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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.

115 comments

  1. “O.U. officials say they must also take into account the impact that banning import of such meat would have on beef prices.”

    Two comments:

    1. Truth in advertising. Certify it, but label it as such so that people who care about the issue m’d’oraita of tza’ar ba’alei chaim can choose accordingly.

    2. Beef prices did (do) not seem to be a consideration in respect of “Glatt” (which, by definition, is more expensive to produce).

  2. BTW, for those who want to take issue that it is an issur m’d’oraita: http://www.dinonline.org/2011/09/13/cruelty-to-animals-halachos-of-tzaar-baalei-chayim/

  3. IH: Read the section: “Animal Suffering vs. Human Need”

  4. I did, but that addresses neither of my comments. In the first, it should be labeled so that those who can afford it can avoid the problem; second, the OU inconsistently applies the principle of financial constraints.

    We are left with a situation where admitted tz’aar ba’alei chaim is sanctioned due to financial need, but a chumra has been applied across the board ignoring financial need (and the Ashkenazic tradition you feel it is so important to uphold).

  5. “the sin of writing nasty things about another person in public.”

    or giving nasty shiurim, speeches, shmoozes about other people-disagree with the idea or concept but not the individual person.

  6. “2. Beef prices did (do) not seem to be a consideration in respect of “Glatt” (which, by definition, is more expensive to produce).”

    Of course the Rav’s hashgacha of Morrison & Schiff was proudly NON GLATT.

  7. BTW the Rav about 4 decades ago was very much involved in schechita problems-redesigning ways to make shechita more humane abd redesigning ways to avoid complete ban on shechita in another jurisdiction. The Rav was a hands on person-not merely the ivory tower RY often ascribed to him.

  8. If I recall correctly R Frand a few years ago had a shiur on zar baal chayim.

  9. “I believe this is the signal for all non crazies to pick up, leave BMG, and either go to Yeshiva University or back to their High School yeshivos with Touro at night”

    One who wants a good shiddach must play the game-they’ll be no shortage attending BMG.

  10. I must be missing something. Why is asking bochurim to remove a distraction from their learning “crazy”. They are there to learn full time to the exclusion of all else.

    I would not be surprised if there was a story about bochurim in Lakewood texting to find that you would probably blast them for wasting time. In the comments section of this blog, Yeshivish people are always wrong.

  11. IH: No, it precisely addresses your concern. That kind of tza’ar ba’alei chaim is halakhically permissible for the reasons stated there. Your other points are worthy of discussion but don’t dress it up with a biblical prohibition that doesn’t apply in that case.

  12. In the comments section of this blog, Yeshivish people are always wrong.
    ————————————————-
    Are you one? If so this sets up a logical conundrum – see here for a fuller treatment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox
    GT

  13. ARW: The question is why allow cellphones at all. Answer: because they need to communicate. Nowadays, texting and e-mailing are the normal forms of communication. Ban them during seder but… at all times and places???

  14. IH wrote:

    “BTW, for those who want to take issue that it is an issur m’d’oraita: http://www.dinonline.org/2011/09/13/cruelty-to-animals-halachos-of-tzaar-baalei-chayim/

    IH-WADR, the article discusses many Shitos Rishonim and Acharonim as to whether Tzaar Baalei Chaim is or isn’t an Issur D”Oraissa. R Asher Weiss has a great discussion of this issue in one of his shiurim in the volume of shiurim on Sefer Devarim.

  15. Banning cellphones that can send and receive texts but not banning cellphones in toto is nuts and shows that the banner is out of touch with technological reality. I can understand the ban on phones that can access the net but texting is simply an adjunct form of communication.

    My mother who is in her mid-70’s recently lost the ability to speak as a result of radiation treatment for cancer. She is currently about three hours away and I can only visit her once a week. She used to comment about how crazy text-messaging was but now it is her main form of communication.

  16. I hope no one minds my posting this question in this forum, but …

    Does anyone have sources re: what part of the shoe must not containg leather on YK, i.e., just the sole or other parts, too?

    Thanks.

  17. There is no human need to consume the amount of beef that Orthodox Jews eat today. Nor did our Ashkenazi families in Eastern Europe previously eat meat at the these quantities.

    Arguably, the human need today is to vastly reduce the amount of red meat consumed by the average American Jew — for health reasons.

  18. Steve – have a look in the Piskei Teshuvos for some sources on that. I don’t remember the exact location, but it’s in the index.

