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New editor for The Jewish Standard
Israel affecting growing liberalism among Orthodox U.S. Jews, says sociologist
Sharpton quits shul’s Crown Hts. panel after riot victim’s brother objected
Sephardi girls not being placed in Haredi schools
FrumTeens moderator to go public
Are Circuses Kosher?
The Real Saviours of Soviet Jewry
SALT Friday
Are Yeshivas Doing Enough?
Is The Talmud Anti-Christian?
Closing The Gap Between Campus ‘Insiders,’ ‘Outsiders’
The ‘Race Riot’ That Wasn’t
Sharpton To Discuss Crown Heights At Hampton Synagogue
Just how expensive is it to live in Israel?
Woman divorces brain-damaged husband
SALT Thursday
Rabbis: Alternative medicine based on idolatry
Line Between Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Protests Splits AJC
Leah Caras Created Yaldah, A Magazine for Orthodox Girls
The Selfish Goals of the Tel Aviv Tent Protests
Another chapter posted of Dr. Seth Kadish’s Book of Abraham
The Orthodox Rabbi Helping Gay Men to Marry Lesbians
SALT Wednesday
Chinese Jews Face Existential Questions
Anti-Orthodox? What Anti-Orthodox?
Brooklyn DA to unveil Kletzky-inspired Safe Stop program
After Riots, Jews Stayed in Crown Heights
Jews Have Little to Fear From Black Anti-Semitism
Hunt for UK chief rabbi heating up
Israeli singles look for new love in ancient cave
Parents appeal sex segregation in school
Rabbi Lau backs social protests
Hareidi World: Internet Ban Backfired, Now What?
SALT Tuesday
Study: Education Affects Americans’ Religiosity — But Not How You Might Think
Time for a New World Jewish Organization
How B’nai B’rith’s Museum Went From Must-See Site to Oblivion
Woman fined for refusing to accept get
Jewish ‘guardians’ keep London streets safe
R. Jonathan Sacks on London riots
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 of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

151 comments

  1. Isn’t forcing a women to accept a get contrary to halacha?

  2. Not if it’s a beit din deciding that she must accept it!

  3. I find the article on religion and academia to be very interesting, esp. in light of all the people who speak of university as though it were solely a religion-killer. Are there parallel studies on Jews?

  4. Yossi Beilin is *the* initiator of Birthright??

  5. Abba's Rantings

    from the bnai brith article: “Mann said that B’nai B’rith should be given credit for keeping the collection together during tough economic times. “There are horror stories of institutions who have sold off or wanted to sell off their artistic patrimony,” Mann said”

    possibly pot calling the kettle black

    but in any case, it is sad when an institution sells off its assets, whether historic real estate or rare judaica, to stay afloat. but ultimately institutions needs to remain focussed on their primary goals. if the only way to continue doing that is by selling assets, then it is silly not to do so.

  6. JK:

    According to Charles Bronfman, Beilin definitely is (as Bronfman told me just a few days ago). It was Beilin’s idea; then, Steinhardt and Bronfman ran with it.

  7. Searching For Emes

    Rabbi Maroof is on the war path again:

    http://vesomsechel.blogspot.com/2011/08/protest-cross-currents-smear-campaign.html

    This time he even praises the editor of Matzav. Must be the full moon or something.

  8. >possibly pot calling the kettle black

    Do tell?

  9. Hirhur Kedibur

    Does the Cross Currents article say that Maroof ordained Hurwitz? I don’t see it. He can complain about “guilt by association” but he chose to associate with them.

  10. MiMedinat HaYam

    woman refusing to accept get — says “She told the court that under Jewish law, her husband was free to ask the Rabbinic Court for permission to marry another woman without first divorcing her. ”

    and unlike maariv, the statistics show the opposite — more wives refuse to accept gittin than men refuse to give gitten. per http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/122884

  11. “Joseph Kaplan on August 15, 2011 at 9:20 am
    Yossi Beilin is *the* initiator of Birthright??”

    Agree or disagree with him on politics or various hashkafot matters Yossi Beillin is a believer in a Jewish state of Israel. He just doesn’t believe it is possible to have a Jewish state keeping the shtachim. Essentially Kahane and Beillin agree that a Jewish state can’t have vast percentages of non Jews-they have different solutions.

  12. MMY: Only problem is the source for the stats…

  13. MMhY’s article is also 4 years old. Recent statistics — I posted a link in the last couple of months — illustrate a significantly higher number of agunot.

  14. And, of course, it depends on the definition of agunot. AIUI, even if a husband refuses to give a get, if a case is still pending the rabbinical courts do not consider the woman an agunah. But the allegation that there are more husbands who are refused gittin than women (a laughable allegation were it not so sad) is a nice talking point for those who support husbands who torture their should be ex-wives and care little about women whose lives are being ruined.

  15. “But the allegation that there are more husbands who are refused gittin than women (a laughable allegation were it not so sad) is a nice talking point for those who support husbands who torture their should be ex-wives and care little about women whose lives are being ruined”

    My gut feelings are with Joseph Kaplan but is there any reliable data on this issue? Certainly older men have better marriage prospects than older women. Of course theoretically a man can get a heter meah Rabbonim-no such out for a woman.
    Divorces are known to unfortunately be war-I have complained about the public recrimination that takes place in divorce. Depending on ones siblings or siblings spouses power in the Jewish world misleading nasty info has been spread at times against one or the other of spouses who break up. That is sadly a far more frequent occurrence than the withholding of gittim.

  16. “aiwac on August 15, 2011 at 9:17 am
    I find the article on religion and academia to be very interesting, esp. in light of all the people who speak of university as though it were solely a religion-killer. Are there parallel studies on Jews?”

    Of course study said educated more likely to switch religions, not believe in literal principles of BIble-similarities are those which would send people away from Yahadus. Of course, there is always the economic potential-more educated attend mainline church more-more educated tend to have more money and thus have more money for discretionary good of religion.

  17. lawrence kaplan

    The article about the Chief Rabbi is particularly snide and nasty. The author could have raised legitimate criticisms about Rabbi Saks without getting personal.

  18. Shalom Rosenfeld

    From the Kaifeng-Jews article, a lady is quoted as saying:

    “We read the Torah with Eastern thoughts; deal with it.”

    את-ה’, היו יראים; ואת-אלהיהם, היו עבדים, כמשפט הגוים, אשר-הגלו אתם משם. עד היום הזה הם עשים, כמשפטים הראשנים

  19. AIUI, even if a husband refuses to give a get, if a case is still pending the rabbinical courts do not consider the woman an agunah.

    I do not understand this point Joseph. If the husband is not preventing the matter from being heard by beit din, how is she an agunah? Is it your contention that a woman is an agunah the moment after she says “Honey, I want a divorce” and he says no. Because if it is, you are stripping the term of all the reasons the negative connotation is associated with it, i.e. that it is unilateral and potentially open-ended, contributes to mamzerut (except in the same way any bad marriage would), etc.

  20. But the allegation that there are more husbands who are refused gittin than women (a laughable allegation were it not so sad) is a nice talking point for those who support husbands who torture their should be ex-wives and care little about women whose lives are being ruined.

    I do not not know why the allegation is laughable. Is the mere fact that it is generally nonreported mean it is not present. But more important, I do not see what the one has to do with the other. If a husband is a SOB and withholding a get how is his act made any better by some woman in some other marriage being a DOB and refusing to accept one?

  21. From Shafrans piece, one of the items he lists about the jewish week’s anti-orthodox bias is “the blatantly false assertion that a major charedi group “is opposed to both mandated reporting and finger printing, and background check legislation””

    – is he kidding??

