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R Sacks: Faith and the Future of Europe
The Origins of Discontent
Jump Shot Jews
Hidden Treasures of Cairo Genizah
Alternative religious weddings allowed to continue
‘Occupy’ New Third Rail For Jewish Mainstream
SALT Friday
Deal to Allow Tzohar Rabbis to Perform Weddings on Track
R Broyde: Modern Orthodoxy is Always at the Crossroads
Angry Birds: Spiritual Life Lessons
Jewish settlers may have arrived in 1565
Russian-American Jews are tired of being ignored
Emergency $10 Million Campaign to Save Mir-Yerushalayim
Eruv Injunction Denied; Religious Boundary Won’t Go Up Anytime Soon – Westhampton
Rabbi Helps Lead Off Occupy Protesters March From NYC to DC
The Unorthodox Chic of Jean Paul Gaultier
At Denver GA, talking about connectivity and the lack of star power
A new appreciation of the teachings of our prophets
What Can the DNA of Ashkenazi Jews Tell Us About Living Longer?
Wimpels — A Fading German Tradition
SALT Thursday
Wash Post: Lord Jonathan Sacks on Israel (video)
The Birthright Challenge
The Dead Sea Scrolls, Alive in Times Square
Mislabeled Fish Not an Issue for Kosher
Flaum’s Launches Website to Set the Record Straight
Religious Services Ministry bans alternative wedding ceremonies performed by Tzohar rabbis
In world of 7 billion, demographers struggle to ascertain the number of Jews
SALT Tuesday
The Golem of Prague and the Jewish Aversion to Fantasy
Soldiers’ Campaign: ‘Don’t Ransom Me Like Shalit’
How Y-hweh Got Its Verbal Vibe Back
EU Jews fear anti-circumcision laws
‘Pashkevilim’ offer glimpse into haredi struggle
To Be Young, Gifted, and a British Jew
Jewish Law: Nat Lewin
Camus the Jew
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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About Gil Student

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

100 comments

  1. “I called one of the [Israeli Rabbinate] rabbis who was questioning her, and asked him what exactly he wanted to know.

    ‘Oh. No problem,’ said the rabbi. ‘I want to make sure she had a Bat Mitzvah.'”

    http://blogs.jpost.com/content/has-bat-mitzvah-become-orthodox

  2. Why would signing a “Hosen” card be any different than signing an Organ Donor card, halachically?

  3. IH: R. Shaul Yisraeli was *in favor* of signing an Organ Donor card.

  4. But, would you agree that those who psken that you cannot sign an Organ Donor card, should also pasken that you can’t sign a “Hosen” card?

  5. IH: I thought you meant the comparison regarding “al tiftach peh le-Satan”. Those who forbid signing an organ donor card do so because of the issues surrounding brain death, which has no relevance to the “Hosen” card.

  6. But, would you agree that those who psken that you cannot sign an Organ Donor card, should also pasken that you can’t sign a “Hosen” card?

    What does one have to do with the other? The two are completely distinct halakhic issues.

  7. r’ gil – they know their bible:

    But, citing Biblical passages like, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son,” they provide instructions for “switching” defiant children to provide “spiritual cleansing.”

    i wonder what they advocate for homosexuals?

  8. Gil and Tal — in the multi-threaded debates on BSD Organ Transplant there was a strand poking at the question of whether voluntary death (in the case of safek-dead) was halachically permissible. This is the linkage between the two I am exploring.

  9. To not beat around the bush, in both cases a person effectively states that if I am safek-dead, then treat me as dead and, thereby potentially save a life.

  10. re: do the orthodox own bat mitzvah, is it possible that the asking rabbi considers “having a bat mitzvah” an appropriate stand in for the halachically required “confirmation”?

  11. MiMedinat HaYam

    the first “bat mitzvah” was held in the jewish center for mordechai kaplan’s daughter.

    of course, hirhurim readers should know that, as well the falsity of the golem story. so why is it here?

    (note too the igrot moshe discusses permissible bat mitzvah ceremonies in a tshuva written for r meir kahane, hy”d.

    in another tshuva , he opposes it for “yeshivish” crowds, but tolerates it for others.)

    2. i remember writing a paper for “madame kra” in a french lit class at yu, comparing camus’s philosophy (and exestentialism) with judaism. interesting comparisons, though you would expect otherwise.

    3. before you get involved with charedi struggle, many of them must know about it. i was at a wedding a few months ago in lakewood, where the CC’s grandson and i were looking at pashkevil reprints in the lobby, and the grandson wasnt at all familiar with the background issues. and this is an educvated grandson. (dont worry, he knows real estate development and fundraising very well.)

