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Gay Marriage in New York Puts Conservative Rabbis on the Spot
Where Have All the Volunteers Gone?
Why was the rabbi detained?
Chief Rabbi: Equality laws leading to new Mayflower exodus
Separate tables
Kol HaRav – Rabbinic Voices: R. Yaakov Ariel’s Response to ‘Torat Ha-Melekh’
IPA: ACTION ALERT: Oppose Congressional Proposal to Cap Tax Deductibility on Charitable Contributions
The Fear of Reason
SALT Friday
Boycott spurs Tnuva to drop cottage cheese prices
Divorce recalcitrant gets unlimited jail term
Professors back university that cut anthem
New Knesset caucus aims to ease way toward conversion
2,000-year-old ossuary authentic, say researchers
Drilling for Oil Without Violating Shabbat
Israeli software aims to shed light on the Bible
New Study Highlights Challenges Facing Nonprofit CEOs
U.S. Senate: Palestinians risking aid by seeking statehood vote
SALT Thursday
Change In Leadership At RCA
Statistics On Teen Texting
`Half Shabbos’ Article Triggers Full Range Of Responses
Jews, Communism, and Espionage
Rabbi Yosef refuses police summons for questioning
Dutch approve ban on animal slaughter
Four-legged chicken born in Jerusalem sparks debate over bird’s kosher status
SALT Wednesday
Facing a faith’s glass ceiling: Trailblazing female rabbi losing her job
Talking Judaism in parliament
Haredi group takes on Christian converts
Judaism isn’t Twitter-able
Justice Ministry: Rabbis not above law
Taking from the Poor to Pay for Day Schools is Not the Way to Improve Jewish Education
Library giveaway day – a cruel natural selection
Rabbinic Scion Clinches Same-Sex Marriage
Something Fishy About Anisakis?
SALT Tuesday
The End of Jewish Men?
Spengler: Poisoning the well of animal welfare
Jewish groups mixed on N.Y. approval of same-sex marriages
Scottish gov’t disavows Israeli boycott
Anti-circumcision stand leads to firing
The Rebbetzin’s Husband: The Corruption of the Rabbinate
Police keep J’lem street open despite haredi protest
The Hillel paradox
Modern Orthodoxy Faces the 21st Century: Where are we today, where we should be headed and how do we get there?
50 years of Bagels and Jews
Supreme Court to consider Jerusalem passport question, ‘ministerial exception’ cases
Study: Young Jews volunteer, but don’t connect it to Judaism
Op-Ed: Proposed circumcision ban not merely a parochial concern
Efforts intensify for release of Gilad Shalit on fifth anniversary of his capture
Synagogue Leadership Initiative: Creating community, one congregation at a time
Rationalist Judaism: Return of the Hyrax
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

407 comments

  1. IY”H I will be posting my summary/reaction to the RCA in next week’s audioroundup. It is worth a listen, at least as a springboard to further conversation.
    KT

  2. BTW besides R’ Gil’s outstanding moderstion (that’s supposed to be a witty play on words) iirc R’ L Kaplan also made a guest appearance.
    KT

  3. I just saw “The Rebbitzin’s Husband” yesterday afternoon 🙂

  4. Can the discussion be downloaded? I can only listen online.

  5. I dunno. I really feel like a lot of the discussion was vague fluff. There’s very little specifics.

  6. One of the good exceptions is the attack on the MO self-ghettoization and the responsibility of O to keep non-observant Jews within the general fold (or at least prevent intermarriage).

  7. R’Gil,
    Curious, how was it decided who got to answer which question?
    KT

  8. It was my choice. I gave them the right in advance to pass on a question but no one did.

  9. Interesting angle on Geert Wilders’s anti-ritual-slaughter law due for a vote tomorrow:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/world/europe/27amsterdam.html?pagewanted=all

    “The debate over the bill has divided the Dutch. Because the bill would mainly affect Muslims, of whom there are about 1.2 million in a Dutch population of about 16 million, compared with a Jewish population of 50,000, the debate has become a focus of Dutch animosity toward Muslims.”

    So, ironically, the backlash against “Eurabia” that so many Jews have been praying for comes with a double-edged sword.

  10. “”Consistent with our tradition and Jewish religious principles, we oppose the redefinition of marriage and the state sanction of same-sex marriages,” the OU said.

    The measure approved June 24 included exemptions for religious organizations, which would protect nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals from being forced to acknowledge same-sex marriages.The OU said in its statement that it was “grateful” for the exemptions.

    “Just as we, in a democratic, pluralistic society do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others, same-sex marriage, now the law in New York, must not infringe on anyone’s religious liberties,” the OU said.”

    ISTM this is contradictory. OTOH the OU says it opposed the law because it is against Jewish tradition and religious practice. OTOH it says that it does not seek to impose its religious belifs on others. But by opposing the law, wasn’t it trying to impose its religious belifs on others?

  11. [IH]>Interesting angle on Geert Wilders’s anti-ritual-slaughter law due for a vote tomorrow …

    IH – Why did you write Geert Wilder’s law? The article itselfs says: “Although Geert Wilders, the Dutch political leader best known for animosity toward Muslims, had nothing to do with framing the law, his name has become linked with it among immigrants.”

  12. Notice how the NY Times used inflammatory language against Wilders, noting his “animosity againt Muslims”? He is known to be outspoken in pointing out the dangers of Islam, but to turn him into a bigot is just slanted, yellow journalism.

  13. [Joseph]>But by opposing the law, wasn’t it trying to impose its religious belifs on others?

    How is taking a public view on the issue imposing its religious beliefs on others? Aren’t Jewish groups entitled to point out that the new law is immoral?

  14. Canuck — it is no secret that without Wilders support this bill would have never seen the light of day. Surely, you’re not naive enough to fall for plausible deniability ploys.

    See, e.g. http://www.ejpress.org/article/50261

    “The extreme right Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders supports the bill out of its hostility toward the Dutch Muslim population. According to the press, Wilders has an interest in helping the bill pass because his party uses the “animal lover” tag as part of its pitch against Halal butchering.”

  15. I believe that banning halal slaughter is the wrong-headed approach to dealing with growing European Islamic problem. It won’t solve issues that are mainly in the realm of proper immigration policies, integration, and intolerance for the excesses of Islam seen in Europe today.

  16. Rafael — yes, that is the general problem with populist politics. It’s all about anger management, not real policy (which is difficult and nuanced).

  17. R. Adlerstein challenging Rav Belsky on anisakis:
    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/06/27/something-fishy-about-anisakis/

    I think this approach is extremely dangerous. Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote that:
    יש חשיבות גדולה בהלכה למנהג העולם ולהיכא עמא דבר, ואסור להוציא לעז על דורות הקדמונים שלא הקפידו בדברים אלה משום שלא ידעו מהם” יורה דעה ח”ד סי’ ב

    This entire enterprise is one big hotza’as laaz on prior generations.

  18. “So, ironically, the backlash against “Eurabia” that so many Jews have been praying for comes with a double-edged sword.”

    Really? I’ve got a much better, and much more accurate, summation:

    “So, not-so-ironically, the dream of a ‘multicultural’ Europe with open immigration that so many Jews have been actively working for is a double-edged sword.”

    Continental Europe tends to fascism. It’s wise not to provoke it. And if it’s provoked in this case, it’s more than justified. (If not in results, of course.)

    Regarding homosexual “marriage,” you know what I’d like to see just once? For people like Joseph Kaplan, Charlie Hall, IH, and so many other with-the-Democratic-Party-unto-death types to precede one- just one- post on the topic with the words “Granted, homosexuality is an abomination. But…” I wouldn’t care so much about the “but” if I at least saw a smidgen of evidence that they’re uncomfortable with the whole thing. I doubt they are, though. It might expose them to shunning in the circles they keep. (Or, worse, they genuinely aren’t disturbed by it, Jewish belief notwithstanding.)

  19. IH – Here’s just one quote from the European Jewish Journal link:

    “The extreme right Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders supports the bill out of its hostility toward the Dutch Muslim population.”

    Do you consider that quote unbiased? Do you consider those slanted statements from the NY Times unbiased? Did you know that Geert Wilders has been to Israel countless times, is a strong friend of Israel and Jews worldwide? The Jews have few friends among European politicians. Let’s not tar and feather one of the good guys, even if he is on the wrong side of this particular issue.

  20. >This entire enterprise is one big hotza’as laaz on prior generations.

    You are definitely right, but I think that people are able to rationalize this away because there is a general feeling that for a couple of generations Orthodox Judaism lost the plot, except for some yechidei segulah who charted a course back on track. Thus most people see their parents or grandparents who used non-Hebrew or Yiddish names, made clear compromises with halacha (e.g., not covering their hair) and so forth and therefore assume that since it is davar pashut that they really did know less about Yiddishkeit than we do (which is baloney) that it can’t be hotza’as la’az to go against anything and everything a generation which is actually lesser than us did. To be sure, many people with such attitudes will readily admit that we can’t approach their knees in terms of things like yashrus, emunah peshuta, etc. but perhaps there is a general feeling that you just can’t bring ra’ayos for proper, traditional halachic behavior from the recent past.

  21. Canuck — one of my frequent interlocuters likes to quote the aphorism attributed to Santayana that “those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.”

    Populist politics has always been bad for the Jews. And like you, there have always been those who say that XXX loves the Jews.

    Perhaps Wilders is different; but, I will err on the side of caution and view him neutrally.

  22. lawrence kaplan

    As did my brother.

  23. S.,
    Did Jews only start eating fish in the 20th century?

  24. “Regarding homosexual “marriage,” you know what I’d like to see just once? For people like Joseph Kaplan, Charlie Hall, IH, and so many other with-the-Democratic-Party-unto-death types to precede one- just one- post on the topic with the words “Granted, homosexuality is an abomination. But…” I wouldn’t care so much about the “but” if I at least saw a smidgen of evidence that they’re uncomfortable with the whole thing. doubt they are, though. It might expose them to shunning in the circles they keep. (Or, worse, they genuinely aren’t disturbed by it, Jewish belief notwithstanding.)”

    I don’t really care what some anonymous poster would like to see or doubts or, for that matter, thinks.

  25. Sorry about that! That post was from me, Nachum Lamm. Not anonymous anymore, then. Care to adjust your attitude?

  26. “How is taking a public view on the issue imposing its religious beliefs on others? Aren’t Jewish groups entitled to point out that the new law is immoral?”

    They are, of course, entitled to point out that, in their view, the law is immoral and advocate against it. However, knowing that other religious groups do not consider the law immoral, by seeking to bar those from the other regious group from acting on their understanding of morality aren’t they, in effect, seeking to impose their religious views on others. IOW, I wasn’t objecting to their position on the law; I simply thought, and still think, that their two comments were inconsistent.

  27. Yes, Nachum, it makes a big difference if the type of post that I was reacting to is from some anonymous coward or is from someone, like you, who has the guts to put his name behind his comments. So now that you have corrected your post, I will amend mine to delete the sharpness and phrase it this way: you can (and do) decide what you want to say and how you want to say it, and I reserve that same right for my comments. And you can, of course, infer from the language I use whatever you think appropriate. We very rarely agree on substance so there’s no reason to think that we’ll agree on your inferences from my (or Charlie’s) comments.

  28. I think the “Jewish men” article perfectly summarizes my feminization problem I discussed back in the day (albeit from a pro-feminist position). See here too:

    http://shaelsiegel.blogspot.com/2011/01/men-at-their-best.html

  29. They are, of course, entitled to point out that, in their view, the law is immoral and advocate against it. However, knowing that other religious groups do not consider the law immoral, by seeking to bar those from the other regious group from acting on their understanding of morality aren’t they, in effect, seeking to impose their religious views on others. IOW, I wasn’t objecting to their position on the law; I simply thought, and still think, that their two comments were inconsistent.

    There is nothing inconsistent with advocating that a certain law is immoral, and when the majority disagrees and enacts it anyway, demanding that those who hold the minority view not be burdened because of it. There was nothing in the status quo ante which stopped any religious organization from granting religious recognition to same-sex marriage, and quite a few religious groups and individuals did so. The question was whether the State should recognize such marraiges. The OU weighed on the negative side.

    Even today, after the law, anyone is free to get married by a County Clerk or Justice of the Peace, or any clergy willing to do so. What the OU would object to is REQUIRING a clergy to perform a marriage against its principles (and conversely what the OU is expressing gratitude for is the recognition that no such burden will be imposed).

    (Intermarriage is a good example. It is perfectly legal in every State in the U.S., but no State requires a rabbi to perform an intermarriage, and if it did that would be a gross violation of the 1st Amendment.)

  30. “There is nothing inconsistent with advocating that a certain law is immoral, and when the majority disagrees and enacts it anyway, demanding that those who hold the minority view not be burdened because of it. ”

    I think the purported inconsistency is not between advocating the immorality of the law based on one’s own tradition and then demanding not to be burdened by it, but in advocating the immorality of a law while prefacing the demand not to be burdened with “Just as we, in a democratic, pluralistic society do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others.”

  31. I think the purported inconsistency is not between advocating the immorality of the law based on one’s own tradition and then demanding not to be burdened by it, but in advocating the immorality of a law while prefacing the demand not to be burdened with “Just as we, in a democratic, pluralistic society do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others.”

    Except that, as I already pointed out, the burdens of passing and not passing the law are not the same. Prior to this latest law, any religious group or clergy was free to enact any type of marriage they wished — it just would not be recognized by the State. Nothing stopped a priest or minister (or “rabbi”) from doing so if they felt compelled to do so by their religion.

    By the same token, now that the law has passed, such marriages can be arranged in numerous ways without requiring religions that object to participate.

  32. Nachum — I accept that homosexual acts are sins al pi halacha; but,I do not accept the gay people I know are immoral (to the extent they engage in such sins).

    As for “abhorrence” we’ve been around this before. There are other to’evot that don’t seem to trigger your political button. You’re free to vote as you like, live where you like and shun whomever you like; but not to deposit your political baggage on me.

  33. i do not understand you “burdens are not the same” point. first because you then seem to lay out how the two situations actually are parallel. but also because i am not sure why we are talking about imposing religious beliefs on other clergy – the issue is imposing beliefs on people who want to get married.
    how is seeking to prevent someone from gettng married at city hall (no religious compnent) because judaism says it is immoral not an attempt to “impose our religious beliefs on others”?

  34. Sorry, substitute “abomination” for “abhorrence” to be consistent your post.

  35. “There are other to’evot that don’t seem to trigger your political button.”

    Ones that incur karet and are part of the “big three” for which Jews are required to die rather than commit?

    (I don’t care about the gay marriage issue, I’m just sick of the fallacious “cheating in business is also a to’evah” argument).

  36. Aiwac — I never used the cheating in business argument. My views are in the archives; or, do a search on http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/t/t0.htm

  37. Larry Lennhoff

    I think what the various Jewish organisations are concerned about is not the unlikely possibility that rabbis would be forced to officiate at same sex marriages, but rather that they might be restrained from
    a) Refusing to give spousal benefits to same sex couples
    b) refusing to place children for adoption with same sex couples
    c) refusing to rent catering halls or provide neutral services such as photography for same sex marriages

    Not all of these are directly tied with marriage equality, but I know there have been court cases about b and c, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find there was one about a as well.

  38. Larry — These issues were addressed in the NY legislation. To see: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/nyregion/religious-exemptions-were-key-to-new-york-gay-marriage-vote.html

    The most interesting part to me was: “Finally, the legislation contained what is known as an inseverability clause. If a court found any part of the act to be invalid, the entire legislation would also be invalid. The clause is an important provision to Republicans because it means that the marriage legislation would be at risk if the religious exemptions were successfully challenged in court. “

  39. It is also worth see the tachlis benefits that accrue to same-sex marriages under the new legislation:

    http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/how-gay-marriage-will-change-couples-financial-lives/?pagemode=print

  40. >Did Jews only start eating fish in the 20th century?

    No, but it doesn’t matter. Once the principle is that we’re not really concerned with the recent past as a model for correct behavior it’s not really seen as insulting to our predecessors, i.e., those who came before the most recent generations, since in many other ways people demonstrate that they absolutely venerate those from those generations.

    Or to put it another way, since almost the entire edifice of contemporary Orthodoxy is predicated on the notion that our immediate forbears really didn’t have a clue it’s very easy to overlook hotza’as la’az in our behavior.

  41. “There is nothing inconsistent with advocating that a certain law is immoral, and when the majority disagrees and enacts it anyway, demanding that those who hold the minority view not be burdened because of it.”