  22. MiMedinat HaYam

    the “agunah lobby” (for lack of a better term) defines an “agunah” as any woman who does not receuve a get within 24 hours of asking for one. they decry anyone who advocates reconciliation / marriage counseling, etc.

    even if there is a “business dispute” they claim the get should be given within 24 hours. even if the bet din knows the wife will not abide by their psak, the get should be given (pressure on the man to abide, ok. pressure on the woman to abide, no-k. (business dispute = property settlement, etc. for purposes of this discussion.)

    the agunah lobbies differ among themselves regarding women who refuse to accept gittin. (and regarding halachic vs (excessively) creative solutions.)

    the rabbanut has its own definition. per the article.

    IH — what are your stat’s? plz post.

  23. MiMedinat HaYam

    it is the prerogative of the chief rabbi (and / or those who appoint him) to define his job.

    just like any other job.

    l kaplan — correct.

    kaifeng — ditto mexican mestizo / converso (claimed), and others similar all over the world.

    the falashas claimed they only married among themselces, so they were not (so much) a pblm; but others do not. kaifeng specifically do claim intermarriage.

    rav lau — i thought it was r benni lau — nothing new. its his uncle — you should change the listing.

  24. The person who wrote the YNet article does not understand statistics. He says Tel Aviv has the highest divorce rate, but all the statistics show is that there are more divorces there, without accounting for different population of the cities. Tel-Aviv is the biggest city, so of course it has more divorces.

    On agunot, the real question is what is the definition of an agunah, as MMHY has indicated. You cannot have a meaningful discussion of the issue without first agreeing on that.

  25. “According to the courts, agunot are women whose husbands do not show up for court discussion, as they have escaped, disappeared or are in jail. Women whose husbands were found but refuse to grant them a divorce are not considered agunot and are not handled by the courts’ special unit.”

  26. Incidentally, Tal, you seem to be mis-reading the reported statistics. The percentages (rates) are year-to-year deltas per each city; and the number of divorces per city does not seem to be a linear function to population.

  27. “Is it your contention that a woman is an agunah the moment after she says “Honey, I want a divorce” and he says no.”

    No it’s not. In the US and other countries where there is civil divorce, the cut-off point, AISI, would be the granting of the civil divorce (Ialthough I think it’s better for the get to be given earlier). In Israel, without civil divorce, it’s a more difficult question, but there is some time period (6 months, a year, 2 years) when it is clear the marriage is dead, and at that point, if a husband refuses to give a get the woman is, IMO, an agunah.

    “Is the mere fact that it is generally nonreported mean it is not present.”

    No. What is laughable is that there are more men in an igun situation than women.

  28. IH, read it again:

    A rabbinical courts’ report for 2010, obtained by Ynet, shows that although Tel Aviv continues to hold the highest divorce rate in Israel, the city saw an 11% drop in the number of divorce cases compared to 2009, with 702 couples ending their marriage last year.
    Jerusalem is second in the number of divorce cases with 640 couples (-10%), followed by Rishon Lezion with 435 couples (+3.5%), Haifa with 425 (-4%) and Beersheba with 362 (-1%).

    Tel-Aviv has the highest number of divorces, but there was an 11% drop from the prior year. The problem is he states that Tel-Aviv has the highest divorce rate (“Tel Aviv continues to hold the highest divorce rate”), but all the statistics show is that more people get divorced there than any other city. Not a surprise given that it is the largest city in the country. At minimum, you would have to compare the number of divorces to the size of the population.

    (Even that would be misleading, because the age makeup probably varies. Jerusalem, for example, has a large Charedi population, which tend to have many children. Generally, children do not marry and do not get divorced.)

  29. IMO, an agunah.

    Being stuck in a garbage marriage is a bad deal. If the civil marriage hasn’t been dissolved yet and the woman is not 100% sure whether her husband will really grant the divorce, she will know the fear of the agunah, the pain of the agunah, the loneliness. But according to Joseph she is not an agunah.

    I am not saying that she is one myself. I make this point simply to note that what is terrible about the agunah is not defined by the term. It can precede the designation. Potentially, if we are legalistic, it can apply to places where the woman is dead wrong. I assume we are using the term here as a yardstick for a point where the community will “take her side” for the purpose of pressuring the man. We will, if need be, demonize him, protest him at work and home, do all sorts of nastiness because we need to free her.

    I guess my view is this. It doesn’t really matter to me whether we say “agunah” involves a beit din or does not involve a beit din. However, if we are going to ascribe to the agunah, victimhood and abuse, sympathy and communal support in making the husband come to heel, then it would seem to me there should be some rabbinic control of a problem that is a halachic construct.

    Joseph, are you arguing that Judaism have “no fault” marriage? Maybe that is a good thing. Anyway it seems you are arguing for it. Take NY, which is now no fault. The woman can leave the marriage unilaterally, make a motion for divorce unilaterally (which basically must be granted), and, according to you, therefore get a get unilaterally. If he refuses her, she is an agunah and we should protest outside his home and place of work, strip him of all communal honors, association etc. Even if her decisions were all arbitrary or even malicious, since basis is irrelevant. The beit din system is completely absent though 3 would be needed to observe the get.

    Why strip the beit din of any role? Why should it be “IMO”? A divorce going through a beit din for the limited purpose of granting the get … that has nice and hard threshold.

    Now of course there are many batei din in this country, most incompetent, some corrupt. Still, what is so difficult in saying she has to go to one of them to try to get a get? Is that a high threshold? And if he won’t grant it then the beit din can declare her an agunah.

    No. What is laughable is that there are more men in an igun situation than women.

    I certainly concede I hear about it more with women. But I don’t know if it happens for men. If a man withholds for a month as negotiating leverage, then the wife will feel the pain and fear of agunah and will probably feel liker she was one briefly. But I am not sure if a man could articulate similar fear if a woman was negotiating tough for a month.

  30. BTW, the headling of the article, “Modiin sees surge in divorce rate” has the same problem. Modiin is a small but rapdidly growing town. (Acc. to their website, http://www.modiinfo.com/index.php/hot-topics/local-news/1186-new-population-data-shows-that-modiin-has-set-a-new-record-for-the-number-of-new-residents-in-one-ye, the population in 2010 was about 78,000, and grew by 6200 in a single year. That’s nearly an 8% rise in a single year.)

    The town is almost exclusively religious. How many divorces does a small religious town have every year anyway? It is easy to see how a small number could have a large jump in a single year. (If there were 20 divorces in 2009 and 25 in 2010, that’s a 25% rise, but hardly a trend.)

  31. Searching For Emes

    RJM weighs in on “Morethodoxy” again:

    http://vesomsechel.blogspot.com/2011/08/more-on-morethodoxy.html

  32. mycroft,

    “Of course study said educated more likely to switch religions, not believe in literal principles of BIble-similarities are those which would send people away from Yahadus. Of course, there is always the economic potential-more educated attend mainline church more-more educated tend to have more money and thus have more money for discretionary good of religion.”

    OK, fair enough, but “not believing in literal principles of the Bible” is a rather broad spectrum – from disbelieving that all of TSBP was given at Sinai or that the world was created in g 24 hour days to the old TMS/DH issue. As for “switching religions”, that’s largely due to the very fluid movement among denominations in Xianity. My impression is that it’s not that fluid in Judaism.

    If your experience is different, please share. But from the time I spent in the Land of Israel Studies Dept. in Bar-Ilan, I don’t remember a lot of people taking off the kipa.

  33. Tal — As several of us have pointed out before, all the Israeli Hebrew newapapers suffer from translation issues in their English editions.

    The language could have been clearer, but, in this case, you are making some bad assumptions that lead you to mis-reading.

    In any case, the point was the section about agunot (as I wrote).

  34. BTW, Modi’in is very far from “exclusively religious”.

  35. “Being stuck in a garbage marriage is a bad deal. If the civil marriage hasn’t been dissolved yet and the woman is not 100% sure whether her husband will really grant the divorce, she will know the fear of the agunah, the pain of the agunah, the loneliness. But according to Joseph she is not an agunah.”

