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Ministers fail to decide on livestock stunning exemptions
The Next Wave Of Jewish Feminism: Engaging Jewish Men In Communal Life
Kabbalah Centre: Marketing Superstition as Spirituality?
The struggle for teen spirituality
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Dallas federation marking centennial with Got Mitzvah? Day
Fine her, she’s a witch!
SALT Thursday
Religion, Morality and the Financial Industry: An Interview With Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks
New study characterizes agunot
TA rabbinate changes rule that restricted city weddings
Praying for a child: Infertility in religious society
The End of “Eat Fish Out” Orthodoxy?
SALT Wednesday
How the Jewish Population of Portland Doubled Overnight
Shimon Peres Remembers David Ben-Gurion and the Altalena
Jewish chaplains memorial is dedicated
50,000 sign pro-Rubashkin petition to White House
‘Let single women immerse in mikveh’
R. Meir Soloveichik and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (video)
The 2011 Nobel Prize and the Debate over Jewish IQ
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The death of a Jewish newspaper
SALT Tuesday
Should A Rabbi Need A License In Order To Give Kosher Certification? (PDF)
Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel?
Angry Female IDF Soldiers Walk Out Of Segregated Torah Dancing – Or Do They?
Complaints of sex segregation near Kotel
Deputy Minister Litzman gets bodyguards
Health Department Reports Spike in Measles Cases in Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn
Rabbi Learns Repentence From Prisoners
Ask the Rabbi: May women lead grace after meals?
‘Pidyon Shvuyim’ Validated the Price of Shalit’s Release
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About Gil Student

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

237 comments

  1. “Should A Rabbi Need A License In Order To Give Kosher Certification? (PDF)”

    and who is going to give that license?
    i.e., this doesn’t solve anything
    and if it could somehow be implemented, it would force individuals and communities to accept standards that are foreign to what may be their own acceptable standards

  2. The last thing we need is stricter standards than we already have when it comes to kashrus.

  3. The author of that NYTimes piece badly misunderstood the opposition to Rudolph Kastner. It had nothing to do with him paying bribes. It had to do with knowing that the Nzis would wipe out Jewish communities and not warning them. It also had to do with him apparently cozying up to Nazis and developing real friendships with them.

  4. Larry Lennhoff

    I don’t understand who is supposed to compose and administer the ‘kosher rabbi’ test and how it is to be enforced. If the government enforces it, we’re back to the first amendment problems that killed the old NY state kosher law. If it is voluntary, then this is effectively just another hecksher.

  5. I don’t understand who is supposed to compose and administer the ‘kosher rabbi’ test and how it is to be enforced. If the government enforces it, we’re back to the first amendment problems that killed the old NY state kosher law. If it is voluntary, then this is effectively just another hecksher.

    While I agree that practically a “kashrus license” is not going to happen, there is some merit to the idea in theory. There are hundreds of hasgachos out there, with tremendous variation as to both reliability and halakhic policy. How is one supposed to know what is or is not acceptable? I have found that this is particularly a problem when one is traveling. If you are passing throught Yehupetz, how can you possibly know if the hasgachoh of Rav Ploni Almoni or the Vaad ha Rabbonim of Yehupetz is one you would accept at home? Sometimes national kashrus organizations (OU, Star-K) will give your their opinion, or your can have your Rav track down a local person whom he trusts to give him the straight scoop. It would be nice if you could know that, for example, the local hasgocho is the equivalent of the OU in NY (assuming you accept that).

  6. MiMedinat HaYam

    it was the “establishment jews” (r s wise, and his fdr democrats) who opposed the bribery. the same one’s who insist on no kosher standards, and oppose the govt kosher licensing. (nevertheless, my mother, a hungarain holocaust survivor who lived in israel during the kastner trial period, insists he took ppl on the train with him, who paid him. he insisted it was to finance future “trains”. accordingly, she opposes him.

  7. In fairness, I don’t think he got on the train.

  8. “Sometimes national kashrus organizations (OU, Star-K) will give your their opinion, or your can have your Rav track down a local person whom he trusts to give him the straight scoop. ”

    Basically many Rabbis and organizations will not vouch for any other kashrut organization-but will answer where they eat.If one trusts them one can certainly eat where they would eat,

  9. “MiMedinat HaYam on October 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm
    it was the “establishment jews” (r s wise, and his fdr democrats) “who opposed the bribery. the same one’s who insist on no kosher standards, and oppose the govt kosher licensing. (nevertheless, my mother, a hungarain holocaust survivor who lived in israel during the kastner trial period, insists he took ppl on the train with him, who paid him. he insisted it was to finance future “trains”. accordingly, she opposes him.”

    Unfair Perfidy type attack-fr better or worse the philosophies involved are similar to those on both sids of the GIlad Shalit deal. Of course, in retrospect it is very easy to attack Jews who were attempting to save other Jews. For a balanced work that touches on some of these issues during the SHoah see E. Zuroff on the Vaad Hazalah.

  10. Anyone who debates Kastner needs to read Prof. Shlomo Aronson’s book on the issue of rescue:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hitler-Allies-Jews-Shlomo-Aronson/dp/0521689791/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319540005&sr=1-3

    Trust me when I say that the odds of massive rescue, by ANY party (be it Zionist, anti-Zionist, what not) were far slimmer than they later claimed in post-war polemics.

  11. As disucssed here before, perhaps the most famous of the Jews Kasztner saved was the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (who remained silent about it, refusing to testify in Kasztner’s trial).

    I would recommend the documentary film reviewed at: http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/movies/23killing.html. A shortened version of it was broadcast on BBC4’s Storyville series as “The Jew who Dealt with Nazis – Killing Kasztner” which is the version I saw.

  12. On the Portland article: שׁומֵר יִשרָאֵל. שְׁמר שְׁאֵרִית יִשרָאֵל. וְאַל יאבַד יִשרָאֵל. הָאומְרִים שְׁמַע יִשרָאֵל

  13. There seem to be a lot of people who believe that since anti-Zionists latched onto the Kastner case (although all of those involved in the case itself, plus Ben Hecht, were strong Zionists), they have to defend him (and the founders of Israel attacked by Hecht generally). That does not follow, however. The State and the government are not the same, a lesson that should be learned by Charedim, Mamlachtim of both the religious and secular kind, and leftists alike.

  14. Nachum,

    I wasn’t “defending” anyone. I think this whole “blame game”, in either direction, is ludicrous and contrary to the historical reality of the time.

    PS A lot of research has been done and sources uncovered since the days of Ben Hecht. I suggest you read some of it (starting with Aronson).

  15. shachar haamim

    “Trust me when I say that the odds of massive rescue, by ANY party (be it Zionist, anti-Zionist, what not) were far slimmer than they later claimed in post-war polemics.”

    That’s not the issue – the issue was selective rescue missions – such as when Kastner made a clear preference for his friends and relatives and threw in a few token leaders of other groups in order to show that it was a broad based rescue mission. All the while urging the remaining Jews not to flee or worry and to cooperate with the expulsions.
    Or the situation where Yeshiva students received double support stipends for food and necessities.

  16. “such as when Kastner made a clear preference for his friends and relatives and threw in a few token leaders of other groups in order to show that it was a broad based rescue mission.”

    Is this, in fact, really clear? Who are we to judge, in any case.

  17. Re the Tablet article re Portland, those interested should see a recent issue of JA and/or an enclosure from NCSY that profiled NCSY’s efforts and sucess in Portland and the Orthodox community in Portland-which the article seemingly neglected for reasons presumably best known to the author.

  18. Steve — can you provide a link (or quote/paraphrase the salient points)?

    The thesis of this article was “who they [the previously uncounted self-identified Jews] are and how to connect with them”. If the NCSY effort answers this question, you have a valid point.

  19. IH-I readd the thesis of the article which IMO parrots the demographers’ and Federation world’s definitions of “Jewish identity” or “Jewish continuity”, from which NCSY has always worked from a decidedly different modus operandi in terms of allowing Jewish teens to experience a non judgmental positive experience to Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim. The question that arose after my reading was what would be the long term effects of such programs-how many would affiliate with the Jewish community, transmit their interest in Judaism to the next generation or demonstrate that they have any intellectual or emotional committment to Judaism?

  20. Steve — in all seriousness, if you applied your standards of Jewish identity to the 6 million Jews who perished in the Shoah, what would the revised number be?

  21. IH-IMO, Your argument is implicitly rooted in a pluralistic argument that equates whoever is persecuted as a Jew with being a member of the Jewish People, and how Jewish identity and values is defined by normative Jewish sources. Being the same predicament or historical equivalent of a lifeboat which was predicated on Bris Avos can never serve as a replacement for a committnment to Bris Sinai . Being Jewish by fate cannot IMO be viewed as preferable to actively identifying with and living a Jewish life. Merely being aware of the gruesome tragedy from 1933-45 is as R D N Lamm pointed out a dead end to Jewish identity, and should never be viewed as some sort of ersatz Jewish identity that cannot compensate for the fact that most secular Jews could not identify most, if not, all of the elements of Echad Mi Yodea.

  22. Ok, so what’s the approximate number you have in mind when you said Yizkor for them the other day?

  23. IH-My Nusach includes all victims of the Nazis, Yimach Shmam VZicram. It is relatively easy to die al Kiddush HaShem, in its classical formulation and to be considered a Kadosh-regardless of one’s religious affiliation or lack thereof. It is far more difficult and far preferable to live Al Kiddush HaShem-as that term is understood in its classical definition.

  24. Steve — you’re ducking. So, let’s move to the living:

    Do you exclude the 42% of Israeli Jews who self-identify as secular in your standard of “Jewish Identity”?

  25. IH-WADR,I think that my definitions of Kiddush HaShem are on the mark. When you speak about “Israeli Jews who self-identify as secular”, I think that one has to be very careful about the data. There are many polls and surveys that indicate that many Israeli Jews, while neither Charedi or RZ, are far more traditional than their American brothers and sisters. I question how many of the 42% don’t attend a seder, fast or attend services for at least one part of YK, have at least one meal designated as a Shabbos meal, light candels or eat chametz on Pesach. I would also be interested in seeing who constituted the 42%-Ashkenazim, Sefardim, denizens of the secular academic and cultural scene, etc.

  26. IH-the 42% may self identify as secular, but Jewish identity is an unbreakable covenant, whether one chooses to be part of the same or even claims on whatever basis that one is secular. One can never deny the fact or potential that anyone is secular may for whatever reason choose to decide to examine his or her background and proceed to change his or her life.

  27. Do you exclude the 42% of Israeli Jews who self-identify as secular in your standard of “Jewish Identity”?

    Can’t speak for Steve, but the vast majority have the status of tinkok she nishbah acc. to the Rambam’s shittah. (Machlokes Rambam and R. Tam.)

    As for those who died in the Holocaust, a large majority were indeed committed to Torah u Mitzvos. Many of those who didn’t probably fell into the Tinok she nishbah category.

    Of those remaining, if someone was or is genuinely an apikorus, then it is clear that such a person is not part of klal yisroel. Not many of those running around today. (Although blogs seem to attract them like flies to honey.)

  28. IH-a secular Jew, and a Torah observant Jew both are members of the same covenental relationship with HaShem as members of Bris Avos in that they are both subject to historical trends such as anti Semitism which, as you pointed out correctly, knows no hashkafic or halachic boundaries. However, one cannot deny the role of Bris Sinai as a critical positive factor in Jewish identity and continuity-which many demographers and their supporters view with a studied ignorance or refusal to consider the growth of the MO and Charedi worlds in the US.

  29. Do you exclude the 42% of Israeli Jews who self-identify as secular in your standard of “Jewish Identity”?

    Steve listed three criteria for Jewish identity – “affiliate with the Jewish community, transmit their interest in Judaism to the next generation or demonstrate that they have any intellectual or emotional committment to Judaism”. Secular Israelis 1) overwhelmingly affiliate with the Jewish community, 2) by definition transmit at least a Jewish identity to the next generation, 3) in many cases (the more “masorati” group) do in fact have substantial commitment to Judaism. Secular American Jews are much much weaker in average in all three categories.