  19. Thanks, J.

  20. IH: You’re quibbling about the term “need” when it is really a halakhic concept.

  21. a question: if factory farming and its attendant cruelties (and other negative consequences, like widespread overuse of antibiotics, etc) were not considered standard in the secular world, would that change the “need” calculus?
    I.e., if meat in general were more expensive because there was a secular consensus that some of the ways we reduce the price of meat are wrong, would halacha still consider those price-reducing tactics a sign of human “need” that balances out tzaar baalei chayim?

  22. Gil
    From what I gathered from the article the problem with switching the method of slaughter in latin america was not raised costs (which would only result if there were sudden boycott)but rather the fact that (some?) israeli hechsherim demand upright slaughter. The question becomes for Israelis, should we be makhmir on kashrus or ztaar baalei chayim.

    My impression is that in part as a result of animal welfare becoming associated with the left, at times in an extreme form, tzaar baalei chayyim has be transformed into a technical chok, she halakhah kemeikilim bo, rather than a core value of bnei Avraham who are defined by their midat harachamim. Even in cases where causing pain to animals or benefiting from it is mutar, surely baalei nefesh yachmiru bazeh.

  23. Shachar Ha'amim

    The tort case for the agunah really isn’t “news”. There have been many such rulings in the last few years – including against women wh have refused to receive a get – yes, despite the fact that it is supposedly “different” for men b/c they can get a permit from the rabbinical court to remarry, the civil courts have found that keeping a man chained to an unwanted marriage also cause damages and will award compensation.
    see here
    http://www.mishpati.co.il/Article.aspx?articleId=461

  24. Shachar Ha'amim

    MBD – O please don’t retire until you sing that duet with Dshinghis Khan. Pretty please!
    http://lifeofrubinarchives.wordpress.com/2006/06/25/my-conversation-with-dschinghis-khan/

    here is MBD’s anti-copying tirade overlayed with the original version of the Yidden song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDJiIC5XEVA&noredirect=1
    how much did he pay in royalties? how do wedding bands pay them in royalties when they use the song?

  25. Gil — I disagree. Inflcting tz’aar ba’alei chaim due to the American Jewish “human need” to consume cheap meat is not quibbling. It is a disgraceful abuse of halacha.

  26. “My impression is that in part as a result of animal welfare becoming associated with the left, at times in an extreme form, tzaar baalei chayyim has be transformed into a technical chok, she halakhah kemeikilim bo, rather than a core value of bnei Avraham who are defined by their midat harachamim. Even in cases where causing pain to animals or benefiting from it is mutar, surely baalei nefesh yachmiru bazeh.”

    Agreed-I’ve wondered how often PETA is responsible for people ignoring tzaar baalei chayim.

  27. Abuse? I disagree.

  28. Rephrasing for more precision: Inflcting tz’aar ba’alei chaim due to the American Jewish “human need” to consume cheap red meat, a “human need” for consumtion vastly out of proportion with traditional consumption — is not quibbling. It is a disgraceful abuse of halacha.

  29. Regarding the Israeli Rabbinate’s position see: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=228454

    It would also be interesting to compare red meat consumption by Israeli RZ vs. American MO.

  30. IH: I’m not disagreeing with your point that we should be humane and that we should consume less meat. I’m only disagreeing with your claim that it is forbidden because of tza’ar ba’alei chaim. This is precisely the “need” halakhah permits.

  31. “IH on October 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm
    Regarding the Israeli Rabbinate’s position see: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=228454

    It would also be interesting to compare red meat consumption by Israeli RZ vs. American MO”

    I suspect it takes more hours of work by a median RZ to buy a kilo
    of red meat than hours of work that it takes a Median American MO to buy a kilo of red meat.

  32. Gil — FTR, please re-read my first comment and you will see that I did not say such meat was forbidden because of tza’ar ba’alei chaim.

    I want it labeled as such so we can each decide on the tradeoff. And, I again note the inconsistent as applied to non-Glatt meat.

  33. Re animal welfare laws remember that Hitler had at least anti-meat tendencies according to many a vegetarian and that the Nazis introduced animal welfare laws that were unparalleled for the time.
    Thus sadly concern for animals may also be combined with the worst cruelty to humans.

  34. mycroft — that’s true for chicken as well (especially on a Thursday afternoon/evening) 🙂

  35. “note the inconsistent as applied to non-Glatt meat.”
    Which of course raises separate issue of either raising the bar and adding chumras to people who don’t have them. Is that fair-the same way one has egg matzah sold for ktanim and cholim, kitniyos products for sfardim why not non Glatt meat for those who aren’t machmir in glatt-why does everyone have to pay the price.

  36. “IH on October 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    mycroft — that’s true for chicken as well (especially on a Thursday afternoon/evening) :-)”
    My Senility-which comment of mine are you referring to.

