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The YU Beacon Piece on Sexuality
How is Sforno’s name really pronounced?
Shedding light on Chanukah
Gender Equality Elusive in Salary Survey
Egged buses return to Mea Shearim
An Editor’s Goodbye
Jewish University, School Newspaper Cut Ties Over Controversial Sex Column
Why Has My Yeshiva Not Revoked Steven Greenberg’s Semichah?
Tackling Day School Affordability
Conventional Conventions
SALT Friday
Day School World Gauging Fallout From SAT Scandal
Steven Greenberg: The Case For Companionship
ADL urges chief rabbis to denounce spitting at Christians
Israel’s High Court to hear petition against segregation at ultra-Orthodox girls’ schools
Jerusalem: Hundreds rally against women’s shunning
Beards in the Army – A First Amendment Lesson
Gov’t must explain continued kollel payments
SALT Thursday
In Lakewood Abuse Cases, A ‘Parallel Justice System’
Day School World Gauging Fallout From SAT Scandal
B’Derech GED Program Flourishing and Adding Women’s Division
Stores refuse to open on Shabbat
Rav Schachter on Chazal and Science
5 Things I Wish All Orthodox People Knew
SALT Wednesday
Hey Israel, is America still the Golden Medina?
A Dissenting Opinion on ‘Aba-Gate’
After American Outcry, Israel Ends Ad Campaign Aimed at Expatriates
Ads Featuring Women Return to Jerusalem
Orthodox Mental Health Workers Seen Changing On Homosexuality
Mind The Gap Between Orthodox And Other Jews
SALT Tuesday
Elder Abuse – Distorting Judaism and Shaming the Avos
Top Israeli rabbi: Segregated buses not Jewish law
Ashkenazi and Sephardi rabbis battle over Sabbath hours in Elad
The stranger in your midst
American Jewry’s Data Problem
Ask the Rabbi: May a mentally incompetent person marry?
The Evil Inclination
Jewish Farmers’ Settlement to Win Historic Status
‘Y-hweh’ Should Not Offend Anyone
Clinton Shocked at Israeli Women’s Status
The problem with ‘dynamic’ rabbis
Moroccan Jews lose community leader
A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
SALT Monday
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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.

262 comments

  1. Ignore the trolls looking for acknowledgment.

  2. r’ gil it seems like a critique of some of your positions on the post that skeptic link to. why so dismissive?

  3. Because it isn’t actually a critique of anything I’ve written or said, nor is it written by someone whom I believe deserves a response.

  4. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: I also don’t understand the point of your comment.

  5. It was a dismissive insult, indicating that I don’t take the author seriously.

  6. r’ gil – is it the person or the specifics of the post or both?

  7. Methinks that R’ Yuter took a course in missing the point.

  8. Ruvie: Both

  9. I shouldn’t respond at all but to Yuter’s statement that “I failed to find this putative “prohibition” [of confirming the Heterodox in their practices] anywhere on my Bar Ilan 19+ CD Rom”, it is there on the CD ROM in multiple places, including an explicit Mishnah but also in responsa through the twentieth century including Modern Orthodox authorities like R. David Tzvi Hoffmann and R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg. He needs to learn how to use the CD ROM better. See these posts:

    https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/07/adoption-of-heterodox-practices/
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/08/adoption-of-heterodox-practices-ii/
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/08/adoption-of-heterodox-practices-iii/
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/08/adoption-of-heterodox-practices-iv/

  10. I still don’t understand Gil’s surprising unnecessarily insulting comment. A quick perusal of R. Yuter’s post (it was very long and not that well written) indicated to me that, in strongly disagreeing with Gil in a number of areas, he treated Gil and Gil’s ideas in a respectful manner. R. Yuter is certainly not entitled to agreement or even a response; that’s Gil’s decision. But the tone of Gil’s initial comment and his falsely calling R. Yuter a “troll” (“someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion”) does not bring credit to Gil, his positions or Hirhurim. He may be roight and R. Yuter may be wrong, but he still has something to learn from R. Yuter.

  11. I don’t believe he was polite, despite his use of polite language. Beating with velvet gloves is still beating.

  12. Go Gil go!

  13. BTW, are you going to post the statement released today (?) with respect to homosexual marriage?

  14. Later. I’ll give it its own post.

  15. “I don’t believe he was polite, despite his use of polite language. Beating with velvet gloves is still beating.”