  12. MMhY: Actually, Judith Kaplan’s bat mitzva was at SAJ in March 1932. See: p. 139 in Gurock & Schacter’s book.

  13. Typo: March 1922

  14. MiMedinat HaYam – just to clarify: Rav Moshe wrote 3 teshuvas – one in 1957 and 2 in 1959 – all three were very short. orach chayyim I, no. 4; orach chayyim II, no. 97; orach chayyim IV, no.36. last one was r’ meir kahana of howard beach.
    btw, first teshuva he was vehemently against it in a shul and said it is “merely nonsense….just a birthday celebration”.

  15. “the first “bat mitzvah” was held in the jewish center for mordechai kaplan’s daughter’

    At the SAJ they would proudly state that-between Kaplan and the Eisensteins they certainly had arichus yamim.
    BTW didn’t KAJ have Bat mitzvahs for decades.

  16. ‘and the grandson wasnt at all familiar with the background issues. and this is an educvated grandson. (dont worry, he knows real estate development and fundraising very well.)”

    wHAT i QUOTED FROM R Maryles’ blog is even more relevant on the above quote

    “Follow the money. I am beginning to believe that this is the underlying problem in everything we deal with – for good and for bad in Judaism. Pick an issue. Examine the problems with it. Nine times out of ten it can be directly traced to financial matters. Or at least indirectly.

    One might say this is a cynical view of Judaism. But I think an honest look at many of the issues discussed here will verify that.

    Of course if one would discuss this with a Rav or any prominent religious figure there might be a lot of denial – or at least spin. They would certainly accuse me of being cynical and say that I have an agenda. I don’t. I am just an observer.

    It is true that the Torah has higher values than money. But the truth of the matter is that money is what governs many of the decisions made in the Torah world”

  17. Re non ranson article-RL things would be different if someone gets captured the family naturally knows the succesful playbook of the Shalit family and would do it.

  18. Re: Ransom

    The “no-ransom” statement made me wonder – what is the halachic position towards Jews who work as correctional officers (ie, prison guards)? They often have to agree to a “no-hostage” policy whereby their being held as a hostage does not factor in a conflict between guards and inmates.

  19. What the “no-hostage” policy means is that the authorities outside the riot area will not negotiate with the hostage-taking prisoners for the hostage’s release (except perhaps as a delaying tactic).

  20. No mention of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt”l??

  21. No death announcements on Hirhurim of famous Jews. If he was a regular reader or contributor, then maybe. But to my knowledge he wasn’t.

  22. Rafael Araujo

    Reb Gil – I assume that applies across the board – MO or Chareidi.

  23. Yes but I reserve the right to be inconsistent, e.g. about someone who touched my life.

  24. Rafael Araujo

    No qualms about that. This is your blog.

  25. Re: R’ Sacks: If society is more important than land, and land is not holy, the Jews could have stayed at Har Sinai and built a society there.

  26. “first teshuva he was vehemently against it in a shul and said it is “merely nonsense….just a birthday celebration”.”
    What is a bar mitzvah celebration?

  27. MiMedinat HaYam

    mycroft — as i recall, RMF wasnt too crazy about bar’s either. at least the way its practiced here in america (the world).

    i dont even think SAJ existed in the 1920’s. i believe it was in the ’60s. and wasnt he the rabbi at the jewish center then?

    disclaimer — i used to daven with the (wooden legged) cohen who was the subject of the other tshuva by RMF to R meir kahane hy”d also then at rockwood park. (RMF said he can duchen. i dont think that is practiced too often today. this cohen occassionally did, occasionally didnt. never figured out the system when yes and when no. it was before i was aware of that tshuva.)

  28. MMhY — as per Gurock and Shacter (p. 128): “Some of Kaplan’s supporters immediately moved, with their Rabbi’s encouragement, ‘to take the next step toward establishing an institution founded on the ideals [Kaplan] laid down years ago.’ Indeed, they seemed to have coordinated Kaplan’s formal resignation from the Jewish Center to coincide with opening of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ). Kaplan tendered his letter to Fischman on January 16, 1922 and SAJ was officially founded the very next day. Five days later, on Friday night, January 22, 1922, services were held under its auspices for the first time at 41 West 86th Street, just one block East of the Jewish Center.”

    It is a fascinating book, made all the more so because RDJJS was Rabbi of the JC at the time of publication.

  29. Rabbi Sacks is wrong in stating only the society is holy and not the land.
    Doesn’t he know what he calls the “Mosaic code.”?

