. have any shuls, mikvaos, yeshivos, eruvin that experienced similar problems as the muslim interests approached the ACLU for representation and been turned away?

  136. IH,

    I have to say, I’m a little surprised you just heard of this now; this debate is pretty well known. It even sparked R. Fishman-Maimon’s angry riposte to Rabbinic dictate:

    “On matters of halacha, we defer to them (the Rabbis). On matters regarding life in the market, they should defer to us (the lay leaders)”.

  137. Abba wrote:

    “i’m curious. have any shuls, mikvaos, yeshivos, eruvin that experienced similar problems as the muslim interests approached the ACLU for representation and been turned away”

    You would have to ask the shuls, etc. However, take a look at the ACLU’s website and you can see for yourself who the ACLU deems worthy of representing.

  138. IH wrote and provided this link:

    “Steve asked earlier “what RDH thinks of the RCA’s PNA”. The Pre-Nup, per se, does not seem to be addressed in the book; but see pp. 104-106 (top) at http://tinyurl.com/3n9br7e on Google Books”

    WADR to R Hartman, the above reads like a rejection of a Gzeras HaKasuv ( VKasuv Lah Get Krisus) as well as much of Seder Nashim-especially Kiddushin, Kesuvos and Gittin-again-RYBS rejected this critique in the shiur on Gerus.

  139. aiwac — I tend to remember things that my brain synthesizes into a broader narrative. Rav Kook’s conclusion on women voting is so outlandish to anyone alive today that it is nothing more than an academic curiosity in the absence of it being linked into a broader narrative (as RDH does in his book).

  140. Steve — the chapter builds into his conclusion. But, of course, you still won’t agree.

  141. IH-are you aware that the ultra Orthodox nephew that RDG refers to is the R Hartman who has edited many of the works of the Maharal?

  142. IH,

    Today, yes, it seems outlandish. But the question of women’s participation in electing and being elected from a religious POV was a major issue for a number of decades even among Mizrachi activists. You need to understand this debate in its historical context, not through a 21st century lens.

  143. IH-thanks for the link to RDH’s book. The links, while incomplete, are illustrative of a passionate spiritual autobiography that began in Lakewood, moved on to YU and RIETS, and a PhD at Fordham and a prominent rabbinical career and upon Aliyah, disillusionment with secular Zionism, the messianist side of RZ, the Charedi world as well as with Halacha’s view of women.

    I wish that the link had included the complete chapter on RYBS’s reaction to R Rackman ZL’s proposal re Hafkaas Kiddushin, and RDH’s critique thereto. RYBS’s reaction is well known, but I would have appreciated seeing RDH’s critique, especially in light of his critical views of RYBS’s view of the need for man to always recognize that only man must realize his limitations if he wishes to be a true partner with HaShem.

    FWIW, while RDH quoted R Akiva’a statement in Avos about the unique nature of man, the rest of that Mishnah underscores the unique relationship of the Jewish People with HaShem. R Landes’ response noted that RDH did not address the idea of Bchiras Yisrael and sort of wondered whether RDH subscribed to the same.

  144. Steve,
    Please Google “ACLU Eruv” and see _the first link_ that comes up. Your claims against them keep getting weaker and weaker. But, no doubt you will say that they are no good because they have not supported “shuls, mikvaos and yeshivas”. Then you can google “ACLU synagogue orthodox” and find yet another relevant hit. Steve, if your claims here are so easily debunked, why should we pay atttention to anything you say.

  145. “Thanks to Joseph Kaplan’s diligent efforts, the Chabad case was the closest that I found with respect to a Free Exercise case for an Orthodox based group.”

    Once again, look at how Steve changes topics so he’ll never have to use the words “I was wrong.” First he claimed that the ACLU didn’t take Free Exercise cases as opposed to Establishment cases. When I showed that was false, he changed the argument to they don’t support cases where supporting a shul, eruv, mikveh, yeshiva. when I showed that was false, he changed and said he’s really talking about Orthodox cases and we’ve only come up with one case. That’s why it’s so infuriating to have a discussion with him. he says things that are false, and simply ignores evidence to the contrary.

    But let’s look at what else he’s done, even taking him at his latest argument. He challenged me to find cases (which I did, giving links in support) sonow I challenge him. Can you cite any specific cases where a shul, mikvah, yeshiva or eruv asked for ACLU support and was turned down? (I omit eruv because in those cases there’s some tension between the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise. I personally don’t believe Establishment applies in those cases, but I don’t want to get involved in that debate.)

  146. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. to l kaplan — you (and the rest of the lawyers on this blog, except nachum l and steve b) and lawyers in general have an attitude that separates a lawyer from the politics (and other beliefs) (and implications) of his / her client.

    now that might be ok in a run of the mill (?) case, (such as defending a former IMF exec in a run of the mill attempted rape case; i think thats ok), but to defend that “ethnic group”? i think that is beyond the pale.

    2. and further, to have such a lawyer as a shliach tzibur on RH and YK in an orthodox shul? i think the membership should be advised who their sha”tz is, well before the summer. before yom tov. (besides the issue of SA forbidding an attorney from being a shliach tzibur, honored in the breach, esp by fellow attys who condsider it nothing. well, its something to the public!

    (yes; an atty in one of the high profile al queda cases in second circuit (and district court) is shat”z in an orthodox shul on RH and YK. and the rav doesnt mind (Of course not; he has to protect his mitpallel; besides, its prob a freebie on the part of the shat”z)

    2. most aclu cases are taken by branches, not by national org (though the national org took the skokie (nazi parade) case despite the opposition of the local branch.) so its too decentralized to study, unless …

    the vast majority of zining shul cases are in affluent areas, where aclu treats as rich white boys. except NS and KY. (though that affluency …)

    3. there have been plenty of O jews found guilty of discrimninating against O jews in civil cases over the years. this particular case is nothing new. but syrian jews against ashkenaz is a whole other ballgame. (and prob not a protected class.) (and they spoke arabic, not hebrew amongst each other. bad research by the author.)

    even ashkenazi batei din have nothing to do with syrian batei din (even the rca). you cant deal with them.

  147. MMY: As usual, your vehamayvin yavin style makes it a bit dificult for me to follow what you’r saying. But just so I am clear: you do think accused terrorists should have counsel zealously defending them;just not you, nachum and steve. Is that right?

  148. Joseph Kaplan-I clearly differentiated between Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause cases as well as cases involving shuls, yeshivos, mikvaos and eruvin. The fact that they generally involve Orthodox Jews proves my case re which cases the ACLU focuses on. One or two cases involving a Chabad house strikes me as tokenism.

  149. IH-Having read the links that you were so furnished and the discussions between R Landes and RDH, one can only say that RDH moved from a potentially great career as a very talented MO rav to Israel, and essentially viewed himself with equal degrees of discomfort with the Charedi, RZ and secular zionist worlds, and proceeded to set up his own think tank and support those who views he deemed in consonance with his own. I was disturbed over the fact that he was so upset with the Charedi POV that he could not consider his Charedi relatives to his own child’s chasunah. IMO, it is a tragedy of no small proportions that such a potentially great leader led himself to such conclusions .

    Aside from the above, I can easily see where RDH’s ideas are considered by many as beyond the pale of traditional Jewish thought, to paraphrase R D D Berger. R Landes suggests in particular that RDH’s thought has the following problematic criteria:

    a) a rejection of the idea “that there is only one true perception of divine revelation and redemption in history”, which R Landes noted implied that there may be at least several perceptions of equal validity, ( which RDH neither admitted nor denied in his response, but basically conceded in studied silence)

    b) a view that human existence has “intrinsic self-justification, and the absence of sanctity and its ontological status”,

    c) a view that Jewish ethics are not necessarily superior to those developed by others,

    d) a reluctance to criticize any modern value ( i.e., an advocacy of autonomy, adequacy and self development witthout consideration of the negatives which can lead to hedonistic, aesthetic and emotional responses.

    Having read the interchange between R Landes and R Hartman as well as the linked excerpt of the new book by RDH, I can see where you view RDH with high regard and his influence on your own Hashkafa. Nevertheless, it is evident that RDH, via his own actions and writings , views himself as beyond the boundaries of MO in his own thought and orientation. It is indeed a tragedy that such a brilliant person was unable to stay within the MO world.

  150. Steve — as mentioned, I’m not too interested in the 1985 debates. It’s 26 years later and the book RDH has written should be discussed on its merits rather first and foremost. To the extent there are overlap, that is fair game of course.

    aiwac — as to your comment on Rav Kook: “You need to understand this debate in its historical context, not through a 21st century lens.” I fully agree. The same is true, of course, for RYBS and his brother RAS, whom R. Hartman also discusses in that chapter entitled “Feminism and Apologetics”.