    That’s not quite fair. You asked me for a defintion and i gave you one. But, of course, definitions, while necessary, don’t always include everyone who should be included. That’s why I specifically said that I think in many cases the husband should not wait for the civil divorce to be final but should give it earlier. IOW, AISI, a woman becomes an agunah when the only thing stopping her from remarrying, after the marriage is dead, is the giving of a get. Thus my defintion. Do other women who dobn’t fall into this definition siometimes suffer from the husband not yet giving a get? Unfortunately yes.

    “Joseph, are you arguing that Judaism have “no fault” marriage? Maybe that is a good thing. Anyway it seems you are arguing for it.”

    If a marriage is dead, it’s dead and forcing spouces to stay in it is cruel and senseless. A civil divorce is, in my view, solid proof that the marriage is dead. What purpose does a husband have in refusing a divorce in such a situation other than (i) financial benefir or (ii) torturing his wife? Why strip the beit din of any role? Why should it be “IMO”? A divorce going through a beit din for the limited purpose of granting the get … that has nice and hard threshold.

    “I certainly concede I hear about it more with women. But I don’t know if it happens for men.”

    I’m sure it does and the case that started this thread (woman fined) shows that it does. But more than men withholding? Ridiculous.

    “If a man withholds for a month as negotiating leverage, then the wife will feel the pain and fear of agunah and will probably feel liker she was one briefly. But I am not sure if a man could articulate similar fear if a woman was negotiating tough for a month.”

    I have nothing against tough negotiating as long as the giving or receiving a get is not part of such negotiations. In my view, using get as a tool in divorce negotiations (by the husband or wife) is illegitimate.

  36. “Tel-Aviv is the biggest city”

    You’ve said this twice. It is not.

  37. I have nothing against tough negotiating as long as the giving or receiving a get is not part of such negotiations. In my view, using get as a tool in divorce negotiations (by the husband or wife) is illegitimate

    How about going to secular court (an issur deoraysa) and taking advantage of laws that are against the Torah? Is that legitimate?

    More to the point, would it be legitimate for a husband to say, “I will grant you a get, but only if you agree (with a binding arbitration contract) that all matters concerning the divorce will be resolved by a beis din. OTOH, if you resort to secular court, then forget about a get.” Legitimate or not?

  38. “Tel-Aviv is the biggest city”

    You’ve said this twice. It is not.

    Do you have any statistics to back this up? And limit it to Jewish residents, since we are talking about statistics of how many divorces are handled by the Rabbanut on a yearly basis. There are likely few Arabs or other non-Jews included.

  39. Tal,

    Number of Jews:

    Jerusalem 2007: 489,480
    Tel Aviv 2010: 358,900

    (both numbers from Wikipedia)

    Jerusalem wins by far.

  40. According to one website I saw:

    “Metropolitan Tel Aviv, with 2.5 million Jews, is the world’s largest Jewish city. It is followed by New York, with 1.9 million, Haifa 655,000, Los Angeles 621,000, Jerusalem 570,000, and southeast Florida 514,000.”

    I guess the issue is if you are talking only about Tel Aviv proper or the whole metropolitan area. Is there a separate rabbanut for each of the various towns in the Metropolitan Tel Aviv area?

    (Plus, as I noted above, you need to include only the adult population. Children generally neither marry nor divorce. I would bet that the Jewish population of Jerusalem has a higher percentage of children than does Tel Aviv.)

  41. “According to one website I saw:

    “Metropolitan Tel Aviv, with 2.5 million Jews, is the world’s largest Jewish city. It is followed by New York, with 1.9 million, Haifa 655,000, Los Angeles 621,000, Jerusalem 570,000, and southeast Florida 514,000.”

    I guess the issue is if you are talking only about Tel Aviv proper or the whole metropolitan area. Is there a separate rabbanut for each of the various towns in the Metropolitan Tel Aviv area?”

    For most of us TA would include Ramat Gan, etc-leaving the train station and going to the east is as similar to TA as going west to TA.

  42. Tal — here is the link to the Israel Bureau of Statistics summary that ynet summarized: http://www.cbs.gov.il/shnaton61/st03_04.pdf

    And the corresponding populations by major city & religion: http://www.cbs.gov.il/shnaton61/st02_12x.pdf

    Next.

  43. “My impression is that it’s not that fluid in Judaism.”

    So what has happened to Jews-
    from
    http://www.enotes.com/topic/Counter-missionary

    The worldwide Jewish population is 13.3 million. In 2001, 8.3 million lived outside Israel and 4.9 million in Israel. About half of the world’s Jews reside in the Americas, with about 46 percent in North America.[14].

    In North America, up to 72% of Jews marry non-Jews.[15] Inter-marriage rates have risen from roughly 6% in 1950 to approximately 40%-50% in the year 2000.[16] Harris Interactive has conducted a survey indicating that 52% of American Jews do not believe in God.[17]. Though inter-marriage and secular upbringing, fewer Jews practice Judaism, as Jews convert to other religions or no religion.

    The foremost sociologist of American Jewry, Marshall Sklare, wrote: “Many intermarried parents declare….that upon maturity their child will have the right to choose his own identity. This generally means that his identity will be with the majority group. Only if the child has formed a particularly strong identification with the parent who is Jewish will he be motivated to integrate into the minority community. The majority of the children of intermarried Jews, then, will be Gentiles. …”[18].

    Today, of the approximately 6 million ethnic Jews in the United States, about 2 out of 3, either do not identify themselves Jewishly or maintain an affiliation with a synagogue. Of 5.6 million Jews, 2 million American Jews live in households identified as non-Jewish. 60% of Jews below 40 years of age live in households identified as non-Jewish. Since 1985, 52% of Jews who married have done so outside the faith. 1 million, or 54% of all American Jewish children under the age of 18 are being raised as non-Jews or with no religion. In 1962, 540,000 Jewish children were attending afternoon weekend schools, and 60,000 were enrolled in day schools. By 1990, fewer than 240,000 Jewish children attended afternoon /weekend schools and 140,000 attended day schools, a net loss of 220,000 Jewish children. Of the population that consists of people who were born Jewish and are Jewish by choice, only 11% attend synagogue weekly

  44. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/usjewpop1.html

    (1654-2010)

    ——————————————————————————–

    Year Estimated Jewish Population
    1654 25
    1700 200-300
    1776 1,000-2,500
    1790 1,243-3,000
    1800 2,000-2,500
    1820 2,650-5,000
    1826 6,000
    1830 4,000-6,000
    1840 15,000
    1848 50,000
    1850 50,000-100,000
    1860 150,000-200,000
    1870 200,000
    1880 230,000-280,000
    1890 400,000-475,000
    1900 937,800-1,058,135
    1910 1,508,000-2,349,754
    1920 3,300,000-3,604,580
    1927 4,228,029
    1937 4,641,000-4,831,180
    1940 4,770,000-4,975,000
    1950 4,500,000-5,000,000
    1960 5,367,000-5,531,500
    1970 5,370,000-6,000,000
    1980 5,500,000-5,920,890
    1992 5,828,000
    2006 5,275,000

    2010 5,275,000

    Note the decrease or certainly lack of increase in number of Jews in US since 1940-included in time period Chareidi immigration and their great fertility

  45. “MiMedinat HaYam on August 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm
    it is the prerogative of the chief rabbi (and / or those who appoint him) to define his job”

    subject of course to the authority of those appointing one to any position to determine authority over 3rd parties. A big problem sometimes-in another context there was amajor yeshiva in the US which essentially got destroyed because the President apppointed a RY with authority that he demanded and the rest of the faculty claimed that the President had no authority to give that RY authority over them.