  30. “mycroft — as i recall, RMF wasnt too crazy about bar’s either. at least the way its practiced here in america (the world).”. -MMhY

    In his first teshuva on bat mitzvahs Rav Moshe writes – ” were it my power, I would also abolish the BAR MITZVAH celebrations conducted in this country for boys, for as we all know, they never brought anyone closer to Torah and mitzvot, not even the bar mitzvah boy for a single minute. On the contrary, they lead in many places to sabbath desecration and the violation of other prohibitions…..”

  31. Re Birthright challenge-one can argue priorities but certainly it has been a net positive as have JCCs for Jewish identity. Certainly,USY,NCSY, and NEFTY are positive Jewish programs. Day schools/Kollels/Yeshivot which are certainly an ideal are not the only things that can increase Jewish identity.

  32. “because RDJJS was Rabbi of the JC ”
    about a quarter century ago I heard RJJS speak at the SAJ about Kaplan and the Jewish Center and SAJ. If I recall correctly he had gonethrough minutes of both Congregations and JTS to find different statements about Kaplan.

  33. “Rabbi Sacks is wrong in stating only the society is holy and not the land.
    Doesn’t he know what he calls the “Mosaic code.”?”

    That would be because Rabbi Sacks did not say that. He said that the society was primary and the land was secondary. He did not say that the land was not holy.

    However, I imagine that he, like most people who don’t live in Israel, doesn’t really understand what the border disputes are about. How can we live in the land and not be able to visit the important places mentioned in Nach and the Torah? No shilo, no harim with the blessings and the curses? Most people who are not in Israel don’t realize these things I think.

  34. Mycroft, to be precise, R’ Schacter wrote a book together with Dr. Gurock on the subject of Kaplan’s relationship with Orthodoxy.

    Avi, I’m pretty sure he’s at least partly playing to his audience, as every good rabbi has to do. I’ve never heard a rav speak of the “Mosaic books” or “Mosaic code.”

  35. r’ broyde answers (rather critiques) rya’s article – “Modern Orthodoxy at a Crossroads” – at cross currents

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/11/09/modern-orthodoxy-is-always-at-the-crossroads/

  36. Re Birthright:
    I received the following from one of the Baker Street Irregulars:
    “The Israeli government is contributing $25 million this year to Birthright. While it’s not that much money for the government, there’s something inappropriate about Israeli taxpayers giving money to rich Americans so that they can have free trips to Israel. Birthright should at least require the upper-class participants to make a co-payment.
    To put things in perspective, the proposed increase in Israel’s corporate tax rate from 24% to 25% will increase revenues by $200 million a year.”

  37. R’ Broyde on shelo asani isha in the article I posted above:

    “Let’s focus on the example Rabbi Adlerstein focuses on most closely – Rabbi Kanefsky’s proposal to abolish the recitation of the bracha shelo asani isha, and replace it with the bracha she-asani Yehudi. (I will speak about the tone of Rabbi Kanefsky’s essay in the penultimate section.) Anyone who has read the halachic literature on this topic sees that such a proposal is grounded in the halachic literature, although very far from the current practice. A strong case can be made that the Rema endorsed the saying of the bracha of she-asani yehudi (see, for example, the Machon Yerushalayim Tur OC 46 note 12*), the Gra is widely quoted as endorsing such (see Sedai Chemed, Maarerchet Cherufin, Asifat dinim 5 sv umedi vedri on page 174) and so is the Rosh. It is not hard to find teshuvot on the Bar Ilan CD endorsing such a proposal as a matter of historical halacha.”

  38. Most interesting comment from r’ Broyde’s article:

    “Let me suggest a metaphor: change in Orthodoxy is a lot like orthodontics. To move teeth, you have to apply small amounts of pressure over great periods of time. Lots of pressure over small periods of time do not move teeth but break them. So too with the Orthodox community. Slow change produces positive developments, while large movements break us apart. There is also a natural limit to just how far teeth can move.”

  39. R. Broyde’s simile is well taken; and in line with his previous quotation of R. Lamm “The passage of time solves many problems”.

    The problem is that those impacted by a given issue may be patient, but still looking for resolution within their own lifetime. It is the balance between the needs of the amcha and the need to conserve that is challenged by external reality.

    As one example, RYSB’s Agunah confrontation occurred in 1975. We took N steps backward then and then got stuck. Several generations have suffered immeasurably as a result.

  40. More coffee: RYBS, obviously…

  41. Shachar Ha'amim

    “”the tours primarily engage people in—and hence prepare people for—a narrow Jewish behavioral paradigm centered on consumption.”