  151. BTW, Steve, can you provide me with a reference for Rabbi Hartman no longer being MO?

  152. IH- The essays in Tikkun were written in 2001.

    I think that RDH in actions and print has basically declared himself post denominational-It is well known that he resigned from the RCA rather than defend himself over some comments re his inabiility to understand and believe that HaShem commanded the Jewish People to destroy the Midyanim. I think that I am hardly alone in concluding that RDH’s books cannot be reconciled with traditional Halachic and Hashkafic categories.

  153. IH wrote:

    “The same is true, of course, for RYBS and his brother RAS, whom R. Hartman also discusses in that chapter entitled “Feminism and Apologetics”.”

    Let’s deal with reality- Based on the Google links,RDH clearly has litle, if any use for anyone who justifies the differences between the genders in Halacha. Why on earth would then RDH be considered a person who is in any way a talmid neeman of either RYBS or RAS, whose teachings he abandoned years ago?

  154. Thanks, Steve. I misunderstood R.D. Brill’s comment, then:

    “Hartman’s major book A Living Covenant (1985) is 26 years old this year. Many people love it. I have never known what to do with it. I first encountered the book when it was published, I was still enveloped in the thought of Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Aharon Lichtenstein. More than that, I was interested in Polish Hasidut – Izbitz, Reb Zadok, Gur, as well as spirituality in general. I did not see how the book related to any of that. […]

    I am not interested in an ad homonym discussion nor am I interested in labeling him Orthodox or not. I am interested in what he has to say and what does it contribute. In order to do that we will start with the book review written by Daniel Landes in Tikkun magazine in the very first year of the journal in 1986, followed by Hartman’s response and then Landes’s response.

    I choose this starting place because a liberal review is not starting with Rav Soloveitchik’s halakhah and more conservative Orthodox review would not accept Hartman’s thought. But Landes is an ideal starting point as a Rav Soloveitchik student who is a follower of Rabbis Eliezer Berkovits and Yitz Greenberg and who likes covenant language. Landes earlier this year has shown his commitment to Berkovits over Arthur Green and Neo-Hasidic models.”

    When I’m done with the book, I’ll circle back to the Tikkun articles if the discussion on R.D. Brill’s blog still thinks it worthwhile.

    I must say it’s pretty amusing to have you recommending something in Tikkun. By the 1990s it became far too leftwing for me and I dropped my subscription 🙂

    I haven’t really followed R. Hartman’s odyssey since reading the book 26 years ago; but, its kinda obvious that an Israeli Rabbi doesn’t have much need for being an RCA member. Most of the Google references I took a quick look at refer to him as MO or Orthodox (although Dati is probably more correct).

  155. Steve — I don’t understand your 10:38 post. What does being, or not, a “talmid neeman” have to do with analyzing RYBS’ or RAS’ published thoughts in “Family Redeemed” and “Logic of the Heart” respectively?

  156. Steve, That’s right; you differentiated between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise by saying that the ACLU rarely takes Free Exercise cases. I showed that you didn’t know what you were talking about, as usual. Only then did you raise shuls, yeshivas etc. I again showed you didn’t know what you were talking about. Now you say you’re only talking about Orthodox shuls (the Reform shul case doesn’t count) and the one Chabad case isn’t enough even though you haven’t shown us a single shul, yeshiva etc. case where the ACLU was asked to participate and they declined. As usual, you’re full of hot air and don’t know what you’re talking about.

  157. “I think that RDH in actions and print has basically declared himself post denominational-It is well known that he resigned from the RCA rather than defend himself over some comments re his inabiility to understand and believe that HaShem commanded the Jewish People to destroy the Midyanim”
    Except for the tone agreed-I would have simply expressed it RDH resigned from the RCA because he openly stopped believing in anything remotely close to any Orthodox opinion-he had the intellectual integrity not to try and mislead people in claiming to be Orthodox when he stopped believing.

  158. “choose this starting place because a liberal review is not starting with Rav Soloveitchik’s halakhah and more conservative Orthodox review would not accept Hartman’s thought. But Landes is an ideal starting point as a Rav Soloveitchik student who is a follower of Rabbis Eliezer Berkovits and Yitz Greenberg and who likes covenant language. Landes earlier this year has shown his commitment to Berkovits over Arthur Green and Neo-Hasidic models.””
    For what it s worth Landes grew up in Chicago

  159. “. Nevertheless, it is evident that RDH, via his own actions and writings , views himself as beyond the boundaries of MO in his own thought and orientation. It is indeed a tragedy that such a brilliant person was unable to stay within the MO world.”

    Never mind brillaint he was certainly TLS’s number one draw in the early 60s.
    BTW-how come the leading early people in attracting BT -left Orthodox/practice hashkafa-RDH, RZS,

  160. mycroft, etc.

    Yeah, it’s such a pity all the bright ones are forced out/drop out of Orthodoxy – R Rackman, R Mordechai Kaplan, RE Berkovits, ybl”ch RY Greenberg, RD Hartman, RZ Schachter-Shalomi, Spinoza, etc. What is it about Orthodoxy that is so intellectually bankrupt that so many great minds wind up falling or being pushed?

  161. “Interesting article in the new Jewish Action”

    Any comments on the exchange between R Yitzchak Blau and RHS.

  162. I respect RDH for his intellectual integrity, but why then is he billed on the new book’s blurb as being an MO thinker?

  163. “Yeah, it’s such a pity all the bright ones are forced out/drop out of Orthodoxy – R Rackman, R Mordechai Kaplan, RE Berkovits, ybl”ch RY Greenberg, RD Hartman, RZ Schachter-Shalomi, Spinoza, etc. What is it about Orthodoxy that is so intellectually bankrupt that so many great minds wind up falling or being pushed?”

    Thanbo,

    1) Aren’t you Orthodox?

    2) I don’t think R. Rackman or R. Berkowitz left Orthodoxy. They were pushed to its margins, yes, but they didn’t create a new stream of theology/law a la Kaplan or Spinoza.

  164. IH, are you being paid to promote that book?

  165. Thanbo – are the people on your list really greater intellects than RYBS, R’ Moshe Feinstein, the Chafetz Chaim, the Gra, or any other number of other big names who remained Orthodox?

  166. ” I don’t think R. Rackman or R. Berkowitz left Orthodoxy. They were pushed to its margins, yes, but they didn’t create a new stream of theology/law a la Kaplan or Spinoza.”

    I’d add R. Greenberg to this group.

  167. Also,

    What about R. Wurzburger, R. Breur (or indeed the whole Breur/Hirsch clan)? What about R. Kook, the Nazir, R. Charlap? What about the Sridei Eish? Is it really fair to say that we only had dummies, or is this just a current generation problem?

    Even then, I would disagree. We have plenty of robust intellectuals on the scene today; have you read the works of R. Dr. Michael Avraham? Learned the Biblical work of R. Aviyah Hacohen or the ideas of R. Shagar?

    Seriously, one can legitamitely criticize Orthodoxy for a lot of things, but the fact that some, emphasis on SOME, leading lights leave it is evidence of nothing. All movements and ideologies lose people.

  168. AIWAC:

    haven’t heard r. aviyah hacohen’s name in a while, although in yeshivah we called him simply aviyah.

  169. Was he a nice teacher? I’m curious, since usually only Rabbis/teachers who are נעימי הלכיות would allow themselves to be called by their first name (even with affection).

    More to the point, R. Hacohen writes pretty frequently for the Shabbat section of Makor Rishon. I’ve heard that he is working on a collaborative book on the Chumash where he will fully flesh out his “שיטת התמורות” which is a development of his father-in-law’s “שיטת הבחינות”. Should be interesting.

  170. AIWAC:

    kind, soft-spoken, personable and unintimidating. but then again we also called some of our other teachers who weren’t so kind, soft-spoken, personable and untimidating by their first names. it was the culture of the yeshivah (ykd-ein tzurim a”h).

    incidentally, it was through him that i got to spend pesach at r. breuer’s home, although unfortunately at the time i didn’t appreciate the signifigance.

  171. he also has a soft-spot for chasidus and baal shem tov stories

  172. Looks like Thanbo has also stumbled into the irony free zone 🙂

    As to aiwac’s question: “why then is he billed on the new book’s blurb as being an MO thinker?” I think the answer is obvious: he and many others consider him to be — Google him and see how he is identified across many contexts.

  173. He considers himself MO? This is news to me.

  174. r. boteach asks “why would a Modern Orthodox shul choose a Chabad rabbi, whose chassidic lifestyle is seemingly so at odds with that of the congregation?”

    a) because chabad’s ostensible tolerance for those who are different than themselves makes them more palatable to these shuls
    b) because the membership in some of these shuls really doesn’t know the difference. a rabbi is a rabbi.
    c) because chabad rabbis take pulpits that are too far off the beaten path for other rabbis or that don’t have reasonable financial resouces. (i.e., chabad rabbis have more mesiras nefesh)

  175. “He considers himself MO? This is news to me.”