    I agree completely. If you think I disagree, either I wasn’t clear enough or you misread my comment.

  42. To add to my prior comment: Emma explained, perhaps more clearly than I, what my point was.

  43. Ones that incur karet and are part of the “big three” for which Jews are required to die rather than commit?

    The more basic point, IMO, is that these are included in the 7 mitzvos of Bnei Noach. That means that there is a human problem with these sins, not merely a Jewish problem.

    (IOW, one can be one of the Chassidei Umos ha Olam without keeping Shabbos or kashus, but you cannot be if you commit arayos, or worship idols, or steal. Further, acc. to the Rambam, the mitzvah of diminm requires the non-Jews to set up a court system to enforce the other six.)

  44. Tal — so, do you conclude that Rambam would have been approving of countries that institute Sharia law, but not Western democracies? And should that be what the OU advocate?

    If you going to take us down this road, then tell us what you think it means le’ma’aseh.

  45. Tal — so, do you conclude that Rambam would have been approving of countries that institute Sharia law, but not Western democracies? And should that be what the OU advocate?

    If you going to take us down this road, then tell us what you think it means le’ma’aseh

    Sorry, not interested in having a discussion with you. Our frameworks are totally different and it is pointless. Find someone else. Thanks.

  46. MiMedinat HaYam

    i can imagine a case of a shul catering hall, where they always add $500-$1000 for the rabbi to perform the ceremony, whether or not the shul rabbi performs the ceremony.

    the catering hall is a definitely a “place of public accomodation”. by tying in the rabbi’s honorarium, he has now become a part of the public accomodation. and even with the “exemption”, will be required to perform the ceremony (or at least be present, which is also objectionable; see even (rev) don imus’s comment this morning.)

    2. the legislators conceded in the (non) debate that the exemptions are not legally supportable.

    3. in case of a legal challenge, can we trust the gov / atty gnl to support this part of the law (e.g., ‘bama’s and holder’s refusal to defend the doma law)?

    4. original case as 1 above, but simply a kashrut / vaad issue? they are supporting a place of public accomodation, and have little legal cover. this is not a “belly dancing” issue, but an out and out halachic issue. (i concede that there are many legal issues with kashrut, such a bishul akum, shabat employment, etc. to begin with. but not anti trust issues.)

  47. Do those of you who support legalization of gay marriage also support the legalization of polygamy? And if society were to evolve to demand it, would you support marriages which are probited by the Torah (e.g. wife with several husbands, brother/sister, parent/child, etc.)?

  48. … which in addition to same sex marriage are prohibited by the Trorah …

  49. BTW just because the NY Senate passed this legislation, doesn’t mean they had the support of the majority of New York voters.

  50. Canuck — I’m always amused by cognitive dissonance like “get the government out of my medicare” or how dare NY State legislate what its citizens want under the doctrine of States Rights 🙂

  51. “BTW just because the NY Senate passed this legislation, doesn’t mean they had the support of the majority of New York voters.”

    We live in a Representative Democracy. Do you think that President Bush (43) had no legitimacy because he did not have the support of the majority of US voters in the 2000 election?

  52. IH- What does the “marriage quality act” in NY have to do with medicare? It’s true that some libertarians or constitutionalists would rather leave medicare and marriage in the hands of state legislators (even better, leaving it to churches to manage), and not the federal government. I just pointed out that NY state politicians passed this act, despite significant opposition among citizens. It happened in Canada the same way. The people were not consulted. This was passed down by the elites. And now, the issue is so divisive, that no politician will take the risk to repeal gay marriage. This may or may not be a serious milestone in the further descent of public morals. What do you think? Have you considered my questions in the previous post? In Canada, very few same sex couples actually take advantage of the law allowing them to marry. Most gays just don’t want to marry. IMO, the push for gay marriage is part of the general cultural war to gradually erode family values and increase the role of government.

  53. “marriage equality act”

  54. Canuck — it was a joke correlating the polygamy meme that I have seen a number of times over the past couple of days with an incident that occurred at the height of the Tea Party antics here in the US.

    The polls do show support, btw; but, as I said we have a representative democracy and Pres. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000.

    Polygamy is a bad example, because it turns out the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional which trumps States Rights. Were that not the case, I have no issue with an informed debate and eventual vote. BTW, polygamy was normative halacha in Eidot ha’Mizrach until it eventually came to an end due to civil law in Israel — as far as I know, it is still “on the books” in Eidot ha’Mizrach halacha.

    The Same-Sex Marriage legislation in NY is an example of what the political conservatives have always demanded — the right of states to legislate (local) law for their citizens.

    As for what Gay couples choose to do, we’ll find out. But see the NY Times URL I posted for an understanding of the financial benefits they can now receive along with heterosexual married couples.

  55. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-01-27/local/27738121_1_gay-marriage-new-poll-new-york-voters

    “Fifty-six percent of Empire State voters favor same-sex nuptials, up from the previous best of 51% in 2009, according to the Quinnipiac University survey.”

  56. “he catering hall is a definitely a “place of public accomodation”. by tying in the rabbi’s honorarium, he has now become a part of the public accomodation. and even with the “exemption”, will be required to perform the ceremony (or at least be present, which is also objectionable; see even (rev) don imus’s comment this morning.)”

    it’s certainly not as “definite” as you make it seem. IAE, all the rabbi has to do is separate his honorarium from the catering hall and poof, your alleged problem goes away.

    “2. the legislators conceded in the (non) debate that the exemptions are not legally supportable.”

    How about some support for this allegation of fact. But again, IAE, the statute contains a non-severability clause. Thus, if the exemption is not legally supportable and is thrown out, the entire statute goes out the window.

    “3. in case of a legal challenge, can we trust the gov / atty gnl to support this part of the law (e.g., ‘bama’s and holder’s refusal to defend the doma law)?”

    This statute is Cuomo’s baby; he staked a great deal on its passage. To think that he wouldn’t support it, and all of its provisions, is sheer fantasy.

  57. “This was passed down by the elites.”

    False; it was passed by the NYS legislature. That’s how American democracy works.

  58. IH- I don’t deny that same-sex marriage is now legal in NY, just as you should accept that Bush legally won his elections, even if he only won a minority of the popular vote.

    However, you have not answered my tough questions, so I think you realize that are some things which are morally repugnant even if they become legal and even if they have near unanimous public support. I don’t understand how any orthodox Jew can be supportive or indifferent to the gay marriage issue. Isn’t it the role of the Jewish people to be a light unto the nations, a holy nation, and a nation of priests? How does that square with gay marriage?

    Contrary to your suggestion, conservatives were against the act. After all, conservatives want to “conserve” tradition. Financial benefits could have been obtained through civil unions, so as not to force society to give a legal imprimatur to something that until recently was considered to be morally degenerate. Soon, we could see Torah teachers punished by government for teaching the Torah view on marriage and homosexuality. You don’t believe it could happen? It is happening in Canada; so far just Christians have been fined and silenced. Soon, if it hasn’t happened already, elementary school teachers may be required to teach children that they can marry either a girl or a boy.

  59. >>“This was passed down by the elites.”

    [Joseph Kaplan]>False; it was passed by the NYS legislature. That’s how American democracy works.

    I believe that both our statements are true. Haven’t the government, media and academic elites been the source of the push to legalize same-sex marriage, and not a grassroots public movement? If a referendum had been held on the issue, which side do you think would have won?

  60. Canuck — we’re missing each other, it seems. I was bringing the Bush case as evidence that our system is Representative not Popular Democracy. So they are both entirely legitimate. As it happens, the polls also indicate majority support for the same-sex marriage legislation (contra your comment).

    I don’t know what tough questions I’ve ducked. In our system, if something is constitutional, within the domain of a legislature (e.g. city, state or federal) there is a process by which it can be raised. As a citizen, I support the system. As an individual, I have the right — if I care enough about an issue — to actively lobby for or against it. What’s the tough question?

    The point I was making about conservatives was not that they were in favor of it; but, now that they lost, some are saying the government had no right to allow it — despite the fact that a key raison d’etre of their political philosophy in the US is precisely that it is preferable for state governments to legislate than the Federal government. [btw,

    With respect, the concluding scare story part of your note is simply not credible in the US context. In fact, we have the opposite problem — secular public elementary schools are being required to give fundamentalist Christian narrative of Creation along side scientific theories of evolution. And, then we could talk about abortion…

  61. “If a referendum had been held on the issue, which side do you think would have won?”

    As of January 2011, 56% in favor (as above)

  62. “Haven’t the government, media and academic elites been the source of the push to legalize same-sex marriage, and not a grassroots public movement? If a referendum had been held on the issue, which side do you think would have won?”

    Good questions but the answer might not be what you think.

  63. “Public opinion is moving faster on gay marriage than on any other major social issue. A decade ago, roughly 60 per cent of the US population was opposed it. Now multiple polls show a narrow majority in favour. Barack Obama, who has previously said he generally supports gay rights but is opposed to the right to marry, recently revealed that his position was “evolving”.

    With voters under the age of 35 supporting marriage equality by a majority of more than two to one, and with opposition strongest among the eldest voters, supporters of gay marriage are publicly predicting that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in every US state within a decade.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/new-york-gay-couple-can-finally-marry-after-60-years-2303231.html

  64. IH – your last post suggest that the propaganda for gay marriage in schools and the media has been effective on changing the views of young people. Does this make it right? How can a Jew who believes in the Torah not scream out in protest?

    IH & Joeph: I noticed from the IH cited earlier that the 56% result in favor of gay marriage came from a Quinnipiac University survey. I’m sceptical. But, if the sponsors of the act were confident that they had a popular majority, why didn’t the hold an actual referendum? Could it be that they were afraid that they would lose, and that they couldn’t care less what the voters want, as long as pollsters told them it wouldn’t hurt their chances for re-election?

    If a referendum in NY were to pass with 56 percent in favor of women being allowed to marry multiple husbands, siblings marrying each other, and parents marrying children, would you accept this also? If not, why not, and what if the referendum were supported by 95 percent?

  65. I won’t push anyone to answer my questions about the equality in marriage act. But, please think about them. Despite the moral confusion around us, same-sex marriage is not something that any Jew can ever reconcile with the Torah. If one can’t see this, then one should accept that perhaps they have gone too far, and maybe they should re-think their values. Thanks.

  66. AIWAC and Tal,
    That’s fine, but if the issue is 7 mitvos b’nai noach or the big three, then the opponents of same-sex marriage should not use “to’eva” in their discussions (let’s start with the term “to’eva marriage”).

  67. MiMedinat HaYam

    Canuck on June 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Do those of you who support legalization of gay marriage also support the legalization of polygamy? And if society were to evolve to demand it …
    ————–

    better question — if polygamy were to be (secularly) legalized, would that part of cherem de’rabbenu gershon fall away? (like the 100th floor question?)

  68. “But, if the sponsors of the act were confident that they had a popular majority, why didn’t the hold an actual referendum?”

    Because that’s not the way democracy works in NY. I know that some other states like Cal do have lots of referendums. But not in NY.

  69. Mimedinat HaYam
    As the person who introduced the 100th floor case, I have to say that the case of secular legalization has nothing to do with it whatsoever. One has to do with essential practicalities of life, namely, the ability to get in and out of your home. The other has nothing to do with this whatsoever.

  70. IH is not Orthodox, so he really has no place in this discussion. For a factual point, however, it should be noted that he’s quoting old polls. Latest is that 57% of New Yorkers don’t support the homosexuals here.

    Joseph Kaplan has, essentially, given the same exact response to my non-anonymous question as he did to the anonymous version, so I can safely assume that:

    a) His self-righteousness about not responding to anonymous questions is, at least here, a sham, and,

    b) He has something to hide here.

    But based on his posts (and those of other supposedly-more-frum-than-IH posters), it’s pretty clear where they stand: They do, shockingly, support this bill. I am somewhat staggered by this, and wonder at which point we can have the courage to stand up to people and inform them that Judaism is not just about eating kosher and not texting on Shabbat.

    A poll of YCT students, graduates, and faculty would be quite instructive here as well. I predict a lot of hemming and hawing.

  71. Canuck: funny thing about not screaming in protest. See, it’s totally legal to eat lobster in NY. I have yet to see a Torah-believing Jew do anything in protest. Aren’t we supposed to be a light unto the nations and all that?

    Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh – that’s a chiddush. I’m not chayav for the aveiros of non-Jews, or the standards of non-Jewish society. And I think we figured out a while ago that coercion is the wrong way to get our fellow Jews to stop doing aveiros.

    But here’s a tough question for you: if you met a guy in shul, talked to him, seemed like a shtark guy, knows lots of Torah, etc. Eventually you visit him at home on Shabbos.

    Case 1: he’s mehalel b’pharhesia
    Case 2: he has a “husband”

    Describe your reaction to each, and justify them.

  72. Nachum: I think a lot of people here simply recognize that God never said “and you shall force your light upon the nations.” I’d say the formation we got – “and theyll look and say ‘wow isn’t this nation clever and wise'” – is quite instructive, especially insofar as it differs with your way of doing things.

  73. Abba,
    100th fl. is one of my examples of how electonics/electricity will be so pervasive as to become unavoidable — in this case, because we will be living in towers that are so tall that using stairs is entirely implausible. I was not claiming that this (100th floor) was certain to happen, just one of the possibilities. But something like it, in fact many things like it, will.

  74. Nachum. I guess I was wrong. I had thought that people who use their real names are more careful in their comments and stay away from offensive personal attacks. Ah well; it seems you finally did teach me something.

  75. See, it’s totally legal to eat lobster in NY. I have yet to see a Torah-believing Jew do anything in protest. Aren’t we supposed to be a light unto the nations and all that?

    The Torah doesn’t require or expect non-Jews to avoid lobster.

    Nachum: I think a lot of people here simply recognize that God never said “and you shall force your light upon the nations.”

    We are few enough in number not to be able to force much of anything on anyone. All we have to do is avoid silence which will be interpreted as consent.

    I’d say the formation we got – “and theyll look and say ‘wow isn’t this nation clever and wise’”

    By your logic, we may never take any unpopular position in public.

  76. Jon, has it ever occurred to you that maybe the “light” we’re supposed to transmit includes opposition to sexual perversion, including homosexuality? Did I just blow your mind?

    Joseph, I’m asking you simple questions, and you’re ducking and weaving. I’ll make it even starker: In the privacy of the voting booth, would you vote for or against homosexual marriage? For or against?

  77. Nachum,
    I would vote for. Did I just blow your mind? Now you tell me something. If sodomy laws had come up for a vote, rather than being struck down by the courts, in the privacy of the voting booth, would you have voted for sodomy laws (making it illegal) or against (making it legal). If you would have voted for the laws, do you mean to say that you think that the government should be throwing gays in prison. And if you would have voted against the sodomy laws, and feel that gay sex should be legal, why are you making such a fuss over a matter of personal status, one which will not alter one bit the amount of gay sex that occurs in the world.

  78. I think there’s an advantage to having laws on the books, even if unenforced. Sodomy, however, is not what we are talking about here.

    And no, unfortunately, you didn’t blow my mind. The ability of people to compartmentalize (“I’m a good frum Jew; I don’t eat pork; I think it’s a good thing that gays can marry”) is unsurprising to me, even as it sickens. Your insistence that it means nothing, of course, makes it all the more puzzling: *Why*, then, are you in favor of it?

  79. “so, do you conclude that Rambam would have been approving of countries that institute Sharia law, but not Western democracies? ”

    Who cares if the Rambam would have approved of Islamic practices-he was from Islamic countries and there is strong evidence that like all of us he was influenced by his environment-if he was bloggng here I could imagine referring to Egypt as a medinah shel chesed as some refer to the US.

  80. “The polls do show support, btw; but, as I said we have a representative democracy and Pres. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000.”

    He won the one vote that counted 5-4-the Supremes showed about as much integrity in that case as they did in the Dred Scott Case. As a Jew I am happy about the result it would have been devastating for Jews to have a traditional Jew in the VP office after 9/11.

  81. Nachum,
    It is meaningless halachically (at least compared with sodomy laws). It is very meaningful to real people I know.
    And what do you mean we are not talking about sodomy? Whatever else are we talking about?
    And while you may feel good about being able to charge Joseph with “weaseling” your willingness to call your interlocutors “sickening” is, I think, rather worse.

  82. I figured out how to save the discussion from the RCA convention.

    Go to the “public forum” page.
    Select View->Page source
    Find the reference to public_forum2.mp3
    Click on that. A quicktime player will pop up in your browser and start playing the mp3.
    Push the stop button.
    In the browser, File->Save page.