    But that’s precisely what most of Judaism is about today – especially in the diaspora! it’s not a “narrow Jewish behavioral paradigm”, it is THE Jewish beahvioral paradigm. Shul memberships, learning in kollel, orthodox careerism, YU, year in Israel – the entire Jewish world today is really just a form of cinsumersim

  42. One of the issues here that R. Broyde alludes to when he writes that “witch hunts never end – they just find more witches to hunt for, until the hunters consume themselves”, but that has not really been fleshed out yet, is that the right is also suffering from tremendous problems, yet criticism directed towards it always seems to have to assume the most tepid of forms.
    Witness the fratricidal violence in the Batei Varsha neighbourhood, or the innumerable frequently violent disputes amongst heirs of the various yeshivot and chassidic courts. Additionally, there are massive economic and moral problems that affect ‘right-wing’ Orthodoxy that those to the left are afflicted with to a far lesser degree (and are often a direct consequence of the policies adopted by the right’s rabbinic leadership), but if R. Broyde was to write an article in Jewish Action criticizing these phenomena using the same tone as that adopted by R. Adlerstein, he would have the proverbial book thrown at him. Perhaps it would be advisable for rabbanim to prime their focus on the problems afflicting their own communities.

  43. IH- my issue is that we have seen unprecedented change in our society in the last 50, 100 and 150 years than the last 500 or 1000 years. so eventhough we see halachik changes over time that is society based and that it was gradual because the changes were gradual as well. today. in the age of instant news and many changes being known immediately, the halacha or minhag change may not be so gradual.

  44. Ruvie — I think we agree, but your last sentence is a hostage to fortune. Clearly, halacha should not be changed at the whim of instant anything. But, most of the contentious issues that divide Orthodoxy are multiple generations old by now.

  45. Flaum’s is publicly admitting it hires undocumented workers? Agriprocessors did that, and got raided! I guess we can expect a repeat. More opportunity for pidyon shevuyim.

  46. (And what in halachah would put a worker who is an undocumented alien into a category of not needing to be paid?)

  47. AVI AT 4:59 AM.
    PLEASE LISTEN AGAIN TO R.SACKS.HE STATED “IT ISN’T LAND THAT IS HOLY” REFERRING TO ERETZ ISRAEL.
    IT IS A SAD COMMENTARY AND UNDERSTANDING OF HIS ABOUT THE “MOSAIC BOOKS.”

  48. Daat y
    Please don’t yell.

  49. daat y, I suggest you listen to all of what Rabbi Sacks said in that video, and not just small segments of it.

  50. MiMedinat HaYam

    to quote r saul berman (regarding a proposal that all marriages be subject to a “bet din hagadol” in yerushalayim, and can be undone at their whim) — “i dont trust such a bet din” in 10 – 20 yrs, alluding to the charedi takeover of the rabbanut. ditto, unwarranted takeover of such a MO moetzet that r broyde proposes.

  51. Perhaps the moment is still inopportune, but shouldn’t the Mir yeshiva and its supporters begin to ask themselves some hard questions about whether the solution is more unthinking expansion and ’emergency campaigns’? It seems like every other day I receive this or that brochure about a rabbinic worthy visiting my community to help his institution out of dire straits. Maybe Mir going bust would help bring many to the realization that continuing in the same path is no longer feasible.

  52. Reuven Spolter

    I also wonder about the Mir – not whether they’re structure is sound, but just how much they relied of R. Finkel’s longstanding personal connections and his obvious command of the English language. Is his son a native English speaker? (I really have no idea) If not, this will make his passing an even more difficult blow to the yeshiva’s future prospects.

  53. The Arutz Sheva story about an alleged deal in the works with Tzohar is both amusing and depressing in that it shows how the Rabbanut conducts itself – this is transparently about power and money.

  54. Since Steve B often quotes Santayana’s aphorism “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, some history relevant to the Cross-Currents dialogue:

    Whereas it has been reported throughout the camp of the Hebrews that by reason of our great sins the [sinful practice] has been rekindled, in the midst of our people, of sects and groups detaching themselves from the unified and just community, adopting new practices and evil laws. They throw off the yoke of the Torah and prefer license. […]

    They build themselves [separate] altars to set themselves apart from the holy community, making their own special minyanim, not praying with the community in the synagogues or study halls appointed for the public. They also alter the phrases coined by the sages, the great codifiers [who determined] the entire liturgical order of these lands. […]”

    An excerpt from the mitnagdim’s Brody Proclamations of 1772 banning chassidism.

  55. R’IH,
    I have a comment waiting to be reviewed on c-c making that point – baruch shekivanti!
    KT

  56. IH-actually Santayana’s aphorism is very similar to a view in the Midrash Tanchuma that is a cornerstone of Ramban’s commentary in Sefer Breishis-“Maaseh Avos Siman LBanim.”