    I have no idea beyond Googling. Ask him.

  176. i will just add that it isn’t only “around the world” but even in brooklyn (i don’t mean crown heights) i know of a few shuls that could only get chabad rabbis because they are not in strong jewish neighborhoods and don’t have a lot of money. i know of one shul firsthand that after an unsuccesful search for a rabbi a member of the search committee said “lets call chabad, they send rabbis all around the world, surely they’ll send one to our corner of broolkyn”

  177. Abba — excellent points. I would also add that to many hashkafa is simply not a litmus-test issue. As long as it does not get in the way of the things that are important to them (e.g. ruach, community, tolerance).

    Let’s face it, Chabad’s hashkafic heterodoxy is becoming normative in Modern Orthodoxy. What will really be interesting is to see if a morphing of partnership minyanim and Chabad Rabbis happens…

  178. the chanes article on hebrew charter schools has the wrong focus and misunderstands a few things.

    1) these schools are catering for the most part to unaffiliated or marginally affiliated families for whom the alternative would be public school. with the exception of teaneck’s shalom academy they were *not* founded as solutions to the “tuition crisis.” so the question should not be how does a charter school stack up against day school, but rather against public school. if a kid is going to public school anyway, isn’t it better that he learn hebrew (a good building block if he/she ever does express an interest in judaim) and israeli culture, be with a core of jewish kids and get kosher food? i’m not saying there necessarily is a real difference in terms of building jewish identity between public and charter school, but that’s what the article should have explored.

    (or to put it differently for the naysayers: what has your community/shul/school/family done to increase the enrollment of non-ortho kids in your local day schools or otherwise provide them with a jewish education? does your school even admit non-frum kids? are you willing to let your kids be in a class with non-frum kids?)

    2) chanes presents it as charter school vs. day school. of course a charter school can’t provide what a day school provides. the question should have been charter school + talmud torah vs. day school.

  179. Looks like Thanbo has also stumbled into the irony free zone 🙂

    There is often no logical way of separating a intelligent sarcastic comment from a stupid sincere one.

  180. Anyone else going to comment on the horrific mischaracterization of “Jewish thought” at the end of the “self-indulgence” article? Or do I have to do it?

  181. Classic line from R’ Boteach’s pro-Chabad column about MO communities attracting people with kiddush, ne c’est past? Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

  182. >Anyone else going to comment on the horrific mischaracterization of “Jewish thought” at the end of the “self-indulgence” article? Or do I have to do it?

    I can’t decide which is more annoying, to speak of what “Jewish thought” says or what “the Seforim” say.

  183. i wasn’t going to read the homosexual article until jon commented on it.

    “Don’t tens of thousands of Orthodox teenagers and young adults – to say nothing of older men and women who never married – struggle silently with their attraction to the opposite sex?”

    how can he compare the “struggle”? frum males can openly fraternize with members of the opposite sex (in some circles), eventually date and finally marry.

    “By and large, though, unmarried heterosexual Orthodox Jews suffer in solitude.”

    really? tell that to all to all the shadchanim, planners of singles events, UWS landlords, etc.

  184. I don’t understand the problem w/the O homosexual. Did he say or hint that he intends to act on his orientation and thus violate giluy arayot? Because if not, I don’t understand why this is a problem?

  185. Perhaps Elliot Resnick, Jewish Press Staff Reporter, should interview some of his readership about their gay grandchildren (of which I’m sure there are more than a few). Enquiring minds want to know.

    http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/48635/author

  186. AIWAC:

    “I don’t understand why this is a problem?”

    1) it’s a problem to the same extent as anyone else saying they plan ab initio to remain celibate and not produce and raise a family.

    2) what’s is the ultimate goal? is to secure understanding for the emotional plight of homosexuals and ensure they are not discriminated against within the jewish community, or is it ultimately to permit giluy arayot? (i have no idea)

  187. AIWAC:

    or do they want validation?

  188. Ah, now I see the problem.

  189. AIWAC:

    is that the sarcastic “ah”?

  190. No, it is not sarcastic, it was dead serious (I’m wondering whether we should put sarcasm at the end of our comments to differentiate…).

  191. abba – why not ” ” for sarcasm like most hetrosexuals do it.

  192. RUVIE:

    i don’t understand

  193. an attempt to be funny on a boring day – maybe i should have written metrosexual. i am surprise at the article – where has this writer (the article on open gay orthodox yingerman on youtube) been? under a rock for the last 10 years. nice to see that yu revel phd program gets the brightest with insight among us.

  194. I think that one can argue that RER ZL, R E Berkovitz, ZL, R Mordechai Kaplan, , as well as RYG, RDH, and RZ Schachter should not be linked together. RER and R E Berkovitz ZL gravitated to the LW of MO in their Halachic and Hashkafic stances, but never really walked out of MO-although RYBS certainly openly rebuked RER without mentioning him personally during the shiur on Gerus. RMK clearly walked away from MO. RYG, RDH and RZS also walked away from MO, both in their writings and actions.All of the above cases prove that there are intellectual and hashkafic limits within MO.

    Ironically , R Shlomoh Carlebach ZL, and his wonderful Nigunim, who was hardly popular in certain Chasidishe and Yeshivishe sectors during his lifetime, has become hugely popular ala “Acharei Mos-Kedoshim-Emor.”

    I think that any interested reader should read the interchange between RAL and RYG in the YuJudaica book where RAL severely criticized RYG’s theology, as well as RYG’s seeming lack of tolerance to any criticism, which I did not detect in RDH’s response to R Landes.

  195. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “That’s right; you differentiated between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise by saying that the ACLU rarely takes Free Exercise cases. I showed that you didn’t know what you were talking about, as usual. Only then did you raise shuls, yeshivas etc. I again showed you didn’t know what you were talking about. Now you say you’re only talking about Orthodox shuls (the Reform shul case doesn’t count) and the one Chabad case isn’t enough even though you haven’t shown us a single shul, yeshiva etc. case where the ACLU was asked to participate and they declined”

    I see-the ACLU website is useful to prove that the ACLU acted as counsel by one or two Chabad groups. However, when a search of the same website has no hits for any cases which would implicate the usual Free Exercise claims raised by Orthodox Jews-the burden is on the organizations that raise such claims that they actually consulted the ACLU, which declined to be of assistance. That is what I consider a classical example of moving the goalposts and a selectively disingenous use of a website.

  196. STEVE:

    one more time. is it possible that the reason the ACLU takes on so many moslem cases is because there are more contestable cases involving moslems?

    on the totem pole of tolerance, muslims (and others) are ranked much lower than jews.

  197. IH-although I would never subscribe to Tikkun, whose editor’s views on Israel IMO are repugnant, the Tikkun archives had the best links to the interchange between R Landes and R Hartman.

  198. Steve,

    Could you please stop using acronyms all the time? It’s distracting and a pain in the neck to constantly decipher code. Surely the extra few seconds it takes to write the name/term in full won’t kill you.

  199. AIWAC-Arevim , one of the older websites, has a list of web friendly Roshei Tevos, for many Talmidei Chachamim which I have seen used all over the blogosphere.

  200. “All of the above cases prove that there are intellectual and hashkafic limits within MO.”

    Well, no. It only proves the point that David Rudavsky makes in his book 1979 “Modern Jewish Religious Movements” that:

    “The doctrine of separatism has already disrupted the unity in American Orthodoxy. It has been a major cause for the existence of several Orthodox rabbinical organizations. This idea has penetrated the ranks of the Rabbinical Council and the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. The majority in these organizations resist the demand for separatism on the practical ground that their withdrawal from the coordinating organizations will deprive the latter of the vital moderating and restraining influence that the Orthodox presently exercise. The principle of separatism in Jewish Orthodoxy threatens to create a schism and sectarianism in Judaism”.

  201. I believe that it is a major concern that if we validate O homosexuals, that such validation, even with a repudiation of the arayos, may lead eventually to movement towards and pressure to validate the acts and a relationship based on those assur acts. Also, I don’t think its a good idea to validate a homosexual and say to him/her: you can be who you are, when in fact, “being who you are” is nothing to be proud of. Making public acceptance pronouncements would appear to me to be giving some measure of pride, or at least, positive validation to something contrary to and in violation of the Torah.

  202. On a different topic, there is a fascinating (and, to my mind, brilliant) article in the just published issue of The New Republic on the development of modern Hebrew literature in Europe: http://www.tnr.com/print/article/books/89648/literary-passports-modernist-hebrew-fiction-review

  203. IH-Rudavsky may be refering to internal discussions in the RCA and OU re membership in the SCA. Nevertheless, neither organization ever resigned-simply because they viewed the same as forums for discussions of Klapei Chutz and always reserved the right to veto, but rarely did so, discussions that focused on Klapei Pnim.