    Boy, have you gotten overly sensitive. strong disagreement=beating=impolite. I’ll have to remember that. Or, on second thought, I think I won’t.

  16. Misrepresentation to a ridiculous extreme is not strong disagreement. If he had made a real argument I would take him seriously. For crying out loud, he claims I invented a prohibition that is explicit in a Mishnah!

  17. Reason enough to ignore him, not to insult him.

  18. Elder Abuse – exploiting the imahos for tzedakah scams. R’ Saul Robinson’s sermon this past Shabbos.

    http://voicesoflss.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/elder-abuse-distorting-judaism-and-shaming-the-avos/

  19. Beating with velvet gloves is still beating.

    Gil,
    that cuts both ways.

  20. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: All you had to say was that R. Yuter’s post is not worthy of a response. Why do you find it so hard to admit that your first comment was an overstatement?

  21. Because I don’t think it was. If you had said rude, I would agree. But I don’t think it was an overstatement. Explaining why in public is probably going too far.

  22. Joseph Kaplan

    So, here you are, a musmach and widely respected bolgmaster. You moderate panel discussions at RCA conventions and are involved in putting out the Rav/Koren siddur and other Jewish books that benefit the Orthodox, and non-Orthodox, Jewish community. You review books for Jewish Action and write articles for other Jewish publications. And you have to be, and even worse think it’s okay to be, rude?!? I won’t say that’s not how adults behave because all too often that is how adults behave. But it’s not how adults, who were brought up properly and try to follow what they were taught, behave. I’m sure you don’t teach your children that it’s okay to be rude. C’mon Gil, you’re a mensch. So behave like one.

  23. MiMedinat HaYam

    mentally incompetent marriages — why does the article concentrate on down syndrome? and why limit it to DS – DS marriages (just like previous articles limited SSA to SSA (heterosexual) marriages) (with the proper consent, of course)? and isnt this regularly done today anyway (not DS, but mentally incompetent)?

    also, there are regular orthodox marriages of cohanim to improper ppl, held all the time. why sholud this be any different (with proper consent, and presumably financial $support. i assume these marriages are done at the familiies urging.)

    shabat hours in elad — next week, they’ll throw out some students from the local bais yaakov for observing wrong shabat. (sephardim usually end shabat a few minutes aerlier than ashkenazim.) and for not observing tosfot shabat. week after that, tosfot rabbenu tam time.

    why, if we change shabat times, we’ll soon have ashkenazim marrying sephardiot!

  24. MiMedinat HaYam

    npr story on treating mugger right — story in gemara by rav yehoshuah ben levi. and a variation of rav yochanan / resh lakish.

    jewish farm settlement — there are many farm settlements of this type in america. none succeeded as farmer settlements, or as jewish communities, but the real estate in some of those places turns out to have been good investments.

    dynamic young rabbis — known as the “A” list that rabbinic alumni will find jobs for. unlike the rest of smicha candidates rabbinic alumni ignores (unless his father is important — which makes him dynamic.)

    hillary clinton — does she have a campaign fund that can change her opinion?

  25. Joseph: I’ll let R. Ari decide whether to delete it. I don’t think it’s particularly harsh but I’m obviously biased.

  26. we’ll soon have ashkenazim marrying sephardiot!

    The best type of marriage. Each side expects to have to give in to the other 🙂

  27. “I am convinced they are permitted and a marriage is a private ceremony which not subject to public policy discipline or rulings”

    Private ceremony with edim…

  28. MiMedinat HaYam

    “not subject to public policy discipline or rulings””

    rulings — subject.

    why not policy discipline, like all other rabbinic functions (like falsely advocating brachot if you send $ for blessed rings, etc)?

  29. Moshe Shoshan

    Misrepresentation to a ridiculous extreme is not strong disagreement. If he had made a real argument I would take him seriously. For crying out loud, he claims I invented a prohibition that is explicit in a Mishnah!

    Gil that makes him dead wrong but not guilty of misrepresentation.
    If indeed it was Rabbi Yuter himself who post as anonomous I can see why you would be so upset. Otherwise, get a thicker skin

  30. You are assuming that despite his strident tone he is actually ignorant of Talmudic passages. I guess that is the most generous assumption and perhaps I should judge him more favorably. After all, he seems to be totally ignorant of the Talmudic discussions over women serving in the army, as well (https://www.torahmusings.com/2007/03/women-in-army).