  57. “IH on November 10, 2011 at 8:50 am
    The Arutz Sheva story about an alleged deal in the works with Tzohar is both amusing and depressing in that it shows how the Rabbanut conducts itself – this is transparently about power and money.”

    I read the article and fail to see how this article shows that the Rabbanut is only about power and money.

  58. Mycroft — context in the earlier story from 10 days ago: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4142033,00.html

  59. Re CR Sacks comments, I think similar comments have been attributed to Yeshaya Liebowitz ZL and Nechama Liebowitz, Zicronah Livracha, as well RYBS in “Thinking Aloud”, as well as in a drasha on the Haggadah where RYBS very dramatically mentioned why Vhevesi was not a fifth cup. One can argue that R Sacks is merely taking the position that the spiritual redemption of the Jewish People is ultimately far more critical than their physical redemption, which is a theme that resonates in many places within the text of the Haggadah.

  60. Re the recent decision on the Wetshampton eruv-one wonders whether the supporters of the eruv will file an appeal to the Second Circuit.

  61. For those interested in Bible scholarship, as discussed in several threads here recently, there was a fascinating article by Daniel Mendelsohn in last week’s New Yorker about a new translation of The Iliad. Unfortunately, the article is not free to non-subscribers, but an accompanying audio (that summarizes) is: http://www.newyorker.com/online/2011/11/07/111107on_audio_mendelsohn

    Mendelsohn is a Greek classicist, but also the author of “The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million”.

    —–

    Also of interest to some (like S.), the Oct 27 2011 issue of The NY Review of Books has an article on Isaac Casaubon (also not free to non-subscribers)

  62. In another article in the Oct 27th NYRB, a quotation from classicist Mary Beard reminiscent of many discussions here:

    “It is, of course, a general rule that historians accuse each other of making anachronistic value judgements only when they do not share the judgement concerned.”

  63. My reading of the eruv decision is that the judge essentially decides in the eruv’s favor in Westhampton and Quoge, as opposed to Southhampton, and tells the eruv committee to redraw the eruv w/o Southhampton before the next conference. The implication is that if they do that and present it to the two towns, if the towns reject it (as they probably will), he’ll either tell them at the conference to approve it or will tell the eruv committee to resubmit the motion for a preliminary injunction which he’ll probably grant.

  64. “The coalition of disaffected synagogues is now said to have grown in the last year from 35 to 45; there are about 121 active Young Israel synagogues.”

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new_york/amid_upheaval_national_council_young_israel_celebrates_100th

  65. Last week, I mentioned TAU’s Historical Jewish Press website. A new addition is “The Occident and American Jewish Advocate” published in Philadelphia from 1843-1869.

    http://jpress.org.il/publications/OCC-en.asp

  66. “Whereas it has been reported throughout the camp of the Hebrews that by reason of our great sins the [sinful practice] has been rekindled, in the midst of our people, of sects and groups detaching themselves from the unified and just community, adopting new practices and evil laws. They throw off the yoke of the Torah and prefer license. […]

    They build themselves [separate] altars to set themselves apart from the holy community, making their own special minyanim, not praying with the community in the synagogues or study halls appointed for the public. They also alter the phrases coined by the sages, the great codifiers [who determined] the entire liturgical order of these lands. […]”
    Apply to Yeshivish communities that want separate minyanim and not be part of general kehillot?

  67. Thanks IH for giving me the site.
    “Since the establishment of the state, the chief rabbinate has allowed several private religious courts – especially in haredi circles known as ‘Badatz’ – to independently register couples for marriage as a local branch of the rabbinate.
    Since the establishment of the state, the chief rabbinate has allowed several private religious courts – especially in haredi circles known as ‘Badatz’ – to independently register couples for marriage as a local branch of the rabbinate.

    Over the years, the phenomenon grew and has become a prosperous industry, as these courts enable couples to register even if they do not live in the jurisdiction of the rabbinate the religious court belongs to. Although it is against the law, the chief rabbinate and the Ministry of Religious Services have turned a blind eye to the phenomenon.”

  68. Re Saint Augustine story-Why do some people consider Marranos Jews? If we included people of genetic Jewish descent wed have a different count but being of Jewish descent from generations earlier does not make one a Jew.

  69. New Amsterdam 1654 was the first Jewish community. It’s long been acknowledged that Jews were in the Americas and the USA long before then- Columbus had Jews (Marranos or not) on his first voyage, and there were even Jews in New Amsterdam when the “23” arrived in 1654. But there was no community- the most that would have been at St. Augustine would have been an underground one, and in New Amsterdam individuals passing through.