  46. mycroft,

    Yes, many people consider “Metropolitan Tel Aviv” to include surrounding municipalities, but when the government does statistics, it only considers municipal TA.

  47. more on los assani isha – an attempt for a reasoned discussion?

    http://www.jewishideas.org/blog/shelo-assani-isha-critique-contemporary-bloggic-discour

    as well as condemnation from others – the use of the “c” word:

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/08/16/painting-the-bull%E2%80%99s-eye-around-the-arrow/

  48. “How about going to secular court (an issur deoraysa) and taking advantage of laws that are against the Torah? Is that legitimate?”

    A woman who adjudicates her financial disputes in secular court should receive the same sanctions, if any, received by businessmen who do that (of which there are many). That does not include having their personal lives ruined, being sentenced to a life of loneliness and, for women of child bearing age, having the possibility of having children stolen from them.

    “More to the point, would it be legitimate for a husband to say, “I will grant you a get, but only if you agree (with a binding arbitration contract) that all matters concerning the divorce will be resolved by a beis din. OTOH, if you resort to secular court, then forget about a get.” Legitimate or not?”

    Nope.

  49. “On the eve of its 63rd Independence Day, Israel’s population stood at 7,746,000, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Some 5,837,000 of the population (75.3 percent) are Jewish Israelis, 1,587,000 (20.5%) are Israeli Arabs and those not identified as either make up the remaining 4.2% of the population, or 322,000 people. When the state was established, there were only 806,000 residents, with this number reaching its first and second million in 1949 and 1958 respectively. Today, over 70% of the total Jewish population are “Sabras” – born in Israel – compared with 35% native-born in 1948.”

    So it’s official. There are more Jews in Israel than America.
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/newpop.html

    Isn’t this supposed to have some huge halachic significance?

  50. avi,

    it is significant only when the Jews in Israel become an absolute majority of Jews in the world (51%). Sadly, if mycroft’s figures are anything to go by, that day is not far off.

  51. The Sklare quotation on intermarriage is from 1971. 40 years on, the newly published Chicago Jewish Demographics study observes:

    “Intermarriage has grown, from 30 percent in 2000 to 37 percent in 2010, but the proportion of children in interfaith families who are being reared as exclusively Jewish has jumped to 49 percent, up from 38 percent in 2000.

    ‘The fact that one in two local interfaith families is choosing to rear their children as Jewish has profound significance for the Jewish future,’ said Peter Friedman, Federation executive vice president. ‘This finding has hopeful implications for Jewish continuity, and reinforces the importance of JUF/Federation’s multi-faceted ‘Joyfully Jewish’ outreach programs for families with young children.’

    Those interfaith families rearing children Jewish indicate strong connection to Judaism and Jewish community, with 85 percent saying that being Jewish is “very important” to them, 43 percent belonging to a synagogue, JCC or other Jewish organization, and 36 percent having traveled to Israel. (Overall, 50 percent of Chicago Jews have visited the Jewish State.)

    http://www.juf.org/pdf/ealert/pop_study.pdf

  52. By the way, for those interested in both the history of Jews in America; and the intermarriage debate that occurred in the early 1980s, I would recommend Charles Silberman’s “A Certain People” which can be bought used on Amazon for next to nothing. It was published in 1985 and includes a large section on the debate regarding intermarriage. The book was controversial when it came out because some thought he was being too rosy. 26 years on, he was more right than wrong in my view. I read it last year.

  53. The article on the tent protesters was mean spirited and unfair. To be sure people have selfish and political motives and they dont necessarily have good solutions to the problems they are protesting. However, what we are seeing in Israel is real unity (though the relationship of the chareidim to this movement is complex) driven by the simple fact that start up miracle has left a lot of people behind as the cost of putting a roof over ones head and food on the table is rising much faster than wages.

  54. R. Shoshan,

    OK, but many of the solutions are either unrealistic or downright destructive, and will make the economic situation WORSE. Just because the protest complaints (or some of them), doesn’t mean that this protest (if it leads to said solutions) is a good thing. We don’t want Israel to become Greece.

  55. Sorry, message got sent in the middle.
    The article on the tent protesters was mean spirited and unfair. To be sure people have selfish and political motives and they dont necessarily have good solutions to the problems they are protesting. However, what we are seeing in Israel is real unity (though the relationship of the chareidim to this movement is complex) driven by the simple fact that start up miracle has left a lot of people behind as the cost of putting a roof over ones head and food on the table is rising much faster than wages.

  56. aiwac-
    agreed, but that’s not what the article said.

  57. “More to the point, would it be legitimate for a husband to say, “I will grant you a get, but only if you agree (with a binding arbitration contract) that all matters concerning the divorce will be resolved by a beis din. OTOH, if you resort to secular court, then forget about a get.” Legitimate or not?”

    Nope.

    Curious what other posters think about this.

    In my view, there is nothing wrong with doing this. (I am talking about a bona fide, fair beis din, not a corrupt or biased one.)

    The Gemara in Bava Kama (69a) notes that the custom was to mark orchards with Orlah trees, so that someone would not mistakenly eat from there. The gemara then quotes a Beraisa that such was only during shemittah, when the fields were hefker. In other years, someone who picked the fruits would be a thief, and we don’t care if a thief accidentally eats orlah. The gemara uses very strong language: halitehu le rasha ve yamus.

    Someone who goes to a secular court when a beis din is available and the other side is willing will almost certainly end up getting what acc. to the Torah he or she does not deserve. So, apart from violating lifneihem velo lifnei akum, the person will likely end up a thief. Why should he or she get any special consideration? IOW, you chose to go to a secular court, be satisfied with a secular divorce.

    (A few years ago, when the NY get law came out, the NY Times ran an article about it. Several feminists wrote in and were very unsympathetic to the agunos. You chose to follow your religion, then don’t come crying to the secular court to help you.)

  58. For another insightful view of the problem relating to the “shelo asani isha” blessing, please check out Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s latest blog on the subject. Note: he’s against changing the prayer.

    http://rabbipruzansky.com/2011/08/17/according-to-his-will/

    The excerpts given by Mycroft illustrate a major catastrophy facing today’s Jews: widespread alienation, apathy and ignorance, resulting in the masses losing their Jewish identity. Is there a solution to this problem?

  59. Let me add one technical note. AIUI, arbitration panels, in NY and, I believe, in many other states, do not, as a matter of public policy, have any power with respect to child custody issues even if the spouses sign what otherwise would have been a binding arbitration agreement.

  60. arbitration panels make custody decisions that are binding per NY law. that does not mean that no beis din thinks it can decide custody and/or issue a halachically binding (just not secularly enforceable) psak on the matter.

    The idea of what one could get in secular court being “stolen” is problematic to me, at least in communities where basically everyone expects to live by contemporary secular property law. but i am not really aware of the metsius. what would a woman who earned comparably to her husband throughout the marriage, contributing to the mortgage, etc, walk away with from a contemporary beis din? does it matter whose name things are titled in? if the answer is, as i believe it would be in some batei din, she gets her ketubah and that’s that, then how many couples actually expect that when they marry? how many of the men who want that for their ex-wives would want that for their daughters?

    in general i share joseph kaplan’s discomfort with allowing the husband to be the “punisher” of the wife rather than God. In your orlah example it’s not that you can poison your orlah fruit since anyone who steals it is a thief anyway. what if one spouse says lashon hara about the other – a clear aveirah. does that make it ok for the slandered spouse to “punish” the slanderer using whatever means are at his/her disposal, even if those means would/should not be allowed against a non-sinner?