  31. Lawrence Kaplan

    It’s ironic that it took Hilary Clinton’s comments to get Rabbi Amar to be critical of gender segregated buses.

  32. Joseph Kaplan

    “You are assuming that despite his strident tone he is actually ignorant of Talmudic passages.”

    He may be wrong; indeed, he may be so wrong that he is ignorant. Say so and explain why or, of you like, ignore him. Your call. But he simply wasn’t strident. YOU were strident and insulting to someone you disagreed with. The issue is not whether R. Ari should delete your comment; there are plenty of insulting comments on this blog. The issue is whether someone like you should lower yourself to the level of argument by insult. I really don’t care if your comment stays or goes; YOU should care, and care enough that, upon reconsideration, you delete it. But I guess you don’t get it. Oh well.

  33. Wow. When I began reading, I had no idea that the post was going to be one long tirade against Gil. Those of you who thought he was being rude are profoundly mistaken.

  34. MiMedinat HaYam

    without taking sides in r yuter’s dispute with you, i would like to point out that r yuter is a brilliant talmid chacham, with “photographic” memory traits of halacha.

    (if he wouldnt be so “left wing”, he would make a brilliant posek.)

    (private smicha, i believe, from r moshe d tendler.)

  35. Joseph Kaplan

    Always happy to be called profound.

  36. “Rabbi Alan Yuter, Rabbi Emeritus of the Orthodox Congregation Israel of Springfield, NJ, where he served with distinction for 15 years, and Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Touro College for 10 years, Rabbi Yuter was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and completed a Ph.D. in Modern Hebrew Literature at New York University. After leaving the Conservative Movement and being ordained under the auspices of Hebrew Theological College, RIETS, the affiliate of Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yuter joined the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America where he continues to hold membership.”

    http://www.bnaiisraelcongregation.org/Our%20Rabbi.htm

  37. Shalom Rosenfeld

    @Skeptic, that’s the bio of Rabbi Alan Yuter — we’re discussing his son Josh here.

  38. @Shalom Rosenfeld: Who is discussing Josh? I was responding to MiMedinat HaYam’s speculation about the semicha of the author of the article in question, Alan Yuter.

  39. Like it or not, R Yuter’s comments reflect his disagreement not with just R Gil’s sustained defense of the Mesorah, but with Mesorah itself in its most traditionalist sense-which requires a Talmid Chacham to be able to read between the lines in addition to having a photographic memory.

  40. At the risk of attempting to read and decipher R Gil’s mind and its reactions, while defending the same, IMO, the following quoted excerpt is IMO what I would have found objectionable to, but would have ignored as hardly worthy of comment:

    ” For Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik, policy grounds indeed do allow us to forbid the permitted; like his stellar student and spiritual successor, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, who advances an understanding of Tradition structurally and theologically similar to that of Agudath Israel, only great rabbis indeed are authorized to read the mind of God. Who a great rabbi is must be determined by power and not prowess.”

  41. Steve — what do you find objectionable about that statement?

  42. FWIW I think R. Alan Yuter’s post is weakly based and weakly reasoned, and somewhat obnoxious and aggressive in tone. I think R’ Gil was within propriety to respond sharply. FWIW.

  43. IH-IMO, the context of the article is critical and R Yuter views himself with the rabbinic representatives cited therein who he claims are representative of and the leading rabbinic lights of LW MO,and thus clearly superior to and in contrast to anyone who sides with Mesorah, regardless of whether the authority in question was the CI, RYBS or RHS. The quoted passage clearly is dismissive in tone, to use the mildest possible adjective. FWIW, while I have heard RHS speak about Mesorah and Talmud Torah on many occasions, I have heard many Charedi RY and Rabbanim also-and their views are decidedly far different than RHS on Halacha, Hashkafa and how one studies Torah, not that Agudah Isarel has ever claimed to the address for all rabbinic representatives of the Charedi world.

  44. Lawrence Kaplan

    STBO: Sharply, yes; insultingly, no.

  45. Steve — I accept that you disagree with R. Yuter. But, I am still struggling to understand what is objectionable. In the quoted passage, R. Yuter has not used any stronger language than I have seen those on the right (including yourself) use in opposition to Rabbis on the left. Surely, the same rules ought to apply.

  46. MiMedinat HaYam

    i take back the RMD attribution of r yuter, sr. i thought he had some sort of affilliation, but …

    the bio indicates he lived in the same area, so i guess.

    it also alludes to his continuing relationship with utj.

    he was Also the major “posek” for the RA, before r tucker.