    In addition, there’s an American tendency not to count St. Augustine at all, probably because it wasn’t part of the USA until the 1800’s and was Spanish. Jamestown is celebrated as the first permanent settlement.

    On the other hand, these Marranos, at least, are counted as Jews because of the proximity to the Expulsion. For almost two centuries after if not more, they remained somewhat distinct, unassimilated and somewhat observant.

  70. The latest on Israeli Jewish marriage registration: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4145874,00.html

  71. “Steve Brizel on November 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm
    IH-actually Santayana’s aphorism is very similar to a view in the Midrash Tanchuma that is a cornerstone of Ramban’s commentary in Sefer Breishis-””

    Of course assuming events will follow the past is fighting the last war-most obvious with disastorous results the Maginot line.

  72. The following from RJW’s blog
    http://myobiterdicta.blogspot.com/

    is of interest

    The people might want God’s Word, but God’s Word is often inaccessible.

    It is often inaccessible because large swaths of the Orthodox World are caught up in political considerations that make their own power and funding more important than spreading Torah and Sanctifying God’s Name. Today’s nefarious decision by the Religion Ministry to kill the Tzohar Marriage initiative is typical of this trend (as is the persistent delegitimization by the Rabbinical Courts of conversions and Divorces issued by Orthodox Battei Din both here and abroad). Couples wishing to marry כדת משה וישראל will now have to either contend with the unfeeling and gross bureaucracy that plague the established rabbinate (along with not infrequent graft), or will choose to marry in Cyprus or marry by proxy in Paraguay. These are couples who seek God’s blessing on their marriages, but will have nowhere to find it.

    God’s Word is also inaccessible because, for the vast majority of Traditional and even Orthodox Jews, they can’t understand it and there is no one to teach them. It is not of the lack of teachers or classes that I write. Rather, it is the inability of the overwhelming majority of rabbis and educators to convey the Torah in cultural terms that can command the respect and (hopefully) the assent of the inquirers after God’s Word. There simply aren’t enough representatives of Torah (men and women, from all types of professions) who can intelligently convey God’s Word to those who hunger for it. The enormity of this tragic circumstance is difficult to convey. It is compounded by the fact that (with a few exceptions) the community prefers to ignore the severity of the situation. In the Rav’s terms, the Lover is knocking on the Beloved’s door (which is locked from the outside). The locksmith, however, refuses to awaken and allow her to enter.

  73. ““There was no manifestation of corruption or venality or fraud,” he insisted. “These things happen all the time. They will have an election; no one is trying to avoid these obligations.”

    He questioned also how truly representative the coalition is, pointing out that whether there are 121 or 140 NCYI congregations, as the national leadership contends, the 45 congregations signing the statement are still a minority. And he said the dissidents failed to confirm that a majority of their congregations’ members supported their positions.

    “I don’t think they should be driving the majority of this organization that has been thriving for 100 years,” Kurtz said.”

    If the NYCI truly believed that they representthe majority of member schuls have elections etc.
    BTW my hunch is that the current leadership does not represent the historical NCYI-see why the YI was founded a 100 years ago-but that is a red herring member schul have a right to set policy for a central organization.

  74. ” there’s an American tendency not to count St. Augustine at all, probably because it wasn’t part of the USA until the 1800′s and was Spanish. Jamestown is celebrated as the first permanent settlement.”

    Actually Jamestown was not a permanent settlement — it was abandoned about 1699 and does not exist today. The oldest English settlement still in existence today is now Hampton, VA, founded 1610. Nothing is left from colonial times, as it was shelled during the American Revolution, raided during the War of 1812, and burned during the American Civil War.

    Santa Fe, NM was founded a little earlier and there is even part of a building from 1610 that is still in existence. San Juan, Puerto Rico was founded in 1521.

    There are also some Native American settlements in the southwest that have been continuously inhabited for as long as a thousand years.

  75. How much of attacks against people depend on who is responsible for the action-rather than the action itself?

  76. “He questioned also how truly representative the coalition is, pointing out that whether there are 121 or 140 NCYI congregations, as the national leadership contends, the 45 congregations signing the statement are still a minority. And he said the dissidents failed to confirm that a majority of their congregations’ members supported their positions”
    Of course, does anyone believe that the supporting congregations of the national leadership have confirmed that the majority of their congregations have supported that position.
    I am curious as to what criteria the NYCI uses to engage in a witchhunt-do they a too big to attack exception. Would they attack a member schul for having a priest speak in the main sanctuary after davening-right after Rabbis words and of course after men take off their tallis to show davening is over. Of course, not a YI but why attack a schul that has a women lead Kabbalat Shabbas it is not davenining =overwise how could one have a child lead the services.