  83. Nachum — FTR, you did ask me to comment: “Regarding homosexual “marriage,” you know what I’d like to see just once? For people like Joseph Kaplan, Charlie Hall, IH, and so many other…”

    Your hissy fit is unimpressive.

  84. Nachum:

    >For a factual point, however, it should be noted that
    >he’s quoting old polls. Latest is that 57% of New
    >Yorkers don’t support the homosexuals here.

    You’re wrong. In fact, you have it exactly backwards

    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1318.xml?ReleaseID=1607

    Nationally, it’s about 50% for, 46% against, 3-4% undecided.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/gay-marriage-opponents-now-in-minority/

    You were saying?

  85. And what’s wrong with legalizing polygamy? I’d think it would be a limited market, although it does mean the rich men would snap up multiple women, leaving fewer women for the rest of us.

  86. “A poll of YCT students, graduates, and faculty would be quite instructive here as well. I predict a lot of hemming and hawing.”

    Check out the link to Makom Toronto, run by a Toronto YCT graduate, that on this past Sunday had a screening for a movie about LGBT screening: http://makomto.org/

  87. “And what’s wrong with legalizing polygamy? I’d think it would be a limited market, although it does mean the rich men would snap up multiple women, leaving fewer women for the rest of us.”

    Disagree. Google the Bountiful polygamy trial in British Columbia and you will see where legalizing polygamy, which is being considered by the courts here in good ole’ Canada, leads. It will be for more than rich guys – how about Mormon breakoffs and other cults.

  88. “Who cares if the Rambam would have approved of Islamic practices-he was from Islamic countries and there is strong evidence that like all of us he was influenced by his environment-if he was bloggng here I could imagine referring to Egypt as a medinah shel chesed as some refer to the US.”

    Mycroft – that is historicism, which I keep hearing is irrelevant to halacha from the RW. Since Tal raised the issue in reference to the same-sex marriage legislation, my question stands:

    Tal — so, do you conclude that Rambam would have been approving of countries that institute Sharia law, but not Western democracies? And should that be what the OU advocate?

    If you going to take us down this road, then tell us what you think it means le’ma’aseh.

    If you truly believe that what Tal wrote is halacha, there are places in the world that practice it…

  89. Nachum: you’re clearly not very intelligent. My comment was based on that assumption. Did I just blow your mind? Or maybe you’ll actually read it this time?

  90. re. homosexual marriage: yawn. if this entire discussion is really a proxy discussion about ortho homosexuals, then say so and discuss that. otherwise who cares (whether it passes or not). let’s move on.

    re. polygamy (i assume we’re really talking here about polygyny and not polygamy): if it were to be legalized, i have no doubt that more than a few jews would embrace it as lechatchila a more authentic way of jewish family life.

    MDJ:

    “I was not claiming that this (100th floor) was certain to happen, just one of the possibilities. But something like it, in fact many things like it, will.”

    thanks for the explanation.
    i think this underestimates orthodox inertia.
    (and the 100th floor prospect is certainly not an obstacle to orthodox life, even assuming that shabbos elevators are assur.)

  91. I agree about the discussion about gay marriage being a bore, and frankly irrelevant to the O community. Could we instead discuss the slate article on male flight in the liberal denominations?

    T’would seem to me that this issue is particularly timely with all the egalitarinism debates…

  92. aiwac — is there something new to say there?

  93. AIWAC:

    “T’would seem to me that this issue is particularly timely with all the egalitarinism debates”

    i had assumed that the relevance to hirhurim of the article on male flight (and also the article on unemloyed women rabbis) is to bolster claim made on a previous thread that there is a gender barrier that women rabbis from interacting with male congregants in a meaningul manner.

    (btw, the male flight from liberal shuls in america has echoes as far back as the mid 19th c.)

  94. ” that women ” should read ” that hinders women “

  95. “re. homosexual marriage: yawn. if this entire discussion is really a proxy discussion about ortho homosexuals, then say so and discuss that. otherwise who cares (whether it passes or not). let’s move on.”

    Well, from a Jewish perspective the RCA and Agudah obviously cared and Canuck and Nachum obviously care (one in measured comments and one not). Some of us who think it isn’t particularly relevant from a Jewish perspective (except to ensure, as the law does, protection for clergy rights) have been told that not caring in this way makes us non-frum.

  96. But if you like, here is my view. I am shocked that when given an opportunity to actively serve God in synagogues, women have risen to the occassion.

    If 25% of men were leyning on a regular basis; and 25% of women jump at the chance to leyn when allowed, then the percentage of male leyners will go down. Nu? Daven in a men-only shul if that makes you more comfortable (then there is no need to fight over the height of the mechitza).

  97. IH,

    …and is there anything new to say about gay marriage that hasn’t already been said a hundred times?

    More to the point, there are quite a few discussions, both in the article and the comments – both about the problem and possible solutions.

    I did find the article’s belief that this is a zero sum game between full egalitarianism and feminization on the one hand and domineering male patriarchy on the other to be very off-putting. Must we be forced to choose between to bad options?

    However, I do think the idea of exploring the role of masculinity and its value and contribution to Judaism is worth exploring, as is the importance of teaching the importance of specifically male role-models (husband, father, brother &c).

    There’s certainly much to chew on.

  98. IH,

    I see you continue to be apathetic if not snide when it comes to this…

  99. That’s fine, but if the issue is 7 mitvos b’nai noach or the big three, then the opponents of same-sex marriage should not use “to’eva” in their discussions (let’s start with the term “to’eva marriage”)

    The issue is that something the Torah very strongly disapproves of — for both Jews and non-Jews — and which Western society until as recently as 25 years ago likewise strongly disapproved of — has now become normalized. That the Torah disapproves of its can be deduced from multiple sources, including that it is called Toevah, and that it is forbidden to both Jews and non-Jews, and indeed is a captial crime for both.

    The gemara in Chullin writes that the non-Jews have three merits which sustain them. ONe of them is that they do not recognize homosexual marriage (she lo kosvim kesubah le mishkov zachar). Rashi there is very interesting — he states that while the non-Jews do engage in that abominable behavior, and even go so far as to set aside a paramour for just that purpose, they do not take their frivoloty (kalus rosh) so far as to “marry” the object of their abominable desire. That’s what recognizing such a marriage is — kalus rosh — taking something holy and a cornerstone of civilization and turning it into a joke. (What next? Marry a goat? A marriage of three men and four women? Open marriages? Permitted adultery every Monday and Thursday? The mind boggles.)

    Since we are still in golus, the attitude of normalization will seep into the Jewish and indeed the Orthodox community. That alone is cause for worry — what the Torah views as abominable, will now be viewed as “no big deal” — just a different custom, like eating rice on Passover or not. From the comments here, sounds like some people are there already.

    In addition, it is very sad that non-Jewish society has now moved a giant step away from their ideal — a society based on monotheism and the 7 Mitsvoz Bnei Noach.

  100. Uh…Tal, a big chunk of western society is agnostic/atheist. So I’d say that gay marriage is far from the only deviation from your model.

  101. Uh…Tal, a big chunk of western society is agnostic/atheist. So I’d say that gay marriage is far from the only deviation from your model.

    So what’s your point? That too is something to be sad about, and that too is of relatively recent vintage. The fact that Western society is not ideal hardly means that we should be sanguine about a major moral decline.

    (The Rambam, BTW, makes the same point in reverse. In the uncensored version, he writes that the reason that Hashem permitted Xtianity and Islam to become so popular was to wean the non-Jews away from paganism and prepare them for the pure mono-theism of the Messianic era. This despite the fact that the Rambam himself writes that both religions contradict major tenets of the Torah and are heretical. Since they are relative improvements over paganism, the Rambam viewed them positively, at least to some extent.)

  102. “Rabbinic Scion Clinches Same-Sex Marriage” — just goes to show that wherever there is tumah, the krum Jews are sure to be in the forefront. The greater the potential for kedushah, the greater the potential for tumah.

  103. aiwac – I’m sorry the subject bores you, but it is probably the most significant news article of the week.

    Joseph – Many believe that indifference on the subject of same-sex marriage implies tacit approval.

    Lot, who lived in the city of Sodom, was certainly religious in his home life. Societal mores eventually had an impact on him and on his family. Perhaps he should have tried harder to influence his neighbours, or left town before the angels needed to pay his family a visit.

  104. The other interesting and indeed dismaying thing about the bill is sociological: how quickly a society can degrade. When I graduated from high school in 1984, homosexuality was still considered degenerate by the vast majority. Had you told someone that only 27 years later we would have same-sex marriage, you would have been viewed as utterly insane.

    That society can go downhill so fast is certainly a reason to give one pause.

  105. At the risk of being accused as snide, there are signs in lower Manhattan that read: “If you don’t like Gay Marriage, blame straight people. They’re the ones who keep having Gay babies”.

  106. “When I graduated from high school in 1984, homosexuality was still considered degenerate by the vast majority.”

    And 20 years before that mixed-race marriages were considered degenerate by many. The Supreme Court did not rule anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional until 1967.

    BTW, I’m older than you and it turns out that some of my high school classmates were gay. Odds are that there are some in your Class of 1984 as well.

  107. IH – Are you perhaps open to the possibility that it’s unfair to equate those who supported legal bans on mixed-race marriages, with those who currently oppose legalization of gay marriage? Also, while gay-marriage is contrary to the Torah, mixed-race marriages aren’t.

  108. >The other interesting and indeed dismaying thing about the bill is sociological: how quickly a society can degrade. When I graduated from high school in 1984, homosexuality was still considered degenerate by the vast majority. Had you told someone that only 27 years later we would have same-sex marriage, you would have been viewed as utterly insane.

    American society was just so much more upstanding in 1984. That’s very . . . 1984.

  109. Canuck — sure, US States that don’t want to allow same-sex marriages are not required to do so.

  110. For what it’s worth, my experience is that when a person discovers that a close relative or close friend is gay, the “immorality” language quickly disappears.

    And the grandchildren of a Gay partnership are loved as much as the grandchildren of a traditional marriage.

  111. IH- It’s an appeal to emotion to suggest that if we personally know gay people that we care about, we should re-define morality and overturn universal marriage customs. This is what the propagandists in the media have done, by creating likeable gay characters on popular TV shows and movies, so that we come to know them personally, and this gradually wears down traditional mores.

  112. Canuck — c’mon. You’re too smart to believe in conspiracy theories.

  113. Canuck: so presumably, if we came to know enough murders on TV, we’d be ok with them?

    Here’s another “tough question”: provide a single argument besides “the Torah says so” for the immorality of gay marriage. Because the Torah says a lot of things, and not all of them have moral import. Moreover, believe it or not, we live in a secular country, and arguments like “the Torah says so” aren’t arguments.

    Of course, you didn’t answer my previous “tough questions”, so I’m not holding my breath.

  114. >Canuck — c’mon. You’re too smart to believe in conspiracy theories.

    I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy, because it’s out in the open. To be honest, I got the idea from the following article by Ben Shapiro in the recent edition of Frontpagemag.com, a conservative online magazine. Here’s the article, which is based on his research for his recent book, Primetime Propaganda.

    http://frontpagemag.com/2011/06/24/of-television-and-same-sex-marriage/

  115. Canuck — sorry, but I have to ask: how old are you?

  116. JON:

    “Canuck: so presumably, if we came to know enough murders on TV, we’d be ok with them?”

    not ok. but desenitized. as with sex and sexuality in general.
    also note the popular complaint that our children pick up and emulate the violence they see on the screen (tv and games)

  117. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/sesame-streets-pinko-puppets-brainwash-our-kids-2290418.html

    Wonder if he’ll be the new reference point for the “Jews control the media” crowd…

  118. [Jon_Brooklyn]> so presumably, if we came to know enough murders on TV, we’d be ok with them?

    I never made that argument. In any case, when murders occur on TV, there are police detectives working tirelessly to catch the bad guys. In Nazi Germany, BTW, murder of Jews, or at least extreme hatred, was promoted in the media. Heck, in many Arab newspapers, they publish hateful anti-Jewish cartoons. We are all influenced by the surrounding cultures and media.

    >Here’s another “tough question”: provide a single argument besides “the Torah says so” for the immorality of gay marriage. Because the Torah says a lot of things, and not all of them have moral import. Moreover, believe it or not, we live in a secular country, and arguments like “the Torah says so” aren’t arguments.

    Here’s a dictionary definition of immoral: not moral; broadly: conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles.

    All kinds of societies, even those not exposed to Judaism, are opposed to homosexuality. Perhaps because it is deviant behavior, and with men especially, can lead to extreme promiscuity, degradating activities, and the spread of disease. Gays are maybe 2% of the population, and few of them want to be married. This issue is not being driven by gays themselves, and is not a human rights issue. It’s one thing for society to tolerate gays and their behavior, as Jews tolerate sinners and sin, but as Jews don’t claim that homosexuality is a mitzvah, society shouldn’t do it either.

    >Of course, you didn’t answer my previous “tough questions”, so I’m not holding my breath.

    What question was that? My tough questions were generally ignored, except for those who answered the easier question about polygamy. We don’t need to put anybody on the spot here. I wonder why I bother to post here. I assume that most readers agree with the Torah and accept the Torah has a final say, even if they are personally ambivalent.

  119. >Canuck — sorry, but I have to ask: how old are you?
    Why does it matter?

  120. Canuck — You’re a smart kid and I enjoy our back-and-forth, but sometimes experience tempers ideology. Let’s stick to debating the ideas rather than the road you took at 12:40pm.

  121. Canuck — sorry, but I have to ask: how old are you?
    Why does it matter?

    Canuck – don’t you know the truism that the older you are, the more experienced you are, the more liberal you are, the more accepting of homosexuals and their lifestyle….

  122. Rafael — are you in high school also?

  123. Thanks Rafael :-). I don’t mind that IH is consistently left of center. Let’s give him credit. He’s respectful of others, and a good foil for drawing out our ideas. He hasn’t said a bad word about me or anyone else to my knowledge. Could he really be a Conservative who is egging us on in order to help us to clarify our thoughts on Jewish issues?

  124. there are signs in lower Manhattan that read: “If you don’t like Gay Marriage, blame straight people. They’re the ones who keep having Gay babies”.

    So you to think gay people can’t have families.

  125. >Canuck — You’re a smart kid and I enjoy our back-and-forth, but sometimes experience tempers ideology. Let’s stick to debating the ideas rather than the road you took at 12:40pm.

    I’m a man, not a kid, and I’m sorry if I someow implied that you were propagandizing – that wasn’t my intention. I believe you are motivated by sincere compassion for gays. Can you accept that I am too?

  126. Switching gears back to the issue of To’eva Marriages. I have been enjoying the newish book “Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza” and just came across a fascinating story about a Rabbinate doctor and the Ketubah for his Karaite bride.

    “Drawn up in a Karaite court and signed in August 1117, one of these ketubot commemorates in Hebrew the union of a Rabbinate doctor named Yahya ben Avraham and an extremely well-off Karaite woman named Rayyisa bat Saadia. The document in decorated in unusually elaborate fashion – with biblical verses winding through the margins in a gold-and-blue flecked lattice-like weave of miniature script – and it makes clear that, not only was this Rayyisa’s third marriage, but it was the second time she was marrying Yahya. Their first marriage ended in divorce and now they were trying again.”

    See http://tinyurl.com/6f2dd97 for the translated main section of the ketubah. The next page not on Google Books, though, continues with this interesting addendum:

    “And our elder, dear Yahya agreed, of his own free will and resolve … that he shall not desecrate the festivals of the Lord as observed by his aforementioned wife according to the sighting of the moon, and that he shall not light the Sabbath candles against her [will and custom], and not coerce her in matters of food and drink ….. And if he violates any one of these conditions he will pay 100 dinars to the poor of the Karaites and the poor of the Rabbinates in equal shares. And this Rayyisa agreed, that while she is with her aforementioned husband she shall not desecrate the festivals of our brethren the Rabbinates.”

    ——

    The details of this Karaite/Rabbinate intermarriage are interesting in themselves; but, how did either community accept a clear violation of the To’eva described in Devarim 24:1-4?

    Perhaps the Karaites interpreted this literally and it was Rayyisa who initiated the divorce; but, the context indicates that this marriage was also accepted by the Rabbinate community (in whose Geniza, the document was found).

    Thoughts?

  127. The Karaite woman was extremely rich, like the people who receive super-fast conversions in certain right wing batei din nowadays.

  128. IH: I don’t see any indication that the Rabbinites permitted it. Then again, it isn’t clear that there was a marriage in between their two marriages.