  204. Rafael — so Jewish papers/websites should not accept advertising from stores that are open on Shabbat? Or which sell non-kosher food? Or …

  205. Steve — Rudavsky is no longer with us, but it seems to me that the RCA backing down from the Va’ad Halacha’s BSD Transplant paper is a good example of a majority view that unity is vital even in respect of “discussions that focused on Klapei Pnim”.

  206. Actually, yes. The Canadian Jewish News had been excoriated for many years by the Orthodox Community for accepting ads from treif establishments. I agree with that policy.

  207. By policy, I mean the excoriation 🙂

  208. I am truly shocked. Schechter tries to lock out its employees and yet the Conservative Magen Tzedek wants to put their symbol on kosher food if alleged anti-union policies have been practiced by the company.

  209. Rafael Araujo – what do you mean by validation? should we ignore that they are part of the orthodox community and to a certain degree in pain – some of which have led to suicide? surely to ignore, shun and ostracize is not better. not that i have a viable solution here – put what is wrong with compassion and understanding to their situation vs telling them to stay in the closet with a lock door and tough it out (or maybe redirect your energy to become spiritually higher nonsense). maybe if we don’t hear or see them they will not exist – or that the outside culture has invaded us frimer yiddin talk.

  210. Larry Lennhoff

    Rafael:
    Schechter Institute in Israel is in no way affiliated with Magen Tzedek in America. This is like saying “Satmar slaughterhouses in America won’t use shackle and hoist slaughter yet South American slaughterhouses continue to do so.”

  211. IH:

    jewish papers can accept whatever ads they want. orthodox papers should not accept ads for treif businesses. of course you can ask is treif limited strictly to kashrus issues or to the colloquial sense of strait 🙂

    RUIVE:

    “what is wrong with compassion and understanding to their situation vs telling them to stay in the closet with a lock door and tough it out”

    what exactly does it mean for an ortho homosexual to come out of the closet? of course it means different things for different people, but what does it mean for those among them pushing for acceptance? what is the end game?

  212. Abba and Rafael — I was thinking about supermarkets that sell both kosher and non-kosher food. It could also be said they give positive validation to something contrary to and in violation of the Torah.

    And, of course, I don’t think anyone participating here would really advocate that. It was meant as reductio ad absurdum.

    Net net: I understand the legitimate debate on the difficult question of how Orthodoxy deals with its homosexual members; but, I don’t see any serious traction in the slippery slope argument.

  213. Since my head is in enmeshed in it, per yesterday’s conversation, I think at its crux the issue of homosexuality in Orthodoxy is another example of “What happens when halakhic commitment conflicts with moral conscience?”

  214. >AIWAC-Arevim , one of the older websites, has a list of web friendly Roshei Tevos, for many Talmidei Chachamim which I have seen used all over the blogosphere.

    Do you not realize how incomprehensible this sentence is? How do you find it? A URL perhaps? Googling arevim roshei tevos turned up nothing.

    Finally, even if there is some list of “web friendly Roshei Tevos, for many Talmidei Chachamim” are you really suggesting that you only use acronyms from this list (which somehow we’re supposed to know how to find without a url or a google search string that works)?

  215. abba – i do not know what the end game looks like. but acceptance as human beings as oppose to please do not come into my shul and maybe suicide is not such a bad thing (actually a rabbi hinted to that in a conversation) is better. i think there too many people out there are lost and can’t deal with it so knowing you are not alone is not a bad thing. nobody is condoning the act – but i understand the slippery slope fears.

  216. SB: “RYG, RDH and RZS also walked away from MO, both in their writings and actions.”

    Exactly what “actiosn” are you referring to?

  217. Joseph Kaplan asked:

    “Exactly what “actiosn” are you referring to”

    RDH and RYG certainly have by their own admissions, walked away from MO and viewed themselves as post denominational-especially in their writings, especially with their views on Torah Min Shamayim. IMO, it is a misnomer to claim that they were pushed out or to the fringes-I think that what happened was that the overwhelming majority of MO viewed their ideas as simply beyond the pale, despite the devotion and advocacy of RDH and RYG to the same. Jewish Renewal, which RZS developed, should never be confused with MO or Chareidi oriented Orthodoxy.

    I think that many viewed their ideas as indicative of an almost messianist like “Jerusalem complex” because they thought that their views were the only solution to the problems of the time in such a clear manner as if they had Nevuah Min HaShamayim-Like it or not, such thinking, whether in the form of the extreme form of Daas Torah or by RZ or the LW of MO all suffer from the same malady IMO-a view of “my way or the highway”

  218. IH-Like it or not, the RCA paper on brain death was not meant as Psak, but more in the form of a collection of the views of various Poskim-which was no means binding. From our discussions here, after all the discussion, the bottom line remained the views of RMF and RSZA, and what, if anything RYBS said or did not on the issue.

  219. IH-of course, the RCA paper also discussed the critical sugyos in Yoma and elsewhere, and the different views vis a vis the absence of circulatory and respiratory function and whether the absence of brain stem function was a viable halachic category or merely a reaction to the Harvard criteria. Those issues remain unresolved, unless one approaches the issue with the view that the issue now is as simple as reading a paragraph of KSA on the issue.

  220. Steve — that’s only because they lost. If they had won you’d be talking about it as psak torah mi’sinai.

    On “RDH and RYG certainly have by their own admissions, walked away from MO” some evidence please.

  221. I think what Steve is trying to say is that the RCA never backed down from its paper. Its stance was misreported and its clarification was further misreported as backing down. That’s just the spin of certain partisans who are more media savvy than the RCA.

  222. RDH and RYG’s views on Torah Min HaShamayim, multiple acts of Divine Revelation R”L and the covenental relationship, as delineated by both R Landes and R D D Berger, cannot IMO, be squared with traditional Jewish thinking.

  223. R Gil-thanks for that clarification.

  224. Nice try, Gil.

  225. Steve — I have no issue with your opinion that RSH and RYG’s views on Torah are not inline with your definition of Orthodoxy; but, you made an explicit claim that ” by their own admissions, walked away from MO”. Evidence please.

    As far as I can tell, both are identified as Orthodox themselves and by the majority of published sources.

  226. Acronym soup: RDH not RSH

  227. It’s the honest truth.

  228. IH-look at the intro to RDG’s new book, in which he seemingly waves a rhetorical magic wand and seeks to obliterate not just the Halachic view of marriage, but all gender based differences and views Shirah Chadasha as being more of a locale for the Shechinah than a shul where a woman davens behind a mechitzah. That type of argumentation, IMO, cannot be reconciled with Halachic thinking.

  229. IH-RDH and RYG may be personally observant , but their views are decidedly Orthoprax.

  230. Gil — and FICA is not a tax. C’mon, it was a play and they lost. Spin complaining about spin is spin. But, if you want to have a last word — go for it. It’s your blog.

  231. Steve — I understand YOUR view, but that is not what you said.

  232. IH-see the following link re some more of RDH’s comments.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/faith-interfaith/

  233. IH-I stand by the views of R Landes and R D D Berger, in their respective assessments of the thought of RDH and RYG.

  234. I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy but once you dig even a little bit into the politics and personalities you see that this scenario isn’t even possible.

  235. Look, I am not promoting tarring and feathering homosexuals. But there has to be a middle ground. Why should an Orthodox Jew be open about the feelings he has beyond immediate family/Rov? Why must we allow such openness? Why do I have to know that the guy who sits in shul next to me is 40 and still single because he cannot be involved in a homosexual relationship? Is is my business?

  236. “IH-RDH and RYG may be personally observant , but their views are decidedly Orthoprax.”

    Steve, you should know already that for IH, his tent is so big, it would set a world record for size. Orthoprax/Smorthoprax. Remember, darcheha darchei noam….

  237. Rafael:
    Schechter Institute in Israel is in no way affiliated with Magen Tzedek in America. This is like saying “Satmar slaughterhouses in America won’t use shackle and hoist slaughter yet South American slaughterhouses continue to do so.”

    Right, so Conservative Judaism has no uniform policy on unionization/workers’ rights?

    See the following:

    Labor Day 2008 is a good time to reflect on what has been a busy year for Jews and labor. In June, the Union for Reform Judaism’s Board of Trustees adopted a resolution on Ethical Employment Practices, calling on Reform Jews to “seek out businesses that pay a living wage, provide benefits for their full-time workers and engage in fair and ethical employment practices.” Similarly, Conservative Judaism’s Committee on Law and Standards passed a teshuvah (legal responsum), Work, Workers and the Jewish Owner, obligating Conservative Jews and their institutions to pay employees a living wage, to allow employees to decide about unionization without interference, and when possible, to hire unionized workers.