  37. “Hirhurim on October 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm
    IH: I’m not disagreeing with your point that we should be humane and that we should consume less meat. I’m only disagreeing with your claim that it is forbidden because of tza’ar ba’alei chaim. This is precisely the “need” halakhah permits.”

    One could theoretically take the position that to use the Ravs saying that “Halacha is the floor not the ceiling” although the floor of zar baal chayim permits eating meat the ceiling may discourage it. As one who eats meat I am just raising the possibility.

  38. mycroft — Sorry: 3:15 pm. I was riffing on your “hours of work”. I find going supermarket shopping in Israel is an exhausting experience, especially on Thurs afternoon/evening.

  39. “The question becomes for Israelis, should we be makhmir on kashrus or ztaar baalei chayim”

    Interestingthought Do most questions revolve around what factor are you goingto be machmir in?

  40. If the OU was really concerned with the price of meat, they would market non-glatt meat.

  41. mycroft,
    not most questions, just some halachic questions.

  42. A wonderfully charming kids video for Sukkot: פיל וסוכה ברחוב הירקון based on Bavli Sukkah 23a: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xiyfvCS2UZU

    Hat Tip: The Talmud Blog which posts about it.

  43. “Moshe Shoshan on October 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    mycroft,
    not most questions, just some halachic questions”

    Fair enough but of course what does Halacha include= only the seifim of the SA or the penumbras of Halacha based on spirit of halacha, hashkafa, etc

  44. IH: “Gil — FTR, please re-read my first comment and you will see that I did not say such meat was forbidden because of tza’ar ba’alei chaim.

    I want it labeled as such so we can each decide on the tradeoff. And, I again note the inconsistent as applied to non-Glatt meat.”

    How is misappropriating a Halakhic term not an abuse of Halakha???

  45. IH wrote:

    “There is no human need to consume the amount of beef that Orthodox Jews eat today. Nor did our Ashkenazi families in Eastern Europe previously eat meat at the these quantities.

    Arguably, the human need today is to vastly reduce the amount of red meat consumed by the average American Jew — for health reasons”

    Proof please? Can anyone point to a survey or other documentation of the assertion that we eat or want cheap meat too much?

  46. Here’s an NIH paper that is less than a year old:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3045642/

  47. IH:

    i assume–and i have to assume this because otherwise it makes no sense–that steve brizel was asking for evidence with regards to your specific claim about the gustatory inclinations specifically of “the average American Jew”

    the paper you linked to is a study of americans in general, with regards to which of course you are correct.

    (just to clarify, i don’t disagree that contemporary jews in america are gluttonous pigs who eat too much meat, among other products, but we do so because we are americans, not because we are jews.)

  48. Abba — yes, I agree: we do so because we are Americans, not because we are Jews. But, Orthodox American Jews are also obligated by Mitzvot and sweeping the Lo Ta’aseh of tza’ar ba’alei chaim under the rug because of “human need” (rather than the more accurate “gluttonous pigs who eat too much meat” :-)) was the issue I was debating with Gil.

  49. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/a-theologian-weighs-in-on-the-mormon-church/

    Interesting echos of conversations here on Hirhurim. Follow the link to Dr. Mohler’s blog to see even how the same words and arguments are used in both their context and ours.

  50. “(just to clarify, i don’t disagree that contemporary jews in america are gluttonous pigs who eat too much meat, among other products, but we do so because we are americans, not because we are jews.)”

    Do non Jewish weddings typically have pre wedding smorgasbords, meals followed by post meal Viennese tables etc.? I don’t know.

  51. “IH on October 10, 2011 at 11:27 pm
    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/a-theologian-weighs-in-on-the-mormon-church/

    Interesting echos of conversations here on Hirhurim. Follow the link to Dr. Mohler’s blog to see even how the same words and arguments are used in both their context and ours”

    Thanks-at times some of us forget that our theology is different in fundamental terms than a vast majority of our fellow citizens-it is not merely has the Meshiach come already.

  52. “Do non Jewish weddings typically have pre wedding smorgasbords, meals followed by post meal Viennese tables etc.? I don’t know.”

    Flip it around: Do jews typically eat meat for breakfast? There are cultural differences that make the overconsumption of meat manifest itself in different ways, but no need to go overboard on the Jews (vs. Americans) are pigs thing…

  53. Not that I am a fan of Occupy Wall Street, but I found R. Herman’s piece to be ego-centric, self-serving and completely missing the point. For balance, there is another Jewish view at: http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/144122/

  54. IH: I didn’t find that other Jewish voice particularly meaningful. Like the protesters, he doesn’t seem to have anything to say other than that he protests.