    A variation on your scenario: what if the BD says “we will order your husband to grant a get, but only if you submit to our jurisdiction for property purposes.” in that case, i would not be happy with the policy (because of a general perception that batei din leave women worse off) but it at least makes sense for the BD to say “don’t come running to us when you have a problem if you are not actually willing to respect us.” That does seem like a rather vindictive/power-grabbing thing for BD to do, though. If people are not convinced that BD is a functioning legal system of first-resort such that you have to coerce them to attend, then maybe more coercion is not the answer…

  61. While I am not an expert on all forms of alternative medicine, and there may even be practices out there that involved avoda zarah, the statement that alternative medicine has a chazakah of being based on avoda zarah is absurd and shows little understanding of either the theory or practice of medicine, broadly construed. If perhaps they had raised concerns about a particular practice, say, Ayurvedic medicine, then their position could be taken seriously and analyzed. But to say that alternative medicine has a real likelihood to bring one to an issur d’oraisa of avoda zarah is just absurd.
    Also, why do they say that tzniut is a reason not to study alternative medicine. What do they think goes on in a (regular) medical school.
    The original letter is here:
    http://www.kipa.co.il/now/45664.html

  62. lawrence kaplan

    MDJ: I read the letter. The rabbis do NOT say that alternative medicine has a chazakah of avodah zarah. They DO say that avodah zarah may be mixed together with SOME forms alternative medicine, and therefore each form has to be examined separately.

    They also do not NOT say that tzeniut is a reason not to study alternative medicine. They DO say that tzeniut concerns arise in connection with SOME forms of alternative medicine. They say that anyone wishing to study alternative medicine should do so in a program that consults with a responsible halakhic authority.

    Actually, I was quite impressed by how carefully worded and nuanced the letter was. I suggest you reread it.

  63. Emma, see Hirsch v. Hirsch, 774 NYS2d 748 (“Disputes concerning child custody and visitation are not subject to arbitration as ‘the court’s role as parens patriae must not be usurped'”). In fact, even with respect to child support, “although the issue of child support is subject to arbitration, an award may be vacated on public policy grounds if it fails to comply with the Child Support Standards Act and is not in the best interests of the child.”

  64. Prof. Kaplan
    The point is that there is absolutely no problem halakhicly with the most prevalent forms of “alternative” medicine: Herbs, acupuncture and massage. As far as I understand neither Confucianism nor Budhism are in and of themselves Avodah Zarah. If there are problematic practices, the poskim have an obligation to identify them rather than raising sefekos about an entire field of study and practice.

  65. Ah, for the days the Rav would say, “It’s assur because it’s stupid.”

  66. lawrence.kaplan

    Moshe Shoishsn: I agree with you in principle, but my impresion is that the rabbis have specific concerns in mind. I do not agree with you tha they are raising sefekos about an entire field. Again, I think their letter was more nuanced than that. If I have the time, I will translate it into English and ask Gil to post it.

  67. “why do they say that tzniut is a reason not to study alternative medicine. What do they think goes on in a (regular) medical school.”

    I have personally taught much non-tzniut material to medical students and psychology graduate students. And you would not want a licensed physician or psychologist not to know that material.

  68. For some eye opening about 16th century Jewish medicine, see this page and the following from Ruderman’s “Kabbalah, Magic and Science” (Harvard, 1988): http://tinyurl.com/3pb6m9h

  69. lawrence.kaplan

    I would also point out that the headline is very misleading.

  70. “Emma, see Hirsch v. Hirsch, 774 NYS2d 748 (“Disputes concerning child custody and visitation are not subject to arbitration as ‘the court’s role as parens patriae must not be usurped’”). ”

    I don’t disagree that this is the law in NY. As I said, that does not mean no beit din would issue rulings on the matter and consider them halachically binding (i.e., consider parties who actively sought to overturn them sinners). they would just not be enforceable through the secular legal system.

  71. al the more so with child support, where it can be legally arbitrated but then relatively easily vacated – you think no beit din would say it is assur to seek to vacate their ruling?

  72. Emma: Got it.

  73. Prof. Kaplan,
    I realize of course that they did not use the word chazakah. However, I did not think that it was so nuanced. Rather, it raised questions about a heterogeneous group of disciplines when in fact this is a problem that does not exist by and large. There is no reason for anyone who goes to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, herbalist, practitioner of traditional chinese medicine, naturopath, osteopath, homeopath or any of a dozen other forms of alternative care to even think about avoda zarah. But this letter says they have to ask a shaila. What would have been nuanced would have been for them to identify the practices they have problem with.
    As for tzinius, I didn’t say that they said not to study it because of tzinius, but rather that it was a problem with the study of alternative medicine. (At least that’s what I meant to say.) And this is no more true of alternative medicine than of traditional medicine. But they don’t say one should seek halachic guidance about tzinius before entering medical school. Why not? This letter gives off the sense that someone has an agenda. (Though I admit that, my objections notwithstanding, that that last sentence may be reaching a bit.)

  74. MiMedinat HaYam

    the fact that modiin leads can be due to several other factors — 1 — more “young marrieds” in the district (prob includes bet shemesh) 2 — parties / atty might prefer that court, like texas (patents) bronx (personal injury) manhattan (central location).

    but no stats there on agunot / agunim , mr IH. the 2007 article i cited stands. more agunim than agunot.

    2. no bet din gives the ketuba value, unless the wife requests it. the question is, do they add that to the rest of the property award.

    3. j kaplan — would you allow a party to sign a general release before the litigation is done? why would you require the get, before the litigation is over?

    as for choice of bet din — why cant the “agunah lobby” start a (halachic) bet din? no respectable dayanim ( = non halachic)? plenty of interest, and should be lucrative.

    4. requiring a get before the civil is final — was discussed here (cant find it using search function — webmaster help plz? was a case in washington, dc). local vaad said demonstration improper, agunah org didnt defer. defintion is crucial. 24 hours, or after civil, or in between?

  75. MiMedinat HaYam

    as for giving a get before the civil — the man can remarry, but no one will marry a woman without a civil. i know of some cases. and it usually leads to the woman dragging out the civil.

    by the way — batei din abdicate their responsibilties with child support, by relying on the state guidelines. and sometimes women lose out, cause batei din prefer to give property for child support, which is not allowed in NYS / most / all states. (NYS requires weekly sum, leading to “i didnt get the check” arguments.) and the wife doesnt get the house (uprooting the children from their (somewhat) stable home, etc)

  76. lawrence.kaplan

    MDJ: Maybe. My sense is that there is a lot of superstition and abizrayhu de-avodah zarah around nowadays. Most alternative forms of medicne- and here I agree with you and Moshe Shoshan– in priciple, do not and need not involve such superstition- but the rabbis communites be mixing up the superstition with the medicine. Perhaps, as you allude, this is a power play. I don’t think so, but I should not dismiss the possibility. In any event, I think we need more information. One thing, though, is certain: The article’s title was extremely misleading.

  77. “Modiin is a small but rapdidly growing town.”

    It is far from a small town in Israeli terms

  78. “would you allow a party to sign a general release before the litigation is done? why would you require the get, before the litigation is over?”

    We can go around and around on this. I don’t think it’s a legitimate factor in the negotiations; if a marriage is dead, one spouse should not use the giving or receiving a get as leverage for something else (like money).

  79. “As several of us have pointed out before, all the Israeli Hebrew newapapers suffer from translation issues in their English editions”

    IMHO the English Haaretz is is written in fluent English..

  80. “Joseph Kaplan on August 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm
    “would you allow a party to sign a general release before the litigation is done? why would you require the get, before the litigation is over?”

    We can go around and around on this. I don’t think it’s a legitimate factor in the negotiations; if a marriage is dead, one spouse should not use the giving or receiving a get as leverage for something else (like money).”

    Is it OK to threaten to withhold visitation for money issues?