  77. Whats the news that RussianJews in general have nothing to do with mainstream of American Jewry.

  78. “Santa Fe, NM was founded a little earlier and there is even part of a building from 1610 that is still in existence”

    I haven’t been to Sante Fe for a quarter of a century but back then both the Orthodox and Reform places of worship shared a building-I believe that was unique.

  79. abba's rantings

    1) individual non-marrano jews were in north america before 1654, as far back as joachim gans in the 1580s
    2) the 23 who came in 1654 were not the founders of the american jewish community (contrary to what shearith israel claims). their main importance for american jewish history is that they established the legal right for a jewish presence. but then they left.
    3) if one includes marranos for establishing early american jewish presence, they were also in the southwest

  80. “I haven’t been to Sante Fe for a quarter of a century but back then both the Orthodox and Reform places of worship shared a building-I believe that was unique.”

    When the Orthodox synagogue in New Orleans was destroyed by hurricane Katrina, a Reform synagogue offered to host the Orthodox congregation, and still does to this day. http://bethisraelnola.com/

  81. “if one includes marranos for establishing early american jewish presence, they were also in the southwest”

    for what its worth andI am certainly no Amer Jew Hist expert like the late Dr. Grinstein-I wouldn’t count them.

  82. Re anonymous cite about Mir deficit story

    “I am not aware of another university president in the world, most certainly not here in Israel that carried the financial burden of 5,000 students on his shoulders.”
    There are plenty of educational institutions that have 5000 students.

    “And today, since the financial decrees of 2003, these ‘passport students’ if you will, only received 60% of the allocated budget.”
    BTW-why should Israel subsidize a penny of students from abroad.
    Does Israel pay for tuition for those who spend a year in Heb U etc?

    “When students come to Israel aligned with important projects such as Birthright, or others, traveling around the country for 10 days towards saving them from assimilation in the Diaspora, we are all in agreement that huge sums of monies must be allocated.”
    I have commented and forwarded comments in the past that might not be appropriate for Israel. But 10days of some subsidy remember the Steinhardts and others have paida lot of money for Birthright-10days does not equal open ended subsidy.

    “A rosh yeshiva is not permitted to sit and learn and disseminate Torah, one like HaGaon HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ZT”L, but he is compelled to continue trembling with Parkinson’s and travel from place to place, a schnorrer in the hope of successfully covering the yeshiva’s debt.”
    Sit and learn- for many if not most RY fundraising is their raison d’etre. I remember sitting in the same row in a NA flight with Rav Kahanamen it was awhile before the 6 day war-he wasn’t doing the rounds of North America because he couldn’t learn enough in Israel.

    “A large number of them, those who come to study from abroad to learn Torah remain in Israel, settling down here.”
    How many of those or even their children ever pay taxes to Israel or serve in the IDF.

  83. Good points, mycroft. Of course, as many have pointed out, YU has a good solution: A fundraising president (who may or may not officially be a “rosh yeshiva”) while the rest do, in fact, teach.

    Charlie:

    -I think Jamestown is considered “permanent” in that Roanoke wasn’t- it didn’t disappear, they just moved not that far away. In any event, 1610 isn’t much later.

    -The rest of your locations suffer the same problem as St. Augustine: not English and not part of the US in 1776. Fair or not, that’s perception.

  84. “Of course, as many have pointed out, YU has a good solution: A fundraising president (who may or may not officially be a “rosh yeshiva”)”
    and even if was given the title Rosh Yeshiva was NEVER considered the haskafic/halachik main authorty of YU. Although certainly the first 3 Presidents before Joel were all leading people in Jewish life.

  85. Just for the record, Revel continued giving regular shiur as president, and Belkin had been a Rosh Yeshiva (and classics professor, separately) before he became president. Norman Lamm had taught at YU, but not as a Rosh Yeshiva. There’s never been an official “main authority” at YU, by the way.

  86. Nachum’s by the way reminds me of:

    “[Physicist & Professor Isidor Isaac] Rabi got the Nobel Prize and Eisenhower [then president of Columbia University] asked Rabi to come and talk with him. And Eisenhower said, “Professor Rabi, I congratulate you on the Nobel Prize, and besides, I am always very happy to see one of the employees of the University.” So Rabi drew himself up to his full height of five feet five inches and said, “Mr. President, the faculty are not the employees of the University. They ARE the university!”.