  129. So…buying an (obviously fraudulent) giyur is OK, but giving a state giyur that follows the rules but doesn’t compel 100% shmirat mitzvot afterward for life is not?!

  130. >Thoughts?

    It doesn’t say that she married the other man in between. Sounds like she was widowed or divorced from one man, married Yahya, they divorced, and then they remarried. This is perfectly permissible according to Rabbanite halacha, and evidently according to Karaite halacha, as well as the plain meaning of Deut. 24:1-4.

  131. IH:

    i honestly thought you were going in a different direction when you brought up that karaite ketubbah completely aside from the toevah issue

    as far as that addendum, it was typical of rabbanite-karaite ketubot, which favored the wife (e.g., rabbanite wife could have shabbat candles)

    you might be intersted in the work of marina rustow

  132. Gil, Anonymous — that is plausible, but given the chazaka of tan du it is logical to read that Yahya was the 1st husband, not the 2nd.

  133. >Gil, Anonymous — that is plausible, but given the chazaka of tan du it is logical to read that Yahya was the 1st husband, not the 2nd.

    Even with Centrist logic, which you are trying to parody, that makes no sense.

  134. Abba — thanks for the reference. Her book looks fascinating, but my stack is already overflowing. BTW, she is acknowleged by the authors of Sacred Trash among the dozen who “advised, prodded, boosted and improved [their drafts].

  135. Anonymous — I was being serious. Whatever.

  136. IH – Looking back, I take by my apology for suggesting you were propagandizing for gay marriage – I never suggested it – you simply didn’t like where the conversation was going, so you labeled me “a kid” in order to discredit my statements. You tried labeling Rafael, but he didn’t grab your bait. That was insulting and intellectually dishonest of you.

  137. MiMedinat HaYam

    the custom written get you discuss was commonly done throughout the ages. its only in america that we have a standard wording that, for some reason (IM), no mesader kiddushin will allow to change.

    perhaps by listing all types of clauses in a ktuba (maybe not lighting candles, but other issues, both of the marriage, and of the dissolution of the marriage) we can avoid the problems attendant when couples seek a divorce. and i dont mean “send all disputes to the rca”, even the nonarbitrable disputes. i mean this property belongs to so and so, and this inheritance to so and so, and children will be raised in such a yeshiva (or equivalent; there we’ll have fights) and other such issues.

    this will greatly solve the supposed agunah pblm. and i dont mean putting it in a pre nup that is only sprung up on the poor chatan denan at (almost) the last minute. and it should be agrred to by both parties, not just the groom.

  138. Rafael — are you in high school also?

    Yes, like you. Which one do you attend? 🙂

  139. “Could he really be a Conservative who is egging us on in order to help us to clarify our thoughts on Jewish issues”

    Perish the thought.

  140. Looks like Geert Wilders and his PVV party voted in favor of the band, with a single no vote from PVV member Kortenoeven.

    “PVV member Kortenoeven was not allowed to make a statement why he voted against.

    In the PVV faction it has been agreed upon that Geert Wilders will communicate about this vote said Kortenoeven. Wilders has not yet replied to a request for comments. Kortenoeven is known as a friend of Israel.”

  141. “Looks like Geert Wilders and his PVV party voted in favor of the band”

    The PVV party voted for Evanescence on MTV? 😛

  142. Well, you know that due to my hashkafa my spell checker doesn’t have “ban” without the “d” 🙂

  143. For the record, while all the insults were being slung at me, I was:

    a) Reviewing wedding invitation proofs with my (opposite-sex) fiancee, and, following that,

    b) Singing in the chorus (second tenor) of a production of Carousel. It’s a wonderful show, and those in Jerusalem should check it out. It’s probably the only production in which Maariv is davened in the midst (backstage, between acts) of a “clambake.” (Mincha comes before the show.) In the audience was a granddaughter of Oscar Hammerstein and her family, who made aliyah last week. More remarkable considering that Hammerstein was not halakhically Jewish. (His father married a non-Jew, and his son married a Jew.) Ve-hayshiv lev avot al banim is something you witness all the time in this country.

    Just in case anyone was interested in my life while the resident homosexual lobby at Hirhurim was having a go at me for daring to stand up for what this blog exists to promote. The horror! Sorry, Gil, but more people read your blog than mine. 🙂

  144. I find it curious that so few people here seem able to apologize when they are wrong; and seem unable to laugh at themselves…

  145. I know I shouldn’t respond. But this is too delicious to pass up:

    “And the grandchildren of a Gay partnership are loved as much as the grandchildren of a traditional marriage.”

    For someone who likes to toss around accusations of childishness, perhaps IH doesn’t realize that homosexuals can’t have children together.

    They can triumph in the courts, legislatures, and popular culture all they want. But deep down, even their most ardent supporters (and among others, not so deep down) realize that there’s something very wrong about homosexuality. And homosexuals know it too, even if they deny it to themselves, which is probably what makes them so mad.

    You also have to love how the Left, home to most conspiracy theories, loves to toss the accusation at others. Kol haposel, bimumo posel.

  146. You don’t think my previous post was laughing at myself? I have a pretty good sense of humor. Of course, some things are very serious, doyens of mob thought Stewart and Colbert notwithstanding.

  147. Nachum — So you don’t rate adopted children of heterosexual couples either? Bizarre.

  148. P.S. The Lesbians can do it with artificial insemination. I have 2 adorable cousins who were born this way — each of their 2 mothers underwent artifical insemination and they then cross-adopted the other’s biological child.

  149. NACHUM:

    “Ve-hayshiv lev avot al banim is something you witness all the time in this country.”

    i assume that statistically it goes in the opposite direction just as frequently

  150. Evidently, it’s Pride Week in Toronto. It’s mission is to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities.

    * Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, 2 Spirited, Allies.

    http://www.pridetoronto.com/

    The following link shows how they are angry that Toronto’s recently elected mayor (who is a fiscal conservative) was unable to attend their latest event. Rather than simply promoting tolerance (which I’m not against), they seem to be actively pushing to mainstream their deviant lifestyles, and intimidating politicians in the process.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/fords-absence-pride-ceremony-elicits-boos-231311001.html

  151. Don’t worry, Nachum. When you walk through a storm of criticism, hold your head up high.

  152. Joseph Kaplan of June 27 AT 11:40 and others
    I fail to understand why your main point is to attack the OU, using technical legalese, rather than supporting their public stance against homosexual marriage.
    Civilizations have destroyed themselvs when the traditional model of marriage has become a pluralistic one.The slippery sLope has “slipped.”
    Practically while there may be protection for religious organizations and the clergy,individuals will not be protected from claims of discrimination from homosexual marriages.
    This issue also effects Jewish adolescents who are confused about their identity and will find so little need to clarify it but as adults can join the homosexual marrige community.

  153. “Once the principle is that we’re not really concerned with the recent past as a model for correct behavior it’s not really seen as insulting to our predecessors”

    Our mesorah depends on following each generation-it is ideally based on mesorah not reading texts which are only et llasot

  154. daat y,
    What civilizations are you refering to that “have destroyed themselves when the traditional model of marriage has become a pluralistic one”?

  155. I think that Nachum raised a valid point with respect to the admittedly more liberal posters re their views on homosexuality. I think that the response illustrates how the SOP has become a hashkafic fig leaf for many here and within MO. M I think that unless a very unlikely possibility occurs, namely a court delaring the act unconstitutional in whole or as applied, as R Gil has pointed out, and as I mentioned , the Torah observant community lost this battle a long time ago.

  156. MDJ asked:

    “daat y,
    What civilizations are you refering to that “have destroyed themselves when the traditional model of marriage has become a pluralistic one”?

    First of all, although this is not a direct answer, we know how Greco-Roman society was quite immoral and that the society of ancient Egypt was hardly a morally grounded society. Think of the leadership of the RCC and the royal courts of France and Britain-neither was ever a citadel of moral rectitude.

  157. IH asked Tal Benswchar who declined to answer:

    “Ones that incur karet and are part of the “big three” for which Jews are required to die rather than commit?

    The more basic point, IMO, is that these are included in the 7 mitzvos of Bnei Noach. That means that there is a human problem with these sins, not merely a Jewish problem.

    (IOW, one can be one of the Chassidei Umos ha Olam without keeping Shabbos or kashus, but you cannot be if you commit arayos, or worship idols, or steal. Further, acc. to the Rambam, the mitzvah of diminm requires the non-Jews to set up a court system to enforce the other six.)

    IH on June 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm
    Tal — so, do you conclude that Rambam would have been approving of countries that institute Sharia law, but not Western democracies? And should that be what the OU advocate?

    If you going to take us down this road, then tell us what you think it means ”

    I think that the issue was lost years ago when the APA, due to heavy pressure from gay activists, decideed that homosexuality was not a pyschiatric disorder that could be listed in the DSM. However, as a community, tregardless of the effect of the new legislation, we still are obligated to teach that such conduct is a Toevah-along with other conduct in other spheres of Halacha that are similarly descibed.

  158. “I fail to understand why your main point is to attack the OU, using technical legalese, rather than supporting their public stance against homosexual marriage.”

    I didn’t attack the OU. I thought their statement was very poorly drafted so that it looked foolish and I’m not happy when they look foolish. Whether or not I thought the OU’s opposition was wise, I have no problem in their voicing that opposition. Moreover, I thought they were right, and I strongly support them, in having sought a religious exemption and I’m happy that it became part of the law. And if they had expressed all that in a non-contradictory manner I wouldn’t have commented.

    But as long as I’m commenting, let me just say three words to Nachum’s kvetch that he was being insulted: kettle/pot/black.

  159. Just curious-can anyone provide a link as to whether the ACLU has taken a public stance on the recent moves to ban Bris Milah in SF? I checked the religion and belief link on the ACLU web site and saw nothing.

  160. “Civilizations have destroyed themselvs when the traditional model of marriage has become a pluralistic one.”

    I’m a history buff and I’m unaware of any.

  161. ” the APA, due to heavy pressure from gay activists, decideed that homosexuality was not a pyschiatric disorder that could be listed in the DSM.”

    I don’t know about pressure, but there is no real evidence that homosexuality is a treatable disorder.

  162. “Just curious-can anyone provide a link as to whether the ACLU has taken a public stance on the recent moves to ban Bris Milah in SF? I checked the religion and belief link on the ACLU web site and saw nothing.”

    Here’s the link to an ACLU podcast. http://www.aclum.org/sites/all/files/podcast/clm_circumcision.mp3.
    And, as I would have expected, they have come out against the move as an infringement of Freedom of Religion. Here’s the text:

    A recent headline: Fears Rise Over San Francisco’s Circumcision Bill
    ANNOUNCER: I’m Baritunde Thurston from the Onion, and also, (expletive) (expletive), mother (expletive). You’re listening to the Civil Liberties Minute with ACLU attorney, Bill Newman.
    Here’s the story. In San Francisco on this year’s ballot, is an initiative that would make it a crime to perform a circumcision in that city on males under the age of 18. The rationale: anti-circumcision advocates claim that circumcision is a barbaric antiquated custom that should be banned as a public health measure. But, circumcision is a religious rite that interestingly is shared by Muslims and Jews. And more than half of American males are circumcised regardless of religious belief. The San Francisco Proposal obviously violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. It also violates the constitutional right to privacy regardless of one’s religious beliefs. As San Fransisco Rabbi Michael Lerner, quoted in the Jewish Week Newspaper, said: “Circumcision is a matter of individual choice, and the government has no business involving itself in that choice.” Imagine, the government not interfering in personal decisions that we as individuals should have the right to make. Now there’s a heavy thought.
    (Traditional Jewish music plays over the sound of a crying infant)
    ANNOUNCER: The civil liberties minute is made possible by the ACLU, because freedom can’t protect itself.

  163. These “Gay activists” seem almost as powerful as “the Jews”.

  164. “can anyone provide a link as to whether the ACLU has taken a public stance on the recent moves to ban Bris Milah in SF”

    The opponents of the ban are listing the Northern California ACLU as opposing the ban:

    http://www.stopcircban.com/coalition.htm

    The list of opponents is pretty impressive, including every member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the Catholic Archbishop, the Episcopal Bishop, former Mayor Willie Brown, the University of San Francisco (a Catholic University), the Interfaith Councils of San Francisco and Marin Counties, and of course a host of Jewish and Muslim groups.

    The National Association of Evangelicals has also issued a statement opposing the ban:

    http://nae.net/news/602-press-release-nae-opposes-circumcision-ban

  165. ‘These “Gay activists” seem almost as powerful as “the Jews”.’

    A lot of “Gay activists” are also opposing the circ ban because circumcision has been proven to reduce rates of transmission of HIV.

  166. “Populist politics has always been bad for the Jews”

    Really/always

  167. “Greco-Roman society was quite immoral”

    Indeed. Greece was seriously into pederasty and Rome into promiscuity and adultery. But they didn’t redefine marriage.

    ” and that the society of ancient Egypt was hardly a morally grounded society.”

    They didn’t redefine marriage either, although the man and woman were often brother and sister, especially in the royal family.

    All these societies lasted for many centuries.

    ” Think of the leadership of the RCC and the royal courts of France and Britain-neither was ever a citadel of moral rectitude.”

    None of them redefined marriage. And the RCC leadership has been pretty puritanical for centuries. The days of Alexander VI are long gone. (As is the French monarchy.)

  168. “IH on June 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm
    Canuck — sure, US States that don’t want to allow same-sex marriages are not required to do so.”

    I am far from an expert on recognition of other states judgements-but can someone explain to me why a marriage recognized in one state won’t be recognized in another state.

  169. “Really/always”

    Well, one more example today when the alleged “good for the Jews” Geert Wilders voted in favor of the ban on shechita.

  170. Again, on the topic of New York’s Marriage Equality Act:

    Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Joseph, “The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.” (Genesis Rabbah 26:5; Leviticus Rabbah 23:9)

  171. “I don’t know about pressure, but there is no real evidence that homosexuality is a treatable disorder.”

    Whoa, whoa, Charlie, you just moved the goalposts there. Not every disorder is treatable. That doesn’t mean it’s not a disorder. Is it? The verdict of history/tradition/God/Darwin/common sense/your eyes (take your pick, or all of the above) indicates that it most definitely is.

    Joseph, all I’ve done is asked you one simple question. You doth protest too much, methinks. And IH doesn’t even claim to be Orthodox, so I have no idea how I’ve offended him.

  172. Abba:

    Half full? Half empty? You know which I like.

    Scott:

    Hee! Thanks.

  173. NACHUM:

    “Half full? Half empty? You know which I like.”

    this is not a situation of half full vs. half empty. it’s simply a static situation.

  174. “And should that be what the OU advocate”

    Good general question-should it advocate positions that definite a current Orthodox interest even if it will destroy something very good for the future.

  175. “In the weeks leading up to the vote, Saland was heavily lobbied by the Agudath Israel, an ultra-Orthodox advocacy group, which appealed to Saland’s family tree—he is a relation of Shmuel Salant, the powerful late-19th-century chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Jerusalem—to sway him. But people familiar with the lobbying effort told Tablet Magazine in its final days that the group was less concerned with blocking the legislation than with making sure that if it passed, it would provide sufficient exemptions for religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage”

    IN a nutshell this fragment illustrates a number of ideas-who cares if one has famous ancestors? What the Agudah tends to focus on is their parochial interest rather than whatthey consider societal goals eg lobbying for exemptions for them rather than opposing the issue.

  176. “I am far from an expert on recognition of other states judgements-but can someone explain to me why a marriage recognized in one state won’t be recognized in another state.”

    If it’s a matter of public policy, a state doesn’t have to recognize another state’s marriage. For example, some states allow common law marriage and others don’t. But even among those that don’t there’s a split; some recognize common law marriages which were effectuated in other states and others, as a matter of public policy, do not.

  177. “Joseph, all I’ve done is asked you one simple question. You doth protest too much, methinks.”

    Questions are fine but you did a lot more than that. Sad that you don’t even realize it. Maybe the euphoria of being engaged has clouded your judgment. 🙂

  178. “Not every disorder is treatable. That doesn’t mean it’s not a disorder. Is it? The verdict of history/tradition/God/Darwin/common sense/your eyes (take your pick, or all of the above) indicates that it most definitely is.”

    See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/what-freud-didnt-know-about-being-gay/article1861915/ for a review of a book by a Harvard Neuroscientist summarizing the known science.

  179. “Really/always”

    Well, one more example today when the alleged “good for the Jews” Geert Wilders voted in favor of the ban on shechita.”