  81. Prof. Kaplan,
    I went back and reread the letter. I agree it was a bit more measured than I gave it credit for. It says “a portion of them” involve AZ. On the other hand, I also pulled out my semi-scholarly reference on alternative medicine. It has an appendix listing around 35 different forms of alternative therapies. there are perhaps one or two of these that _might_ have avak AZ involved, although even there I don’ think so. But by and large, AZ is an irrelevant issue here. If there is a problematic practice, they should identify it, so that a discussion can take place (Indian wigs, anyone). As it stands, the letter sounds either foolish or manipulative.

  82. “Is it OK to threaten to withhold visitation for money issues?”

    On any issue except get there is an independent third party who will ultimately make a decision if the parties can’t agree and that decision will be, if the losing party wants, reviewed by an appellate court. With a get there is no such power. So the two are not really comparable. Which is not to say that making the threat you posit is a proper way of acting. But it’s not like threatening to withhold a get.

  83. “Anonymous on August 18, 2011 at 2:21 am” Do you know of a more reliable article on that subject? As it’s written, it’s full of innuendo. The verifiable facts that are reported vary greatly from the adjectives and innuendo used in the article. Which makes it fairly useless from a knowledge point of view.

    @Aiwac: Why do you say ‘sadly’? (in regards to most Jews being in Israel soon)

  84. “but in any case, it is sad when an institution sells off its assets, whether historic real estate or rare judaica, to stay afloat. but ultimately institutions needs to remain focussed on their primary goals. if the only way to continue doing that is by selling assets, then it is silly not to do so”

    Agreed

  85. “@Aiwac: Why do you say ‘sadly’? (in regards to most Jews being in Israel soon)”
    It is sad if the reason is that Jews in the Diaspora are disappearing-it is a happy situation if that is true becasue Jews nIsrael are increasing.

  86. “Have you seen this?
    http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2011/08/interesting-psak-discounted-tzimmer.html
    Fascinating issue…”

    What do you find ‘fascinating’ about it?

    The rabbi was wrong to say it was ok. Canceling might have innocent, but withholding his name was not. The whole situation is based on a lie.

  87. On any issue except get there is an independent third party who will ultimately make a decision if the parties can’t agree and that decision will be, if the losing party wants, reviewed by an appellate court. With a get there is no such power. So the two are not really comparable.

    So if I take this properly, the other issues (such as custody) are distinguished because there is an independent third party. But if a woman goes to a beit din they can order the man to give a get. And they would constitute an independent third party. (And I would note that a beit din order, if followed, is irreversible – unlike a custody decision which can be appealed again and again.)

    So why not require her to go to a beit din … which has that power technically … before she is declared an agunah – that would the point where she can show that were a third party to hear the matter she would receive a get.

    If what you object to is lack of a neutral judge, then you have to agree there is the possibility the man is possibility justified in withholding and should have his day in court. If you believe the man can not possibly be justified (which you indicated earlier – “If a marriage is dead, it’s dead and forcing spouces to stay in it is cruel and senseless.” ) then a third party decision maker can not be your real distinction. Indeed, your system is that if the woman moves out and refuses to continue the marriage, under your view she should receive a get period. That is also lacking independent third party except as rubber stamps in the civil court, which will not force a spouse to stay married in a no fault state. If lack of third party supervision is the main issue then it would seem the solution is third party supervision.

    FWIW, I agree with you completely that a man should not be able to withhold a get because a woman goes to secular court.

  88. “But if a woman goes to a beit din they can order the man to give a get. And they would constitute an independent third party. (And I would note that a beit din order, if followed, is irreversible – unlike a custody decision which can be appealed again and again.)”

    They can order but they can’t enforce. Ultimately, it’s the husband who has the power. If the bet din could enforce (i.e., give the get) I would agree with you.

  89. “Indeed, your system is that if the woman moves out and refuses to continue the marriage, under your view she should receive a get period.”

    Yes, once she gets a civil divorce (in the US).

  90. “It is sad if the reason is that Jews in the Diaspora are disappearing”.

    Orthodox Jews are less than 10% of the American Jewish demographic. Given that many here treat the non-Orthodox as de-facto goyim anyway, it is not clear to me why such people lament their alleged disappearance (which the most recent demographic statistics do not indicate is a real phenomoenon, btw).

    Note, this is not directed at mycroft who made the comment; but, a more general observation of Hirhurim comments over time.

  91. Apropos, in Are Yeshivas Doing Enough?

    “There is, however, something powerful missing in many of our yeshivas: Jewish spirituality. We are taught Chumash, Gemara, Ivrit, Nach – but not about connecting emotionally to our Creator, building this relationship, understanding what it means to belong to the Jewish people.”

    Indeed, the last clause is key — but, probably not in the way many Jewish Press readers will parse it.

  92. >There are no explicit references to Christianity anywhere in the Talmud

    Nonsense. The short answer to the question, “IS THE TALMUD ANTI-CHRISTIAN?” is that most things which could give fuel to it have been removed from the Talmud or changed, and certainly the average contemporary Talmudist has about zero awareness of references to Christianity in the Talmud, so the answer is that our Talmuds are not. But the Talmud contained many explicit and definite references to Christianity. Whether or not these, which formed a small part of the whole, made the whole work “anti-Christian” is another story.

    What nonsense his article is filled with. “Matai, a common name that some claim resembles Matthew.” Does he think that the disciple was named “Matthew?”

  93. In the “are Yeshiva Doing Enough,” we read

    “Rabbi Benzion Klatzko suggests Judaism is not a religion at all but rather a relationship (see TorahAnytime.com).”

    Google returns 139,000 results for the sentence “christianity is not a religion it is a relationship.” Can we just knock it off with the shallow ripping off of popular soundbite religion?

  94. http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2011/08/interesting-psak-discounted-tzimmer.html
    Fascinating issue…”

    What do you find ‘fascinating’ about it?

    The rabbi was wrong to say it was ok. Canceling might have innocent, but withholding his name was not. The whole situation is based on a lie

    I don’t agree. The cancellation, as you say, was legitimate, and had been agreed to by the owner in advance. At that point the owner was free to rent out the fifth bungalow to anyone. When the fifth brothers’ travel plans to the U.S. were cancelled, he rented out the fifth bungalow at market price. The brother did not lie, he simply withheld information that would make the product worth more to him personally than to anyone else. That’s sharp practice, but not lying.

    I have a pair of candlesticks which my great-grandmother used, and then my grandmother used after her mother’s death. So they have great sentimental value to me. But their fair market value is pretty minimal — they are basically silver-plated tin. My uncles were generous enough to give them to me, and now my wife uses them (in addition to her own that she got when we got married).

    Suppose my uncles had been greedy and had instead sold them to the nearest junk dealer. Suppose I then walk into his store (Ploni’s Alte Zachen Shop), casually inspect the merchandise, and then buy the candlesticks. I pay what the owner is asking, which is fair market value. But I don’t disclose that, in fact, these are my great-grandmother’s and have enormous sentimental value to me personally. If I did, the price would no doubt be jacked up.

    Am I lying? Dishonest? I don’t think so. Onaah is overcharging (or underpaying) relative to the fair market value. Value that is idiosyncratic to one person is not part of the onaah.

    That being said, there certainly is a middas chassidus to pay the full amount, since the brother originally did reserve the fifth bungalow and was willing to pay full price. There is also a potential for Chillul Hashem involved. If I had been in that situation, I probably would have disclosed my brotherly status. But I cannot say that what he did was “lying” or assur.

    (Change the facts a bit. Brother # 5 never reserved a bungalow — he had always been planning a trip to the U.S. Then, a week before, his U.S. trip was cancelled. He calls up the owner, and finds outs that there is in fact another bungalow still for rent. Does he have to disclose that he is actually the brother of the other 4 renters, and would be especially comfortable renting there? I don’t think so.)

  95. “Can we just knock it off with the shallow ripping off of popular soundbite religion?”