    Is Schechter not bound by the same teshuvah? In fact, CJ is more centralized than Satmar will ever be.

  238. “Why must we allow such openness? Why do I have to know that the guy who sits in shul next to me is 40 and still single because he cannot be involved in a homosexual relationship? Is is my business?”

    If you are the guy who keeps trying to set him up with a different girl every week, you have made it your business and he should probably be able to say to you “i am just not interested, i’m gay” without you shunning him. If he could say “i’m just not interested” and you draw your own conclusions, that might work too, but i take it many well-meaning people don’t take no for an answer. further, if he is at your home and someone at your table makes a “gay joke”, and you don’t say anything, perhaps he should be able to say “actually i’m gay.”

  239. RAFAEL:

    “Right, so Conservative Judaism has no uniform policy on unionization/workers’ rights?”

    jts doesn’t have the best track record either. but then again, neither does YU.

  240. Larry Lennhoff

    In fact, CJ is more centralised than Satmar will ever be.

    While CJ exhibits a praiseworthy lack of actual riots in synagogues, I would hardly use the word centralised to describe it. The various parts of CJ are often at odds with one another. For example. the Masorti movement in Israeli has explicitly said that the ‘driving teshuvah’ does not apply in Israel. One of CJ’s ‘gedolim’ commented that he thought that someone who davened the English translation of the Amidah in Sim Shalom (a C published siddur) had not fulfilled the obligation of tefillah. The editor of Sim Shalom simply did not consult him about the translation.

  241. Rafael Araujo – because he deserves the kavod that you would give every other human being. unless of course you think he wants to be gay and he is choosing this lifestyle or choice instead of being with a woman. then i may understand where you are coming from. see emma’s cooment for the rest of my thoughts.

  242. JCK: Exactly what “actions” are you referring to?

    SB: RDH and RYG certainly have by their own admissions, walked away from MO and viewed themselves as post denominational-especially in their writings, especially with their views on Torah Min Shamayim. IMO, it is a misnomer to claim that they were pushed out or to the fringes-I think that what happened was that the overwhelming majority of MO viewed their ideas as simply beyond the pale, despite the devotion and advocacy of RDH and RYG to the same. Jewish Renewal, which RZS developed, should never be confused with MO or Chareidi oriented Orthodoxy.

    I think that many viewed their ideas as indicative of an almost messianist like “Jerusalem complex” because they thought that their views were the only solution to the problems of the time in such a clear manner as if they had Nevuah Min HaShamayim-Like it or not, such thinking, whether in the form of the extreme form of Daas Torah or by RZ or the LW of MO all suffer from the same malady IMO-a view of “my way or the highway.”

    *******************
    Let me try again. You said “writings AND ACTIONS.” (my emphasis) I asked about only the “ACTIONS” and I asked about it only for Rabbis Greenberg and Hartman and not RZS. Your answer speaks about writings and ideas, not actions and RSZ. So again I ask: what specific “actions” — not writings or ideas but ACTIONS — were you referring to with respect ro RYG and RDH? If you know of any specific actions, please tell us so. Or if you think ideas are the same as actions, please tell us so. Or if you really meant only writings and ideas and did not really mean actions then please tell us so. Or if you don’t want to answer the question, please tell us so. But if you’re responding to my question, please don’t tell us about writings and ideas and anything relating to RSZ. Thanks.

  243. “Its stance was misreported and its clarification was further misreported as backing down. That’s just the spin of certain partisans who are more media savvy than the RCA.”

    Its stance was not misreported. They did a terrible job and tripped all over their feet in both issuing the paper and thrying to “clarify” what they meant. It’s not a question of media savvy; it’s a question of competence. And the way they handled this was, at best, incompetent. (I’m not big on conspiracies.)

    “It’s the hoinest truth.”

    Only as you see it. Not as I and others see it.

  244. “If you are the guy who keeps trying to set him up with a different girl every week, you have made it your business and he should probably be able to say to you “i am just not interested, i’m gay” without you shunning him. If he could say “i’m just not interested” and you draw your own conclusions, that might work too, but i take it many well-meaning people don’t take no for an answer. further, if he is at your home and someone at your table makes a “gay joke”, and you don’t say anything, perhaps he should be able to say “actually i’m gay.”

    Well said, Emma. I’d just add: so his/her parents wouldn’t have to respond, or not respond, to well meaning people bothering them about their unmarried child.

  245. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “et me try again. You said “writings AND ACTIONS.” (my emphasis) I asked about only the “ACTIONS” and I asked about it only for Rabbis Greenberg and Hartman and not RZS. Your answer speaks about writings and ideas, not actions and RSZ. So again I ask: what specific “actions” — not writings or ideas but ACTIONS — were you referring to with respect ro RYG and RDH? If you know of any specific actions, please tell us so. Or if you think ideas are the same as actions, please tell us so. Or if you really meant only writings and ideas and did not really mean actions then please tell us so. Or if you don’t want to answer the question, please tell us so. But if you’re responding to my question, please don’t tell us about writings and ideas and anything relating to RSZ. Thanks”

    1) How anyone can consider Shirah Chadasha as MO IMO boggles my imagination.

    2) I view ideas and writings as critical portions of the legacy of any rabbinical figure. As RYBS noted, whether the head of JTS observed Shabbos is irrelevant-the key is that such a person justified, aided and abetted such a philosophy. Simply stated, articles or books that suggest a belief in continuing revelation, deny Bchiras Yisrael, assign at best a relativist position to the eternal truth of Torah or advocate the abolition of all gender based diffences and the continuity of the covernant between the Jewish People and HaShem to be beyond the pale -as do R Landes and R D Berger. Go read the discussions of R Landes and R D Berger re RDH and RYG and then we can continue this discussion.

  246. Abba wrote:

    “jts doesn’t have the best track record either. but then again, neither does YU”

    why is that relevant to the linked issue? CJ, via its views on Kashrus,etc, is now positing itself as pro-labor.

  247. OT, and I don’t know whether I agree with this or not, but it is quite funny:

    http://vesomsechel.blogspot.com/2011/06/unorthodox.html

  248. Joseph Kaplan-let me add this comment. Every day we recite Birkas HaTorah and two brachos immediately before Krias HaTorah that require us to affirm that we received Toras Emes, etc. Every Birkas HaMitzvah refers to Kneset Yisrael being uniquely sanctified ( Asher Kidshanu BMitzvosav)by our observance of the Mitzvos. Shabbos and YT focus on the special relationship between HaShem Yisborach and Klal Yisrael. RH, with the focus on Malchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros and YK with its accentuation of the importance of no excuses in our private Vidui, but accentuating our special relationship with HaShem, represent equally important dimensions of how a Jew should approach his or her relationship with HaShem. I do not think that I am alone in viewing articles or books that are written by anyone, which purport to minimize the above as unique or view the same as outmoded relics as simply beyond the pale.

  249. “Go read the discussions of R Landes and R D Berger re RDH and RYG and then we can continue this discussion.”

    I’m really not interested in those discussions and I’m certainly not interested in a discussion with you about this. All I wanted was a simple answer to a simple question; you made an accusation and I asked you for specifics about that accusation — that through “actions” they removed themselves from the MO community. Digging through all of your verbiage that was irrelevant to this question, I found one specific “action”; attendance at Shirah Chadasha. And as anyone who has ever attended Shirah Chadasha or Darchei Noam in Manhattan can attest to, there are plenty of MO at both these services (unless you assert the true Scotchman argument). So, as usual, there are claims, hot air, but no support. Why am I not surprised.

  250. Question re: unions

    Are there any religious thinkers or activists (regardless of denomination) who are libertarian/free-market in principled outlook (Hayek, Freidman et al)?

    I’m curious because all we ever hear from are the social justice and social-democratic crowd (which is fine, but I’d be interested to know if they have opposition)

  251. Steve — I don’t understand why you just can’t leave it as “I think” or “some, like me, think” or even “many, like me, think” rather than appointing yourself a spokesperson for Modern Orthodoxy, as if such an entity even exists.