    I wasn’t thinking when I posted earlier about this ban on shechita. While Geert Wilders voted for it, this is not a move by the right, anti-muslim crowd. This legislation has been initiated by animal rights activists, like your friends at PETA. This was also the case in many such bans, including the failed one in New Zealand. So, in fact what this shows is how dangerous the animal rights movement are to Jews and our religious rights, not Geert Wilders.

  180. While texting on Shabbat is as serious a religious prohibition as, say, driving a car,
    ==============================
    Does Gary Rosenblatt really believe this???????
    KT

  181. Rosenblatt was undoubtedly referring to an all electric car.

  182. Rafael — you are willing yourself to be naive on Geert Wilders. This legislation would never have seen the light of day without his support.

    But, then again, there are still believers in Uncle Joe…

  183. “Does Gary Rosenblatt really believe this???????”

    Do you?

  184. “So, in fact what this shows is how dangerous the animal rights movement are to Jews and our religious rights, not Geert Wilders.”

    Since the animal rights movement couldn’t have done it w/o Wilders, it shows how dangerous both are to us and our religious rights. That you continue to defend Wilders though he may be an important factor, together with the animal rights movement, in outlawing shechitah in Holland is quite interesting.

  185. From the link within “Statistics On Teen Texting” I think the authors overstate their case. It seems their data is from:
    “For the past two and a half years, we have been in the unique position to learn from an engagement with six Modern Orthodox religious day schools.”

    For their statistics to have any more validity than the numbers being bandied about, we would need to understand more about their study methodology.

    I’m reminded of a business colleague who was fond of commenting that some manager believed a business case because it was presented in an Excel spreadsheet.

  186. “For their statistics to have any more validity than the numbers being bandied about, we would need to understand more about their study methodology.”

    While that’s a valid issue, remember you were reading a newspaper article and not a professional paper.

  187. re. r. yosef: he sets a poor example by refusing the summons to be questioned. he has the right to refuse to anser certain questions. or all questions. but not to comply with the summons altogether sends out the wrong message.

    re. rosenbergs:

    ” When pressed, supporters would concede that some, like Greenglass, may have been guilty of espionage, but not Julius and Ethel. Now, this pillar of the argument having been knocked out from under them, they have fallen back on the insistence that what the Rosenbergs did was good, just, and necessary, performed by two citizens of the world in support of a wartime ally. The real villain of the piece was not the Rosenbergs; it was the U.S. government. ”

    sounds familiar

  188. Joseph — Just to be clear, I was reading the YU School Partnership writeup linked from the newspaper article:
    http://www.yuschoolpartnership.org/student-support/religion-and-spirituality/70-articles/299-teen-texting.

    I am hopeful they will share the professional paper; or the next level of relevant data.

  189. Joseph Kaplan-I accept your explanation of your point about the OU.
    and its protecting religious organizations and clergy.
    However it does not appear that individuals are protected and might it put Orthodox Jews in possible conflict with this law.,

  190. While texting on Shabbat is as serious a religious prohibition as, say, driving a car,
    ==============================
    Does Gary Rosenblatt really believe this???????

    Do you?
    ——————————————–
    No, if someone was a choleh (not life threatening)who needed treatment on shabbat, who could be treated by texting or driving, I would (of course clor if he were available) text, not drive.
    KT

  191. >re. r. yosef: he sets a poor example by refusing the summons to be questioned. he has the right to refuse to anser certain questions. or all questions. but not to comply with the summons altogether sends out the wrong message.

    I say bravo to Rabbi Yaakov Yosef for refusing the request by police to visit their station to answer questions about his alleged endorsement of the controversial religious book. It wasn’t a summons from a court. The police just wanted to prod the Rabbi to incriminate himself. If the police or prosecuters believe the rabbi is guilty of a crime, let them lay charges or issue a search or arrest warrant.

  192. “No, if someone was a choleh (not life threatening)who needed treatment on shabbat, who could be treated by texting or driving, I would (of course clor if he were available) text, not drive.”

    Gary was writing a blog, not an analysis of a piece of gemarah. You agree that both are assur in most situations, don’t you? That’s all he was saying.

  193. With regard to homosexuality diagnosed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual,henceforth DSM(the “bible” of the mental health field) is now up to DSM-4-TR.
    DSM-1,1952,the shortest version only stated under the heading Sociopathic Personality Disturbance -sexual deviation with no specifics.
    In DSM-2,1968 Sexual Deviation had its own heading,with beneath it included homosexuality,fetishism,pedophilia,transvestism and exhibitionism.
    By 1973 , the APA changed homosexuality to sexual orientation disturbance.There is documented evidence of homosexual activists pressuring the APA,also getting lists of all its members ,somehow,and influenced the “vote” for this new diagnosis.
    No new scientific data occurred between 1968 and 1973 to cause this change.
    In DSM-3,1980,the diagnosis was changed to ego-dystonic homosexuality,meaning if it bothered you it was a disorder.This was turned on its head by the power of the homosexual community,that to treat this disorder one should accept his homosexuality so that it won’t bother the individual but not to attempt changing his orientation.
    By DSM-S-R,1987,even that diagnosis was removed.

  194. If you want to go down this road, lets look at a case study:

    In January, 1952, English mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing was arrested for having sex with another man.

    By the time of Turing’s conviction, alternatives to imprisonment were offered in the form of hormone treatments called “organotherepy” but more commonly known as “chemical castration.”

    Experiments with treating gay men with hormones had begun in the 1940s. At first it was believed that homosexuality was caused by insufficient “maleness,” so the treatment involved testosterone. As we know now, increased levels of testosterone are associated with aggressiveness (sexual and otherwise), so it’s not surprising to learn that the experimental testosterone treatments did not have the anticipated effect!

    By Turing’s time, they had switched to estrogen treatments. The implant they gave Turing for a year rendered him impotent and caused his breats to grow.

    Alan Turing committed suicide in June, 1954, at the age of 41.

  195. breasts to grow, that is.

  196. By the mid nineties the APA stated it was “unethical” for a psychiatrist to bring up with his patient that there are possibilities for change with psychiatric treatment.
    It is fascinating Dr.Spitzer who was a consultant for DSM-2 and THEN led the change in 1973 for homosexuality disorder diagnosis change.He then was the editor and co-editor of DSM-3 and DSM-3-R with all the changes in the diagnosis of homosexuality till it being entirely removed.
    He then ,I think,in the early 2000+ years changed his mind after studying thoroughly the data and published an article in the psychiatric literature that individuals can change their orientation.He then was roundly condemned for this article.
    Another major psychiatric researche had data showing,in fact ,that homosexuality is not genetic and could not get this artticle published.
    There is also no convincing data,despite the book mentioned,that homosexuality is of hormonal origon.

    I discuss all for 1) to show the powerof psychiatric diagnosis or non-diagosis on history development.
    2)Especially for adolescents and young adults who are still developing their sexual identity.
    Each individual needs to be evaluated to determine possible etiology,if change is possible and their motivation.

  197. daat y — not sure what you’re reading, but the science does not claim homosexuality is genetic. From one of the links I previously provided:

    “Clearly the environment, culture, can be significant. Think of the Greeks and of the behaviours of people in prisons.

    More basically, however, it turns out that biology is the key. It is a matter of hormones, more specifically, of hormonal levels in the mid-point of fetal development and how they affect that part of the brain called the hypothalamus. To produce heterosexuals, distinctively different hormonal cocktails are needed for men and women. Homosexual orientation seems to be a matter of (in the case of males) the cocktails being more typical of those that produce heterosexual females. Conversely for women.

    Why exactly these atypical combinations should happen – and given that we are looking at around 5 per cent of the population, they are not rare – is still a matter of some debate. Gay orientations run in families. The genes are involved, but not that simply or inevitably. Which at once raises the question of why natural selection does not act against them strongly.”

    —–

    I should also add that if you’re going to look at the history through the DSM, you should also follow bipolar depression and epilepsy to name just two.

  198. IH- All you stated about hormones is what you had previously stated previously from this book.However there is no convincig data.The only change with regard to bipolar depression diagnosis is in the name. It used to be called manic-depression ,depressive episode.
    With regard to epilepy that is not diagnosed at all in the DSM.
    Epilepsy is a neurological disorder.

  199. R’JK,
    They are both assur, as a parent does one react the same way to all violations?
    KT

  200. daat y — it is an appropriate response to the strawman inference you made: “Another major psychiatric researche had data showing,in fact ,that homosexuality is not genetic and could not get this artticle published”.

    My mistake on epilepsy, but bipolar (aka manic) depression treatment has vastly changed in the same period of time.

    While the data on homosexuality is not yet definitive (as if anything in science ever is) there is almost no scientific support for the notions you seem to be espousing.

    In any case, this is beside the point of the legislation that has been passed in NY State.

  201. i have not espoused any theory
    i just stated about the change in Dr.Spitzer’s opinion..It appears that you have your mind closed to any new developments.
    The DSM does not deal with treatment -only diagnosis.
    Thank G-d that there are available new and better treatments.
    That legislation in NY State developed in great part from the effects of the changes in the DSM and its influence on our culture.

  202. I’m happy that Dr. Pelcovitz’s study has now confirmed what most of us knew to be true — that MO kids, by and large, do not text on Shabbos.

  203. I thought that the response from Dr Pelcovitz illustrated the scope of the problem. I would hope that the average Torah observant parent would be able to explain to a six year old why drawing is forbidden-if we relate to HaShem as our Father and King, and we wish to emulate how HaShem acts, we follow HaShem’s refraining from Melacha after the six days of creation and as a special way of showing HaShem that He took us out of Egypt and gave us His Torah.

  204. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/israeli-software-aims-to-shed-light-on-the-bible-1.370343
    I wish M Koppel’s last word had been first. An interesting meta issue, why did HKB”H choose the different voices where he did.
    KT

  205. I HOPE WHEN DR.PELCOVITZ’S ARTICLE IS PUBLISHED THAT THERE IS DATA THERE ABOUT THE PARENTS AND HOW THEY DO OR DO NOT OBSERVE SHABBOS.
    THAT WILL GIVE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE TEENAGERS ATTITUDE TOWARD SHABBOS.
    A FURTHER IMPORTANT VARIABLE IS WHAT DOES THE THE PEER GROUP OF THOSE WHO TEXT OR DON’T TEXT,,OR OTHER ACTIONS DO.PEER INPLUENCE IS STRONGEST DURING THESE YEARS.

    AND PRAYER NEVER HURTS.

  206. For young children it is best to begin associating Shabbos with all the POSITIVE things that are special for them on Shabbos.

  207. JOEL_
    This article was written in Haaretz.That is the simplest answer why Koppel was at the end.
    HAARETZ -THE LAND .However they represent the land where the palestinians think they they are going to have a state.

  208. Daaty-We disagree. The Issur Melacha is a fundamental tenet of Shmiras Shabbos and IMO can be explained to a six year old, as can most applications of Muktzeh.

  209. I was stating the headquarters approach is positive.
    For six year olds you answer concretely not with cognitive or absract discussions.
    It doesn’t mean you allow the writing but exchange it for something positive and concrete.

  210. MiMedinat HaYam

    six year olds dont text — they cant spell (much)

  211. “We disagree. The Issur Melacha is a fundamental tenet of Shmiras Shabbos and IMO can be explained to a six year old, as can most applications of Muktzeh.”

    Seems to be a parenting, and not a particularly Jewish, issue.

  212. MiMedinat HaYam

    re. r. yosef: he sets a poor example by refusing the summons to be questioned. he has the right to refuse to anser certain questions. or all questions. but not to comply with the summons altogether sends out the wrong message.
    ——
    i’m waiting for a prof at haifa, ben gurion, tel aviv to be called in for questioning for actual incitement to arab enemies.

    2. to canuk: isnt polygamy legal in parts of british columbia? dont know the details, but you’re the closest there.

  213. Dr. Pelcovitz study is meaningless because the survey as published treats the MO community as monolithic. With a percentage between 1/4 and 1/5, I would not be surprised if the number at co-ed and out of town schools was closer to 50%.

  214. [MiMedinat HaYam]>2. to canuk: isnt polygamy legal in parts of british columbia? dont know the details, but you’re the closest there.

    (a) I live in Montreal, which is several thousand kilometers from British Columbia. I believe polygamy is illegal in B.C., but isn’t prosecuted. You may have heard about the community of Bountiful, B.C., home to a small group of polygamous Mormons whose founders fled the US.

    (b) Are residents of Israel required to undergo interrogations by police when called, even if they haven’t been arrested? Can they be forced to self-incriminate?

  215. I would not be surprised if the number at co-ed and out of town schools was closer to 50%.

    As I like to point out to students, this type of speculative assertion is a statement concerning the degree of belief of the speaker and has no bearing on any other facts.

    The only thing you have told us is that you would be surprised if the number at co-ed and out of town schools was not close to 50%

    So, unless your ability to be surprised is highly predictive of facts that you apparently have have no knowledge of, why are you wasting people’s time telling us about what would surprise you?

  216. Joseph Kaplan wrote in response:

    “We disagree. The Issur Melacha is a fundamental tenet of Shmiras Shabbos and IMO can be explained to a six year old, as can most applications of Muktzeh.

    Seems to be a parenting, and not a particularly Jewish, issue”

    I would WADR disagree. There is a mitzvah of Chinuch which is one of the major elements in how a Torah observant parent raises his or her children vis a vis Halacha. Mitzvos, Midos Tovos and Hashkafa, and incorporates elements of what the secular world calls “parenting”, but is IMO not identical with the same.

  217. Are residents of Israel required to undergo interrogations by police when called, even if they haven’t been arrested? Can they be forced to self-incriminate?

    I was wondering the same thing. The oddest thing about this latest episode, at least to me as an American lawyer, is that the police in Israel have the right to call you in for questioning or they can arrest you. Here only a grand jury has that power.
    (Whether there is a right against self-incrimination, I don’t know.)

  218. i agree that there’s a mitzvah of chinuch. And we probably agree that one goal of that mitzvah is to raise our children to beshomrei Torah u’mitzvot. But how we get to that goal is what I called a parenting, and not particularly Jewish, issue. And I still think that’s true.

  219. MJ said, “So, unless your ability to be surprised is highly predictive of facts that you apparently have have no knowledge of, why are you wasting people’s time telling us about what would surprise you?”

    You obviously missed my point. It has been suggested by numerous commentators and Dr. Brill that the percentages are likely affected by parent’s attitudes, sex and other factors. The actual point of my comment was to question the relevance of Dr. Pelcovitz’s study without further inquiry into the population surveyed, not to make any actual claim. All I need is mere conjecture to make that point.

    In terms of my actual basis of knowledge, I have taught and attended MO high schools and know the general approach to halacha, with regard to eating treif food and watching TV on Shabbos. If at least 70% of my coed MO high school class ate at non-kosher restaurants and watched TV on Shabbos and 80% chewed treif gum and greater than 90% were not shomer negiah. The numbers were similar when I more recently taught at an MO high school. Therefore it is highly intuitive to believe that at the schools I have experience with if texting was limited to only 20% of the population and would frankly surprise me.

    I think most people here would be highly surprised if MTA, Skokie Yeshiva and HALB had similar percentages to Ramaz, Frisch and Maimonides which all have a larger percentage of parents who are not shomer Shabbos.

    Finally, now that you ask, my general feelings are highly predictive of fact. Just ask me.

  220. “He then ,I think,in the early 2000+ years changed his mind after studying thoroughly the data and published an article in the psychiatric literature that individuals can change their orientation.He then was roundly condemned for this article.”

    It should be noted, though, that even Spitzer — and you’re right, the article was rather roundly condemned — after said studying of the data doesn’t maintain that everybody can just change. As he wrote later:
    “I did anticipate, and in my presentation warn, that it would be a mistake to interpret the study as implying that any highly motivated homosexual could change if they were really motivated to do so. I suspect that the vast majority of gay people — even if they wanted to — would be unable to make substantial changes in sexual attraction and fantasy and enjoyment of heterosexual functioning that many of my subjects reported.”

  221. MJ- former yu’s estimates are probably closer to truth for coed schools. My daughter – recent graduate from a coed NYC area school- estimated that 70% of her class were texting plus on Shabbat . She estimated that it’s probably 50% of school as well. Each grade is different. As former yu pointed out mo as a group is not monolithic and there are wide ranges of observance. In addition, many of the mo schools have a certain percentage on non religious families that may skew the numbers since they indentify with the mo world but not exactly makpid on certain mitzvot. An interesting topic would be: mo inclusive or exclusionary- are we pushing out those that want to belong: see gil for details.