  55. IH-the NIH paper, while interesting in its own right, IMO,shed no light on the average consumption of meat in the Orthodox community. I think that IMO you are conflating the demand for fast food meat meals in the US with the need for kosher meat at reasonable prices.

  56. I was out at Occupy Boston yesterday protesting. There were disparate messages, but contra Gil, the larger messages were clear: increase efforts to decrease income inequality, particularly via job creation…if you want to kill the deficit, you should include taxing the rich and ending the wars…Wall Street was given a big break, while Main Street was screwed, and that speaks to a fundamentally unfair system…99% of this country (including Rabbi Herman and Gil) are getting a raw deal in comparison to the super-rich…etc.

    I don’t think the emotion at the protest was directed against every person in Wall Street, or folks like Rabbi Herman who ten years ago were involved in advising folks in the “mortgage servicing industry on hedge positions, mergers and acquisitions and valuations.” It was the uber-rich, the corporate higher-ups whose organizations got fined, and the government which is not creating jobs and working on this problem as it should be.

    As for the underlying problems I think Joe Scarborough got it right, and I advise folks check out this video: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/ns/msnbc_tv-morning_joe/#44842168

    Disclaimer: I’m not trying to speak from authority here or say that Rabbi Herman’s 100% wrong. For one thing, I was at Occupy Boston, not Occupy Wall Street. But my own perspective, what I saw, doesn’t line up with the picture he drew. Maybe my vision’s blurry, but again, it’s just my perspective.

  57. I agree with it also but I highly doubt any of the “Occupy” protests will accomplish that. Regulators need to put capital requirements on banks and similar companies that are so high the business isn’t that profitable and it becomes an industry like every other. We’re actually already on that path. If you do it too quickly the global economy will collapse. Instead it is happening gradually.

    The question is whether we want more jobs or revenge. I’d enjoy seeing millionaires smacked around in public but let’s face it: what’s good for us is more jobs and destroying financial institutions isn’t the way to get them.

  58. If job creation is the underlying focus of OWS, why not look at the onerous number of litigation producing laws and regulations that threaten to strangle ongoing businesses, place far too much paperwork and view risk as adverse to the American economy and prevent start ups from getting off the ground. How many Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc could get their companies off the ground under such a regime?

    This summer, we drove thru the Midwest on a three day drive to Chicago, with a stayover in Cleveland. It is indeed no small tragedy that this area, which is fly over country for many Americans, which once was part of the industrial heartland of the US is now part of the rust belt with literally dead cities like Gary, Indiana, and other cities like Detroit that are withering away on the vine thanks to excessive governmental regulation, especially in the environmental area, and unions whose members receive pension benefits, but whose employers have long ceased being the industrial muscle of the US.Even Pennsylvania, which has Philadelphia and Pittsburg on its eastern and western borders, has a vast heartland that a friend of mine who was born in Philly described as closer to Alabama.

  59. “The question is whether we want more jobs or revenge. I’d enjoy seeing millionaires smacked around in public but let’s face it: what’s good for us is more jobs and destroying financial institutions isn’t the way to get them.”

    No one is actually smacking anyone and no one is destroying financial institutions. But if some gazillionaires are given a reminder that they are not God’s gift and even feel slightly intimidated in the process then this too could lead to effective change voluntarily on their part. Warren Buffet didn’t have to have thousands of mad people show up at his door step to use his head and smell the coffee.

  60. Someone with a comment

    The Bank Bailout was probably the most succesful return on tax payer dollars ever. I didnt support it since I am a rabid right winger, but the numbers reflect a great return on capital. Maybe OWS should go to Detroit and protest outside GM headquarters. That is were there will be a big loss. Lets not forget that the top 1% paid 38% of the income taxes in 2008. The bottom 50% paid less that 3%. I am sure the more up to date numbers are probably similar.

  61. I agree with Anonymous at 12:27 pm.

    As for the bottom 50% brought up by Somebody With a Comment, unfortunately they don’t have much to contribute: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jon-stewart-defends-the-poor-from-right-wing-claims-of-class-warfare/

  62. Someone with a comment

    But, the statistics still show that the upper 1% are paying a “fair” share. Whatever that means.

  63. Anyone read the great interview of Rav Schachter by Ami Magazine about the state of batei din. He is merciless in his criticism!

  64. Gil — As I said, I am not a fan of Occupy Wall Street. From what I have seen whenever I have passed it by, it is juvenile, unfocused and two years to late in their primary focus. The train has left the station on how the Government regulates Wall Street and deals with the executives in power. And the sign I saw a couple of hours ago when I walked by, about Reagan, was absurd.