  252. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “I’m really not interested in those discussions and I’m certainly not interested in a discussion with you about this. All I wanted was a simple answer to a simple question; you made an accusation and I asked you for specifics about that accusation — that through “actions” they removed themselves from the MO community. Digging through all of your verbiage that was irrelevant to this question, I found one specific “action”; attendance at Shirah Chadasha. And as anyone who has ever attended Shirah Chadasha or Darchei Noam in Manhattan can attest to, there are plenty of MO at both these services (unless you assert the true Scotchman argument). So, as usual, there are claims, hot air, but no support. Why am I not surprised”

    Merely because you focus on actions, as opposed to ideas, by no means IMO ends the inquiry as if you did not receive a discovery response or an answer at a deposition that you anticipated. I was taught never to view actions as the sole criteria in determining the authenticity of the statement of any rabbinical figure. Ideas and how they are represented are not just mere “verbiage”-they definitely count and carry equal weight in that evaluation. The assertion that “plenty of MO” attend either Shirah Chadasha or Darchei Noam is irrelevant, and I am sure that I am not the only person who would disagree with your viewing the same as “the true Scotchman argument”-there is no halachic justification for either or for any other violation of any other aspect of Halacha. That is roughly like asserting that tax evasion is permitted because so many people don’t pay taxes. I do not consider Nusach HaTefilah, or the relationship between Klal Yisrael and HaShem Yisborach as “hot air”, but as part of how Chazal formulated Ikarei Emunah. Articles and books by any person that diminish the same IMO are indicative of walking away from basic Ikarei Emunah.

  253. IH-I couched my perspective in the views of R Landes and R D Berger. Aside from the above consideration-name one Posek affiliated with RIETS or of similar stature who views Shirah Chadasha as Mutar Lchatchilah.

  254. aiwac, one may well wonder if there is something in the nature of those positions (and others) that incline them to one side of the political spectrum.

  255. All I wanted was a simple answer to a simple question; you made an accusation and I asked you for specifics about that accusation — that through “actions” they removed themselves from the MO community. Digging through all of your verbiage that was irrelevant to this question, I found one specific “action”; attendance at Shirah Chadasha — J. Kaplan

    Given that this is a blog, this comment seems like nitpicking to me. If a thinker publishes books and papers that are full of heresy or rejection of basic concepts of the Torah, that does (or at least should) remove that person from Orthodoxy. Whether such behavior constitutes “actions” or thoughts or something else is really besides the point.

    So Steve Brizel made a poor word choice in using the word “actions.” Big deal. Revoke his honorary membership in the Wordsmiths of America. Meanwhile, his basic point stands.

  256. Tal Benschar-I thank you for your kind words.

  257. Steve — you’re all over the place here and I see little point in continuing an unfocused discussion. Back to the start: Rabbi David Hartman is considered by most as Modern Orthodox as evidenced by Internet searches. There are those like yourself who do not think his stated views are compatible with Orthodoxy. Ok. Thanks for your opinion.

    Now, either lets discuss the ideas in his current book, or not. But, a side show on whether he is Orthodox or not is just hot air (as R.D. Brill rightly established in the ground rules for the discussion he is hosting).

  258. IH: Your metric is inherently biased. People who don’t consider Hartman to be Orthodox would generally not quote him.

  259. aiwac — I would expect that within certain Protestant denominations you might some theological support. But, you would probably need some expert advice to weed out the crackpots from those to be taken seriously (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_libertarianism).

  260. “Your metric is inherently biased. People who don’t consider Hartman to be Orthodox would generally not quote him.”

    Gil — I accept that. But, after all the exchanges here there has not been a single money quote that provides any support that he is not Orthodox.

    It’s a strawman in any case. Either his ideas are worth discussing, or not.

  261. For the record, I even searched for evidence of Mycroft’s assertion about R. Hartman and the RCA. The only thing I found were other occurances of Mycroft making the same point.

    Which is not to say that it is not correct — I just can’t find it on the Internet (in the small amount of time I looked x 2).

  262. “Given that this is a blog, this comment seems like nitpicking to me. If a thinker publishes books and papers that are full of heresy or rejection of basic concepts of the Torah, that does (or at least should) remove that person from Orthodoxy. Whether such behavior constitutes “actions” or thoughts or something else is really besides the point.

    So Steve Brizel made a poor word choice in using the word “actions.” Big deal. Revoke his honorary membership in the Wordsmiths of America. Meanwhile, his basic point stands.”

    Ideas very well may remove someone from Orthodoxy. But you buddy Steve said more; he made a very specific accusation against 2 individuals. You say his accusation included a poor choice of words, but Steve hasn’t said it nor has he withdrawn his accusation — i.e., the accusation that through their actions they have moved out of MO. There is a difference between words and ideas OTOH and action OTOH. All he had to do was either (a) support his accusation w/ some actions or (b) say it was a poor choice of words and he was really only referring to ideas and writings. Either would have ended my part in this discussion. But he said neither. And you defend that.

  263. MiMedinat HaYam

    aclu prob worked for chabad shul because they prob have a member who is on the board of an aclu local board (and or otherwise influential.) its the chabad demographic.

    does not indicate they fight for religious accomodation. (they definitely fight for ppl with protexia.)

  264. can we recall that the whole reason teh aclu issue entered was that steve thought that by screaming “aclu” he could automatically discredit the suit in rockland county? the aclu fight is frankly silly (at best, the aclu is inconsistent in the types of cases it takes, depending on local chapter) and it would be more interesting to discuss the merits of the rockland county suit. of course, then steve might have to explain how alleging that someone has used the apparatus of the state to to solidify their religious power does not justify focusing more on the establishment clause than the free exercise clause.

  265. At least now Orthodox conversions will not in general make a person less eligible for Aliyah than one converted by a Reform Rabbi-if I interpret article correctly.

  266. “For the record, I even searched for evidence of Mycroft’s assertion about R. Hartman and the RCA.”

    The assertion that he resigned voountarily from the RCA-you expect to find a list of resigned members from the RCA from decades ago on the Internet?

  267. “RDH and RYG certainly have by their own admissions, walked away from MO”

    I am not an expert but I am not aware of RYG walking away officially from MO institutions like RDH did. The accusation has been made against RYG that he did not have the intellectual honesty to admit that he isn’t O like RDH did.

  268. Þanbo on June 16, 2011 at 1:31 am
    mycroft, etc.

    “Yeah, it’s such a pity all the bright ones are forced out/drop out of Orthodoxy – R Rackman, R Mordechai Kaplan, RE Berkovits, ybl”ch RY Greenberg, RD Hartman, RZ Schachter-Shalomi, Spinoza, etc.”
    I do not believe that one can include REBerkovitz in the above list.
    “What is it about Orthodoxy that is so intellectually bankrupt that so many great minds wind up falling or being pushed?”
    Many great minds have stayed in Orthodoxy. IMHO some of the above names are great minds-others are not-all are very intelligent.

  269. Mycroft — the key word was “even” linking it to the previous comment. Net net, I cannot find a shred of evidence that corroborates what Steve says is a known fact; nor, does your piece turn up.

    Since you’ve raised it a few times (as per Google) can you elaborate on your data point? In any case, in RDH’s case, I’m not sure why as an Israeli Rabbi he would expend any ergs of energy on staying in the RCA beyond inertia. Or do they have a good retirement plan 🙂

  270. “aclu prob worked for chabad shul because they prob have a member who is on the board of an aclu local board (and or otherwise influential.) its the chabad demographic.

    does not indicate they fight for religious accomodation. (they definitely fight for ppl with protexia.)”

    Of course; EVERYONE does things only for money. NOBODY does anything for principle. Except you, of course. I’m sure you’re the exception and are a very principled person. Too bad you hide your name. I’d like to know the name of someone so principled.

  271. “I’m not sure why as an Israeli Rabbi he would expend any ergs of energy on staying in the RCA beyond inertia.”

    Rabbi Hartman by the early 70s and with good evidence even probably by the late 60s openly expressed beliefs that none of the Orthodox could accept. R Hartman was a very dynamic Orthodx Rabbi-I first heard him speak approximately 50 years ago.

    It might pay to read Prof Kaplans seminal paper on the Rav where he discusses revisionism by both the left and right about the Rav-he discusses R hartman and R Greenberg from the left-he also discusses RMM and RHS from the right-worthwhile reading.

  272. r gil – i think there’s some kind of mistake, today’s links don’t show up (the titles of the links that were meant to go up do show up on the homepage)

  273. just fixed this very minute, that’s fast:)

  274. WK:When an old high school friend heard of my new Jewish observance, he commented that I was taking the easy way out, relying upon the ‘crutch’ of religion. But for me the Jewish tradition does not provide answers, but unexpected resources to help refine the questions I ask.

    channeling R’YBS?
    KT

  275. Mycroft — thanks, I have read Prof. Kaplan’s paper. But, I think you touch on the nub of the problem — many people here cannot conceive of a Modern Orthodoxy that does not have RYSB (usually as channeled by one of his Talmidim) at it’s center. But, of course, that exists — and, frankly, has always existed.