  222. Btw, why does anyone here think that shomer negia is part of the discussion.

  223. ” published an article in the psychiatric literature that individuals can change their orientation.He then was roundly condemned for this article.”

    The article was from an observational study without a comparison group, and the participants were self-selected volunteers. I would not condemn Dr. Spitzer for publishing the article, but anyone who claims that it is *proof* “that individuals can change their orientation” is drawing a conclusion that is not supported by the data. There has been no large controlled randomized intervention study that has shown that individuals can change their orientation. Nothing is preventing the reparative therapy proponents from doing the kind of study that could prove or disprove the efficacy of their therapies, but to my knowledge such a study is not being done.

    I say that as a biostatistician who has spent most of his career working in observational studies.

  224. “No new scientific data occurred between 1968 and 1973 to cause this change.”

    This is not true. There were ten studies published between 1969 and 1973 of sufficiently high quality to be included in a meta analysis published in 2002. See Byrd AD, Nicolosi J. A meta-analytic review of treatment of homosexuality.Psychol Rep. 2002 Jun;90(3 Pt 2):1139-52.

  225. FWIW, I teach at a coed MO high school and would believe Former YU’s estimates, though I think depending on which school they may be a little high (but still probably over 50% in all categories). For however much people worried about the “move to the right,” a lot of that move was sociological and public behavior, and not as much private behavior. People might make sure to live in walking distance to shul, so you wouldn’t have to drive, but plenty of folks never adopted what one might call “full halachic observance.”

    I’d also be curious to see geographic differences- are things different on Long Island from the Upper West Side? Washington Heights? Riverdale? Westchester? Various different places in NJ?

    “Btw, why does anyone here think that shomer negia is part of the discussion.”

    Ruvie- it started coming up as the last generation’s “half shabbos,” that is, the assur thing that those crazy MO teenagers did but which didn’t indicate they were falling off the derech long-term.

  226. jl – i think there is a big difference between the two as fas as parents are concerned. shomer negiah has never been that observed in the mo world – i don’t think its less observed now than the previous generation(today, after a year in israel it is probably more observed than the previous generation). the mo world was never a 3 schiduch dates and then chupah place. it was normal and acceptable to have boyfriends and girlfriends. lets not even talk about the coed camps.

  227. ruvie,
    how about the level of issur- negiah in its more extreme forms vs. “cold” electricity? I’d rather halachically rationalize the latter.
    KT

  228. reb joel -TMI

  229. Shomer Negiah is part of the discussion because any widely tolerated violation of halacha demonstrates to teenagers that halachik observance is not necessary. Why should Shabbos be any different?
    Yes, teenagers get that.

    The “shift to the right” in MO has been explained as a reaction to this inconsistency and hypocrisy by teenagers. However, the shift has not effected the majority of MO kids. I think (and on this I have no personal knowledge and could not even begin to speculate on numbers) that there be a slow split developing within MO.

    The level and standard of observance expected by some MO parents who went to Israel for 2 years and then YU is higher than others. The numbers of those parents are getting big enough that they can create their own institutions and on the elementary school level you certainly see that. Schools like YNJ, YBH of Passaic and HALB are attracting these parents who overwhelmingly live in Teaneck or Passaic and the 5 towns area. This is in contrast to other friends of mine who would never settle in Teaneck because it is too frum. They live in Engelwood, Riverdale or Westchester. The next stage of this potential schism is the effect on high schools. A group of parents of incoming 9th graders from Bergenfield told MTA they would only register their children if MTA instituted an afternoon seder of some sort from 9th grade (as opposed to only older grades). These parents do not feel comfortable in chareidi schools even more moderate ones like Ohr Hachaim but also would not feel comfortable in Frisch. This has always been true to some degree, but IMHO the lines are only getting sharper and a split may happen sooner rather than later. This texting issue can further it as the strciter MO parents are less likely to accept chillul Shabbos as a valid stage and tehrefore migjt speed the split from MO-lite.

    Other commentators have mentioned Open Orthodoxy’s relevance to texting on Shabbos. I do not believe it has any relevance per se, but if a schism were to happen Open O could be a likely stimulus. If the more RWMO split off from Open O, over a hot button issue, be it homosexuality or women rabbi’s, than MO-lite would likely join Open O because of their more accepting attitude of non-halachik behavior. In general the schools that Mo-lite send to are more likely to be affiliated with Open O rabbis and educators.

  230. Interesting. I’m too far removed, but not convinced the line is any different now than it was when I was in high school and the segments were: Ramaz/Flatbush (Coed MO), Central/MTA (Segregated MO), Mir et al. (Yeshivish). Socially, there were dividing lines between the 3; but, at e.g. Bnei Akiva both MO groups would intermingle, whereas the Yeshivish kids were not present. That pretty much held for shul friendships as well in my experience.

    On the what next scenarios Former YU paints, it feels surreal to me to hear this while at the same time listening to all the moaning on RHM’s blog about the outrageous cost of Yeshiva Day Schools.

    More generally, I think texting issue is a wake-up call to RWMO not to believe your own propaganda too much.

    Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the YU School Partnership study, from what they have published thus far (http://www.yuschoolpartnership.org/student-support/religion-and-spirituality/70-articles/299-teen-texting) is insufficient: “For the past two and a half years, we have been in the unique position to learn from an engagement with six Modern Orthodox religious day schools.” with not a word about methodology.

  231. Correction: I am pleased to see that since my previous comment, material has been added to the YU School Partnership study link on methodology.

  232. IH,
    I agree with you (hey there can be a first time for everything). There have always been lines. However, remember in the 1950’s Gene Simmons went to Torah Vo’daas and there was much more overlap between them and MTA. My point was that I am interested in finding out if RWMO is going a similar way where they move to the right and isolate themselves from both LWMO and yeshivish circles. I see this happening anecdotally among many of my friends. Until now there was not enough of a mass to form their own institutions so they went to MO schools or decided to send their kids to more yeshivish schools like Gil.
    Today, at least in younger grades, many of the parents have been through the whole shift to the right. They have begun to create shuls and even elementary schools (YBH of Passaic the most prominent example, along with a rightward shift for YNJ). These kids also go to very different camps. How many parents at YNJ and YBH send their kids to Dora Golding or Manavu, even so their parents went to Morasha or Mesorah? No high school has opened specifically targeting them, even so TABC and MTA are competing furiously (I hear from teacher’s at both schools), but it will be interesting to see what develops.

  233. No, Israelis have the right to remain silent too.

  234. No, Israelis have the right to remain silent too.

    So R. Lior could have shown up at the police station, and simply answered every question with “I refuse to answer, based on my right to remain silent?”

  235. any widely tolerated violation of halacha demonstrates to teenagers that halachik observance is not necessary

    Tell that to all the rabbis who talk to me, even insist on talking to me, in shul. 🙂

  236. “Tell that to all the rabbis who talk to me, even insist on talking to me, in shul.”

    Tell them they have the right to remain silent. 🙂

  237. “Correction: I am pleased to see that since my previous comment, material has been added to the YU School Partnership study link on methodology.”

    Uh oh!

    I’ve now read through the methodology material that was added. Scott Goldberg’s article made me curious to see the questions in the JewBALE instrument. In the course of which I found that a dissertation was written in 2008 (http://gradworks.umi.com/33/22/3322279.html) to which I don’t have access. But, I then noticed a lack of dates in the YU School Partnership study writeup on texting.

    If the data being used are from a survey completed in 2008, they are highly questionable in terms of today. Perhaps someone reading will be able to clarify when their texting data were collected.

  238. Lawrence Kaplan

    Tal: Very witty.

  239. In terms of overlaps, I think that there are a number of fascinating ones- I’ve seen kids who, for example, looked at DRS, SAR, and MTA, but wouldn’t interview at Ramaz, or who looked at SAR, Ramaz, and Schechter (of Westchester), or Frisch vs. Maayanot (obviously a geographic thing), and so on. There are certainly “segments,” like IH described, but I’d suggest that there’s really a continuum and that people draw lines based on where they are on the continuum, and then try to pick the high school they like the most for that kid.

    “the mo world was never a 3 schiduch dates and then chupah place. it was normal and acceptable to have boyfriends and girlfriends. lets not even talk about the coed camps.”

    Ruvie- I think you’re entirely right; I’m just noting the reason it’s popped up in a few discussions of this issue here. It always seemed something of a red herring to me.

  240. “So R. Lior could have shown up at the police station, and simply answered every question with “I refuse to answer, based on my right to remain silent?”

    Yes, though frankly I wish R. Lior R. Shapira, R. Yosef had exercised that right and never published Torat Hamelech or endorsed it. But what can you do when Rabbis ignore the sages who said:

    סייג לחכמה – שתיקה.

  241. Let’s be realistic. We know that some rabbis are very careful about what sefarim they give haskamos to but most will give a haskamah to just about anything.

  242. Gil,

    R. Dov Lior has a track record of anti-goyish prejudice. I have a lot of difficulty believing he gave an haskama to this book without knowing and agreeing with its contents.

  243. Agree with aiwac ^. Moreover, if they were only made aware of the content later, there was nothing stopping them from retracting their haskamos. Instead they’re doing their best to turn this into a battle between religion and the State. Why they think this is a good idea (or even, that they can win this battle) is beyond me.

    But first and foremost, what aiwac said.

  244. Gil,

    R. Zalman Nechemia did indeed give a haskama on the book, unaware of its contents. When he learned of its contents, he quickly and loudly condemned the book.
    R. Lior did no such thing, and there is no reason to beleive that he does not endorse the book.
    The police are simply harassing R. Lior since he has committed bo crime and they know it. Even Haaretz admitted to that.

  245. Re earlier discussion of chinuch:

    “Someone once went to Rav Michel Yehudah [Lefkowitz] for his son’s upsherin. The whole family came along. Rav Michel Yehudah welcomed them all into his room and spent time with them, telling them how to be mechanech children. He said that you have to concentrate on the geshmak, on the asei tov and not the sur mei’ra. Speak to your children about the positive, he said. Only speak about the good. “If you want to see nachas from your kinder, you have to sing zemiros with them on Shabbos and they have to understand what they are saying,” Rav Michel Yehudah advised the father.”

    http://matzav.com/looking-through-the-window

  246. Ha’aretz makes another important point, though:

    “Freedom of expression must be strictly maintained, but Rabbi Lior should be dismissed from all his positions. Democracy is not supposed to employ fomenters of riots who are trying to crush it in the name of halakha.”

  247. The “Divorce recalcitrant gets unlimited jail term” is a sad story we know all to well. But, linked to it is a gem of a story from To’enet Rabbanit Lubitch:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4074797,00.html

    “Husband demands divorce from his wife, who he married through London Rabbinate, claiming he is a cohen and was forbidden to marry her to begin with. Israeli rabbinic court forces woman to accept get against her will.”

  248. IH: The police were harassing a leading rabbi who commited no crime. The police should be fired, not the rabbi.

  249. IH-Rav Lior wrote a haskama for a sefer on Halacha -not even Halacha lemaaseh.
    And I THOUGHT YOU WERE AN EXPONENT OF FREE EXPRESSION.

  250. Gil — you didn’t strike me as the ACLU type 🙂 Do you feel the same way when the police similarly treat Israeli citizen and cleric Sheikh Raed Salah?

  251. Former yu – thanks for your insights to new movement away from old mo acceptable schools to the new and more religious ones. This will only accelerate the decline of observance of the applicants to the old schools where religious students will be a minority at best. Very sad but I understand the parents reasoning ( we are all guilty of this to some degree- at least I am). I just didn’t realize the demographics change so much. As mentioned a while ago I believe the split is actively in progress between rwmo and the mo world- it’s only a matter of time. The 2 declarations by over 100 rabbis is the proof in the pudding.

    But I respectfully disagree on the shomer negiah part. I don’t there is that connection the teenagers make that makes texting on Shabbat “acceptable”. It didn’t make a difference in the past so who should it make a difference now. Also, parents’ view on one vs the other is totally different as well – let’s remember the texting plus is not known to the shomer Shabbat parents.

  252. Former yu – what no friends in manhattan?

  253. daat y — I was not advocating, merely observing that Ha’aretz makes an important distinction between free expression; and taxpayer funded free expression against the state.

    And for the avoidance of doubt, my point in raising Sheikh Salah is not that (God forbid) I support his insanity. But, that in a state in which equal rights exist, arguments can (and should) cut both ways.

  254. HEIK SALEH BROKE THE LAW BY INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE AND WAS CONVICTED AND JAILED. THERE IS NO INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE IN THE BEFER AND NO INDICTMENTS EVEN AGAINST THE AUTHOR.
    LAW pROFESSORS IN ISRAEL WHO READ THE BOOK,SO STATED.

  255. daat y — Sheikh Salah is picked up for questioning and released on a regular basis.

  256. We both know that a very clear line can be drawn between Saleh’s incitement and Lior’s. In fact, about 4 different clear lines can be drawn off the top of my head.

  257. IH: The real question is not whether I feel the same but whether you do. If you think the sheikh should not be harassed, do you agree that the rabbi also should not?

    (Personally, I believe that unless there is real evidence that the rabbi or sheikh has information about a potential (violent) crime he should not be harassed. I do not believe that there should be a difference in this between rabbis, sheikhs or priests.)

  258. Gil — I agree with your view, in fact.

  259. FTR the crime for which Sheikh Salah was convicted and imprisoned for a five-month term was assaulting and insulting a police officer during a Jerusalem protest (not incitement).

    One doesn’t have to work hard to imagine protest scenes like the ones supporting Rabbi Lior where the same outcome may happen “on our side”.

    In 2003 he was also imprisoned on charges of membership in a terror group and money-laundering. That too is feasible “on our side”.

  260. I am underwhelmed by Ha’aretz’s “important” point. I don’t see how R. Lior, as much as I don’t like what he says, is a fomentor of a riot. And as we all know, there are those on the left who say things as outrageous as those on the right.

  261. “Freedom of expression must be strictly maintained, but Rabbi Lior should be dismissed from all his positions. Democracy is not supposed to employ fomenters of riots who are trying to crush it in the name of halakha.”

    What an utterly Bolshevik idea. If R. Lior committed a crime, the police should charge him with such. If he did not, then all he did was express an unpopular opinion. The notion that the government can force such a person to be “dismissed from all his positions” betrays a fundamental contempt for democratic norms.

    Which does not surprise me, in this case, given the past history of the State.

  262. “And as we all know, there are those on the left who say things as outrageous as those on the right.”

    Actually it’s worse. There are professors who have said, in so many words, “we should break the legs of the settlers.” No police summons for them.

    As Orwell once said, everyone is equal. Some are just more equal than others.

  263. Ruvie,

    Plenty of friends still on UWS and in WH. But most leave/have left by the time their kids get to school age.

  264. Joseph — where do you draw the line on fomenting riots? Here’s the JPost (not Ha’aretz): http://www.jpost.com/VideoArticles/Video/Article.aspx?id=226890

    Again, Ha’aretz is advocating his right to free expression. They are questioning whether taxpayers should directly fund his employment at the same time.

    But,I do agree that the same issue exists for far-left University professors if they foment riots as well.

  265. And in http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=227106 they use the riot word:

    “Government officials, however, were highly critical of the disturbances and riots that broke out following Rabbi Lior’s arrest, and specifically of the rabbis’ refusal to appear for questioning after being served with summons.”

  266. R. Lior didn’t cause those riots. Besides which, the reasoning is circular because they first arrested him and the riots only happened afterward.

  267. Yep, and there is no correlation between what the Yesha Rabbis say and the “price tag policy” that is implemented by their followers.

    Oh, and would you like to buy the 843 acre plot of land in the middle of Manhattan? C’mon let’s be serious…

  268. In more intellectual news, the brand new issue of The New Republic offers this piece by Leon Wiesltier about teaching a graduate seminar on Moreh Nevuchim:

    http://www.tnr.com/print/article/washington-diarist/magazine/90503/reason-god-aristotle-obama

  269. I question whether there is a proper basis for arresting R Lior. One can find distinctions between Jews and Gentiles as to the applications of Halacha in almost page of the Talmud as well as in many Rishonim and Acharonim, most notably the Minchas Chinuch. Why should someone be arrested merely because he voices such views, as distasteful as they are for the post Zionist LW POV?

  270. Steve — I suspect there is sufficient evidence to arrest Rabbis for crimes, but it is not in the interest of the state to do so. This type of “harassment” is, I suspect,used as a mechanism to dampen the situation before a red line is crossed and the state has no choice but to prosecute (e.g. another Baruch Goldstein incident).