  47. IH-the entire article is one long jeremiad against Mesorah and anyone who stands by the same. The quoted passage may have been an expression of exasperation as to why RYBS and RHS seemingly are no different than the CI on issues of Mesorah.

  48. “In the famously dynamic Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, home of the first Orthodox woman “rabba,” membership has plummeted, from an announced high of 850, according to New York magazine in 2010, to just over 600, according to a letter to The Jewish Week from that synagogue’s president.”

    A member of the HIR executive board told me last year that the number of members who had resigned their membership in protest of the “rabba” issue was eight. I’m not sure where the 850 number comes from; nobody in the 6 1/2 years I have attended services there has ever mentioned a number that high.

  49. Steve — So, any disagreement with the version of “Mesorah” to which you subscribe is ipso facto objectionable? Does this apply to Italians, Spanish & Portugese, Eidot ha’Mizrach and Taymanim etc. as well?

  50. IH wrote in part:

    “Italians, Spanish & Portugese, Eidot ha’Mizrach and Taymanim”

    The above are IMO of purely historical, academic, and sociological interest for anyone who is not bound by the above listed communities Chumros, Kulos, Minhagim, etc.

  51. Steve — you know the talmudic aggada that Sancheriv scrambled all the nations; well, it seems to me that the combination of the Shoah and the influx of Jews to the reborn Medinat Yisrael, reishit tzmichat ge’ulateinu has done the same.

    You are entitled to your view that the “Mesorah” of the CI, RYBS and RHS is the right one for you. But, many others disagree and, I for one, find your presumption to be as objectionable as you found the quotation from R. Yuter to be.

  52. “The above are IMO of purely historical, academic, and sociological interest for anyone who is not bound by the above listed communities”

    Hey, the same thing goes for Litvaks and Hungarians.

  53. “The above are IMO of purely historical, academic, and sociological interest for anyone who is not bound by the above listed communities”

    Steve that statement is only correct from within that view of the “Mesora”! All the people in the “above listed communities” think that in fact, people from YOUR community have no right to YOUR view of the “Mesora”!

  54. “Hey, the same thing goes for Litvaks and Hungarians.”

    The same goes for any community which can be given a name based on geography outside of Israel today.

  55. “American Jewry’s Data Problem”

    Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I believe this is done because they don’t want to discover that there are currently more Jews in Israel than America 🙂

  56. “Tradition Today: The stranger in your midst”

    It would be nice if that article told us which group was distributing the idea. Any knowledge where it comes from or if its connected to the Sicarii/Sikirim or not?

  57. “A Dissenting Opinion on ‘Aba-Gate'”

    Great article, a shame I think that it’s not going to lead to any discussion.

    You can see the same points made in the comments section of the DovBear blog, and a complete lack of communication.

  58. JON:

    “Steve that statement is only correct from within that view of the “Mesora”! All the people in the “above listed communities” think that in fact, people from YOUR community have no right to YOUR view of the “Mesora”!”

    i don’t think SB was denying the legitimacy of those mesoras, but rather saying they are only valid for those particular communities. presumably he would agree that the reverse is true as well, i.e., the ashkenazi mesorah is not valid for those communities and for them is only of academic, sociological, etc. interest. (shoot me now, have i just defended SB?)

    but then of course “S” is correct with reference to litvaks and hungarians within the ashkenazi world

  59. ““Steve that statement is only correct from within that view of the “Mesora”! All the people in the “above listed communities” think that in fact, people from YOUR community have no right to YOUR view of the “Mesora”!””

    That’s not true at all. Why should we project the ills of other communities on to them? I’ve never heard, for example, of a Spanish-Portuguese Jew who says that Litvaks have no right to their “mesora” and so forth.

  60. I can publically declare that I have not one drop of Litvak or Hungarian blood (or chinuch) and, as I stated to Steve: You are entitled to your view that the “Mesorah” of the CI, RYBS and RHS is the right one for you. 🙂

  61. ” of a Spanish-Portuguese Jew who says that Litvaks have no right to their “mesora” and so forth.”

    I seem to remember a portugeuse person writing in the comments on this blog about a community which declares that anyone using Kabalah or the Zohar in their halachic process is a complete Heretic. And Karet if they actually believe in it.

  62. Re: “Hey Israel, is America still the Golden Medina?”

    I wish the author would have written more about the point they are trying to make.