  276. RYBS of course.

  277. FWIW, I thought that the new issue of JA was excellent. The letters to the editor from R Y Blau and RHS as well as R E Feldman, the interviews with NCSYers and Regional Directors, RM Rosensweig’s article ( as well as R Weil’s) combined with Steve Lipman’s article about how he is Kovea Itim LaTorah at Ohr Sameach of Monsey were all superb reading.

  278. For whoever asked for an self described Orthodox liberatarian you can look at Michael Makvoi’s blog. His anarchist/minarchist/libertarian credentials are unquestionable. I think he’d put himself in Open Orthodoxy ideologically, but you’d have to ask him.

  279. One more time-Ideas which are translated and promoted in books and articles are actions which are illustrative of a POV, and which have consequences .One does not write a book with the expectation that one’s ideas will not be publicized, commented on or dissected in a review . To assume otherwise, is IMO a kind of intellectual imperialism and totalitarianism that ideas are to be disseminated in the form of “my way or the highway.”

    RDH’s ideas, especially in the Google link to his new book as well as per R Landes’ review and response, IMO, cannot be reconciled with traditional Halachic thinking. I would venture to say that under RYBS’s criteria of Shinui vs Chiddush-the views expressed therein on gender issues easily constitute a Shinui. Again, viewing Shirah Chadasha or Darcei Noam as mainstream MO is about as halachically acceptable as viewing texting on Shabbos as an acceptable form of Shmiras Shabbos.

    RYG, in his article in the YUJudaica book stated that he moved onto CUNY and Holocaust related ecumenical issues because he realized that neither a shul pulpit nor a faculty position at YU were the best venues for developing and promulgating his views, which he perceived as moving to the right, and especially after and when none less than his purported comrade in arms and ally RAL ( which RAL himself responded to ,rejected and disputed in no uncertain terms) having deserted MO for the seeming ivory tower of the Beis Medrash of Gush, was where he now felt hashkafically comfortable, especially given his full embrace of pluralism and ecumenical theological dialogue. I consider that paraphrase to be indicative of a voluntary move to an intellectually and spiritually improved pasture by RYG, as opposed to being the flight of a persecuted scholar or a tactical retreat. Again, I invite anyone interested in RYG’s ideas to read R D D Berger’s review in Tradition of RYG’s book and how and why R D Berger simply viewed the book as containing much that was beyond the pale-especially the argument that the covenant between HaShem and Klal Yisrael is now non existent because of the suffering endured by Klal Yisrael, and his defense of a covenant, however vaguely defined, between God and Christians.

  280. Steve — Thanks to Mycroft for sharpening my thinking on this. You believe that anyone who deviates from RHS (and a few select others) interpretation of RYBS is not MO.

    Ipso facto, anyone who openly disagrees with RYBS is not MO. I don’t buy it. And the consensus of public references identify RDH as Modern Orthodox no matter what your opinion is. Why do you feel the need to insist that everyone shares your opinion?

  281. IH-I don’t accept your restatement of my POV on this issue. See R Gil’s comment at 6:40 PM on 6.16.11.

  282. As a proud libertarian in the Hayek mold I take offense at the conflation of anarchists with libertarians.

  283. IH wrote:

    “Ipso facto, anyone who openly disagrees with RYBS is not MO. I don’t buy it. And the consensus of public references identify RDH as Modern Orthodox no matter what your opinion is. Why do you feel the need to insist that everyone shares your opinion”

    That is your prerrogative. When you IMO,as well in the view of many others, assert that RDH or RYG is MO, that shows the inability to recognize the difference between a Shinui and Chiddush and the departures from accepted Halachic and Hashkafic thinking on many basic issues simply because you and many others view consideration of their ideas as beyond the pale as Charedim view discussions of their way of life.

    I don’t understand what you mean by the “consensus of public references” means. In that respect, I don’t think that I am alone in stating that I would not consider Wikipedia or Google’s definitions overly reliable or a basis for serious discussion, as opposed to RDH’s writings.

  284. IH,

    This is not about RYBS. To be MO you still need to be Orthodox. Thats the bottom line and RYG and RDH have both made numerous statements that indicate that they are no longer Orthodox. They may be religious in some way.

    The reason people look to RYBS is because the definition of orthodoxy is that it conforms to customary, accepted norms of belief and ideas. Religious orthodoxy is no different. RYBS is an example of a person whose beliefs conformed with Orthodoxy but was influenced by modern ideas as well. To be Orthodox one must conform with traditional, customary accepted beliefs and then one can discuss how Western or modern ideals influence you. RYG and RDH do not conform in belief because due to their engagement with modernity thet rejected the Orthodox belief on many fundamental issues.

  285. For more re the lawsuits re KY and NS, see the attached link and Professor Heilman’s comments.
    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new_york/chasidic_dissidents_press_cases_court

  286. All right, I’ll bite: What is “the true Scotchman argument”?

  287. IH wrote:

    “Now, either lets discuss the ideas in his current book, or not”

    The link that you provided is available to any reader-let any poster, reader, defender or critic read the same and provide their input. WADR, I think that the prior posts indicate that I provided a fair synopsis of much of the book, especially the introduction, discussed the interchange between R Landes and RDH as an introduction as well as RDH’s very negative views towards all gender based differences in Halacha, and why the same cannot be reconciled with any traditional sense of Halacha or Hashkafa.

    As Former YU pointed out, merely “being religious in some way” cannot mask the fact that both RYG and RDH “have both made numerous statements that indicate that they are no longer Orthodox.”

    I think that Former YU’s other observation is quite apt:

    “The reason people look to RYBS is because the definition of orthodoxy is that it conforms to customary, accepted norms of belief and ideas. Religious orthodoxy is no different. RYBS is an example of a person whose beliefs conformed with Orthodoxy but was influenced by modern ideas as well. To be Orthodox one must conform with traditional, customary accepted beliefs and then one can discuss how Western or modern ideals influence you. RYG and RDH do not conform in belief because due to their engagement with modernity thet rejected the Orthodox belief on many fundamental issues.”

  288. Steve — RYBS was a seminal thinker in Modern Orthodoxy, but he is not its essence. All the rest is politics, in so far as other Modern Orthodox thinkers who have parted company with his philosophy, or its implication in halacha, in various ways.

    If they choose to call themselves independent (as I consider myself) that is fine with me. But, if they consider themselves Modern Orthodox so be it.

    Given what you have written in this forum, I could construct an argument that you are not Modern Orthodox. But, so what? It’s what you consider yourself and how your chevra accepts you that is defining (as there is no central authority in Modern Orthodoxy; or Orthodoxy for that matter — much as some would like to be appointed to be that arbiter).

    Shabbat Shalom.

  289. MiMedinat HaYam

    to l kaplan:

    to answer your criticism of me: my point is that members of the bar have a (wrong, in my opinion) tendency to rationalize and / or advocate for anyone, whether or not (socially) justified.

    yes, one may violate one’s principles in, say, defending an
    IMF chief, for $. thats “run of the mill” legal work. (answering your brother at 1159pm)

    but to defend al queda terrorists is beyond the pale. (and i went on a tangent on that, that such a person cannot be a shliach tzibur, citing a specific case (obviously) without naming the person or shul (actually located 8 miles east of where you live.)

    there are plenty of other lawyers around looking for work, that we dont have to be involved in defending them. you pick and choose your clients. dont pick one you have a personal / societal beef with. if you do, you must suffer the (social) consequences.

    the “nimshal” here is that that atty who makes a career of suing KY regularly is open to criticism of this sort, and defending him as “just a representation” opens him up to criticism. he picked and chose his cases, so he is open to criticism. then the discussion veered off to “aclu type” issues.

  290. In pages 33 – 35 of “For the Sake of Heaven and Earth” RYG describes the “heresy trial” which he was subjected to by the RCA and his subsequent agreement with them which ended the trial. He agreed not to take aliyot or other honors in non-Orthodox services but maintained the right to teach in non-Orthodox institutions. In this section he says he recognizes that many non-O practices violate halacha but he stills sees them as having an important role to play and being valid religious (he does not say “Orthodox” or normative) communities. So it’s quite clear that as of the writing of that book (2004) he still saw himself as Orthodox and presumably was still a member of the RCA since he describes his efforts to remain a member and does not mention either quitting or being kicked out subsequently. Whether other Orthodox Jews see him as Orthodox is a different issue but he still described himself as such at least in 2004. I am not sure whether RDH still uses that term (what the publisher says on the book jacket is not written by the author) and I doubt it matters to him at all.

  291. >Whether other Orthodox Jews see him as Orthodox is a different issue but he still described himself as such at least in 2004.

    So what? If he’s called non-Orthodox then he’s a little fish in a big pond. If he’s (called) an Orthodox rabbi then he’s unique. I’m not going to say that I know his inner motive for referring to himself as Orthodox, but it’s hard to ignore what I said. After the Holocaust mitzvos are optional, since God broke the Bris? This means that even bris milah is optional. How can this be Orthodox? If so, who cares if he called himself Orthodox as recently as 2004? He just isn’t and wasn’t.