  30. How the Jewish Population of Portland Doubled Overnight

    The main Jewish outreach event mentioned in the article involved mixed swimming, on Shabbat, with a guitar, and the crowd was intermarried.

    What the article forgot to mention is that the date was Yom Kippur, that bacon cheeseburgers were served on the side, and that everyone’s bathing suits contained kelaim.

    🙂

  31. Steve — you’re negating your own argument of 3:13 pm.

  32. In regard to Israel statistics, we know quite a bit. Of the 79.9% of Israeli Jews who self-identified as Mesorti’im or Chilonim in 2009, see: http://www1.cbs.gov.il/reader/shnaton/templ_shnaton.html?num_tab=st07_07x&CYear=2011

    To Tal’s point, I am not sure how one applies Tinok She’nishba to someone who attends a seder, but does not fast on Yom Kippur; or someone who light’s Shabbat candles, but travels on Shabbat; etc.

  33. IH-Actually, I am defending the same by pointing out that regardless of our common membership in a covenant of fate, we are also members of a covenant of faith regardless of one’s hashkafic definition, and that one should never underestimate any factor that causes a person to reevaluate his or her own way of life and become fully committed to the covenant of faith. That’s the essence of a mitzvah called Teshuvah.

  34. Steve — ok, but that’s not the point of the article you were moaning about.

  35. And, again, I am happy to read the article about NCSY that you wish to promote, if you send us a link.

  36. ““such as when Kastner made a clear preference for his friends and relatives and threw in a few token leaders of other groups in order to show that it was a broad based rescue mission.”

    Is this, in fact, really clear? Who are we to judge, in any case”

    If true so what EVERY group did that see eg Vaad Haztzaleh where they spent more money one year on extra rations for Yeshiva
    bochurim in Shanghai than in attempting to rescue Jews from Nazis-I remember that from Zuroff’s book.

    “I wasn’t “defending” anyone. I think this whole “blame game”, in either direction, is ludicrous and contrary to the historical reality of the time.”

    tend to agree

    “As for those who died in the Holocaust, a large majority were indeed committed to Torah u Mitzvos.”

    Really-my impression is otherwise-there is a lot of romanticizing of the facts on the ground of pre WW11 Europe.

    “Of those remaining, if someone was or is genuinely an apikorus, then it is clear that such a person is not part of klal yisroel.”

    Clear -please explain.

  37. aiwac: My personal way is to blame no one who lived in that period, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, I’m all for historical truth. I don’t *blame*, say, the Belzer Rebbe for what he did, but the facts should be out there. Ditto for whatever Kastner did or didn’t do. I don’t see how anything Hecht states is factually untrue, even if he, of course, *does* blame Kastner. There seems to be a concerted effort to turn Kastner into some sort of hero, which I just can’t swallow. It’s partially led by his family and some of those he saved, but also others, for the reasons I mentioned above.

    (Of course, Hecht did live in that period, and was quite active, albeit from the safety of America. His loss was financial and in reputation, not life.)

  38. I’m always pleased to be able to agree with Nachum. The problem is, though, that it is very difficult to write the “historical truth” on these very controversial issues without inserting some blame or kudos. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

  39. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. i know (knew) other ppl on the kastner train. interesting, they all had (and have) $.

    2. another intersting fact, is that the jewish agency rep in istanbul turkey (forgot his name) was atually the one who arranged / negotiated for the train. kastner didnt realize this was going on behind his back. (his role, it turned out, was simply logistics / choosing who will be on the train.) and satmar, of course, will never admit it was the tziyonim who rescused the rebbe. infact, the rebbe NEVER spoke about any aspect of it, though his major fundarising effort is the annual satmar dinner on the date the train left.

    3. the vast majority of chilonim in israel light shabbat candles (hopefully before sunset), chanukkah candles, go to a pesach seder, eat matzah while avoiding chametz, have a brit for their sons, dont marry non jews, and many other mitzvot. they just resent “kfiyah datit”.

    4. mycroft — you fail to note that zuroff proved that vaad hatzalah spent little, if any, $ on rescuing non charedim. though in fairness, the “establishment” doled out very few refugee visas to them to distribute (concentrating on cultural figures), and the few they got was only because of political considerations.

  40. Michael Rogovin

    For those interested, the article from Akdamot cited by R Brody at the end of his excellent review of zimmun and women has been translated, along with two responses, in the current issue of Meorot journal.

  41. MiMedinat HaYam

    porrtland jewish pop , according to the jta article, seems to mirror the american jewish community as a whole (except for the part that most jews live in the cities vs the suburbs). though the fedration $ allocations indicate a leftist orientation. (more leftist than the “old jews who go to synagogue”)

    its just a question of creating “facts on the ground” that do not necessarily exist.

    i guarantee the glossy magazine they will publish instead of the dying newspaper will concentrate on non kosher dining (actually, most fedrations newspapers do), glorification of intermarriage while bemoaning intermarriage in the editorial section, etc. at least their young women will have no interest in a mikva.

  42. Nachum,

    I’m not saying he’s a hero; I’m saying there was realistically very little he could have actually done on a significant scale. Should he have drawn lots for the train? Probably, but to place the blame for the Hungarian Jewish deportations on his shoulders underestimates the determination of the Nazis (and the Wehrmacht) to slaughter them with or without Kastner.

    The fact that Hecht lived in that period proves nothing. He was not the only one at the time with partial information and a chip on his shoulder (I’m looking at YOU, R. Weissmandel…). Many polemicists made compelling cases on the issue of rescue based on a lack of knowledge of the entire picture. I’m saying we should be a little more careful and realistic today.

    There’s a lot of stuff we know now that wasn’t known then, especially from declassified files. Again, read Aronson (preferably the fuller Hebrew version, http://www.kibutz-poalim.co.il/htmls/product.aspx?c0=42618&bsp=37578), Randolph L. Braham’s work &c.

  43. “the vast majority of chilonim in israel light shabbat candles (hopefully before sunset), chanukkah candles, go to a pesach seder, eat matzah while avoiding chametz, have a brit for their sons, dont marry non jews, and many other mitzvot. they just resent “kfiyah datit”.”

    See the stats as per the link at 5:36 pm. For the Chilonim segment: 28.6% light Shabbat candles, 67.3% light Channuka candles; and 81.6% attend participate in a Seder.

    But, only 25.7% fast on Yom Kippur — in a country where everything closes and no one could reasonably eat out of ignorance. Only 10% are careful to eat only kosher food in a country where this is not a hardship. And only 2.4% do not travel on Shabbat.

    Tinokot She’nishbu, poor things…

  44. The 2010 Chicago study has the corresponding statistics for all Jews:

    22% light Shabbat candles, 78% light Channuka candles; 78% attend participate in a Seder; 54% fast on Yom Kippur.

    This is based on a total demographic of: 45% Reform, 22% Conservative, 8% Traditioal, 4% Reconstructionist, 7% Orthodox, 8% Non-Denominational, 6% Secular.

  45. While on demographics, I heard about this statistic on a CSPAN Book Talk we had taped and watched tonight which may be of interest:

    http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=494

  46. .” mycroft — you fail to note that zuroff proved that vaad hatzalah spent little, if any, $ on rescuing non charedim. though in fairness, the “establishment” doled out very few refugee visas to them to distribute ”
    I agree with the above statement see my comment above “““such as when Kastner made a clear preference for his friends and relatives and threw in a few token leaders of other groups in order to show that it was a broad based rescue mission.”

    Is this, in fact, really clear? Who are we to judge, in any case”

    If true so what EVERY group did that”

  47. IH, both your Israeli and American statistics are somewhat flawed:

    Israel: “Secular” in that context means something like 25% of Israeli Jews. About half of Israeli Jews are masorati and far more religious than that. (Oddly, they might be considered “Orthodox” in the US, but are sometimes considered “secular” in Israel.) Virtually all of them fast on Yom Kippur, have sedarim, even light candles and say kiddush (before watching the game on TV).

    America: Only about half of American Jews are affiliated, period. The “45% Reform” number is really self-identification of what are, simply, secular Jews (if that).

  48. shachar haamim

    “If true so what EVERY group did that see eg Vaad Haztzaleh where they spent more money one year on extra rations for Yeshiva
    bochurim in Shanghai than in attempting to rescue Jews from Nazis-I remember that from Zuroff’s book.”

    I don’t think that Zuroff proved that EVERY group did that. He showed that Charedi/Aguda affiliated groups did that. Did the Revisionist groups show preference for Revisionists? I think not.

  49. I remember reading an article by Zuroff on this in Jewish Action and a response to it by David Kranzler. I expected it to be a gedolim-are-always-right response with some historical fluff. What Kranzler gave us though was a very solid historical demolition of much of what Zuroff claims. Zuroff’s reply was, to say the least, inadequate.

  50. abba's rantings

    IH:

    The 2010 Chicago study has the corresponding statistics for all Jews: 22% light Shabbat candles, 78% light Channuka candles; 78% attend participate in a Seder; 54% fast on Yom Kippur”

    a recent conversation enlightened me as to the fact that what some non-ortho jews consider fasting on yom kippur resembles little what we do. of course the sentiment is still there.

  51. abba's rantings

    shachar haamim

    “That’s not the issue – the issue was selective rescue missions – such as when Kastner made a clear preference for his friends and relatives”

    i’m not sure why this is objectionable

  52. abba's rantings

    from the peres article:

    “Ben-Gurion feared that Begin might use the arms aboard the Altalena to equip Etzel units outside the sovereign jurisdiction of the state—thus ostensibly not violating his commitment—in order to extend the war with the Arabs into the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), thereby defying government policy.”

    ridiculous. as if the state/idf/ben gurion didn’t extend the war outside the UN partition bounderies? ben gurion just didn’t want begin to be the one doing it. of course peres is just telling history through the contemporary eyes drunk with oslo.

    also would have been nice to see some expression of regret for the loss of life on the altalena as well as an analysis of how the arms could have changed the course of the war, particularly in jerusalem.

  53. abba's rantings

    MMY:

    “dont marry non jews”

    you think the russian non-jews marry exclusively with one another?
    this problem will only become worse as the russians assimilate further into israeli society.

  54. Nachum — statistics are always “flawed” in various ways. They still provide much information.

    The Israeli statistics — an easy to print one page table — differentiates among מסורתיים-דתיים, מסורתיים-לא כל כך דתיים and לא דתיים, חילוניים. See also the correlations to education and income which are interesting.

    On the American statistics, your statement on affiliation is an oversimplification. See the Chicago study (pending the NY one to come next year) as well as the 2010 study of studies from Brandeis (http://www.brandeis.edu/cmjs/noteworthy/pop.estimates.html).

  55. They haven’t posted my comment there, but here’s basically what I wrote:

    “Small-arms fire broke out between shore and ship.”

    That’s a very sneaky way of putting it. It did not “break out”; as the piece itself says, Ben-Gurion ordered it. And it was not “between”; as the piece again says, Begin refused to fire back.

    Throughout the article’s references to Ben-Gurion as “the state” or “the government” or “the army,” I think we’re entitled to ask just who chose him and how, and why they had any more legitimacy than Begin and his people. Just asking.

    If you listen to R’ Leiman’s shiur on R’ Kook and Arlosorov, there’s an interesting moment at the end. After he’s mentioned the historical irony of how Arlosorov and Stavsky were both killed on (or near) the Tel Aviv beach, someone brings up the name of Rabin, who was killed not too far from there.

    While I don’t doubt that Peres, bless him, holds these views, note well who his coauthor is, a man who easily moved (if he ever did) from Charedi anti-Zionism to the leftist variety.

  56. abba's rantings

    ANON:

    “I think we’re entitled to ask just who chose him and how, and why they had any more legitimacy than Begin and his people.”

    it’s pretty clear that the irgun never had anywhere near the numbers that the hagganah did.

    is leiman’s shiur online?

  57. I’m sure they had less numbers. That doesn’t answer the question of who elected Ben-Gurion.

    I’m not ignorant- there *is* an answer. But it should be asked.

    The shiur isn’t online as far as I can tell.

  58. “Only about half of American Jews are affiliated, period.”