    None withstanding there are some very serious social justice issues in our society that need to be addressed in a serious manner: most particularly the racial/class realities of income distribution trends (ref: Pew’s recent study). Fortunately, we are not a society that boils over very easily into violent protest; but, given how long it appears it will take us to get out of the mess we are in, it is not impossible either.

    This piece ties the threads together: http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/news/income-inequality-americans-don-t-see-it and, to my mind, highlights where R. Herman missed the point.

  65. Then I guess we agree on this.

    Frankly, I think shareholders — including union pension funds — should force corporate boards to dramaticall lower executive compensation.

  66. R. Herman was also wrong in focusing only on base pay and not bonus, which is where i-bankers make most of their money, and failing to note that pay rises very quickly so his entry level salary is not representative of what it would be 5-10 years later.

  67. Rafael-RHS has been voicing the aforementioned views re Batei Dinim for a long time.

    IH wrote:

    “The train has left the station on how the Government regulates Wall Street and deals with the executives in power. And the sign I saw a couple of hours ago when I walked by, about Reagan, was absurd.

    None withstanding there are some very serious social justice issues in our society that need to be addressed in a serious manner: most particularly the racial/class realities of income distribution trends (ref: Pew’s recent study). Fortunately, we are not a society that boils over very easily into violent protest; but, given how long it appears it will take us to get out of the mess we are in, it is not impossible either”

    IH-how about a link to Pew’s study? FWIW, one former NYS trial judge once commented that if you want to see where income distribution happens on a daily basis, try the courtrooms in any urban setting.

    As a bridge and tunnel person, I have no answers and not an awful lot of sympathy for at times what appears to be large percentages of sectors of the population that view education and making a living as the white man’s collective burden, where one can see three generations of welfare recipients in subway cars with no evidence of a job or being a student, all living off and procreating on the public dole.

    We talk a lot here about the Charedi community and its attitude towards secular education-IMO, one can find similar attitudes in the inner city. One cannot deny that there is a nasty element to much of today’s street culture that glorifies thuggery, and worse. I saw a recent obit for Dereck Bell,a former HLS prof who claimed that racial progress was measured only by the Caucasian world’s willingness to accomodate itself to the same. Such a premise ignores the fact that American law has gone well beyond the intent and purposes of the civil rights laws to ensure that quotas and affirmative action have become so entrenched that any politiician who questions the same is viewed in the same vein as someone who criticizes the fiscal validity of Social Security. Perhaps, the answer would be “benign neglect” of race as one of the so-called “underlying causes”, and instead focusing on what appears to be an unending pathology of crime perpetuated by minority group members on each other, aided and abetted by a culture that disdains education, and views music, and sports as the only means of escaping the inner city.

  68. R Gil wrote:

    “Frankly, I think shareholders — including union pension funds — should force corporate boards to dramaticall lower executive compensation”

    Good luck-most pension funds are worried about one factor-the % of return on their investments.

  69. בשעה טובה: “Report: Shalit deal on verge of realization”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4134235,00.html

  70. IH-thanks for the link. I think that such researchers should spend more time in the inner cities so that they can wake up and smell the proverbial coffee. The notion that the gaps in income reflect the innate racism of white America should should not be accepted as the only cause of the same.

  71. Steve — the differences between 2005 and 2009 on the front page cannot be explained using your stock answer. Perhaps you should be more open to empirical data rather than trying to force it into your ideological frame.

  72. IH-when was the last time that you rode a subway above 96th Street? When such limousine liberal institutions as Columbia, NYU, Penn, etc decide to share the wealth with their far less affluent communities, let me know.

    Who says 2005 to 2009 represents an acurate basis for understanding deeply rooted cultural pathologies which have been extant for decades?

  73. IH linked to the Pew study which included the following finding:

    “The Pew Research analysis finds that, in percentage terms, the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among black households, compared with just 16% among white households”

    Simple question-but for the congressional mandating that housing be made available to minoirties who would otherwise not have been able to obtain a mortgage, would these groups have had any economic growth at all to speak of?

  74. IH-let me state the obvious-IMO, looking at economic gaps solely from “empirical data” without analyzing underlying pathology yields a simplistic conclusion-blame Caucausian America for the same.

  75. Steve — Happy to discuss secular politics over a beer someday, but this isn’t the time or place.

  76. Another Jewish voice or two on the Occupy Wall Street protesters

    (Harold Feld is from Boston originally, went to Maimo, Princeton and BU Law, now a telecom advocacy lawyer in DC)

    http://osewalrus.livejournal.com/957900.html

    and Ezra Klein

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/the-four-habits-of-highly-successful-social-movements/2011/08/25/gIQAeifVNL_blog.html

    Basically – social movements generally start out messy and inchoate expressions of widespread dissatisfaction, and only later develop dramatic coherent messages

  77. Another Jewish voice or two on the Occupy Wall Street protesters

    What makes an opinion about the protest Jewish?
    Is it the same thing that makes Jewish music Jewish?