    Israel now and Israel in the 1980s are very different places, what exactly are the Yeridah rates now compared to then? Which generation of Yeridim were the ads targeting? People who moved recently, during the 60s, 80s, 90s?

  63. Abba's Rantings

    AVI:

    are you referring to the dardaim (yemenites, not portuguese)

  64. “I seem to remember a portugeuse person writing in the comments on this blog about a community which declares that anyone using Kabalah or the Zohar in their halachic process is a complete Heretic. And Karet if they actually believe in it.”

    Well, gee, if there was someone commenting then I guess “all the people in the “above listed communities” think that in fact, people from [Steve’s] community have no right to [his] view of the “Mesora”!””

  65. “AVI:

    are you referring to the dardaim (yemenites, not portuguese)”

    No, it was portoguese. A quick search on google gave me this line from the Wiki Article.

    “The Zohar is rejected by almost all Spanish and Portuguese Jews.[citation needed] Some among them believe the Zohar is collection of ideas based on Midrasim and misinterpretation of midrashic concepts.”

    Another section calls them the Andalusian group.

    S, my only point is that there are people in those communities who reject other mesorot, just as there are people in Steve’s community who reject theirs. And apparently someone on Wikipedia believes it’s most of the community.

  66. Abba's Rantings

    AVI:

    “The Zohar is rejected by almost all Spanish and Portuguese Jews”

    seriously?

  67. “seriously?”

    Seriously what?
    That is what wikipedia writes twice. I have no idea if it is true or not, perhaps the person who commented here also edited the wikipedia article to reflect his small community’s views. I have no idea.

    I didn’t examine it much further, because my only point is that such people in those communities exist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zohar

    ” The Zohar spread among the Jews with remarkable swiftness. Scarcely fifty years had passed since its appearance in Spain before it was quoted by many Kabbalists, including the Italian mystical writer Menahem Recanati and by Todros Abulafia. Certain Jewish communities, however, such as the Baladi Yemenite, Andalusian (Western Sefardic or Spanish and Portuguese Jews), and some Italian communities, never accepted it as authentic.[3]”

    And then later:

    “The Zohar is rejected by almost all Spanish and Portuguese Jews.[citation needed] Some among them believe the Zohar is collection of ideas based on Midrasim and misinterpretation of midrashic concepts.”

  68. Lawrence Kaplan

    Avi: The author of the Wikipedia article is referring to the situation in the late Middle Ages, NOT nowadays.

  69. Abba's Rantings

    AVI:

    “The Zohar is rejected by almost all Spanish and Portuguese Jews.[citation needed]”

    maybe there is a reason the statement is annotated with “citation needed”?

    in any case, call me an intellectual snob (ok, or just a plain snob), but i don’t think wikipedia should even be invoked as proof for anything.

  70. ‘“The Zohar is rejected by almost all Spanish and Portuguese Jews.[citation needed]”

    maybe there is a reason the statement is annotated with “citation needed”?’

    I asked Rabbi Gabbai at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia about why they did not recite “berich shemei”. IIRC he told me that it had once been part of the liturgy, but that after the Shabbatai Tzvi disaster, which had infected the Sefardim of Amsterdam tremendously, the rabbis had basically expunged the Zohar in order to prevent a repeat.

  71. “in any case, call me an intellectual snob (ok, or just a plain snob), but i don’t think wikipedia should even be invoked as proof for anything.”

    Which was why I mentioned the commentator here who said as much about his community before bringing up Wikipedia 🙂

  72. “Avi: The author of the Wikipedia article is referring to the situation in the late Middle Ages, NOT nowadays.”

    Read the article, it’s talking about both.

  73. i agree with your initial instincts gil – publicly declaring this could come back to haunt you one day.

    what bothers me about this is that some of these rabbis (whom I know personally) have no problem accepting large donations from across the jewish religous spectrum (reform, conservative, etc) to further their organizations (even to the point of honoring them at annual dinners, etc) but when one orthodox rabbi does something wrong in their eyes (inevitably to the left of them) they pounce and feel the need for public proclamations.

  74. Abba’s Rantings: the point is that that whole view – that various views are only valid if you were born in some community that holds them – is only true from within Steve Brizel’s view of the “Mesora”. A Sephardic person would in fact argue that Steve Brizel’s view is not valid for *anyone*.