    Worth making the obvious point that the point of the Portland article is that some of these unaffiliated Jews are re-engaging religiously outside of traditional American Jewish institutions, denominations and movements.

    I have no idea why we should not be happy that is happening.

  59. aiwac is translating an interesting article – How NOT to Teach Gemara in High School on his site – really worth reading.
    http://aiwac.wordpress.com/

  60. abba’s rantings on October 26, 2011 at 8:44 am
    shachar haamim

    “That’s not the issue – the issue was selective rescue missions – such as when Kastner made a clear preference for his friends and relatives”

    i’m not sure why this is objectionable

    I think that when it’s accompanied by decisions and actions that knowingly cause others to suffer and go to their deaths than it i snot objectionable. It’s not like Kastner said to his family “I know that things are really bad so lets run away to the woods and live with the Partisans” and only told them and no one else. HE told everyone else that things would be OK if they cooperated with the instructions of the Germans and then negotiated with the Nazis to get the people connected to him out.
    I think the difference should be obvious to anyone.

  61. How did that study on agunot define an “agunah”?

  62. IH,despite the notoriously self hating views of Jews in her writings, even this author would be viewed as a Kadosh because of her dying as a Jew, as opposed to her views on Jews while she was alive.http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/content/module/2011/10/25/main-feature/1/portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-self-hating-jew

  63. Those interested in American Jewish demographics may also be interested in the more detailed Westchester Congregations Study published in 2004: http://bir.brandeis.edu/handle/10192/22993

    Sadly, it seems that only one Orthodox synagogue chose to participate.

  64. IH-which Orthodox synagogue chose to participate? Can you find any survey or study that profiled any of the many MO or Charedi communities, aside from the works of Drs. Heilman, Helmreich, Waxman and Dr CS?

  65. Steve — Sounds to me like you’re pretty confused. You seem to be saying that Némirovsky is legitimately Jewish in death because she was murdered by the Nazis, but she wasn’t legitimately Jewish when she was alive?

    BTW, I thought her novella “Le Bal” (in English trsnslation) was masterful.

  66. Steve — according to the report it was Hebrew Institute of White Plains.

    It would appear that Orthodox institutions shy away from most such professional polling. One wonders if they are mindful of the old adage “don’t ask questions to which you don’t want to know the answers”.

    I would also note the lack of transparency by the OU. E.g. how dues-paying individual members trended over the last 30 years? How many dues-paying synagogue members trended over the last 30 years?

  67. IH wrote:

    “It would appear that Orthodox institutions shy away from most such professional polling. One wonders if they are mindful of the old adage “don’t ask questions to which you don’t want to know the answers”.

    I would also note the lack of transparency by the OU. E.g. how dues-paying individual members trended over the last 30 years? How many dues-paying synagogue members trended over the last 30 years”

    IH-WADR-I have read more than my share of demographic surveys and most treat the MO and Charedi world with at best a footnote or a sentence or two disclaiming any responsibility or knowledge of the same because it doesn’t match the researcher’s big tent model of Jewish identity and continuity. I would maintain that dues paying financial stability would be the wrong criterion,because all Orthodox institutions all consistently need to raise funds to service their community and fulfill their mission. (IIRC, RAK once commented that a yeshiva that is making money can’t really be a yeshiva!)

    One sees a dearth of any academic studies looking at any MO and Charedi community in the US, their religious vitality, who lives there , the institutions supported therein and Israel,based upon the priorities that the community and its members deem important in their hearts and minds. One can only await for such a study after next summer’s Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium.

  68. IH wrote:

    “Steve — Sounds to me like you’re pretty confused. You seem to be saying that Némirovsky is legitimately Jewish in death because she was murdered by the Nazis, but she wasn’t legitimately Jewish when she was alive?”

    My point was that Nemirovsky was as much a Kadosh as any other Jew who died during the Holocaust. One can certainly view her writings as being redolent with Jewish self hatred.

  69. IH-the article about Nemirovsky noted that she converted to RC. IIRC, there is no small amount of halachic discussion as to whether such a person must reaccept her committment to Judaism.

  70. “most treat the MO and Charedi world with at best a footnote or a sentence or two disclaiming any responsibility or knowledge of the same because it doesn’t match the researcher’s big tent model of Jewish identity and continuity.”

    This is patently false. But, they are constrained by lack of institutional support (as per the Westchester study) when they are anything more than random population polling by telephone. You can’t have it both ways.

    And, frankly, despite all the hot air, statistically Orthodoxy IS small (between 5% and 10%) and that includes everything from LWMO through Neturei Karta.

  71. On Némirovsky, nu, if your halachic shita stipulates she can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery, then how could she be a kadosh in death? Hitler’s definition of a Jew was not halachic in any case.

  72. I think you are underestimating Orthodoxy’s size. There are around 13.5 million Jews. In Israel alone, there are 750,000 charedim. There are at least 300,000 charedim in the US, and many tens of thousands elsewhere (UK, Belgium, Brazil). When one factors in all of the modern orthodox and dati leumi populations you are probably near two million, which is around 15% of the total.

  73. IH wrote:

    “This is patently false. But, they are constrained by lack of institutional support (as per the Westchester study) when they are anything more than random population polling by telephone. You can’t have it both ways.

    And, frankly, despite all the hot air, statistically Orthodoxy IS small (between 5% and 10%) and that includes everything from LWMO through Neturei Karta.”

    Take a look at any demographic survey. WADR, a community’ percentage of the demographic numbers are irrelevant because they don’t begin to explain how the Charedi and MO worlds have developed in the US, and the institutions supported therein. The numbers of yeshivas, girls schools, shuls, mikvaos, eruvim, summer camps and programs,publishers, the ready availability of kosher food with a variety of reputable hashgachos, restaurants, and prices of real estate don’t lie.Furthermore, I would suggest that one shul in Westchester County, which is not known as a bastion of MO, cannot serve as a model for comparison with any of the other major MO or Charedi communities.

  74. J. — US (aka American) demographics. The European demographics have separate issues (e.g. “Orthodox” in the UK, as you know, is quite different from “Orthodox” in the US).

  75. IH-good point re Nemirovsky-of course , under normative halachic considerations, she would not be entitled to Kever Yisrael. Yet, she was treated as a Jew, in the same manner as any other Jew-regardless of how she viewed herself. See the VBM series on the views of the Nesivos Shalom ZL on individual and communal Kiddush HaShem. http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/shoah/12a-shoah.htm
    http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/shoah/12b-shoah.htm

  76. Steve — Please look at the Chicago study before commenting. Search for “Orthodox” and you will see slides like the one titled:

    “63% of Orthodox Adults Under Age 35 Are Married
    Compared to 28% of All Other Young Jewish Adults”

    “Orthodox Household Norm is Four or More Persons;
    Non-Orthodox Household Norm is Only One or Two”

    “Orthodox Households Report High Levels of Jewish
    Pre-or-Nursery School Enrollment”

    etc. etc.

  77. “I would suggest that one shul in Westchester County, which is not known as a bastion of MO, cannot serve as a model for comparison with any of the other major MO or Charedi communities.”

    That’s the point, at the instititional studies level, if you don’t play, you can’t complain.

    For the random individual telephone polls, normal rules of evaluating statistical validity apply.

    The lack of Orthodox institutional support mainly means that the questions being asked do not have the granularity many of us would like to see. This is in the control of the Orthodox Jewish institutions.

    From the perspective of the demographers and the funding agencies, there is only so much effort that is worth spending on <10% of the demographic, if they don't want to cooperate.

    This still begs the intra-Orthodox community demographic opportunities: e.g. the OU for its indivdual and synagogue memebrs.

    The way for Orthodoxy to be better represented, is simply

  78. IH-One page in a study , that focused on educational, social and economic trends, as opposed to a community wide survey of the MO and Charedi oriented communities of Skokie, West Rogers Park, etc, is IMO tokenism. Statistics can be inflated to include intermarrieds in the name of pluralism and deflated to show that Orthodox communities are an insignificant minority-despite the vitality that is present in both the MO and Charedi worlds.FWIW, one of the authors, Dr Ukeles, IIRC, is MO.

  79. is simply to play ball.

  80. IH-waiting to see a demographic study of Baltimore and its surrounding suburban counties-where Ner Israel’s head R Neuberger ZL was on the local Federation board for decades.

  81. Steve — ok, so you don’t believe anyone elses statistics. Where are the OU’s then, for the Modern Orthodoxy they represent?

  82. IH-MO has been a communal player for decades, both in the Federation and Conference of Presidents. Show me a survey of any major Charedi or MO community ( paging Joseph Kaplan)undertaken by any demographic researcher or by any academic other than those who I listed, as oppposed to the one page type entry that you linked to in the Chicago study.

  83. IH-IMO, statistics are irrelevant-communities , the people who live therein and the institutions that they support and build are what count.

  84. “MO has been a communal player for decades”

    Uvda, she’lo. Only 1 Orthodox-affiliated synagogue participated in the Westchester study.

  85. IH-the Baltimore study did not include the city of Baltimore, where a very sizeable Charedi community is located on Park Heights Avenue, or the adjoining community of Greenspring-a very thriving MO community. Howard County strikes me as a distant suburb of Baltimore.

  86. IH-outside of shuls in New Rochelle, Scarsdale and White Plains, and one day school and high school, Westchester is predominantly C and R. I would question the basis for using the Westchester survey’s data with that obtained from any major MO or Charedi community.

  87. IH wrote:

    “From the perspective of the demographers and the funding agencies, there is only so much effort that is worth spending on <10% of the demographic, if they don't want to cooperate"

    This is how federations talk-however, in both Forest Hills and Boro Park, there are Ys that cater to the needs of the Torah observant community. Every yeshiva in Queens that I know of is a recipient of some Federation funding for textbooks and busing. OTOH, many members of the MO and Charedi world view much of what passes for Judaic content at such venues as the 92nd Sreet Y as being exclusively cultural or attempts at pluralism, with very little in the way of any programming on basic Jewish texts from a Torah perspective.

  88. IH – Agreed about the different connotation of ‘Orthodoxy’ in various countries. However, ‘charedi’ in the UK means charedi (in many cases to the right of what is considered charedi in the US or even Israel) – and there are about 45,000 charedim here. There are at least 1.2 million shomrei shabbos in Israel – I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to posit that there are another 800,000 in the rest of the world. NY state alone must make up most of that.

  89. IH wrote:

    “The way for Orthodoxy to be better represented, is simply is simply to play ball”

    MO and the Charedi world have been playing ball for decades. However, playing ball does not mean that one gives up halachic and hashkafic objections or perspectives or agrees with the “big tent” advocated by federations, their executives and demographers. Such a perspective strikes me as an example of tyranny by the majority.

  90. J. — Agreed, but again the quoted 5% to 10% is US only. It includes Charedim. And the Israeli statistics are also segmented accordingly: 11.7% Dati’im, 8.2% Chareidim.

    Steve — How does choosing to participate in an institutionally oriented demographic study such as in Westchester mean compromising “halachic and hashkafic objections”? I simply don’t understand that and would be keen for an explanation.

  91. IH-Other than RYBS and R Neuberger,Zicronam Livracha, and certain local beneficiaries that I mentioned-many in the Charedi world view participating in and support of federation as tantamount to supporting a view of Jewish identity that is anathema to their halachic and hashkafic world views

  92. Thanks. And MO?

  93. I don’t detect any anathema towards participating in Federation type events like the Salute to Israel Parade nor have I seen any in any MO community. However, that does not mean that MO is willing to participate in programs that cross halachic and hashkafic boundaries.

  94. MiMedinat HaYam

    is the salute to israel parade a federation event?

    local federations have diff practices (so a charedi rav MIGHT join the board, esp if $ is involved).

    though, as i mentioned in the portland issue, their glossy magazines glorify intermarriage, while their board meetings / rabbis bemoan intermarriage.

    2.4% ortohodox indicates statistical invalidity.

    many affilliated jews (of all debominations) are members of several synagogues. (i am a member of my fri nite shul, my shabat day shul, my weekday shul, my old country shul where i grew up in, etc.)