  78. IH-thanks for the invite!

  79. “IH-when was the last time that you rode a subway above 96th Street?”

    Steve,
    96th street? When was the last time you were in upper Manhattan, the Dinkins administration?
    Whenever it was, could you tell us about your time working with the residents of disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and what you learned from these experiences about the root causes of poverty in the American city?

  80. Moshe Shoshan-I have been riding the subways above 96th Street as part of my job duties for the last 20 years. Again, blaming whites for crime, poor educational outcomes, etc in inner city neighborhoods may be accepted in the academy, cultural and other venues that champion quotas over merity, but IMO perpetuates a culture of victimization.

  81. ttp://www.halstead.com/sales/properties/areas:central-harlem,east-harlem,harlem/50-per-page/

  82. IH-The northern boundaries of gentrification have been moving up-how is that relevant to the discussion?

  83. “IH-when was the last time that you rode a subway above 96th Street?”

    Steve, plenty of liberals ride the subway above 96th st.; like me, every work day. I don’t know how that’s relevant to the discussion, but whatever you see, we also see.

  84. mycroft — ” How many Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc could get their companies off the ground under such a regime?”

    millken was the main reason they succeeeded. not that junk bonds financed those companies, but it created the proper atmosphere. which ‘bama is trying to kill (the atmosphere, i mean.) (the companies, too, actually. but thats another story, that i dont think hirhurim wants to get into.)

    2. gil – agree very strongly. pension funds, etc should be VERY active in reducing excessive executive pay, etc. dont bet on it. its a closed society. just like:

    3. RH’s complaint about the bet din system. but there are many flaws. i have a complaint against a “sponsor” of the rca bet din. they are willing to take the case, but dont consider it a conflict of interest (to refer the case to another bet din). the person is a qualified “toain” for the rca bet din, but they will not allow me to bring a “toain”, and it is basically unethical for an atty to represent me in the bet din (due to the nature of the case.) and RHS doesnt care, though his reps admit the pblm.

    4. “should congressmen care?” — the (respectable) (local) bet din involved in the case declined to order a get.

    5. “atmosphere of intolerance” – i just came from a flight, where i had to be body scanned, other indignities, and uneccesary delays, because we shold be “intolerant’ of certain “others”. i guess thats a price. (though there should be a realization of religious differences between jewish / kosher and muslim / hallal.)

  85. steve b – ” How many Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc could get their companies off the ground under such a regime?” PLENTY – please take a look at all the companies created in silicon alley in the last few years. that is were the action is. technology companies today need less money than anytime in history to go from startup to viability. [ that does not mean that over regulation isn’t an issue – its just not the issue many make it out to be especially fox news et al]

    hirhurim: ” including union pension funds — should force corporate boards to dramatically lower executive compensation.”
    why not the market decide and vote with your shares – bring it up as a shareholder’s proposal. if you do not like that sell them and find a better company to invest in. -that’s the american capitalistic way.

    “Regulators need to put capital requirements on banks and similar companies that are so high the business isn’t that profitable and it becomes an industry like every other.” DON’T complain when they lay off another 10,000 workers on wall street in the next few months because of lack of profitability due more regulation and no more prop trading etc. reread your sentence – “isn’t that profitable and it becomes an industry like every other” how profitable do you think banking is? do you want them to be regulated to death so there a no more jobs? do we have an idea what the cost of that new regulation – to the economy etc. – will be? the answer is no one knows – be careful what you wish for.

  86. OWS – is about social acrimony and you need a target to vent one’s anger – why not some fat cats who have been saved by the system vs the average joe that feels the system has screwed him. when people feel the system is rigged and they can’t get a fair shake then this may be the beginning of what will happen. i don’t agree with the sentiment but i at least understand it.

  87. “MBD stated unequivocally, “I believe that any one of those Rabbis, if they would really know what it was all about, they would never say what they said.”

    MBD explained that he believes that many of the signatures on the bans are bogus and that those that are authentic were obtained either by rabbonim who were coerced to sign by “machers” and “wannabe’s” or who were lied to.”

    If true why believe any document that has Rqbbinic signatures on it. Of course, I am not statingthat it is true.

  88. “But that is wrong; part of the din Torah is to look at the person and see from his facial expression and how he talks…whether or not he is saying the truth. You have to be able to detect whether he is telling the truth.”
    Agree with RHS-of course this is an argument for local psak where the local Rabbis know the facts on the groundratherthan going to a central source which is not familiar with the facts on the ground.