    S: you’re completely misunderstanding what I mean by “YOUR view of the ‘Mesora'”. I am not saying that an aristocratic Sephardic person would say that ALL of their views are binding for everyone. I am saying that Steve’s *specific view that jurisprudential positions follow genetics* is particular to Steve’s community.

  75. Lawrence Kaplan

    Avi: Yes, you are right. I don’t know what to make of this statement.

  76. “what exactly are the Yeridah rates now compared to then?”

    Number of yeridim by decade:

    1950s: 40,651

    1960s: 40,956

    1970s: 49,392

    1980s: 44,150

    1990s: 66,582

    2000s: 54,081

    In 2010, there were 5,172 Israel-born immigrants to the US.

    Source:

    http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/yearbook/2010/ois_yb_2010.pdf

  77. Jon

    “S: you’re completely misunderstanding what I mean by “YOUR view of the ‘Mesora’”. I am not saying that an aristocratic Sephardic person would say that ALL of their views are binding for everyone. I am saying that Steve’s *specific view that jurisprudential positions follow genetics* is particular to Steve’s community.”

    You’re right, I did misunderstand you.

  78. “Number of yeridim by decade:”

    Looks like there is a direct correlation between economic progress in America. Which makes this a good time for such ads, not a declaration from Israel that the Zionist goals are failing. Although the 2010 data says that most Yeridim move because of ties to family, and then second reason is economics.

    Curious if there are numbers regarding the numbers of people making Aliyah from America for each decade as well.

  79. S: it’s all good.

  80. Curious if there are numbers regarding the numbers of people making Aliyah from America for each decade as well.

    With the exception of a bump after the six day war, olim from North America have always been outnumbered by yeridim in the other direction:

    http://www.jafi.org.il/JewishAgency/English/About/Press+Room/Aliyah+Statistics/jul27.htm

    Note that North America here would include Canada.

  81. Abba's Rantings

    CHARLIE HALL:

    those numbers indicate that the rate (not absolute numbers) has decreased.

    but also important to know how a yored is defined here.

  82. IH-IIRC, you once told us that your educational background was MTA and YU before you spent some time in Israel. I find it curious that you deny that you ever were exposed to those Rishonim and Acharonim that form the corpus of the Mesorah or the RY who explicate the same.

  83. Jon-I never claimed that the heritage of the ““Italians, Spanish & Portugese, Eidot ha’Mizrach and Taymanim” was irrelevant for their communities, as opposed to anyone educated in either a Charedi or MO community in the US.

    IH wrote:

    “you know the talmudic aggada that Sancheriv scrambled all the nations; well, it seems to me that the combination of the Shoah and the influx of Jews to the reborn Medinat Yisrael, reishit tzmichat ge’ulateinu has done the same.”

    Proof please? I think that we can find much evidence of the persistence in adherence to Minhagim even in the State of Israel, and many halachic issues arising out of Ashkenazim marrying Sefardim, and vice versa. That IMO hardly contstitutes a scrambling of various communities customs. Rather , their physical proximity has allowed for their customs to be studied and commented on probably in greater detail than in previous epocs.

  84. Steve — I’m afraid you’re misremembering the details of my schooling. Your second sentence is non-sequitor.

    FWIW my family ancestry is Russian-Chassidic and Galician-Chassidic (with some serious yichus). My parents were married, jointly, by Rav Goren and the Sadigura Rebbe in Tel-Aviv. My sister in Israel is married to the son of a Syrian and Iraqi.

    You’re free to live in pseudo-Vilna (with an Italian black hat, I would guess, just like they had there) 🙂

  85. BTW, Steve, my Y-DNA on both my paternal and maternal lines is J1 which means that my ancestors left EY and ended up in Eastern Europe, probably via Italy and Spain. And on a 3rd line (my mother’s mother) they are Kohanim whose Y-DNA matches the Cohen-Modal-Haplotype.
    http://www.cambridgedna.com/y-chromosomal-aaron-and-the-cohen-model-haplotype.php

  86. “Steve Brizel on December 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm
    Jon-I never claimed that the heritage of the ““Italians, Spanish & Portugese, Eidot ha’Mizrach and Taymanim” was irrelevant for their communities, as opposed to anyone educated in either a Charedi or MO community in the US.”

    Steve – I never claimed that you claimed that either.

  87. IH-My sincere apologies for mistating your educational background.

    As for yichus, RFS once mentioned that he was eating at a restaurant on the LES years ago and overheard two Chasidishe women discussing Shiduchim. In response to a remark re Yichus, one of the women remarked that Yichus died in Auschwitz.