  95. MiMedinat HaYam

    tel aviv marriages — 600 shekel sounds too much, for any town. arent wedding rings still “mesubsad” ( = subsidised by the govt), even under finance minister nertanyahu’s reforms a few years ago (havent checked, since.) nachum (chatan de’nan) plz verify.

    my father had a trick to get a quick us passport renewal — foreign us consulates are eager to renew passports for the fee income, and they give same day service without even requesting (they want to get it over with.) 9-11 changed that. so govt offices often do foolish things for fee income. though the notorious israeli bureaucracy (let alone local rabbanuts) might (financially, not morally) justify the 600 shekel fee.

    2. a few westchester ppl know are dues paying members of O and C synagogues.

  96. MiMedinat HaYam

    my mother remembers the “party atmosphere” the night of the altalena. it was a “cease fire”, so everybody came out to the beach, to enjoy themselves (it was june). no evacuations, everything took place in plain sight of everbody. the beach was full of ppl, enjoying the summer weather. and everbody knew history was taking place that night, and this was a better seat than “watching it on (1948) tv”.

    the peres version is just another example of “rewriting history.”

  97. Kfar Vitkin or Tel-Aviv? And how old was your mother at the time?

  98. “As of 2009 8% of Israeli Jews defined themselves as Haredim; an additional 12% as “religious”; 13% as “religious-traditionalists” ; 25% as “non-religious-traditionalists” (not strictly adhering to Jewish law or halakha); and 42% as “secular” (Hebrew: חִלּוֹנִי‎‎, Hiloni).[”

    Jewish population less than 6 million in Israel-thus Chareidi less than half a million-total Orthodox in Israel probablyaround 20-25%-lets assume 1.3-1.4 million-US Ortho around low to mid 400s thus probably a little less but close to 2 million Orthodox Jews in the world more than 10%-of course that requires Israel-the diaspora averages less than 10% Orthodox.

  99. For a fair and balanced description of the Altalena affair see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altalena_Affair

  100. “so a charedi rav MIGHT join the board, esp if $ is involved).”

    Not my comment.

  101. Jerusalem wasn’t much less than that- about 450 or 500, I think, but we got a substantial oleh discount. (We registered within two years of my arrival.)

    I bought my kallah’s ring fully. Wouldn’t there be halakhic issues if I didn’t? (No halakhic issues if the one she bought me were subsidized, I suppose, but of course it wasn’t either.)

  102. “”the peres version is just another example of “rewriting history.””

    Since the beginning of Israel there have been 2 narratives about the incident-Peres is writing the standard Maipai, BG one-meinat hayam is writing the standard Irgus,Herut, Begin one. The truth who knows.

  103. mycroft – There’s far more Orthodox in American than the mid 400’s – Kiryas Joel alone has 20,000, and there are many Satmar elsewhere. There must be 80,000 shomrei shabbos in Boro park alone. I think it’s nearer 700,000.

  104. R’Mycroft,
    The truth about who fired on whom and who refused to – is this disputed?
    KT

  105. On demographics, the salient numbers are adults. 400K Orthodox adults is probably about right looking at all the national studies.

    Shomer Shabbat is a different kettle of fish, as this also includes some Conservative. It may be a minority, but the number of Conservative Jews is still large.

    For MO, how many individual dues-paying members does the OU have?

  106. Shachar Ha'amim

    This month the family court in Israel (civil family court – not the rabbinical court) awarded NIS 480,000 in tort damages to a man whose wife refused to accept a get for 20 years. Yes – the woman has to pay the man for not letting him get divorced.

    It is almost certain that Rivka Lubitch will NOT write a column about this case.

    http://www.nevo.co.il/psika_word/mishpaha/SM-10-08-23849-5.doc

  107. “I bought my kallah’s ring fully. Wouldn’t there be halakhic issues if I didn’t? ”

    Not sure what you mean by “fully,” as opposed to what? Buying it on credit? In that situation, the item is fully yours, you simply have agreed, personally, to owe someone (the jeweler, the credit card company) a sum of money. Don’t think that would prevent the kiddushim from taking effect.

  108. “It is almost certain that Rivka Lubitch will NOT write a column about this case.”

    She covered a similar case in Feb 2010: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3854366,00.html

    I seem to recall a more recent such case was covered in ynet or Ha’aretz and posted here in the last few months.

  109. This month the family court in Israel (civil family court – not the rabbinical court) awarded NIS 480,000 in tort damages to a man whose wife refused to accept a get for 20 years. Yes – the woman has to pay the man for not letting him get divorced.

    IMHO, these cases, on both the husband’s and wife’s side, are very problematic. It is a basic rule of secular law that to obligate someone for an omission, he or she has to have a duty to perform the act whose omission forms the basis for liability. So these secular courts are holding men liable for failing to grant a get, and women liable for failine to accept a get. Such rulings implicity (and sometimes explicitly) are holding that the man or woman has a duty to do so.

    Problem is, who says? On the husband’s side, absent an order of a beis din, he is under no obligation to grant a get. Seems to me that this creates a real danger of a get meuseh — if one fails to grant a get on demand, then the secular court will punish the husband for failing to do so.

    On the woman’s side, there is a cherem de Rabbenu Gershom of divorcing one’s wife against her will. Such rulings undermine the cherem — a woman who refuses (which she is within her rights to do), is now subject to monetary punishment by a secular court.

    All in all, not a positive development.

  110. Shachar Ha'amim

    Tal – I believe that the courts are aware of the get meuseh issue. some of the rulings have been issued and the judges have ackowledged the problem and still issued the ruling, notwithstanding the get meuseh issue. I believe that most of these rulings have been in cases where the beit din ordered (or at least said it was a requirement to give) a get.

    I think that the agunah organizations like to publish every one of these rulings that go against men. one article from 2010 really just makes my point. will they again publish a call about neither side withholding divorce?

  111. I dunno. I found the aguna article to be very unenlightening.

    What were the circumstances of the divorces? Were they all abuse/neglect/addiction horror stories? Did they involve infidelity?

    Who initiated the divorce? What is the religious makeup of aguna cases – does it happen more often in more black hat cases or MO areas?

    Answers to questions like this are important for a proper understanding of when and why things like this happen.

  112. Please read http://muqata.blogspot.com/2011/10/israels-total-failure-schijveschuurder.html and then post a link to it. Heartrending but necessary to know. Thanks.

  113. Good to see that ZD Romm is not technologically obsolete.

  114. “IMHO, these cases, on both the husband’s and wife’s side, are very problematic.”

    I agree they’re problematic; that is, it’s problematic (a) that there are people in our community who, for spite ot money, ruin other people’s lives and (b) that we have not yet figured out a halachic way to solve this situation in a manner that is acceptable to the majority of the Orthodox community.

  115. IH wrote:

    “On demographics, the salient numbers are adults. 400K Orthodox adults is probably about right looking at all the national studies.

    Shomer Shabbat is a different kettle of fish, as this also includes some Conservative. It may be a minority, but the number of Conservative Jews is still large”

    Once again, reliance on statistics IMO proves nothing as to any community, MO or Charedi, its residents, and the institutions that it supports.When the national studies survey the Charedi and MO worlds in the same painstaking detail that they engage in order to expand the big tent definition of Jewish identity and continuity, then demographic studies will IMO be far more intellectually honest and worth reading than at the present. An estimate of 400,000 clearly discounts and fails to consider the very large Charedi and MO communities in the US. I would challenge the notion that there is even a sizeable number of Conservative Jews in the US who can Halachically , in the normative sense of that term, be viewed as Shomrei Shabbos.

  116. The article on Agunos ignored two salient points-that the RCA PNA is now used throughout the MO world, and that a Get cannot be granted retroactively and without a husband’s free will. Unfortunately, the notion that Poskim should do more than a PNA ignores the fact that a PNA cannot be entered into after Chupah vKiddushin, but rather prior thereto. While there is no 100% effective solution against a husband who acts in such a manne, the parents of any young woman who is in the Parsha can simply inform the young couple “no tickee-no washee”-IOW-there won’t be a Chasunah without a PNA.

  117. I’ve never heard of anyone doing a PNA in the UK, at least from RWMO and rightwards. Has the PNA gained any traction to in circles to the right of YU in the US?

  118. Re the article re Kosher butchers, we shopped at Costco a few times, and found that for bulk items, it was OK. However, if anyone ever has shopped in KGH recently, especially before the Yamim Noraim and any YT, all three of the major stores were pretty crowded. IMO, the predicted demise of the stores in KGH is not born out by the facts on the ground.

  119. J wrote:

    “I’ve never heard of anyone doing a PNA in the UK, at least from RWMO and rightwards. Has the PNA gained any traction to in circles to the right of YU in the US”

    I can’t vouch for the UK, but I am aware that the Charedi world in the US hasn’t embraced the PNA. Again, the best advice that I can offer anyone in the US is don’t pay for a chasunah without a signed PNA.

  120. Does the charedi world in the US now have more cases of Agunos than the MO one?

  121. With the speaking engagements over the next few days by CR Jonathan Sacks — and our recent discussions on liturgy — I was reminded of his talk with Leon Wieseltier at Jewish Book Week 2007 about the new (at the time) Siddur.

    It ia available online at: http://www.jewishbookweek.com/2007/270207f.php

  122. Shalom Rosenfeld

    IIRC from a Rabbi Breitowitz lecture, what the U.K. has is an equivalent to NY’s original Get law (the one okayed by RM”F; which Maryland tried for a few years ago but didn’t pass). Before being granted a civil divorce, the parties have to sign a sworn (affirmed) affidavit that they have removed “all moral, ethical, religious obstacles” from the other side getting remarried.

    I don’t know how exactly that works over there.

  123. “Does the charedi world in the US now have more cases of Agunos than the MO one?”

    That’s what I want to know, among other things. I remember reading an article (I think it was in Tzohar), where the author interviewed the senior administrators of Batei Din in Israel. They claimed that the average sarvan get tended to be black hat, or at least frummer than most.

  124. “the parents of any young woman who is in the Parsha can simply inform the young couple “no tickee-no washee”-IOW-there won’t be a Chasunah without a PNA.”

    That would work better if all the YU RY would help. Yet I’ve heard too many stories where YU RY not only don’t insist on a PNA but, when asked, will not get involved in encouraging the couple to use one.

    So to the question “Has the PNA gained any traction to in circles to the right of YU in the US?”, the sad truth is that even in YU it has not gained the traction it should.

    I’m a big supporter of the PNA. But anyone who thinks that it has solved the agunah problem is living in a dream world.

  125. abba's rantings

    “I’m a big supporter of the PNA. But anyone who thinks that it has solved the agunah problem is living in a dream world.”

    i’ve asked this before and have yet to receive a real response: is there any evidence the PNA has helped? are there cases of the PNA being invoked (and more over working its way through the courts)? can anyone even state anectodally whether the threat of invoking the PNA convinved the husband to give the get?

    so JK asks if it has solved the problem. can anyone state that it has helped even a teeny bit toward solving the problem, forget about solving it out right?

  126. Well, it’s relieved the conscience of RCA Rabbis who can now feel like they’ve done something to heal this festering sore. That’s something, right!

  127. “can anyone even state anectodally whether the threat of invoking the PNA convinved the husband to give the get?

    so JK asks if it has solved the problem. can anyone state that it has helped even a teeny bit toward solving the problem, forget about solving it out right?”

    It’s still relatively new. But the anecdotal evidence so far is that the Beth Din of america has not seen an agunah case yet of a couple with a PNA. Others in the field (i.e., R. Howard Jachter) say the same is true in their experience. Is that “evidence”? Nope; just anecdotal. But enough for rabbis and others to push its use as we await further data. And enough to say that it’s ore than simply a conscience reliever.

    But AIWAC and IH, I’m on your side. I didn’t “ask if it has solved the problem.” I know the answer to that question: No! And I know the answer to two other questions: Does a full halachic solution need to be found? Yes. Have the halachic authorities done enough to solve this problem? No.