    Note that Bibi is being personally blamed for this harassment:
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/national-union-mk-threatens-revenge-after-rabbi-arrested-for-incitement-1.370379

  271. Steve – replace ‘Talmud’ with ‘Koran’ and ‘Jews’ with ‘Moslems’, then ask yourself the same question. This book contained incitement to murder – Israel’s status as a civilized country depends on ensuring that such ideas do not enter the public discourse. We are not talking about Brooklyn here – people who read this book interact with Arab populations when holding guns – if they put these ideas into practise, heaven help us.

  272. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — “Husband demands divorce from his wife, who he married through London Rabbinate, claiming he is a cohen and was forbidden to marry her to begin with. Israeli rabbinic court forces woman to accept get against her will.”

    ————

    she was foolish to go the israeli rabbinate. she should have gone to the rca, which allows a member cohen to marry / stay married to a divorcee.

    2. mazal tov to RAW on his appointment as exec dir of the rca.

    3. 1 is true, 2 is parody based on … what will happen soon …

    4. still no comment on u of haifa, ben gurion, tel aviv prof’s advocating violence against the state (in a non professional capacity) and never called in for questioning.

  273. “Why should someone be arrested merely because he voices such views, as distasteful as they are for the post Zionist LW POV?”

    It’s truly sad that you think that a RW Zionist wouldn’t find his views distasteful. Luckily, I know that there are many who do.

    As for firing R. Lior: I’m with Gil on that. His views didn’t foment a riot (assuming what the protesters did was a riot); it was his unjust arrest that was the cause. And I’m also not particularly impressed with Ha’aretz’s “advocating his right to free expression” if the price of that right is his being fired by the government. A private employer can make such a decision, but for the government to do would be as wrong as their attempts to silence him from expressing his views, as vile as they are.

  274. “she was foolish to go the israeli rabbinate. she should have gone to the rca, which allows a member cohen to marry / stay married to a divorcee.”

    How about giving some support for you statements. I find it amazing how you always seem to know these things but never provide any support for your allegations. Quite frankly, I find lots of what you say hard to believe (e.g., you story about R. Rackman’s actions with respect to an alleged heter mayah rabbanim). Maybe they are true, but it would take more than some named — really not named – MMHY saying that it’s so.

  275. Joseph — I take your point. In their defense, I think it is fair for the left to give the right a dose of their own medicine — it was the right after all (e.g. Im Tirtzu) that opened up this line of attack.

    That said, my personal view of the overarching issue is my reply to Steve at 6:22 pm.

  276. MMhY — I missed your point. How could a couple divorcing in Israel — and living there — go anywhere but to the Israeli Rabbinate?

  277. IH, don’t look to hard for a point. MMhY never misses a chance on anything remotely related to gittin or the RCA to disparage the latter.

  278. (*too hard)

  279. IH-sorry, WADr, the “incitement” statutes in Israel are ibnvariably raised to stifle dissent, but especially from the RW. In the US, I tend to think that such statutes would be viewed as infringing on freedom of speech.

  280. IH wrote:

    “But,I do agree that the same issue exists for far-left University professors if they foment riots as well”

    Actually, their conduct, while peaceful,is far more problematic and has far greater consequences -BDS has its origins in the post Zionist academic and cultural milieu of HU, and TAU. Since the LW hasn’t been able to convince the Israeli public that it was rigght, it has relied on foreign funded ( Ford Foundation and others) NGOs to conduct a process of rendering Israel, RL, a pariah state.

  281. Steve — Di. The far right has done as much (and arguably more) damage. And your habit of labeling any leftist a BDS supporter is the same as my calling every Rightist a racist. Both are false; and the rhetoric is unhelpful.

  282. IH: When someone calls for violence against Israelis, one can legitimately draw a kal vechomer that they probably support divestment as well.

  283. “WADr, the “incitement” statutes in Israel are ibnvariably raised to stifle dissent, but especially from the RW. In the US, I tend to think that such statutes would be viewed as infringing on freedom of speech.”

    I suspect wo knowing that a basic difference in statutes in Israel is based on Anglo law which had room for conforming statutes such as the “riot act”-certainly not found in American jurisprudence-

  284. Joseph Kaplan

    ” In the US, I tend to think that such statutes would be viewed as infringing on freedom of speech.”

    You don’t have to “tend”; it’s pretty clear that’s the case. We do have to remember, though, that Israel, like many other democratic countries, does not protect freedom of speech to the same extent that it’s protected in the US. And while I’m always aware of that in commenting on Israel in matters like these, I still think this case is particularly egregious because (a) it impacts on freedom of religion as well and (b) my perception is that it’s enforcement is biased against the right.

  285. For those interested in the broader topic, I recommend: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/books/review/Rosen-t.html

  286. Regarding the article on R’ Sacks: If anyone here thinks it can’t happen in the US, especially with the homosexual “marriage,” you’re fooling yourselves. The Left has a hierarchy of victim groups, and Jews don’t rate.

    Ah, Kol HaRav. Still not being honest about its true motives, as one of its authors was to me in a blog comment. (Commenting, of course, is not permitted on the site itself.) I wonder if they’d cite R’ Ariel regarding, say, land for peace.

  287. Congratulations to my sister and the many others who boycotted cottage cheese. She has been eating cottage cheese for breakfast for as long as I’ve known her (40+ years), so it was a big sacrifice. Like when my brother boycotted tuna fish in 3rd grade because of the dolphins caught in tuna nets. How many 8 year olds would boycott such a staple food?

  288. BTW, to get an idea of the prices: the local ShopRite circular this week advertises Axelrod cottage cheese for $1.99 for a 16-oz tub. The reduced price in Israel for cottage cheese is now $1.70 for a 9-ounce tub. That’s $3.40 for the same 16 oz, down from $4.54. Still ridiculous, but not as.

  289. “(b) my perception is that it’s enforcement is biased against the right.”

    It is biased against sectors whose free expression has led to violence: both the extreme Jewish right and Israeli Arabs protected under the same law. It is a dampening tactic that is a less evil than the alternatives, in my view.

  290. In my humble opinion, Rabbi Lord Sacks has not done British Jewry any favours with his comments. Perhaps they have been taken out of context.

  291. THANBO:

    “BTW, to get an idea of the prices: the local ShopRite circular this week advertises Axelrod cottage cheese for $1.99 for a 16-oz tub. The reduced price in Israel for cottage cheese is now $1.70 for a 9-ounce tub. That’s $3.40 for the same 16 oz, down from $4.54. Still ridiculous, but not as.”

    so it’s expensive. as opposed to everything else in israel?

  292. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Re: Separate tables.

    The Chofetz Chaim said it long ago, and you’ve all heard it before, but I can’t help myself but say it again:

    והיא אוכלת עימו מלילי שבת ללילי שבת

    Kesubos 5:8

  293. I recommend to all those commenting on” Toras Hamelech” to first read at least a summary of the book.
    Go to http://www.latma.co.il and it will lead to a summary of the sefer in the article on the sefer..You will find it differs FROM what you have read iN the newspapers and elsewhere.
    Latma is a satire web site and gives a different pointbof view than all Israel satire programs,radio,TV and newspapers.
    Latma is very well-written and enjoyable.

  294. MiMedinat HaYam

    friedman and heilman, in their book on the lubavitcher rebbe, point out how particular the rebbe was to eat with his wife.

    2. “Regarding the article on R’ Sacks: If anyone here thinks it can’t happen in the US, especially with the homosexual “marriage,” you’re fooling yourselves. The Left has a hierarchy of victim groups, and Jews don’t rate.”

    ditto vehement (european) anti israel attitudes, previous comment here on the school admission issue and rabbi sacks, and other leftist agenda items including refusal to recognize other voices (the college speech issue).

  295. IH-Leftists always resort to calling rightists racists and worse as a pretense to real debate on the issues. However, whenever someone questions the bona fides of a POV of a leftist, leftists, including the many members of the left who support BDS groups, scream academic freedom or McCarthyism in response. One cannot ignore the intent and motives of the Ford Foundation-which has only funded LW groups as a means of changing the political facts on the ground in Israel-which the Israeli electorate has resisted in the absence of any negotiating partner ready, willing and able to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

  296. MiMedinat HaYam

    “-which has only funded LW groups as a means of changing the political facts on the ground in Israel-”

    and the european union. (as well as us state dept; the us intelligence agencies were also exten$ively involved in the first two netanyahu elections against him, and the ehud barak election.)

    “-which the Israeli electorate has resisted in the absence of any negotiating partner ready, willing and able to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.”

    unfortunately, cant agree with you there. the israeli electorate vacillates between both extremes; its only cause the arab enemy cannot agree on a position / slate to discuss issues, other than terrorism.

  297. Steve – let’s look at facts rather than conspiracy theories about the Ford Foundation. The “price tag policy” is extra-judicial violence perpetrated on random Palestinian civilians simply because they are Palestinians. When this was directed at Jews, in the old days, we used to call such incidents “pogroms” let alone “rascist”.

    And 3 cheers for the brave Jewish settlers in Chevron, who from the protection of chayalim they denounces as Nazis, spit on Palestinian children going to school. Not that they’re racists, of course.

    What’s next, a turn on the anti-Semitic plot that Arabs can’t be anti-Semites because they too are Semites?

  298. And, the man himself:

    “At Goldstein’s eulogy Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba stated: “Goldstein could not continue to bear all the cases he was seeing as a doctor; he might have gone insane from all he went through.” Rabbi Lior added that “since Goldstein did what he did in God’s name, he is to be regarded as a Righteous Man” and asserted that Goldstein was “a martyr of God”; “His hands are innocent, and his heart is pure.”

  299. Actually, that last quote indicates that Rav Lior disapproved of Dr. Goldstein’s actions.

  300. His word play, indeed, probably saved him from jail. But, Talmudic exegesis is not required either:

    הרב ליאור היה אחד הרבנים ששיבחו את ברוך גולדשטיין לאחר הטבח שביצע במערת המכפלה. אמנם הוא לא שיבח את מעשה הטבח עצמו, אולם הוא הגדיר את נכונותו של גולדשטיין להקריב את חייו במעשה שנועד לשיטתו להרתיע ובכך להגן על חיי חבריו כמעשה שבזכותו הפך גולדשטיין ל’קדוש כמו קדושי השואה’

  301. The (Jewish) machteret is an open secret amongst Israeli hesder yeshiva kids.

    Thus, we’re back at my point that the “harassment” of extremists (both Israeli Arabs and Jews) is a dampening tactic to prevent something really bad from happening, while waiting out the national interests that preclude a risky by-the-book crackdown.

  302. Hirhurim on July 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm
    “Actually, that last quote indicates that Rav Lior disapproved of Dr. Goldstein’s actions.

    IH on July 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm
    His word play, indeed, probably saved him from jail. But, Talmudic exegesis is not required either”

    See RALs fury at the acceptance /rationalization of B Goldsteins dastardly acts by many Yesha Rabbonim.

  303. Mycroft, all reports of what Baruch Goldstein was like make it very difficult *not* to rationalize what he did. Everyone agreed he was a gem of a person. People like that don’t kill a mass of people without snapping- or having a really, really good reason. I imagine R’ Lichtenstein would disagree with that view, but so be it.

    I actually attended hos yahrtzeit this year, at which R’ Lior spoke. There wasn’t any foaming at the mouth that I could sense.

  304. IH
    Please bring evidence to your serious accusation that the(Jewish) machteresis an open secret among Israel hesder yeshiva kids.
    This is a slanderous comment without proof .
    You have much difficulty in just expressing your opinion without going on the attack.

  305. I am unaware of anyone who approves of murdering civilian Arabs for no reason.
    However with Goldstein we do not know his motivation or mental status .If in fact he was a “shoteh”-“insane”at the time he might be be found not guilty by reason of insanity .See Chagiga 3b,Rambam Hilchos Edus 9:9 and Melachim 10:3.,Chosen Mishpat 35:8.
    See also sefer Mishpetei Hadaas.
    “Rabbi Lior did not praise the act of murder.” -from your Hebrew comment.

  306. Mycroft, all reports of what Baruch Goldstein was like make it very difficult *not* to rationalize what he did. Everyone agreed he was a gem of a person. People like that don’t kill a mass of people without snapping- or having a really, really good reason.

    Technically that is possible, but why do I never hear BG supporters raise the same possibility with regard to Palestinian terrorists?

  307. if there was only one Palestinian terrorist it is possible to hypothesize that.However,to Israel’s Jews sincere regret there have been thousands of them -and thousands of Jews murdered and multiples of that injured.

  308. Joseph Kaplan

    “Mycroft, all reports of what Baruch Goldstein was like make it very difficult *not* to rationalize what he did.”

    Not that difficult at all.

  309. daat y — I have personally heard it from such talmidim (in Israel) in the past year. It was stated matter of factly in a multi-person discussion and not as a response to any question I asked.

  310. Ironically, in his ynet OpEd piece, Benny Katzover, chairman of the Samaria settlers committee, confirms my point about the “harassment” tactics being a lesser evil:

    “Hence, utilizing the police in this matter had a clear objective: No one in the country should dare give Jewish fundamentals precedence over the laws of the High Court.

    This was done while on the horizon we see the possibility that the IDF will again be utilized to harm settlers and raze communities, and again we may see rabbis urging soldiers not to follow such orders.”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4089361,00.html

  311. IH wrote:

    “And 3 cheers for the brave Jewish settlers in Chevron, who from the protection of chayalim they denounces as Nazis, spit on Palestinian children going to school. Not that they’re racists, of course”

    I have no sympathy for the irrational comments of some of the residents of Chevron, but IMO,the brave Jewish residents of Chevron remind everyone that the Jewish state may indeed have its hashkafic and historical roots far more so in Chevron than anywhere else in the Land of Israel.

  312. IH-The notion that there is some sort of settler organized Machterest is a LW Israeli urban fiction and stereotype which can be easily compared to the LW Israeli fixation about Charedim. I would suggest that you read about the well documented, but unsuccessful attempt by the Ford Foundation to influence Israeli public opinion and support openly LW and BDS supporting groups before resorting to disparaging rhetoric.

  313. Nachum – help me understand: you decry homosexuals as immoral; yet you attend the “yahrzeit” of a mass murderer? Did I misunderstand?

  314. “Nachum on July 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm
    Mycroft, all reports of what Baruch Goldstein was like make it very difficult *not* to rationalize what he did. Everyone agreed he was a gem of a person. People like that don’t kill a mass of people without snapping- or having a really, really good reason. I imagine R’ Lichtenstein would disagree with that view, but so be it.

    I actually attended hos yahrtzeit this year, at which R’ Lior spoke. ”

    The fact that there was a Yahrzeit commemoration for a murderer almost 2 decades after his actions unfortunately speaks volumes. Goldstein is not being honored for his personality etc he is being honored for his actions.
    Are there other Yahrzeit commemorations for residents of Hevron who died a couple of decades ago at a young age-I am not aware of those including one for someone who was buried in Chevron was a student in Cambridge Ma the same time as I was.

  315. “daat y on July 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm
    I am unaware of anyone who approves of murdering civilian Arabs for no reason.
    However with Goldstein we do not know his motivation or mental status .If in fact he was a “shoteh”-”insane”at the time he might be be found not guilty by reason of insanity .See Chagiga 3b,Rambam Hilchos Edus 9:9 and Melachim 10:3.,Chosen Mishpat 35:8.
    See also sefer Mishpetei Hadaas.”

    I haven’t heard ofYahrzeit commemorations years later for shotim.

  316. Well, if you must know, mycroft, it was a rather small affair, mostly for family and friends and neighbors. I think his family has a right to remember him, no? (And since you weren’t there, you have no right to assume what was said. I assure you you are very wrong.) And to answer IH’s question, yes, we are long-time friends of the family. I doubt they would have let me in otherwise. I went mostly for his mother’s sake, although I’ll freely admit that the fact that we’re ideologically aligned made it easier. 🙂

    IH, let me ask you this: If this “underground” is so widespread, where are the reports of Arabs dying on a regular basis? Every time there’s some minor incident of anti-Arab violence, they- and, interestingly even more so, their friends on the Left- trumpet it endlessly. You’d think from your claim that there would be a lot, lot more, including murder, of which there has been none. So some jerk in Chevron insults an Arab every now and then. Boo-frickety-hoo.

    “Technically that is possible, but why do I never hear BG supporters raise the same possibility with regard to Palestinian terrorists?”

    Of course! Meir Kahane’s writings are full of understanding toward the Palestinian cause- far more than the fantasists of “autonomy” and “coexistence” on the Right and Left. You should read them every now and then.