    OK, S., I’ll bite. What would you suggest to get people more involved?

  96. The facts are not clear, but from:
    “The owner responded saying that the other houses are rented out to a family group, but one is still available. The fellow asked if he would have to pay full price, considering the family.. and the owner said he would give him a 50% discount… At that price he booked the tzimmer.”
    It doesn’t sound like he just called up and was told “I have one discounted bungalow available, for 50% off, because there is a family group.” Rather, it sounds like he might have been quoted the full price initially, then asked for a discount by basically representing that he was not related to the family.
    Facts are not clear.

  97. Re:
    “There is, however, something powerful missing in many of our yeshivas: Jewish spirituality. We are taught Chumash, Gemara, Ivrit, Nach – but not about connecting emotionally to our Creator, building this relationship, understanding what it means to belong to the Jewish people.”

    Query whether the premise, that “we are taught chumash, gemara, ivrit, nach” is accurate at the schools where most jewish week readers send their kids.

  98. How about, “Hey, religion isn’t a dirty word.”

    Keep in mind Google and that people do use it. Then with that in mind, think of something.

  99. Rather, it sounds like he might have been quoted the full price initially, then asked for a discount by basically representing that he was not related to the family

    Yes, if that is how it happened, it is closer to midvar sheker tirchak. To affirmatively pretend that he would be inconvenienced by having to put up with a family of “strangers” is lying.

  100. Even if it was halachically permissible to not disclose his relationship to the family, with the facts provided, it strikes me as a “baby in the puddle” type of situation. Under secular law you can stand right over a drowning baby and watch it drown (so long as you are not a caregiver, the cause or touched the baby) even if there is no risk whatsoever to you in helping but wow what scum you’d be if you actually took advantage of that.

  101. Even if it was halachically permissible to not disclose his relationship to the family, with the facts provided, it strikes me as a “baby in the puddle” type of situation. Under secular law you can stand right over a drowning baby and watch it drown (so long as you are not a caregiver, the cause or touched the baby) even if there is no risk whatsoever to you in helping but wow what scum you’d be if you actually took advantage of that.

    Not disagreeing with you, but what, exactly, makes this different from the candlestick scenario I mentioned? (I.e. I see my grandmother’s candlesticks being sold in a store. I pay the fair market value, but do not disclose their extra sentimental value to me.)

  102. the difference is that the candlesticks seem to have an advertised price, which one can reasonably call the single market value. As I noted above, though it is hard to tell, the advertised price of the bungalow does _not_ seem to be 50% off. That makes it harder to say that barganing down to 50% off is “the market value.” What if someone ele could have gotten him down to 45%? Does that mean he overcharged this guy? What if someone else had asked for 35% off and left it at that? would they have been “overcharged”? When “the market” allows for price discrimination and/or bargaining by its very structure, it is hard to talk about a single market price. But I generally agree that, if all buyer had done was respond to an advertised sale without mentioning that he was the brother, it would not be a big problem.

    that suggests that “the market value” of the bungalow is not what was paid. Rather, the pricing is subject to price discrimination, where the seller charges different things

  103. editing fail on those last two lines. sorry.

  104. what, exactly, makes this different from the candlestick scenario I mentioned? (I.e. I see my grandmother’s candlesticks being sold in a store. I pay the fair market value, but do not disclose their extra sentimental value to me.)

    I accept that he paid FMV the second time around. However (aside from the appearance of impropriety and that, at the end of the day, we are still relying on him that he set forth the fact pattern accurately), he helped set the FMV by cancelling a single order in a larger one that took up the entire block. Note the beginning of the fact pattern:

    “[I]t was agreed that they would be able to cancel reservations up to a month before the date, giving the owner enough time to find new vacationers without taking a loss.

    Sure enough, one of the brothers had to cancel due to suddenly having to take a trip to the United States. The owner knew he would have to take a loss on the one house, as nobody would rent out that one house knowing they would be in the middle of a family group using the rest of the site and the pool. At best he would be able to rent it out at a seriously discounted price.”

    Had they all or most cancelled the rental, the owner could have rented them out at a certain FMV that assured him profit. But only one cancelled and so the owner had to take a loss or little profit.

    The issue is not that he was willing to pay more but that he could pay less because of his own actions (in tandem with his family’s continued plan to rent the rest of the place), the impact on the owner and that he masked who he was. Had he revealed himself, he’d almost certainly been made to pay the old price.

    In the candlestick example, yeah you are willing to pay a higher price. But you didn’t create the fact that normal FMV is much lower then what you, in fact, are willing to pay.

  105. If you wanted to make the candlestick situation the same as the bungalow it would have to be as follows.

    Your uncle sold the candlestick to the shop telling him that it would be worth a lot of money to anybody from his family. The Shopowner then says that the candlestick is one price for most people, and then another price for people from your uncles family. At that point, if you don’t tell him you are from his family then that is stealing.

  106. The Shopowner then says that the candlestick is one price for most people, and then another price for people from your uncles family. At that point, if you don’t tell him you are from his family then that is stealing.

    Is it? Is Shopowner permit to have two prices, and to exploit the sentimental value for profit?

    BTW, this issue comes up alot in real estate. Someone in our town was recently attempting to buy up a few houses to knock down to build a shul. Of course, if he announced his intentions, then the price would start going up. So he sent an agent instead, who said she was purchasing the house on behalf of a family. Was the seller really cheated? They sold the house at market value, which is what a typical family buying it to move in would pay. What they were deprived of was the premium they would demand because someone wants three or four adjacent houses to knock down and turn into a shul. (The scheme ended up falling through.) Same issue — the house has extra special value to the buyer that it would not to most other buyers.

  107. MiMedinat HaYam

    j kaplan and hagtb and the general release comparision — part of our problem is the failure (of batei din, etc) to define agunah. is it 24 hours, or is it civil, or is it in between?

    and failure to define a 3rd party. if one party or the other rejects a bet din, you lose the right to define aguna status. calling on a agunah org to define it is not an arms length decision.

    esp when everyone knows the ex wife will not abide by a bet din decision after the get. esp if its before the civil.

    2. the tzimmer case — major pblm is that there is no set price for the rental. it fluctuates day by day. same exact thing with airline fares. should i declare that i am going on business (and / or expense account) and pay more, or on pleasure and should pay less? even hotels (in america) insist on charging rack rate to walk ins, and to those who call the 800 number after 3pm.

  108. MiMedinat HaYam

    woman divorces brain damaged husband — more info needed to comment. a “bet din maariv” is not valid, since batei din cannot meet at night.

    sharpton story must be acccompanied by http://forward.com/articles/141594/

    race riot — wasnt it a pogrom? (police tolerated anti jewish mob = classical defintion of pogrom. escept it wasnt in europe.)

  109. MiMedinat HaYam

    tal — “The Shopowner then says that the candlestick is one price for most people, and then another price for people from your uncles family. At that point, if you don’t tell him you are from his family then that is stealing.”

    the shopowner is stealing.

    the real estate scenario you descrivbe is very common. its called a n “assemblage”,

  110. note: ayn onah b’karkaos

  111. “avi on August 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm
    I’m told this isn’t being reported in American news so:

    http://muqata.blogspot.com/2011/08/breaking-news-terror-attack-between.html

    You were told incorrectly-it was all over the American news-in fact first item that Googles algortihm treated as important. One of sources cited was VOA.

  112. Moshe,
    Does that apply to renting or only to purchasing?

  113. very worthwhile and informative post by alan brill on mendelssohn and orthodoxy with an interview with michah gottleib.

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/an-interview-with-michah-gottlieb-moses-mendelssohn-as-a-guide-for-orthodoxy/

  114. Question of gay women and maen marrying raises IMHO questions what does one have to intend to be married.

  115. The best thing about the frumteens moderator going public will be the ability to put a youtube clip to a name:

    If that doesn’t fire up the MO establishment/parents of teenagers to countering his website, I don’t think anything will.