  128. abba's rantings

    JK:

    “But the anecdotal evidence so far is that the Beth Din of america has not seen an agunah case yet of a couple with a PNA. Others in the field (i.e., R. Howard Jachter) say the same is true in their experience. Is that “evidence”? Nope; just aneccdotal”

    it’s not even anectodally relevant. i was expecting this answer, but from someone else here. as if to say that the existence of PVA in these cases you refer to from RCA and R. Jachter is what stopped the spiral toward agunah status. but we have no idea if this is the case. has all this might say is that no potential agunah cases have come up in which the couple had a pre-nup, and that no couples with prenups have become agunah cases. (unless there are numbers that show statistically that there has been a signifigant decrease in agunah cases over the same period that PNA became popular?)

    what i am curious to hear, and i would take anectodal stories from anon commenters, of knowledge of cases that were headed towarded agunah status but the threat of invoking the PVA was made and agunah status averted.

  129. abba's rantings

    i guess it’s a good thing there have been no test cases. but a positive test case would give it teeth and perhaps popularity. i’m not sure what’s better

  130. “400K Orthodox adults ”

    If one defines Orthodox anyway close to most people in the blog do and adult anywhere close to 18/21 one does not come close to that figure. Check the amount of esrogim imported into the US as an interesting check.

  131. “An estimate of 400,000 clearly discounts and fails to consider the very large Charedi and MO communities in the US”

    It was about a decade ago that I readthat there were 170000 esrogim imported into the US-on my back of the envelope estimeates that would be consistent with about 400K Orthodox Jews. Does anyone have figures of how many esrogim were imported into theUS recently.

  132. Abba: I don’t disagree, in general, with your analysis. I think the lack of PNA/agunah cases is anecdotally interesting but certainly no proof. The reason it’s relevant is that, I have been told, what has happened in some of those cases is not the legal invocation of the PNA but the moral invocation; that is, a strong reminder to a potential recalcitrants that there was an agreement at the beginning of the marriage not to take such action and that that was a factor in ensuring that igun did not occur. OTOH, there is probably much self selection going on; that is, people who decide to sign the (non-required) PNA are not the type to refuse to give/receive a get. But it’s still relatively early for real data.

    Again, I emphasize that I’m basically on your side (I think); PNA isn’t close to being a halachic solution and a solution is desperately needed. (That is your side, isn’t it?) But I nonetheless strongly support PNAs for the above reasons since doing so while supporting finding a real solution are not mutually exclusive.

  133. GIL:

    from the forward article on gender separation:

    “But in New Square, N.Y., a Hasidic enclave upstate, similar signs remain posted, and residents walk streets strictly divided by gender, with women on one side and men on the other. Local women are also not allowed to drive, though this restriction stems from their deference to rabbinic decree and communal pressure rather than from injunctions promoted via public means.”

    if this is accurate, do you think they fall outside the pale of orthodoxy?

    the link to wall street protests and kosher restaraunts is wrong

  134. Mycroft — The statistic would be interesting, but a caveat is that Arba Minim are popular among non-Orthodox as well.

  135. Joseph,

    I think what we need more than anything is a detailed, multi-year study of cases of agunot, so we can build profiles and understand what are factors (psychological, economic and otherwise) which encourage or prevent sarvanut get.

    I think the place to start would davka be a study of the make-up of the husbands, followed by the circumstances of the divorce &c. Once we know what kind of people we are (generally) dealing with, we’ll know how to proceed.

  136. AIWAC:

    where would you get such data from?

  137. aiwac — the Rabbinical establishment in the US is not willing to be transparent about far less controversial issues, how do you propose to get them to cooperate with objective statisticians to segment the data they hold?

    Perhaps this can start in Israel with the Rabbanut, which after all has the delegated authority of the State in regard to marriage and divorce?

  138. Abba — the batei din, no?

  139. IH,

    “Perhaps this can start in Israel with the Rabbanut, which after all has the delegated authority of the State in regard to marriage and divorce?”

    My thoughts exactly – they’re a public institution, so it should be possible to collect data (with all the usual safeguards about confidentiality, privacy &c).

    “the Rabbinical establishment in the US is not willing to be transparent about far less controversial issues, how do you propose to get them to cooperate with objective statisticians to segment the data they hold?”

    Not sure. There are a number of less preferred ways, such as anonymous interviews with to’anim, dayanim or their secretaries, as well as “deep interviews” with select sarvanim if they agree. It would not be as accurate as a broad study, but it would at least give us some kind of picture.

  140. Abba: I don’t disagree, in general, with your analysis. I think the lack of PNA/agunah cases is anecdotally interesting but certainly no proof.

    The other interesting question is whether practices or procedures of specific beit dins promote the withholding of a get directly or (more likely) indirectly.

  141. “IH on October 28, 2011 at 9:46 am
    Mycroft — The statistic would be interesting, but a caveat is that Arba Minim are popular among non-Orthodox as well”

    It may be used by some non-Orthodox but today for better or worse essentially every Orthodox male over 13 purchases arba minim for Succot-there is limited US production-some waste eg not sold-but it would be a check to approximate Orthodox Jewish population. I wrote about the 170000 esrogim imported into the US in another blog a few years ago-I don’t know figures today-back then I extrapolated to around a little over 400k Orthodox Jews in US. It was consistent with population studies. I discussed my methodology with a leading person in the field and he agreed with it as a nice crude check on approximate numbers etc. BTW in general contra some bloggers I in general terms agree with the population estimates-if I recall correctly Charlie Hall wrote once that he checked the tapes of the population estimates with the Riverdale population and schul memeberships and if anything the population estimates were marginally higher than he would have counted-butsomeone who knows CharlieHall get him and please get him to confirm or deny my7 general recollection of what he did.

  142. “Sons and daughters of any future UK monarch will have equal right to the throne, after Commonwealth leaders agreed to change succession laws.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15492607

  143. At least 3,000 etrogs a year are domestically produced and would not show up on import records. Of course that does not materially change the numbers.

    http://www.tabletmag.com/life-and-religion/80571/etrog-man/

  144. Joseph Kaplan-I know of no RIETS RY who has refused to encourage the use of a PNA. I can tell you that I was told when I asked a RIETS RY about potential shidduchim with anyone who refused to sign the same, that such an atiitude would and should be grounds for not accepting such a shidduch. I also don’t think that there is a total solution for two reasons-There are some nasty people out there who won’t give a get for a variety of reasons and because there is a Gzeras HaKasuv that the get be given from the husband’s free will-which the PNA does not obviate, but which radical suggestions like Hafkaas Kiddushin Lmafrea implicate Get Mesuah and possible Mamzerus in the case of remarriage, etc. One cannnot devise a PNA for a couple that have been married for years and then realize that a get would be the best way for dealing with their insolvable emotional and other issues.

  145. FWIW, I thought that the article in the YU Beacon was superb. I have posted on Beyond BT about a similar issue-how the MO and Charedi worlds can learn from each other.

  146. I’ve heard of MO rabbis against the current PNA agreement because it is one-sided (e.g. there are no penalties if the woman refuses to go to beit din) but I have not heard of any MO rabbi against the concept behind it.

  147. “HAGTBG on October 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm
    At least 3,000 etrogs a year are domestically produced and would not show up on import records. Of course that does not materially change the numbers”

    I knew that-I wrote “there is limited US production”

  148. “Joseph Kaplan-I know of no RIETS RY who has refused to encourage the use of a PNA.”

    The issue isn’t whether you know of any; the issue is whether they exist. I have heard a rabbi tell his congregation from the pulpit that he was at a wedding where such an incident occurred. And I have heard similar stories from others. So I tend to believe him and those who have given me first hand reports. That doesn’t mean that you are incorrect; it only means that you don’t know the position of ALL the RIETS RY.

  149. Interesting about that restaurant. I would have naively assumed that having a bunch of hungry protestors hanging just outside would be a boon for business. Guess they aren’t interested in a kosher meal.

  150. Tal: I merely meant that, in response to the question, no one subsidized the ring purchase. Credit cards are a problem, but not if the payment is made (as mine was) before the wedding, in which case the only problem would be what is “value” in today’s age- electronic payments, fiat cash, etc.

    There’s no problem of a get meuseh if a Jewish court is doing it. Hence, none here.

    The version of the prenup we signed- the Israeli version, which is based on the RCA one- mirrors all the requirements for men and women (with some slight differences taking into account who gives the get). Hence, women are liable under it for not accepting one. We were married by R’ Rakeffet, who was very encouraging and even agreed to mention it under the chuppa, and had me hand it over then along with the ketubah.

  151. NYT Review of the Israel Antiquities Authority/ Discovery exhibit of “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times” in Times Square:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/arts/design/the-dead-sea-scrolls-at-discovery-times-square-review.html

  152. “Steve Brizel on October 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm
    FWIW, I thought that the article in the YU Beacon was superb. I have posted on Beyond BT about a similar issue-how the MO and Charedi worlds can learn from each other”
    I liked the article too-but Steve do you agree with the writer on the percentage of Chabad that are Messianists?

  153. Re Segregation of the Sexes-The Rav except for Beis Haknesses was completely opposite see eg his comment when coming to a wedding with his wife and there was going to be separate seating state3d we have mixed standing I sit with my wife and left. The Rav was in favor of mixed classes for Gemarrah see eg Maimonidies School. There were females who at times attended and were invited to his Boston area gemarrah classes.

  154. The YU Beacon article asserts: “many members of the Modern Orthodox community are ba’alei teshuvah” (6th para).

    “Many” seems like a vast overreach to me.

  155. On Chabad messianists, there is a geographical divide (e.g. Israeli Chabad is significantly more messianist than North American Chabad). Is there also a generational divide, meaning are the younger US Chabad more messianist than the generation that knew the Rebbe as a live person?

  156. For precision, I think “meshichist” is more of the issue. All Chabad is messianist — the issue is those who think RMMS is Mashiach.

  157. There’s no problem of a get meuseh if a Jewish court is doing it. Hence, none here

    We are talking about secular Israeli courts. AFAIK, there is still a problem of get meuseh. I am not aware of a single poseik who holds otherwise — especially where the Court does not follow dinei ha Torah.

  158. I am surprised that there has not been a single link on this blog to the Petirah of Rebbitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha. The articles in this week’s Mishpacha, and Yated are must reading for anyone interested in a person who very well may have been the Tzadekes HaDor.

  159. Steve — nor do I recall one for R. Amos Bunim (http://blogs.yu.edu/news/2011/05/23/remembering-amos-bunim/) but, I don’t recall your highlighting that ommission.

  160. ““HAGTBG on October 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm
    At least 3,000 etrogs a year are domestically produced and would not show up on import records. Of course that does not materially change the numbers”

    I am certainly dealing with materiality of numbers as to number of Orthodox Jews-there certainly has been exaggeration by many I believe Marvin Schick in the past year or so has referred to Boro park where figures of Orthodox JEws are often greater than the whole population of the census track that includes Boro Park.

  161. “IH on October 29, 2011 at 10:39 pm
    The YU Beacon article asserts: “many members of the Modern Orthodox community are ba’alei teshuvah” (6th para).

    “Many” seems like a vast overreach to me.”

    There are certainly many-but sadly my impression is that we lose far more by those leaving Orthodoxy than we gain by BTs.

  162. “Steve Brizel on October 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm
    I am surprised that there has not been a single link on this blog to the Petirah of Rebbitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha. The articles in this week’s Mishpacha, and Yated are must reading for anyone interested in a person who very well may have been the Tzadekes HaDor”

    Why I know she was niftar-I know that she was involved in good works but many women were involved in good works of course the obvious difference is yichus for Mishpacha and Yated readers that that she was as
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148765
    states

    “Rebbetzin Bat-Sheva Kanievsky was the wife of Rav Haim Kanievsky and the daughter of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, known as “the greatest posek,” or halakhic decisor”
    BTW in that item I didn’t see anything about her own actions-the relevance was her father and husband.

  163. “We are talking about secular Israeli courts. AFAIK, there is still a problem of get meuseh. I am not aware of a single poseik who holds otherwise — especially where the Court does not follow dinei ha Torah.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the fact that they’re Jews *does* matter. Various non-halakhic kings of Israel (Herods, Hasmoneans, Nesi’im, Northern Kingdom) had halakhic status because of their position, for example.