  292. IH wrote:

    “All the rest is politics, in so far as other Modern Orthodox thinkers who have parted company with his philosophy, or its implication in halacha, in various ways.

    If they choose to call themselves independent (as I consider myself) that is fine with me. But, if they consider themselves Modern Orthodox so be it.

    Given what you have written in this forum, I could construct an argument that you are not Modern Orthodox. But, so what? It’s what you consider yourself and how your chevra accepts you that is defining (as there is no central authority in Modern Orthodoxy; or Orthodoxy for that matter — much as some would like to be appointed to be that arbiter”

    IH-Former YU has clarified the argument and my perspective quite well. Remember how R Gil described himself-that’s a pretty good description of where I stand-too modern and by no means accepting the Charedi catechism of the Jewish world, but by no means breaking with Halacha, Hashkafa or Mesorah as advocated by the LW of the MO.

  293. The real issue with the ideas of RDH and RYG that bothers many and myself IMO is that if you take their arguments to their logical conclusion, they have no compelling reason why anyone should be a Shomer Torah UMitzvos, as opposed to a member of any other faith.

  294. “So what? If he’s called non-Orthodox then he’s a little fish in a big pond. If he’s (called) an Orthodox rabbi then he’s unique. I’m not going to say that I know his inner motive for referring to himself as Orthodox, but it’s hard to ignore what I said. After the Holocaust mitzvos are optional, since God broke the Bris? This means that even bris milah is optional. How can this be Orthodox? If so, who cares if he called himself Orthodox as recently as 2004? He just isn’t and wasn’t.”

    I would hope his viewpoint (which was debated hotly by Rabbi Hillel Goldberg in the JA Magazine in the early 90’s) aren’t cited by proponents of the San Francisco Anti-Circumcision ballot initiative. Scary thought.

  295. Steve — thank you for your comment of 2:16pm. I understand that position and we could have had a more productive conversation had that been clearly expressed. I think there are other views on that; and, perhaps if we hashed them out we could add light instead of heat. There will be other opportunities.

  296. Steve,
    What is your compelling reason to Jewish/shomer mitzvos,and why is it better that RYG or RDH for being shomer mitzvos (and they are, whatever you think of their haskafos.)

  297. IH-thanks for yours of 3:27 PM. The query that I posed at 2:16, IMO, after all the smoke has cleared from this discussion, remains the most compellling, at least in my mind.

  298. MDJ asked:

    “What is your compelling reason to Jewish/shomer mitzvos,and why is it better that RYG or RDH for being shomer mitzvos”

    The Torah tells us that HaShem entered into irevocable covenants with the Avos that began with the Bris Bein HaBesarim and the entirety of Klal Yisrael via Moshe Rabbeinu at Bris Sinai, which are the twin obligatory sources of Jewish continuity and which remain in full effect.

  299. “All right, I’ll bite: What is “the true Scotchman argument”?”

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

  300. Thanks, Steve, I know that. This shows that Hashem wants us to observe the mitzvos, and, that at some time in the past, our ancestors agreed. The question is, what reason does that give you to be shomer mitzvos. Is it just to “keep your word to Hashem”,a s it were? Is it to avoid punishment? Or what.

  301. MDJ wrote:

    “This shows that Hashem wants us to observe the mitzvos, and, that at some time in the past, our ancestors agreed. The question is, what reason does that give you to be shomer mitzvos. Is it just to “keep your word to Hashem”,a s it were? Is it to avoid punishment? Or what”

    The covenants are binding on all generations, regardless of whether they were at the locales which was entered into, no matter what the historical, economic or political situation. That per se binds me. FWIW, I am sure that you are aware that Ramban and many other Mfarshim view our committments to Mitzvos Aseh as fulfilling Ahavas HaShem and Mitzvos Lo Saaseh as representing a fullfillment of Yiras HaShem.

  302. So when I say to you that although I believe it them, I don’t care about any covenants my ancestors made with Hashem, what do you say to me? You seem to be saying that the existence of the covenants themselves gives one reason to obey the mitzvos, independent of one’s desires. Please explain to my why?

  303. “How to “Stay Poor Forever”, the kitzur.
    Don’t pay your bills.
    Rely on windfalls”

    Yeah if someone frum wins the lottery-in a matter of days local mosdos will be pounding on the guys door. Of course-they will likely but a house for their children etc.

  304. You seem to be saying that the existence of the covenants themselves gives one reason to obey the mitzvos, independent of one’s desires. Please explain to my why?

    covenental internalism?

    (apologies to everyone else for the philosophy joke.)

  305. MDJ wrote:

    “So when I say to you that although I believe it them, I don’t care about any covenants my ancestors made with Hashem, what do you say to me? You seem to be saying that the existence of the covenants themselves gives one reason to obey the mitzvos, independent of one’s desires”

    Even a Jew who utterly does not care about the covenants or does not see himelf or herself as bound by the same is a member of the community that entered into the covenants .The coveneants are irevocable and are binding on all generations, , because the personalities and people who accepted the covenants did so for all generations,regardless of one’s desire and present level of committment. I would say that the existence of the covenants per se require your adherence,regardless of your desires.

  306. “Hebrew Language Charter Schools Are a Bad Bargain”

    What a disappointing article! It is very easy to be negative; does he have a better idea?

  307. ” irevocable covenants”

    While I do agree with you — and even that they are central to our faith — we need to do a better job of explaining it. I can show you a house my grandparents once owned that had an “irrevocable covenant” that no black person and no Jew would ever live there, a covenant that was binding on all future owners for eternity. My grandmother sold the home to a black family. A covenant with God is something very different indeed!

  308. “During the 2009 tax year, contributions to the Foundation for Jewish Camp totaled more than $18 million and the Birthright Israel Foundation received $71 million in donations, while PEJE took in $2.3 million, according to federal records.”

    Those numbers speak volumes.

  309. “Charlie Hall on June 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm
    “During the 2009 tax year, contributions to the Foundation for Jewish Camp totaled more than $18 million and the Birthright Israel Foundation received $71 million in donations, while PEJE took in $2.3 million, according to federal records.”

    Those numbers speak volumes”

    I am aware that BIrthright has had follow up studies and BTW follow up programs-I am not aware of any day school studies that show “success” after comparing what would happen to kids from the same backgrounds wo day schools. Studies are unfair because which population sends kids to day schools in the first place-the more committed.

    Maybe per dollar spent Birthright and Summer Camps are more effective.

  310. Tangential to the recent query about libertarianism and theology is this interesting article from June 11 issue of The Economist:

    http://www.economist.com/node/18802844?story_id=18802844

    “Both IBM and the Carnegie Corporation will turn 100 this month. Has the multinational business or universal philanthropy done more for society?”

  311. “Boom-time machine: A new technique lets archaeologists reconstruct the past in greater detail”

    http://www.economist.com/node/18802912?story_id=18802912

    Interesting to see what this new technique will add to Israel archaeological research and Bible scholarship…

  312. “But the key to making shul exciting is making every person who attends feel like he or she belongs. Home life is exciting not because there are fireworks every night but because of the comfort and nurturing it provides. Shul is the same. ”
    And ditto for day schools.

  313. ““Both IBM and the Carnegie Corporation will turn 100 this month. Has the multinational business or universal philanthropy done more for society?””

    Didn’t IBM support Nazi Germany in its record keeping?

  314. Mycroft — they both supported Nazi Germany for a time. It’s in the article.

  315. “IH on June 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm
    Mycroft — they both supported Nazi Germany for a time. It’s in the article”

    Read the article-didn’t see how Carnegie helped Nazi Concentration camps_ I know how Ive Been Moved helped them

  316. “The Carnegie name was also linked indirectly with the Nazis, through the Carnegie Institution’s funding of research into eugenics in the early 20th century that was later taken up by Germany.”

    and from: http://www.waragainsttheweak.com/offSiteArchive/forward.com2.com/

    “The Carnegie Foundation continued to fund the Eugenic Records Office until 1939, despite the office’s support for the Nazi persecution of the Jews.”

  317. I’ve just gotten into reading this thread this morning. Some called the comparison of cross-burning and the NS arson “obscene”, as if cross-burning was worse. My wife’s comment was that it is obscene the other way.

    How can one compare a bunch of hooded thugs burning a cross on someone’s lawn, with an unhooded thug trying to burn down a house with people sleeping in it?

    One is a bunch of guys who are aware they’re doing something wrong (hence hiding their identities), who leave a charred mess on someone’s lawn. The NS case is someone who thinks he’s above the law, trying to destroy property and murder a family.

    The NS case is far worse than a cross-burning.

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