    On a more logical note, we happen to *know* that Palestinian terrorists are hateful and evil on a continuing basis. Baruch Goldstein, not so much.

    By the way. I once spent a Shabbat in a lovely yishuv called Ramat Raziel. You should look up what David Raziel (also on a postage stamp! National hero of Israel!) was doing in the late 1930’s.

  317. “One proposal which has been floated for inclusion is reducing the tax deduction for charitable contributions. Specifically, for those earning over $250,000 (married) or $200,000 (single), the tax benefit of all itemized deductions, including charitable contributions would be capped at 28 percent. Without such a limitation, a $10,000 donation would reduce taxes by almost $4,000 for someone in the top tax bracket. The President’s proposal would limit the tax savings to $2,800, or an increased after-tax cost of almost $1,200, or about 30 percent. The OU believes such a proposal will harm charities throughout our community. When the OU leadership was in Washington a few weeks ago, we raised concerns about this proposal with the White House.”

    The OU uses its capital with the White House to try and benefit its wealthy donors. An important issue worth using your capital for-after all we have no concerns about Israel do we. A majority of Americans take the standard deduction and thus have zero tax benefit from giving charity.
    Does the OU maintain the loss of a few percentage bnefit by our wealthiest citizens will cut down charity giving by a lot?
    Remember back to the 70s when the maximum tax rate was 70% how much greater was the charitable giving percentage then than now when because of essentially lower tax rates by half that now exist.
    Why not lobby for a deduction for all citizens-not just those who itemize.
    Of course, why any personal expenditure-such as charity, home mortgage etc should be deductible is beyond me. Should the government give me a check because I give money to my schul, or someone for his church or mosque-clearly not- the existence of a tax deduction for that has the same impact.

  318. “Well, if you must know, mycroft, it was a rather small affair, mostly for family and friends and neighbors. I think his family has a right to remember him, no?”
    Yes-to the extent it was a private affair-I agree a family has the right to remember their loved ones.

    “(And since you weren’t there, you have no right to assume what was said. I assure you you are very wrong.)”
    If it was a private affair I won’t ask what was said-although curious

    “Of course! Meir Kahane’s writings are full of understanding toward the Palestinian cause- far more than the fantasists of “autonomy” and “coexistence” on the Right and Left”

    In some way Kahane and the leftists agree with each other-both agree that a Jewish Israel can’t live with the Arabs-a Yossi Beilin would say thus we need a divorce we go left they go right etc andKahane would say kick them out-suicide IMHO-but yes Nachum I agree with your basic premise-surprise you. BTW-I heard Kahane
    speak in Hebrew in 87 at a political rally near melech george and the mashbir-his words habrerah o kahane o Arafat.
    Thus, it is not those who believe in disengagement that necessarily trust the Arabs more they simply believe one can’t live with people who want to kill you-thus the divorce necessary.

  319. Oh really, Wieseltier? So your analysis of Rorty was “intellectually devastating?” So glad to hear you’re a philosopher now. Oh what’s that? You never actually read Hume (because if you had, you wouldn’t have made the fantastically insipid argument you did in the following paragraphs)? So really, you’re just all talk and no substance. Well no surprise there, I suppose.

  320. I think we need to be careful not to either underestimate or overestimate the prevalence of racism in Israel.

    On one hand, it is certainly not limited to a handful of mentally disturbed individuals. There are whole communities where the consensus is that as many Arabs should be killed as is necessary to cause the rest to permanently leave.

    On the other hand, those communities are vanishingly small as a percentage of the overall population. For over 20 years they have not succeeded in electing a single Knesset member. Compare that with the Palestinian Authority, where Hamas became the largest party in the only free election ever held.

  321. This thread has become truly sickening. Torat Hamelech contains absolutely vile statements, including a ‘hetter’ to kill nachriim for their body parts. Baruch Goldstein murdered people at prayer in cold blood. I honestly don’t see how he is different from a Palestinian suicide bomber who blows himself up on a bus. Meir Kahane’s disgusting views influenced people to do things like this, and it is the fact that people are not ‘moche’ when people like Dov Lior support this lunacy that allows these attitudes to fester. There is no excuse for saying anything positive about Baruch Goldstein, and their is certainly no excuse for respecting respected rabbinic figures who do. I don’t want to fall into the trap of Godwin’s law, but having sympathy for mass murderers is a pretty sure sign of moral degeneracy.

  322. “Nachum – help me understand: you decry homosexuals as immoral; yet you attend the “yahrzeit” of a mass murderer?”

    Machum would you attend a celelbration of gay marriage to make the mother of a long time family friend happy?

  323. “BTW-I heard Kahane
    speak in Hebrew in 87 at a political rally near melech george and the mashbir-his words habrerah o kahane o Arafat.”

    Just to make it clear I did not chas veshalom go to hear Kahane-I was waiting for wife during a shopping trip-and I heard Kahane speaking from a couple of blocks away.

    “. Baruch Goldstein murdered people at prayer in cold blood. I honestly don’t see how he is different from a Palestinian suicide bomber who blows himself up on a bus. Meir Kahane’s disgusting views influenced people to do things like this, and it is the fact that people are not ‘moche’ when people like Dov Lior support this lunacy that allows these attitudes to fester. There is no excuse for saying anything positive about Baruch Goldstein, and their is certainly no excuse for respecting respected rabbinic figures who do.”

    Agreed

  324. “If it was a private affair I won’t ask what was said-although curious”

    Short shiurim, mostly. Not much personal and nothing about killing Arabs.

    “habrerah o kahane o Arafat”

    He was right, wasn’t he? 🙂

    I couldn’t understand the rest of what you wrote, sorry. Although I just remembered that as a doctor, Goldstein would have two strikes against him in your eyes, right? 🙂

    “For over 20 years they have not succeeded in electing a single Knesset member.”

    I suppose you’re referring to R’ Kahane; the fact is that he never held the views you state. So no, “they’ve” *never* elected a Knesset member. And must I remind you that Kahane was banned from running, and thus Israelis *can’t* elect anyone like him…although, happily, they have, at least in the last election. Ken yirbu.

    “Machum would you attend a celelbration of gay marriage to make the mother of a long time family friend happy?”

    Of course not. That’s celebrating an averah. As far as I know, attending a yahrtzeit meeting for Baruch Goldstein doesn’t celebrate any averah. (I attended what was halakhically an intermarriage once, but that’s a long story.)

    “I did not chas veshalom go to hear Kahane-”

    Well, of course! That’s a nice way to speak of someone who, let’s be honest, did a lot more (and sacrificed a lot more) for klal yisrael than either of us. (“J.”‘s rant, of course, notwithstanding. People have views different than yours, J. Live with it and argue rationally.)

  325. “I think we need to be careful not to either underestimate or overestimate the prevalence of racism in Israel.

    On one hand, it is certainly not limited to a handful of mentally disturbed individuals. There are whole communities where the consensus is that as many Arabs should be killed as is necessary to cause the rest to permanently leave.”

    Certainly such beliefs may be articulated in schuls in NA

    “On the other hand, those communities are vanishingly small as a percentage of the overall population. For over 20 years they have not succeeded in electing a single Knesset member.”
    Before Israel changed its racism laws to prevent Kahane -he was in the Knesset espousing such views.

  326. Nachum:
    Of course not. That’s celebrating an averah. As far as I know, attending a yahrtzeit meeting for Baruch Goldstein doesn’t celebrate any averah.

    Mass murder?

  327. Nachum – I’m not sure there’s much rational argument to be had with people who think it is OK to murder others for their body parts, the rabbis who support them and the lunatics who riot when said rabbis are called in for questioning by a state that has good reason to be worried about others trying to act out these sick pipe-dreams.

  328. Rabbi Y.H. Henkin

    See Bnei Banim vol. 3 no. 44, originally written to Rabbi Leor about Baruch Goldstein.

  329. “I couldn’t understand the rest of what you wrote, sorry. Although I just remembered that as a doctor, Goldstein would have two strikes against him in your eyes, right? :-)”

    No-as far as I know Goldstein treated Arabs-I have no evidence that he did anything but treat his patients well-it is simply his hastardly act of cold blooded murder that causes one to lose olamo beshaah echat

  330. I received the following e-mail from one of the Baker Street Irregulars in response to my 115 AM post-it is of interest and am posting it.

    “The OU uses its capital with the White House to try and benefit its wealthy donors.”

    My supposition is that the OU’s chief motivation was not in raising the after-tax wealth of its big donors, but a concern that the proposed tax change would raise the after tax cost of a $10,000 contribution to the OU from $6,000 (under the current 40% maximum deduction) to $7,200 (under the proposed cap of 28%). I take at face value the OU’s statement that “The OU believes that such a proposal will harm charities throughout the community.”

    The OU issued an Action Alert on this topic, and an OU Action Alert is a big thing. I looked at the OU webpage, and the previous national Action Alert (as opposed to alerts directed at various state legislatures) was issued in May 2010. The OU prioritization is very disturbing. At a time when Israel is facing an existential threat, at a time when the U.S. is “re-engaging” with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the OU Action Alert is directed at the rate of deductibility of donations to institutions such as churches, synagogues, mosques, operas, museums, OU, NPR, etc.

    Technical Notes: The OU statement is misleading in several respects. (i) The OU titled the statement “Oppose Congressional Proposal to Cap Tax Deductibility on Charitable Contributions”. This seems to suggest that the proposal is to put a dollar cap on the deductibility. In actuality, the proposal is to put a cap on the rate of tax deductibility. (ii) The statement asserts that “The President’s proposal would limit the tax savings to $2,800, [in the case of a $10,000 donation] or an increased after-tax cost of almost $1,200, or about 30 percent.” In actuality the after-tax cost would increase $6,000 to $7,200, an increase of 20%.

  331. There does seem to be an unexplained correlation, btw, between medical doctors and terrorism.

    Here’s arch-leftist Barry Rubin on the subject: http://www.globalpolitician.com/23074-britain
    (strangely he omits Baruch Goldstein from his analysis; or other non-Muslims).

  332. And here’s a British Medical Journal (BMJ) article from December 2000, spurred by the Shipman case in the UK: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119267/pdf/1594.pdf

  333. “IH on July 3, 2011 at 9:41 am
    There does seem to be an unexplained correlation, btw, between medical doctors and terrorism”

    Lists of organizers etc-whats the surprise-doctors average intelligence way above average- to manage terrorism requires intelligence see 9/11-engineers did that. So whats the surprise?

  334. “The OU uses its capital with the White House to try and benefit its wealthy donors.”

    One could also look at it as the OU uses its capital with the White House to try and benefit Jewish (and other non-profit) institutions. But why look at it as if the OU cares about the broader Jewish community when you can look at it as if the OU cares only about wealthy people? Typical.

  335. “See Bnei Banim vol. 3 no. 44, originally written to Rabbi Leor about Baruch Goldstein.”

    Perhaps gil could post this for those who dont have access.

  336. The OU’s lack of transparency is a problem. Scepticism is not irrational if one reasonably concludes information is being withheld.

  337. “Lists of organizers etc-whats the surprise-doctors average intelligence way above average . . .”

    as a prospective juror i was once asked if i would give the testimony of a doctor great credibility because of an assumption that he is more honest. i replied that if anything higher intelligence can make a better lier.

    (i don’t think this means that they are more dishonest than everyone else. it was just a response to what i thought was a poor assumption.)

  338. The OU’s POV on the tax deduction issue is both logical and transparent, when one understands the White House’s view about philanthropy . See the annexed link. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-war-on-philanthropy/

  339. Mycroft wrote:

    “The OU prioritization is very disturbing. At a time when Israel is facing an existential threat, at a time when the U.S. is “re-engaging” with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the OU Action Alert is directed at the rate of deductibility of donations to institutions such as churches, synagogues, mosques, operas, museums, OU, NPR, etc”

    Philanthropy should not be confused with either Tzedakah or Chesed.However, neither philanthropic efforts, Tzedakos nor Mosdos HaTorah or Chesed should be subjected to such a cap, which is a form of “taxation without representation.” FWIW, there is and should be ample room for the OU to engage in pro Israel advocacy and in voicing its concerns about the deductibility of donations as a universal First Amendment protected activity.

    As we approach the Fourth of July, it behooves us all to remember that we can give or not give to those causes or institutions that we deem worthy of our dollars for no other reason than we deem them so worthy simply based on our Hashkafic POV-not because they are deemed worthy of so by dint of either an act of Congress or an IRS regulation or a court’s approval of the same. B”H, we live in a country where we can also give to the Tzedakos, Mosdos HaTorah and Chesed networks of our choice and be as active as we wish in the same without any government interference or oversight. The proposed legislation IMO is an attempt to influence people not to give, regardless of the amount, simply because the government has some pet causes that it deems “appropriate.”

  340. IH wrote:

    “The OU’s lack of transparency is a problem. Scepticism is not irrational if one reasonably concludes information is being withheld”

    WADR, have you ever been to an OU or similar organization’s dinner? All such organizations print a journal that tells anyone present what the organization’s mission is and who gave what.

  341. “deductibility of donations as a universal First Amendment protected activity”

    for the record, this makes no sense. Giving a speech through a megaphone/giving a charitable donation/ typing a petty blog comment are all first-amendment-protected activities. That is unrelated to the deductibility of the megaphone/money donated/internet-connected device used.

  342. the OU action alert did leave a wierd taste in my mouth, ftr. it feels too much like they are interested in protecting their own income stream more than in what is good for a a country with soaring debt. bascially, “leave our income stream alone and don’t worry about where the money is going to have to come from instead.”
    that’s not to say that reasonable people might not conclude that the philanthropy deduction is not the right place to find extra money, but just that speaking out only about that without even a nod to the broader context smells like not-very-well-thougt-out self-interest.

  343. [J.]>This thread has become truly sickening. Torat Hamelech contains absolutely vile statements, including a ‘hetter’ to kill nachriim for their body parts.

    J – I find your claim hard to believe. Can you provide evidence?

  344. I just bought Toras HaMelekh and will b”n confirm what it really says in a post. It was surprisingly easy to find in Brooklyn.

  345. EMMA:

    “the OU action alert did leave a wierd taste in my mouth, ftr. it feels too much like they are interested in protecting their own income stream more than in what is good for a a country with soaring debt.”

    1) leaving aside the issue of lack of transparency and the fact that many people rely on OU employment for parnasah, at the end of the day the OU does a lot of good and performs needed services. nothing wrong with them being conerned about income flow.

    2) i understand your point, but there is no single solution to our economic woes that won’t harm a particular segement of the population, and hence evoke the opposition of the that segment to that solution.

  346. Too far afield, but the tax exemption dates to 1917 for individuals and 1935 for corporations.

    For individuals, one must submit an itemized return.

    If I read the IRS 2008 Statistics correctly, only 27.5% of taxpayers itemize contributions.

    —–

    I am not aware of any other Western democracy in which charitable donations can be directly used as tax exemptions as we have in the US.

    The UK has an interesting system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_Aid.

  347. >I am not aware of any other Western democracy in which charitable donations can be directly used as tax exemptions as we have in the US.

    Canada

  348. “emma on July 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm
    “deductibility of donations as a universal First Amendment protected activity”

    for the record, this makes no sense. Giving a speech through a megaphone/giving a charitable donation/ typing a petty blog comment are all first-amendment-protected activities. That is unrelated to the deductibility of the megaphone/money donated/internet-connected device used.”
    Agreed-way beyond this blog but all deductions are a matter of legislative grace-thus no deduction for those who take the Standard deduction. The only deduction that is arguably constittuionally reauired is Cost of Goods Sold because that may impact on definition of gross income which the Constitution as amended permits wo direct apportionment-everything else is whatever Congress decides

  349. STEVE BRIZEL:

    “WADR, have you ever been to an OU or similar organization’s dinner? All such organizations print a journal that tells anyone present what the organization’s mission is and who gave what.”

    i am going to break my rule of not engaging you because i can’t overlook this statemnt.

    no one questions the OU’s very worthy mission(s). and for our purposes here no one cares who gives them what (assuming not dirty $). the question of transparency has to do with how that $ is spent. for the very most part, this is not something j orgs divulge even in a vague sense. and this includes the OU, despite its strong overlap with the RCA, an organization that has called on j orgs to practice transparency.

    steve, i tried my best to keep my comment brief and to the point. if you choose to respond, i beg of you to stay on track on not go off with irrelevant tangents or read in my words i didn’t write. so please, before you click “post comment,” please reread my comment and your response 2 or 3 times.