    In any event, the court has no power to force a get- they’re fining him or her on ostensible other grounds. And, of course, the final issuers of the get *will* be a beit din, and both of those facts make a difference.

  164. Mycroft — I am interested in further thoughts on “many” and attrition. In my attempt at brevity, I did not fully communicate what I thought was the overreach.

    The full paragraph to which I was reacting is:

    “Why is it that the Modern Orthodox community does not make kiruv efforts as Chabad does? I think the primary two reasons are that many members of the Modern Orthodox community are ba’alei teshuvah and therefore do not want to create any feelings of resentment or impressions of missionizing amongst family members, and that Modern Orthodox Jews do not feel the same sense of urgency toward having all Jews become shomrei mitzvot in the way Chabadniks do; we do not have a messianic drive or motivation (as will be discussed soon), and therefore there is little concern to “save the souls,” if you will, of our fellow Jews. Instead, we generally respect the decisions, however disagreeable they might be, of other Jews.”

    The implication (to my reading) is that the MO BT population is significant enough to change MO’s sociological behavior. This doesn’t ring true to me from my vantage point. Thoughts?

  165. “The implication (to my reading) is that the MO BT population is significant enough to change MO’s sociological behavior. This doesn’t ring true to me from my vantage point. ”

    In general I agree with IH-although there are many fine BTs-the numbers really would not change the overall sociological behavior.

    ” that Modern Orthodox Jews do not feel the same sense of urgency toward having all Jews become shomrei mitzvot in the way Chabadniks do;”

    for both ideological reasons Jewsih mitzvot per Chabad bing Messiah-but also from pragmatic reasons Chabad needs people to support all their increasing numbers of shluchim-remember each one has to raise their own money they have an interest in attracting people to the local Chabad House.

  166. Shachar Ha'amim

    I don’t get the people in the Haaretz article who advocate private marriage ceremonies. Let’s be honest – their biggest gripe against the rabbanut is that it is too charedi. 99 out of 100 of these religious zionist people really had nothing bad to say for the first 50 years of the State when the Rabbanut was controlled by the Mizrachi. No one then even dreamed of creating “alternate” batei din or having private ceremonies. Now, that the Haredim have infiltrated the rabbanut during the last 15 years – all of a sudden, things are terrible!?!? and for that they go to the badatz of the eidah charedit!?!?!
    regarding their silly comments that if they get divorced they will arrange a private get – that is utter rubbish. 99 out 100 of these case that end in divorce will end up in family court and/or the state rabbinical court – simply for the reason that they have jurisdiction over the issues surrounding divorce. the state rabbinical court has absolute sole jusridiction over marriage and divorces of Jews in israel – even those married “privately” or “civilly” (abroad). This jursidiction is material and can’t be contracted around. So even if there is a wonderful pre-nuptial agreement requiring a mediator or an arbitrator or that the couple agree to submit their get to the beis din of yehupitz, the jurisdictional clause has no contractual validity in the State of Israel and will simply be ignored by the state rabbinical court. period.

  167. Mycroft wrote:

    “Why I know she was niftar-I know that she was involved in good works but many women were involved in good works of course the obvious difference is yichus for Mishpacha and Yated readers that that she was as
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148765
    states

    “Rebbetzin Bat-Sheva Kanievsky was the wife of Rav Haim Kanievsky and the daughter of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, known as “the greatest posek,” or halakhic decisor”
    BTW in that item I didn’t see anything about her own actions-the relevance was her father and husband”

    WADR, read Mishpacha and Yated, Rebbitzen Kaniebvsky ZIcronah Livracha was considered an Ishah Chashuvah in her own right with respect to her own Avodas HaShem and the Tzadekes HaDor. Pointing out her Yichus is irrelevant. IMO, your post bordered on Zilzul Horim.

  168. IH quoted the following passage:

    ““Why is it that the Modern Orthodox community does not make kiruv efforts as Chabad does? I think the primary two reasons are that many members of the Modern Orthodox community are ba’alei teshuvah and therefore do not want to create any feelings of resentment or impressions of missionizing amongst family members, and that Modern Orthodox Jews do not feel the same sense of urgency toward having all Jews become shomrei mitzvot in the way Chabadniks do; we do not have a messianic drive or motivation (as will be discussed soon), and therefore there is little concern to “save the souls,” if you will, of our fellow Jews. Instead, we generally respect the decisions, however disagreeable they might be, of other Jews”

    I thought that the pverall theme of the article was that the MO world lacked the Azus and Chutzpah D Kedusha, to paraphrase a Chasidish expresssion or the willingness to proudly feel Vayigba Libo Brarchei HaShem ( Divrei Hayim 2:17) that one finds in Chabad of asking unafilliated Jews to experience the simcha of fulfilling Mitzvos. For more on this issue, see RAL’s essays on MO in By His Light 220-252, and Leaves of Faith, 309-331. One need not agree with Chabad’s messianism, which IMO, is part and parcel of its hashkafa, to admire Chabad as a portal for Jews seeking to explore Torah and Mitzos in a non threatening manner.

  169. “Steve Brizel on October 30, 2011 at 11:47 am
    Mycroft wrote:

    “Why I know she was niftar-I know that she was involved in good works but many women were involved in good works of course the obvious difference is yichus for Mishpacha and Yated readers that that she was as
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148765
    states

    “Rebbetzin Bat-Sheva Kanievsky was the wife of Rav Haim Kanievsky and the daughter of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, known as “the greatest posek,” or halakhic decisor”
    BTW in that item I didn’t see anything about her own actions-the relevance was her father and husband”

    WADR, read Mishpacha and Yated, Rebbitzen Kaniebvsky ZIcronah Livracha was considered an Ishah Chashuvah in her own right with respect to her own Avodas HaShem and the Tzadekes HaDor. Pointing out her Yichus is irrelevant

    After reading your piece I googled Rebbetizen Kanievsky and the only non Chareidi source that I found in the first 2 pages that was not a chareidi source was apparetnly from Arutz 7
    and here is the entire article

    Free Daily Israel Report

    Rebbetzin Kanievsky Passes Away
    Rebbetzin Bat-Sheva Kanievsky was the wife of Rav Haim Kanievsky and the daughter of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.
    By Gil Ronen
    First Publish: 10/15/2011, 6:36 PM

    Rebbetzin Bat-Sheva Kanievsky died in the early afternoon on Shabbat, in her home in Bnei Berak. She suffered a heart attack.

    Magen David Adom emergency crews arrived and attempted to resuscitate her, but to no avail.

    Rebbetzin Bat-Sheva Kanievsky was the wife of Rav Haim Kanievsky and the daughter of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, known as “the greatest posek,” or halakhic decisor.

    The rebbetzin’s funeral will depart the Lederman Synagogue in Bnei Berak Saturday night at 10:00 p.m.

    The video below shows a visit to Rav and Rebbetzin Kanievsky earlier this year, by disabled Chai Lifeline children and youths.

    Nothing that indicated anything extra about her other than Yichus.Acharei mot kedoshim emor-but for better or worse Hirhurim does not deal in obituaries-sadly many nice people are niftar all the time. Your referring her to ” the Tzadekes HaDor” may or may not bet rue none of us are bochen klyaot valev but using such an expression about one person automatically disparages other people.
    Describe and copy what she did and we’ll all have a better idea about a person who was both the daughter and husband of talmeidei chachamim. In general I avoid commenting on the character of people it is not hirhurims palce we discuss IMHO ideas and policies.

    Yated and Mishpacha are not the place to get accurate descriptions about anyone after they are niftar-in fact that is not the time to properly evaluate anyone. Hespedim need not be emes-thus some who put in their zavah for after 120 no hespedim want at least emes on the way to the olam haemet.

  170. “99 out of 100 of these religious zionist people really had nothing bad to say for the first 50 years of the State when the Rabbanut was controlled by the Mizrachi.”

    Uh…Shachar, may I remind you that there were some pretty ugly politics involved in the election of the Chief Rabbis from the death of Rav Kook onward, but especially in the 70s and 80s. Passive support? Maybe. Nothing bad to say? Not on your life.

  171. aiwac on October 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    “99 out of 100 of these religious zionist people really “had “nothing bad to say for the first 50 years of the State when the Rabbanut was controlled by the Mizrachi.”

    Uh…Shachar, may I remind you that there were some pretty ugly politics involved in the election of the Chief Rabbis from the death of Rav Kook onward, but especially in the 70s and 80s. Passive support? Maybe. Nothing bad to say? Not on your life”

    There were those opposedto theIsraeli CR -I remember for starters RAL at a Yavneh convention in the late 60s referringto the Rabbanit Harashit as a circus. There were others who also although MO did not believe in a governmental CR.

  172. mycroft,

    “There were others who also although MO did not believe in a governmental CR.”

    People outside the Yeshayahu Leibowitz fan club? That’s interesting.

  173. Anyone else find Arthur Green’s outrage at the “travesty” of the Kabbalah Centre ironic?

  174. Steve — on your list regarding Chabad and MO, you missed a key one. Chabad has the Ahavat Yisrael to accept every Jew for who they are and not make demands on them, or judge them, while they get them to perform one mitzva irrespective of whether they commit to do any more. It is an approach driven by their messianism to be sure, but also explains their popularity among non-halachic Jews.

  175. Mycroft-WADR, why not rely on first hand articles in the Charedi media about Rebbitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha about her Tzidkus, especially since there were no hespedim at her levaya due to her Petirah during Shabbos Chol HaMoed?-or better yet, ask anyone in your community who happended to meet her? More importantly, your thesis implies incorrectly that we are not allowed to rely on posthumopus views and memories of great Torah personalities, when, in fact, we have many seforim that precisely provide such details.

    In all seriousness, I believe that your posts in this thread are marked by a refusal to even considering the fact that Rebbitzen Kanivesky Zicronah Livracha was viewed in her lifetime in her community as a person to who many flocked to for advice, brachos, and to watch as a devoted daughter, wifre, mother and granddaughter, and the like and who was considered an Isha Chashuvah and Tzadekes-terms that are used for those who are deserving of the same.

  176. IH wrote:

    “Steve — on your list regarding Chabad and MO, you missed a key one. Chabad has the Ahavat Yisrael to accept every Jew for who they are and not make demands on them, or judge them, while they get them to perform one mitzva irrespective of whether they commit to do any more. It is an approach driven by their messianism to be sure, but also explains their popularity among non-halachic Jews”

    Actually, Rambam in Perush HaMishnah at the end of Makkos emphasizes that every Jew can find one mitzvah which is their niche in Avodas HaShem. Is that messianist?

    With respect to Tefilin, the Talmud has very strong language about a Jew who never put on Tefilin in his life. Presumably, the emphasis on Arbah Minim is based on the famous Medrash that portrays Arbah Minim as a Mitzvah encompassing all kinds of Jews. What is so messianist about a Jew who puts on Tefilin or picks up Arbah Minim once in his life? Perhaps, such a person will be inspired to become a Shomer Torah Umitzos or at least begin exploring Judaism. Such a person would be emulating Franz Rosensweig who walked away from a church when he stopped by a shtiebel.

  177. Mycroft wrote:

    “There are certainly many-but sadly my impression is that we lose far more by those leaving Orthodoxy than we gain by BTs”

    Proof and depth of one’s personal exposure to either BTs or communities with a large number of BTs please?

  178. As the parent of NCSY and the organization representing MO Synagogues, can the OU provide some statistics, Steve?

  179. “Shachar, may I remind you that there were some pretty ugly politics involved in the election of the Chief Rabbis from ”

    The CR and the jobs it controls is worth money so of course there has been and will be politics involved in the selection of a CR in any country that has one. BTW-in the vast majority of countries the CR is not the religious leader of most frum people of the country.

  180. Steve Brizel on October 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm
    “Mycroft wrote:

    “There are certainly many-but sadly my impression is that we lose far more by those leaving Orthodoxy than we gain by BTs”

    Proof and depth of one’s personal exposure to either BTs or communities with a large number of BTs please”

    Steve: You supply no proof for your assertions-but I’ll answer I remember Barry Kosmin speaking about I believe the 1990 Jewish census and only about 1% or so of the American Jewish population are more traditional than their parents.