  89. “hirhurim: ” including union pension funds — should force corporate boards to dramatically lower executive compensation.”
    why not the market decide and vote with your shares – bring it up as a shareholder’s proposal. if you do not like that sell them and find a better company to invest in. -that’s the american capitalistic way”
    Steve : vote with your shares-in general the institutions control the shares and do you think the institutional managers are in general going to raise question of too high salaries and fees for services.

  90. “millken was the main reason they succeeeded. not that junk bonds financed those companies, but it created the proper atmosphere. which ‘bama is trying to kill (the atmosphere, i mean.) (the companies, too, actually. but thats another story, that i dont think hirhurim wants to get into.)”

    AH the 80s of DBL, Boesky who BTW was not an Ortho giver but a big JTS one etc.

  91. “system vs the average joe that feels the system has screwed him. when people feel the system is rigged and they can’t get a fair shake then this may be the beginning of what will happen. ”

    and is even a bigger problem in Israel

  92. “ה טובה: “Report: Shalit deal on verge of realization””

    great news for one known family-likely terrible news for hundreds of currently unknown families.

  93. “affirmative action have become so entrenched that any politiician who questions the same is viewed in the same vein as someone who criticizes the fiscal validity of Social Security.”
    probably the major beneficiary of affirmative discrimination against white males has been females, both white and black.

  94. “the top 1% paid 38% of the income taxes in 2008.”
    one can’t forget that the poor pay far more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes.Of course payroll taxes mostly stop at about 106K.

  95. This evening, and last, Joseph Cedar’s film “Footnote” (הערת שוליים) was shown at the NY Film Festival. There is an insightful writeup on it in the Jewish Review of Books (title “Marginalia”); and this video interview at the NYT: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/joseph-cedar-discusses-footnote/.

    My wife and I both thought it was brilliant, as it seems did the rest of the audience based on the Q&A at the end.

  96. Mycroft- SS was not designed as a welfare program. Its a forced retirement program, so there is somewhat of a corellation between contributions and benefits. So, people paid on more than $106K, they would get a higher benefit.

  97. “the top 1% paid 38% of the income taxes in 2008.”
    the following from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
    In 2006, the “real” (adjusted for inflation) median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau.[4] The real median earnings of men who worked full time, year-round climbed between 2006 and 2007, from $43,460 to $45,113 (about 3.6 time minimum wage in 2006 to 3.7 time minimum wage in 2007). For women, the corresponding increase was from $33,437 to $35,102 (2.8 and 2.9 times minimum wage respectively). The median income per household member (including all working and non-working members above the age of 14) was $26,036 in 2006.[5] In 2006, there were approximately 116,011,000 households in the United States. 1.93% of all households had annual incomes exceeding $250,000.[6] 12.3% fell below the federal poverty threshold[7] and the bottom 20% earned less than $19,178.[8] The aggregate income distribution is highly concentrated towards the top, with the top 6.37% earning roughly one third of all income, and those with upper-middle incomes controlling a large, though declining, share of the total earned income.[3][9] Income inequality in the United States, which had decreased slowly after World War II until 1970, began to increase in the 1970s until reaching a peak in 2006. It declined a little in 2007.

    or from
    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

    As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2010).

  98. “Anonymous on October 11, 2011 at 11:40 pm
    Mycroft- SS was not designed as a welfare program. Its a forced retirement program, so there is somewhat of a corellation between contributions and benefits. So, people paid on more than $106K, they would get a higher benefit”

    but far from porportional-unlike most retirement programs that usually give back benefits according to earnings SS that it replaces a larger proportion of low wage earners’ lifetime income.

  99. “unlike most retirement programs that usually give back benefits according to earnings SS that it replaces a larger proportion of low wage earners’ lifetime income.”

    I should have made it clear the Soc Security is not a retire,emt program-for example ones heirs can’t det back the cobtributions of someone who contributes for 50 years and then dies while still never collecting a penny.

  100. “Anonymous on October 11, 2011 at 11:40 pm
    Mycroft- SS was not designed as a welfare program. Its a forced retirement program, so there is somewhat of a corellation between contributions and benefits. So, people paid on more than $106K, they would get a higher benefit.”

    bit see how comparatively small the additional benefit would be comparedto the taxes paid
    see the folloeing gtom
    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/piaformula.html
    PIA formula bend points
    The PIA is the sum of three separate percentages of portions of average indexed monthly earnings. The portions depend on the year in which a worker attains age 62, becomes disabled before age 62, or dies before attaining age 62.