  87. Rabi won the Nobel Prize in 1944, when Eisenhower was…busy with other things.

  88. Agreed. I knew the story as apocryphal, but looked for a quote rather than recall it from memory. Curiously, this is from a bio of Rabi — which just goes to show that one always needs to validate primary sources 🙂

  89. validate to primary sources (where possible) — as opposed to tertiary sources like this bio.

  90. Ad sheyavo hakatuv hashilishi:

    The physicist I.I. Rabi and General (later President) Dwight Eisenhower became friends after Eisenhower was appointed president of Columbia University soon after the end of WW2. When introduced to Rabi, Eisenhower said, “I am always very happy to see one of the employees of the university,” to which Rabi replied, “Mr. President, the faculty are not the employees of the university. They are the university.”

    Quoted in J. S. Rigden, Rabi: Scientist and Citizen, Harvard University Press, 2000.

  91. Ah, but follow that source and you will get what I quoted:
    http://tinyurl.com/83mr5wv. It’s the same source.

    Nachum is correct. Rabi won in 1944; Eisenhower did not become President of Columbia until 1948. Hans Bethe may have mis-remembered, or Rigden misquoted. FWIW, the story I heard (25+ years ago) did not involve the Nobel Prize.

  92. “And today, since the financial decrees of 2003, these ‘passport students’ if you will, only received 60% of the allocated budget.”
    BTW-why should Israel subsidize a penny of students from abroad.
    Does Israel pay for tuition for those who spend a year in Heb U etc?

    There are plenty of scholarships and government financing options for university students. Furthermore, “passport students” receive a minimal amount of “Misrad HaDatot” monies. I forget the exact sum, but it’s less than $500 yearly per student if I’m not mistaken.

    “I have commented and forwarded comments in the past that might not be appropriate for Israel. But 10days of some subsidy remember the Steinhardts and others have paida lot of money for Birthright-10days does not equal open ended subsidy.

    While it’s true the Steinhardt gave a lot initially, these days it’s mostly the Jewish Agency [same as the Israeli Government for these purposes] that underwrites the cost of these trips and those 10 days cost a heckuva lotta money.

    “Sit and learn- for many if not most RY fundraising is their raison d’etre. I remember sitting in the same row in a NA flight with Rav Kahanamen it was awhile before the 6 day war-he wasn’t doing the rounds of North America because he couldn’t learn enough in Israel.

    Until he assumed full-time fundraising responsibilities, Rav Nosson Tzvi learned 14 hours a day! and that was with Parkinsons. He gladly would have continued at that pace but he believed in buidling the yeshivah.

    “A large number of them, those who come to study from abroad to learn Torah remain in Israel, settling down here.”
    How many of those or even their children ever pay taxes to Israel or serve in the IDF.

    First off – while students, many of them bring significant amounts of money into the country and spend it. The same is true for seminary girls. Long before they’re paying taxes, they’re contributing to the economy in a serious way. A good number of them do settle here and some pay taxes, some don’t, but all bring in money from Chutz La’aretz and their parents visit and blow plenty of cash. This is a world Mr. Mycroft that you obviously know little about. Find out some of the facts – you’ll be delighted by what u discover.

  93. First off – while students, many of them bring significant amounts of money into the country and spend it. The same is true for seminary girls. Long before they’re paying taxes, they’re contributing to the economy in a serious way.”
    I don’t claim to be contributing to Israeli society despite my many visits there. BTW-Why they exempt foreigners from VAT is beyond me. All that happens is that hotels up the foreign rate. Mrs Mycroft and I once tested it out by comparing the rate we paid which needed a tourist visa vs the discount rates that Israelis could have using almost any special. We had our dati non chareidi Israeli relatives-olim BTW-check out what we paid wo VAT and what they got offered with VAT.

    “ A good number of them do settle here and some pay taxes, some don’t”
    I have commented in the past that I don’t think it is appropriate for Israel to support American olim who have a much higher median income than the average Israeli.
    I have had an exchange perhaps even in Hirhurim about the phenomena of some olim working in the Diaspora and having their families live in Israel, I have commented that due to Israels territorial system of taxation they would not receive the taxes of the income earned in the galut while the children going to school in Israel will cost Israel a fortune.

  94. ““I am always very happy to see one of the employees of the university,” to which Rabi replied, “Mr. President, the faculty are not the employees of the university. They are the university.””

    Certainly not what the Board of Trustees of any University believe-andthey have the last word.

  95. IH,
    Yes, it was the same source, but in the version I quoted, it does not say that he called him to congratulate him for his nobel. That is, there was not indication that the call was contemporaneous with the Nobel. Unless you’re saying that later in the passage the author adds that fact explicitly (and incorrectly).

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