    “IH on October 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm
    As the parent of NCSY and the organization representing MO Synagogues, can the OU provide some statistics, Steve”
    The OU doesn’t only reprsent modern schuls it represents all Orthodox schuls. The OU has had many non MO paid employees-probably the majority are not MO and certainly many paid leaders have had their guides non MO guides .

  181. See the following chart
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/10/30/opinion/30editorial-grx1.html?ref=sunday

    for a simple proof thatthe vast majority of Americans do not even earns in the ballpart of what it takes to live as MO.

  182. “Steve Brizel on October 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm
    Mycroft-WADR, why not rely on first hand articles in the Charedi media about Rebbitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha about her Tzidkus, especially since there were no hespedim at her levaya due to her Petirah during Shabbos Chol HaMoed?-or better yet, ask anyone in your community who happended to meet her? More importantly, your thesis implies incorrectly that we are not allowed to rely on posthumopus views and memories of great Torah personalities, when, in fact, we have many seforim that precisely provide such details.

    In all seriousness, I believe that your posts in this thread are marked by a refusal to even considering the fact that Rebbitzen Kanivesky Zicronah Livracha was viewed in her lifetime in her community as a person to who many flocked to for advice, brachos, and to watch as a devoted daughter, wifre, mother and granddaughter, and the like and who was considered an Isha Chashuvah and Tzadekes-terms that are used for those who are deserving of the same”

    If you had not referred to her as “Tzadekes HaDor” I would not have bothered to comment-such words are not appropriate about anyone or similarly referring to person X gadol as a zaddik. We simply don’t know who is or is not a zaddik.

  183. why not rely on first hand articles in the Charedi media

    I trust the chareidi media for accuracy less than you trust the Times or Haaretz. I sometimes read Hamodia.

  184. Over the past two years, R. Aharon Rakeffet has repeatedly discussed Rebbetzin Kanievsky as a woman who was the equivalent of a chasidic rebbe. As he often says, a woman can be a rebbe but not a rabbi — that’s his view.

  185. R Gil-That may be R Rakafet’s POV, but it was certainly not the view of those who visited Rebbitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha.

  186. Mycroft-read this link. http://www.hamodia.com/inthepaper.cfm?ArticleID=1061
    WADR to R Rakkafet, the person described herein did not comport or view herself in any way, shape or form as a Chasidic rebbe. Such a comment IMO by R Rakkafet strikes me as bordering on Charedi bashing,.

  187. Mycroft wrote;

    “Steve: You supply no proof for your assertions-but I’ll answer I remember Barry Kosmin speaking about I believe the 1990 Jewish census and only about 1% or so of the American Jewish population are more traditional than their parents”

    As I wrote in more than one response to IH, statistics are misleading and rarely, if ever, have provided an accurate portrayal of either the MO or Charedi communities in the US.

  188. Steve,
    You _do_ realize, don’t you, that Gil was citing R. Rakeffet essentially to support what you were saying about Rebitzen Kanievsy?

  189. Steve — complaining without offering better data is meaningless. If you have statistics that you believe are more accurate, let us see them. Let’s start with trended statistics for OU dues-paying individual members and OU dues-paying synagogue members.

  190. MDJ-describing Rebitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha, who was not exactly descended from Chasidishe Yichus, as the equivalent of a Chasidishe rebbe, IMO, is not exactly a respectful POV, especially in terms of her Avodas HaShem , apart and above from her being R Aryeh Levin ZL’s granddaughter, RYSA’s daughter, and R Chaim Kanievsky’s devoted wife, as well as a mother, granddaughter and friend. I would suggest that there is no probably no shortage of men, their spouses, sons and daughters, who visited Rebbitzen Kanievsky ,Zicronah Livracha, and whose POVs are far more positive than R Rakkafet, in terms of why they went, what they saw, the brachos, eitzos and inspiration that they received.

  191. Steve: People stood on line to get berachos from her.

  192. IH wrote:

    “Steve — complaining without offering better data is meaningless. If you have statistics that you believe are more accurate, let us see them. Let’s start with trended statistics for OU dues-paying individual members and OU dues-paying synagogue members”

    Who is complaining? I merely commented that demographics have been used to minimize the role of the Charedi and MO worlds,without any real effort on investigating who lives there, the institutions therein and the priorities of the people who live therein. The studies that you linked to, either were displays of tokenism( Chicago) or utterly ignored large MO and Charedi communities ( the Park Heighhts and Greenspring sections of Baltimore).

  193. R Gil wrote:

    “Steve : People stood on line to get berachos from her”

    Yes-because she was perceived to be a Tzadekes in the way she comported herself as a role model as a wife of a Talmid Chacham, and her own Hanhagos as an Isha Chashuvah UTznuah-not because she was a Chasidishe rebbe. How many women do you know who daven Shacharis Vasikin, Mincha and Maariv in shul, get up in the middle of the night to recite Perek Shirah and sections from the writings of the CC,give Bar and Bas Mitzvah presents to kids she barely knew despite not exactly living in a life of luxury and who thought about everything she wrote before she committed it to writing?

  194. “demographics have been used to minimize the role of the Charedi and MO worlds”

    Do you have any evidence or contradictory statistics?

    If the narrative is as you say then the OU should be leading the charge with their own trended membership statistics. Where can we see these?

  195. IH wrote:

    “Do you have any evidence or contradictory statistics”

    We have been through this previously-statistics are irrelevant and misleading with respect to the facts on the ground. The surveys that you referred to were examples of tokenism ( Chicago), and studious neglect of MO and Charedi areas ( Baltimore). Apart from the works of Heilman and Helmreich, I haven’t seen any studies of any MO or Charedi communities as communities in their own right.

  196. Steve — these are orthogonal issues. Demographic data from random telephone sampling captures all communities.

    For detailed studies of MO or Charedi communities, there is nothing stopping the OU, Agudah etc. from commissioning such studies.

    If your triumphalist narrative is right, these organizations at a minimim should be chomping at the bit to share with us trended membership data. Where can we find this?

  197. “The “evil urge” is a pretty slippery character, especially when big money becomes involved. ”

    Agree with Rabbi Arthur Green.

  198. “We have been through this previously-statistics are irrelevant and misleading with respect to the facts on the ground.”

    Facts on the ground are often in the eyes of the beholder. Statistics are not irrelevant-challenge the statistiscal methodology used etc but they are relevant.

  199. IH-Helmreich and Heilman’s studies were not commissioned by any Orthodox institution. The world waits for the Gdolim of Jewish demography to spend as much time on the MO and Charedi worlds which are hardly defined by the criteria of of paid up membership, as they do expanding the big tent definition of Jewish continuity beyond any logical ddefinition.

  200. IH-AFAIK, the OU has never gone begging hat in hand for communal funds. It raises its own funds,conducts its own programs, speaks out on public issues, and participates in communal bodies and endeavors that do not implicate issues of theological pluralism. Those facts are wholly irrelevant to the methdodology used in the demographic world, which, at least, in the two links that you provided , either engages in tokenism, or pretends to provide information about an area, while neglecting a very sizeable MO and Charedi community.

    Demography cannot measure, and IMO, is a singularly inappropriate methodology for measuring the number of shuls, shteiblach, attendees at shiurim, yeshivos, girls schools, summer camps, students in programs in Israel during the gap years, kollelim, kosher restaurants, the availability of kosher food, eruvim, mikvaos, and Judaica published in Lashon HaKodesh and English.

  201. Steve — Until and unless the OU and/or Agudah et al. provide data to the contrary, there is no reason to disbelieve that Orthodoxy is no more than 10% of the American Jewish demographic. Dream on…

  202. Why doesn’t the OU publish its due-paying individual membership and dues-paying synagogue members in decade increments?

    Given the success you claim, one would expect a nice increase from 1990 to 2000 to 2010. Where can we find this?

  203. Look, we’ve both been around the block enough times to know that if the story were good, it would be promoted for fund-raising. The lack of transparency is a good indicator that the facts do not support the rhetoric. I would be very happy to be proven wrong.

  204. i ONCE ASKED A rABBI OF MINE WHO I RESPECTED-CHAREIDI GATESHEAD MUSMACH-IF HE HAD EVER HEARD OF RABBI ARTHUR GREEN?His answer yes-and he is the leading scholar of Hassidism. He told me that he believes he had read all of R Greens books-he stated he was not as sure as when he read the books versus when he learnt the various mesachtot that he had a tYeshiv.

  205. “Steve Brizel on October 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm
    IH-AFAIK, the OU has never gone begging hat in hand for communal funds. It raises its own funds,”
    What is the difference-I not the biggest fan of the OU have still paid memebership dues and they do solicit for some of their activities.

    “Demography cannot measure, and IMO, is a singularly inappropriate methodology for measuring the number of shuls, shteiblach, attendees at shiurim, yeshivos, girls schools, summer camps, students in programs in Israel during the gap years, kollelim, kosher restaurants, the availability of kosher food, eruvim, mikvaos, and Judaica published in Lashon HaKodesh and English.”

    Why can’t demographic studies measure such info-do you have a better suggestion as to the methods that one could objectively measure the numbers of people partaking in various activities?

  206. the following from Prof C Waxman
    http://www.jcpa.org/cjc/cjc-waxman-f05.htm

    might be of interest to our discussion

    “For example, whereas at mid-century religious outreach was the province of the modern Orthodox, with the haredim being somewhat suspicious of ba’alei teshuva (the newly religious), by the end of the century the haredim were heavily engaged in religious outreach. Some of the frameworks include the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP), the Association for Jewish Outreach Programs (AJOP), with which hundreds of Orthodox outreach organizations are affiliated, and the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). Many of these were initially modern Orthodox but are today staffed by haredim.

    Modern Orthodoxy Turning Inward
    Ironically, the modern Orthodox who pioneered religious outreach have turned inward and, institutionally, are hardly engaged in such activity. For the most part, the modern Orthodox have become defensive and are much more likely to engage in intellectual discussions among themselves, rather than actively reaching out beyond their borders. Likewise, as Adam Ferziger has demonstrated,20 the modern Orthodox rabbinical seminaries have turned more inward and emphasize halakhic expertise, whereas the more right-wing institutions have programs that train rabbis in outreach. Even in NCSY, which is a branch of the Orthodox Union, much of the leadership has a strong haredi influence.21

    To some extent, this also reflects the modernity of the modern Orthodox. Similar to the larger American society, they are less likely to be affiliated and actively involved with communal organizations. Political scientist Robert Putnam amassed considerable data indicating that Americans are increasingly less likely to join parent-teacher associations, unions, political parties, and other social groups.22

    Although there is recent evidence of modern Orthodox strength and institution building, it still appears that the focus is on intellectual discussion among peers rather than active involvement with the broader population of America’s Jews or the American public in general. ”

    I would just like to emphasize that C Waxman refers to the 1950s-midcentury MO religious outreach which was before the NCSY existed and certainly before its long time director who was a folllower of anon MO gadol took the helm. It was also before YU and see V Gellers book on the issue was essentially made an offer that they couldn’t refuse to get out of being the leader in outreach. Read V Gellers book on the matter. But certainly outreach predatedthe chareidi worlds dealing with it.
    Also the modern Orthodox seminaries that Adam Ferzinger refers to are not being run by MO followers. Certainly the vast majority of YU RY are not MO.

  207. Steve, you *really* owe R’ Rakeffet an apology for deciding to attack him based on your misreading of one line from Gil.

    To put things in context, what R’ Rakeffet was generally responding to when discussing Reb. Kanievsky are the ads in the weekly parsha sheets here (even the RZ ones, as most are) offering bottles of wine from her, blessed by her or her husband (it’s not clear), for (translating into American ad-speak) twelve easy payments of 54 NIS each. (And don’t forget her etrog jam, made from the etrogim of gedolim!) As R’ Rakeffet puts it, the Brisker Rav would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that the Litvaks were up to things like this.

    Mind you, R’ Rakeffet is simply stating a fact. He himself has no problem with Chassidism per se. In fact, when he refers to Reb. Kanievsky, it’s usually in a tone of awe that a woman can get so far in the Charedi world, becoming a rebbe.