    For 2011 these portions are the first $749, the amount between $749 and $4,517, and the amount over $4,517. These dollar amounts are the “bend points” of the 2011 PIA formula. A table shows bend points, for years beginning with 1979, for both the PIA and maximum family benefit formulas.

    PIA formula
    For an individual who first becomes eligible for old-age insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits in 2011, or who dies in 2011 before becoming eligible for benefits, his/her PIA will be the sum of:

    (a) 90 percent of the first $749 of his/her average indexed monthly earnings, plus
    (b) 32 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $749 and through $4,517, plus
    (c) 15 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $4,517

  101. Shalom Rosenfeld

    RH”S beis “din” piece is inyanei d’yoma:

    ועוד ראיתי, תחת השמש: מקום המשפט שמה הרשע, ומקום הצדק שמה הרשע…. ושבתי אני, ואראה את-כל-העשקים, אשר נעשים, תחת השמש; והנה דמעת העשקים, ואין להם מנחם, ומיד עשקיהם כח, ואין להם מנחם. ושבח אני את-המתים, שכבר מתו–מן-החיים, אשר המה חיים עדנה

  102. Ome coould easily see how reading the data in my 508 podt the Orthodxy that has been established in the US is out of reach for vast porportions of the American workforce on economic grounds.
    Of course, one can also see what tothers are earning when one wants to agree or disagree that anyone salary is peanuts.

  103. Thanks for posting the link to the interview, Gil.

    People interested can download the book’s preface and table of contents from http://www.strictlykosherreading.blogspot.com. Amazon has dropped the price of the sofcover significantly – see http://www.amazon.com/Strictly-Kosher-Reading-Yoel-Finkelman/dp/1618110020

    Hag Sameah!

    Yoel Finkelman

  104. See
    “The military wing of Hamas has also made clear that kidnappings have proven effective, and will be emulated in the future.”

    and
    “However, the release of 1,000 terrorists is an exorbitant price for Schalit’s release, and the long-term conditions of the prisoner swap are important to consider from a security standpoint”

    http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=241518

  105. Malcolm Hoenlein’s take:
    http://www.vosizneias.com/92971/2011/10/11/new-york-malcolm-hoenlein-on-the-gilad-shalit-release

    YH: Is there a dangerous precedent here? Will there be more Gilad Shalits?
    MH: Yes, but that precedent was set long ago even for dead bodies.. they know that Israel will strike a deal and they exploit the fact that Israel is committed to every soldier and every family – even if G-d forbid there is a situation where one would be killed.. They have said publicly that they will kidnap more – but it was a precedent made long ago.

  106. YH: Is there a dangerous precedent here? Will there be more Gilad Shalits?
    “MH: Yes, but that precedent was set long ago even for dead bodies.. they know that Israel will strike a deal and they exploit the fact that Israel is committed to every soldier and every family – even if G-d forbid there is a situation where one would be killed.. They have said publicly that they will kidnap more – but it was a precedent made long ago.”

    That one made a tragic errr does not mean that one continues to make the error.o

  107. My take is the deal with Hamas to free Gilad Shalit means the calculus in regard to Abbas has changed. Abbas didn’t have the guts to finalize a deal with Olmert in 2008 and is now written off by all the key players (Egypt, Israel and the US) as roadkill from The Arab Spring.

    Decisions are not made in a vacuum. For more on the broader context, see the concluding paragraphs in Agha/Malley’s September piece in the NY Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/art​icles/archives/2011/sep/29​/arab-counterrevolution/?p​agination=false

  108. aryeh lebowitz

    Gil – I don’t understand Rav Yisraeli’s position at all. One may pay exorbitantly to secure his own release and he can therefore have an insurance company or a shaliach (or the Israeli government) do so for him if there is an unwritten agreement to do so. But how does this apply to releasing dangerous terrorists. Is one permitted to put other lives at rist in order to save his own life?
    I also don’t think Rav Halevy’s heter to pay extra should apply to prisoner exchanges. Paying extra may not encourage more kidnappings (because the enemy will kidnap anyway after churban etc.), but releasing more soldiers to the enemy army can certainly cause more loss of life, even after the churban!

  109. “I ask those supporting OWS, what was wrong with my job?”

    Nothing. Nor with most of what goes on on Wall Street. There were abuses and the problem was with the system that allowed the small number of abusers to wreck the economy in the name of free enterprise.

    There has been a recent round of Citibank-bashing on Facebook. I’ve asked publicly what exactly do the bashers want? Citigroup’s owners have lost almost their entire investments as it is.

  110. R Gil-any possibility of a better link to the article about RAS?

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