  116. Problems with the Frumteens moderator are not limited to his extreme hashkafos.

  117. Rav Blau – Perhaps you could elaborate? Your comment is a little cryptic.

  118. The very idea of an unqualified, anonymous person “counseling” troubled teens?

  119. I’m more worried about the content of what he says, and who he keeps company with. He gave a haskama to a website that has the explicit aim of turning public opinion around the world against Israel (with an archive of emails from approving nachriim from around the world to boot!), and statements that Zionists are worse than Hitler etc. The website even has a transcript of his speech at the demonstration I linked to earlier:
    http://jewsagainstzionism.com/protests/20100706/Shapiro_Speech.cfm
    This maniac is a real danger – are there no official rabbinic channels which can be used to stop him?

  120. MiMedinat HaYam

    nachum l — “The very idea of an unqualified, anonymous person “counseling” troubled teens?”

    he got himself a reputation, so he is “qualified” to “counsel”.

    j — “This maniac is a real danger – are there no official rabbinic channels which can be used to stop him?”

    lets start one. should we include yct there?

  121. MiMedinat HaYam

    “the shopowner is stealing.”

    but does the ex wife (husband) have to advise her opponent that she is “extremely motivated” (i.e., has a potential waiting)? and / or can he / she lie and deny it?

    to combine the tzimmer case with the aguna case.

  122. Re selfish goals of TA protests-most protests would benefit the protestors-so what.

  123. Rev Sharpton cancelled his lecture at the Hampton Synagogue. IMHO for better or worse he is a powerful person and he at least claims to get along with Jews-he has been interviewed by Zev Brenner-

  124. Do victims families have the right to monopolize communities agendas?

  125. mycroft on August 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm
    Rev Sharpton cancelled his lecture at the Hampton Synagogue. IMHO for better or worse he is a powerful person and he at least claims to get along with Jews-he has been interviewed by Zev Brenner-

    mycroft on August 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm
    Do victims families have the right to monopolize communities agendas?

    What are you talking about? Al Sharpton never once apologized for his actions. Not for Crown Heights (1991). Not for Freddie’s Fashion Mart (1995). Not for Tawana Brawley (1987). In his letter saying he would not attend the event, he called the criticisms against him demagoguery. Him calling anything demagoguery! Pot meet kettle!

    Concerning his National Action Network, well, as Wikipedia put it “Sharpton has engaged in controversial donation policies — specifically the practice of threatening protests and boycotts of corporations while simultaneously soliciting donations and sponsorships from them.[2] According to the New York Post, several major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch and Colgate-Palmolive, have donated thousands of dollars to the National Action Network. The Post asserted that the donations were made to prevent boycotts or rallies by the National Action Network.[3]”

    What community agenda would you propose the community has with this MSNBC journalist?

  126. mycroft,

    They have the right to protest, certainly. Besides, lehavdil elef alfei hevdelim – do the Holocaust survivors have the right to ensure the “Wagner Ban”, in your opinion?

  127. Are yeshivas doing enough-IMHO Off The Derech discusses the issue more accurately for why people are likely to leave Yahadus.

  128. “HAGTBG on August 21, 2011 at 12:12 am
    mycroft on August 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm
    Rev Sharpton cancelled his lecture at the Hampton Synagogue. IMHO for better or worse he is a powerful person and he at least claims to get along with Jews-he has been interviewed by Zev Brenner-

    mycroft on August 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm
    Do victims families have the right to monopolize communities agendas?

    What are you talking about? Al Sharpton never once apologized for his actions. Not for Crown Heights (1991). Not for Freddie’s Fashion Mart (1995). Not for Tawana Brawley (1987). In his letter saying he would not attend the event, he called the criticisms against him demagoguery. Him calling anything demagoguery! Pot meet kettle!”

    One should not make enemies with anyone-do I believe he is one who should be a community leader-he is not my leader-but he represents many Americans-and he has spoken on Jewish radio stations. On a pragmatic level one must treat him well. The Mayor of NYC goes to his activities.

  129. “What community agenda would you propose the community has with this MSNBC journalist?”
    See comments in Israel by ex Fox journalist G Beck.

  130. On a pragmatic level one must treat him well. The Mayor of NYC goes to his activities.

    What happened is that Sharpton has protested, BS’d and extorted his way to a point where the veneer of legitimacy is more lucrative to him then not. He has not done tshuva and he is still scum. We are not making him our enemy, he made himself a threat to Jews two decades ago and more then once. If we must hold our nose and negotiate with him as though he were some foreign power, lest there be most pogroms, then so be it, but let us not forget who he is and that we only need talk with him because the sword is at out throat … because people might be injured, pillaged or murdered due to his interventions. We should NOT invite him to panels that legitimate him. We should NOT pretend he is okay now. We should not accept that one of the three major news networks, MSNBC, now employs him in a quasi-journalistic role. That Bloomberg goes to his events means little and less to me. That is a flaw in Bloomberg or Bloomberg is also trying to keep the peace.

  131. To clarify my “criptic” comments. An anonymous person creates a blog to advise troubled teenagers. He asks some of them to contact him privately. He has no credentials and refers to rabbinic authorities, which now are explained to be himself.
    His history is one of having left positions after controvorsies.
    Even if he had reasonable hashkafos allowing him to become a spiritual advisor to adolescents without any other adult aware of what was going on is irresponsible.

  132. Yosef Blau:

    “and refers to rabbinic authorities, which now are explained to be himself.”

    What!? Please explain what you mean…

  133. “His history is one of having left positions after controversies” – What does that mean?

  134. “We are not making him our enemy, he made himself a threat to Jews two decades ago and more then once. If we must hold our nose and negotiate with him as though he were some foreign power, lest there be most pogroms, then so be it, but let us not forget who he is and that we only need talk with him because the sword is at out throat … because people might be injured, pillaged or murdered due to his interventions”

    Even if completely true “If we must hold our nose and negotiate with him as though he were some foreign power”
    we should treat him politely-the same way Mubarak, Sadat etc were treated politely by us.

    “or Bloomberg is also trying to keep the peace.”
    which is a positive value.

  135. Yoni, his new announcement rather proudly proclaims that it is he who is the sole halakhic authority for the site, and that everything will follow him and only him.

  136. Interestingly, he has written for OU publications too:
    http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5759summer/parenthelp.pdf

  137. Why are they trying so hard to get into Charedi schools if they train their students so poorly for the 21st century?

  138. “Yoni, his new announcement rather proudly proclaims that it is he who is the sole halakhic authority for the site, and that everything will follow him and only him.”

    The NEW site (http://www.jewswithquestions.com/) will be ONLY him, but the old site (frumteens.com) had several moderators (e.g. http://www.frumteens.com/topic.php?whichpage=2&pagesize=15&forum_title=Other&topic_title=Smoking+in+Halacha&forum_id=9&topic_id=12809 “First of all, it was a different Moderator…” ).

    So I still don’t understand what exactly is R’ Blau’s problem in this regard…

  139. Regarding R’ Yaakov Shapiro’s credentials, here’s his bio:

    http://www.shemayisrael.com/orgs/rejew/shapiro.htm

  140. Polemics against the Talmud have an old background rooted in supercessionist rhetoric. Why else would we see many campaigns against Shechitah, and burning of the Talmud? I would suggest that those Min HaTorah Halachos which are entirely rooted in a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai or TSBP, such as Shechitah, and many others, were the frequent target of eccessliastically based anti Semitism throughout the ages. The mention of Yehoshua Ben Peracha has prompted me to wonder why the Mishnah in Avos records his maxim of Aseh Lcha Rav Ukoneh Lcha Chaver.

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