    The problem with you, Steve, is that, here as elsewhere, it’s one or the other for you. Once you’ve decided that she’s a gadol, then, by gum, she is, and anyone who disagrees with you is beyond the pale. Even R’ Rakeffet- even R’ Rakeffet! Compared to whom I and Steve Brizel are…what?- gets the epithet of “charedi basher” if he differs with your view. Lovely.

  208. “For precision, I think “meshichist” is more of the issue. All Chabad is messianist — the issue is those who think RMMS is Mashiach”

    Agreed

  209. ” Rakeffet was generally responding to when discussing Reb. Kanievsky are the ads in the weekly parsha sheets here (even the RZ ones, as most are) offering bottles of wine from her, blessed by her or her husband (it’s not clear), for (translating into American ad-speak) twelve easy payments of 54 NIS each. (And don’t forget her etrog jam, made from the etrogim of gedolim!) As R’ Rakeffet puts it, the Brisker Rav would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that the Litvaks were up to things like this.”

    If true such behavior is one that is from a misnaged and IMHO normative Judaism far from normative. Not only the Brisker Rav would be rolling over in his grave-could one imagine what the Rambam would have thought about such behavior.

    “Mind you, R’ Rakeffet is simply stating a fact. He himself has no problem with Chassidism per se.”
    To the extent that any group sells wine blessed by anyone or food made by anyone at a premium it is sacreligious IMHO-thus as a grandchild of R Chaim Brisker once expressed it-if one wanted to hear grandfather say a bracha one had to give him an apple.

  210. “One need not agree with Chabad’s messianism, which IMO, is part and parcel of its hashkafa”

    Messianism is part and parcel of most hashkafot-it is theemphasisi that Chabad and certainty that one can control the coming of theMessiah which is Chabad and frankly much of Kabbalistic thought.

  211. Nachum, which “Brisker Rav” ?

  212. Nachum, also I have no idea what the esrog jelly/blessed wine bottles concept is about so I won’t comment on that until I have the facts as a matter of fact and law. But on a different mystical note do you consider the concept of r meir bal hanes charity giving for finding things a hasidic concept.

  213. I think he meant R’ Chaim.

    Maybe it is Chassidic. But having your rebbe bless you or your wine certainly is. In any event, Chassidism has long since taken over Jewry, especially the Charedi part of it. This is one small example.

  214. Nachum, in what way did R Chaim represent litvakism.

  215. Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Why can’t demographic studies measure such info-do you have a better suggestion as to the methods that one could objectively measure the numbers of people partaking in various activities”

    That’s exactly my contention-where are such studies?

  216. Mycroft has provided this link, which we have debated on more than once, and IMO reflects his own bias, and is outdated with respect to several key aspects, which I am noting for those who haven’t read this thread previously:

    “Ironically, the modern Orthodox who pioneered religious outreach have turned inward and, institutionally, are hardly engaged in such activity. For the most part, the modern Orthodox have become defensive and are much more likely to engage in intellectual discussions among themselves, rather than actively reaching out beyond their borders. Likewise, as Adam Ferziger has demonstrated,20 the modern Orthodox rabbinical seminaries have turned more inward and emphasize halakhic expertise, whereas the more right-wing institutions have programs that train rabbis in outreach. Even in NCSY, which is a branch of the Orthodox Union, much of the leadership has a strong haredi influence.21

    To some extent, this also reflects the modernity of the modern Orthodox. Similar to the larger American society, they are less likely to be affiliated and actively involved with communal organizations. Political scientist Robert Putnam amassed considerable data indicating that Americans are increasingly less likely to join parent-teacher associations, unions, political parties, and other social groups.22

    Although there is recent evidence of modern Orthodox strength and institution building, it still appears that the focus is on intellectual discussion among peers rather than active involvement with the broader population of America’s Jews or the American public in general. ”

    I would just like to emphasize that C Waxman refers to the 1950s-midcentury MO religious outreach which was before the NCSY existed and certainly before its long time director who was a folllower of anon MO gadol took the helm. It was also before YU and see V Gellers book on the issue was essentially made an offer that they couldn’t refuse to get out of being the leader in outreach. Read V Gellers book on the matter. But certainly outreach predatedthe chareidi worlds dealing with it.
    Also the modern Orthodox seminaries that Adam Ferzinger refers to are not being run by MO followers. Certainly the vast majority of YU RY are not MO”

    1)NCSY’s head is a YU grad and RIETS musmach. Most of its rabbinic faculty, and advisors are RIETS, YU and SCW students. A few, but by no means a sizeable minority of some of the regional directors are not graduates of YU, SCW and RIETS. As far as as the long time director of NCSY is concerned, when the history of 20th Century Orthodoxy is written, IMO, he will be regarded as one of the major architechts of the success of NCSY not just among its members,and alumni, but also for NCSY’s influence upon its host communities and the development of Torah observant Judaism in North America from the early 1960.

    2)V Geller’s book should be read in conjunction with Zev Eleff’s history of the development of NCSY for an objective history, especiallly with the aborted Community Service Division-NCSY joint enterprise.

    3)NCSY’s long time director helped NCSY develope as a national movement, as opposed to a yearly or biannual conclave with no follow up in between.

    4) Many MO leaders have been involved in umbrella organizations such as the Conference of Federations, etc.

    5) Please explain what you mean by saying that “the vast majority of YU RY are not MO”

    6) Professor Ferziger’s comments are correct in that MO, ideologically rejects pluralism in terms of Klapei Pnim considerations. They are IMO inacurate in their inassessment of MO based Kiruv such as NCSY, much of the work of the OU, NJOP, etc.

  217. Nachum wrote:

    “To put things in context, what R’ Rakeffet was generally responding to when discussing Reb. Kanievsky are the ads in the weekly parsha sheets here (even the RZ ones, as most are) offering bottles of wine from her, blessed by her or her husband (it’s not clear), for (translating into American ad-speak) twelve easy payments of 54 NIS each. (And don’t forget her etrog jam, made from the etrogim of gedolim!) As R’ Rakeffet puts it, the Brisker Rav would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that the Litvaks were up to things like this”

    Nachum-there is nothing wrong in being viewed on a high madregah-even the Brisker Rav ZL ( aka R Velvel), for both his , Tzidkus,Gadlus BaTorah and hiddurim acquired such a status posthumously. I find it interesting that so many of us are willing to read Seforim and learn about hanhagos, etc about many great Talmidei Chachamim from many authors who were close to the Talmid Chacham in question, but refuse or close their eyes to the same from essentially the same level and quality of sources about Rebbiten Kanievsky, Zicronah Livracha. R Rakkafet’s comment also ignores the fact that many Litvishe Talmidei Chachamim also were sought out for medical advice, etc ( RMF and RSZA are two classic cases in point).

    Just curious-did you or your kallah ever seek a Bracha from Rebbitzen Kallah?

  218. My wife is more than happy to receive brachot from me on those not-infrequent occasions when we daven together. (I’m a kohen. Technically, of course, I’m just a conduit for God.) Why should we seek brachot from a human being?

  219. “We were married by R’ Rakeffet, who was very encouraging and even agreed to mention it under the chuppa, and had me hand it over then along with the ketubah.”

    Why did you hand overthe prenup-isn’t mutual obligations unlike Ketubah which is one sided in favor of the woman.

  220. “Steve Brizel on October 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm
    Mycroft has provided this link, which we have debated on more than once, and IMO reflects his own bias, and is outdated with respect to several key aspects, which I am noting for those who haven’t read this thread previously:”

    My bias-I am not affiliated with YU-I went there decades ago but have no current connection-I have not been honored by YU and am certainly not part of any YU Boards and advisory boards.
    NCSY’s head is a YU grad and RIETS musmach.

    “Most of its rabbinic faculty, and advisors are RIETS, YU and SCW students. A few, but by no means a sizeable minority of some of the regional directors are not graduates of YU, SCW and RIETS”

    Being a RIETS musmach is far from an indication that one is MO-certainly those of the past few decades have had minimal MO hashkafa there.

    “Zev Eleff’s history of the development of NCSY for an objective history,”
    I am making no comment about Zev Eleff who i have never met but per
    http://www.ou.org/news/article/yu_student_zev_eleff_writes_history_of_ncsy_1954_1980/

    “Funding for the book came from NCSY,”

    “NCSY’s long time director helped NCSY develope as a national movement, as opposed to a yearly or biannual conclave with no follow up in between”
    YUSY-Yeshiva UNiversity Synagogue Youth had chapters in schuls before they were pushed out they had much programming between their Summer and WinterSeminars-sadly they were pushed out. There was follow up in local schuls and local Shabbatons.

    ” what you mean by saying that “the vast majority of YU RY are not MO”
    What needs explaining-you bleieve that the majority ofYU RY are MO? There are certainly some R Blau and Rabbi Weider but who else?
    Name them.

  221. Mycroft-WADR, we are both reiterating our strongly held POVs.
    At the risk of restating the obvious:

    1) your comment that NCSY’s leadership and staff are not MO almost deserves no response because it is false. Please define what you mean as “MO hashkafa” besides that a RY must have a PhD.

    2-3) Until you agree to read the Eleff work in conjunction with Geller’s memoirs, your views are decidedly incomplete and inaccurate both on the merger and the differences between NCSY and CSD.

    4)Please explain what you mean by MO, as opposed to giving us analogies.

  222. For more on Rebbitzen Kanievsky Zicronah Livracha and Yivadleinu Lchaim R Chaim Kanievsky http://ahavasisrael.org/torah/the_short_vort/2530

  223. Nachum wrote:

    “Why should we seek brachot from a human being”

    There may be very well be a human being whose ability and madregah to help you bestow a bracha may be slightly, if not vastly greater than that of t yourself, even with your status and role as a Kohen, which AFAIk, requires that you love all Jews equally, before you can even think of serving as a conduit for HaShem’s blessings.

  224. Living From Convention to Convention was published by Ktav.Mycroft wrote:

    “Funding for the book came from NCSY,”

    Proof please- other than the copyright?

  225. rE bRITISH bIG tENT AND INVITING rEFORM rABBIS TO pRO iSRAEL RALLY-What would be the position of most YURY?

  226. Steve Brizel on October 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm
    “Living From Convention to Convention was published by Ktav.Mycroft wrote:

    “Funding for the book came from NCSY,”

    Proof please- other than the copyright?”

    I am repeating my source from http://www.ou.org or is the ou not a reliable proof of their sponsoring the history

    http://www.ou.org/news/article/yu_student_zev_eleff_writes_history_of_ncsy_1954_1980/

    “Please define what you mean as “MO hashkafa” besides that a RY must have a PhD.”
    I have referred to R Yosef Blau as a YU RY who is MO-to the best of my knowledge he does not have a Phd. R H Reichman IMHO is not MO he does have a Phd. One has nothing to do with the other,

    “Until you agree to read the Eleff work” I don’t generally read books paid for by the organization being discussed.

  227. “explain what you mean by MO,”

    I have named some people who I believe fit my definition of MO-who fits your definition.

  228. “fathers teach their children the Law would cause Jews incapable of meeting the intellectual and literacy demands of their faith to abandon the community. The less intelligent would drift off to join other groups, leaving behind a more intelligent core.”
    Certainly happening today-is that something that we should be proud of? But certainly the my way or the highway gang helps perpetuate that trend.

    “The problem with this theory is that there were many periods in early Jewish history in which many Jews were simple peasants, and either did not follow Jewish law, left their worship in the hands of the priests, or developed the superstitions of folk Judaism”
    Early Hassidic movements emancipated am haaretz .

  229. “In the late 1930s and early ‘40s, there were thousands of kosher butcher shops in the New York area — in some neighborhoods one on almost every block, according to Menachem Lubinsky, CEO of Lubicom Marketing and Consulting in Brooklyn, a company devoted to the kosher market.

    “All of that is now history,” ”
    Agreed but remember the decrease in kosher butchers certainly was well underway by the 60s.

  230. “All Chabad is messianist — the issue is those who think RMMS is Mashiach.”

    Aren’t we all mzapim lishuyah

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