  88. Steve – thanks. Your joke is actually my point, though, in the Sancharev mashal: the combination of the Shoah and the influx of Jews to the reborn Medinat Yisrael, reishit tzmichat ge’ulateinu, has mixed it up all. To wit: provincial mesorah/minhag died in Auschwitz.

  89. IH asked in part:

    ” Does this apply to Italians, Spanish & Portugese, Eidot ha’Mizrach and Taymanim etc. as well”

    I would suggest the following-The Italian and Spanish Portuguese communities and their Minhagim , in all seriousness, strike me as once prominent communities that declined to the status of intellectual and cultural backwaters that hundreds of years ago were important communities, but which , it can be argued never regained their prominence after the rise and impact of the Inquisition, the Gerush Sfarad and the Renaisance. One finds indivuidual great Talmidie Chachamim in Italy such as R Ovadiah MeBartenurah, the author of Shiltei Gborim,Sforno, possibly Chizkuni, and Ramchal , but no centers of Torah learning such as yeshivos and no large group of Baalei HaTosfos as in France and Germany. Spanish Portuguese Jewry produced many Rishonim, but the community’s viability ended with the Gerush Sfarard, thus rendering any post 1492 discoveries strictly of the historical, academic and sociological interest. If one is a historian interested in crypto Judaism, then Spain and Portugal are a historian’s delight,

    I think that one can argue that Holland, Greece, the Balkan countries, Germany. Hungary, Poland and Lithuania became the centers of the Mesorah following 1492. When ROY refers to Sfard as practiced by the Edot Mizrach as being the source for Psak in Israel based on simple rule of Halacha Rabim, I have always wondered-which Sfardi community-Iraq, Syria, Turkey , the North African communities, the Taimanim, their many subgroups or the collective sum of the same?

    WADR, I don’t think that the existence of a Sefardi Mesorah entitles or enables anyone with an Ashkenazic background to suddenly adopt Sefardi Kulos in Halacha that run contrary to acepted Ashkenazic Halacha and Minhagim.

  90. IH wrote:

    “To wit: provincial mesorah/minhag died in Auschwitz.’

    I don’t think so-why else would we see discussions and debate today as to when Shabbos begins in a certain community in Israel?

  91. You mean where each side is trying to impose their mesorah on everyone (irrespective of the others’ mesorah)?

  92. “I think that one can argue that Holland, Greece, the Balkan countries, Germany . . . became the centers of the Mesorah following 1492”

    What do you think we mean when we are talking about Spanish Portuguese Jews?

  93. ” intellectual and cultural backwaters”

    LOL you managed to call the Italian and Spanish Portuguese communities intellectual and cultural backwaters IN COMPARISON TO EASTERN EUROPE IN THE LATTER HALF OF THE MILLENIUM?! Dear God you just use whatever arguments are available to you without any regard for the facts of the matter!

  94. Steve –
    While Rav Ovadia would not advocate ashkenazim in the US to accept sefardi kulot willy-nilly because of their laziness or some other unscrupulous motive, If one became integrated into a sefardic community, as in the majority in EY, then accepting ALL of the psak is not only okay, but proper, as maintaining variant customs when minhag hamakom is established may be innappropriate. (I always wonder about that one guy in every modern orthodox ashkenazi shul who wears the gartel)
    As to your “which sfardi community-” this is a moot question – all (except those wacky teimanim) accept the beit yosef. Therefore, halacha rabbim is to accept the beit yosef. Because the practices of the edot hamizrach were essentially continuously imported from EY, they agree 95% of the time.(Ashkenazim had Vilna, we had Yerushalayim) Morroccans may be different, but again, they are bound by halacha rabbim.
    Keep in mind, most ashkenazim can’t stand to be in shul long enough to be mkabel all the sefardi minhagim, which basically doubles your prayers. 😉 so its not worth it just for rice on pesach, accept maybe for mkubalim or ashkenazim marrying sefardiot.

    Also, calling sefardic communities post-1492 backwaters is ignorant. The shulchan aruch was written in 1565, I believe. I would push your date forward a couple hundred years and you’d be kinda correct. (post-1700 maybe?) also, don’t ignore sefardi acharonim such as the ramak, kaf hachaim, the chida, the or hachaim, rashash, ben ish chai, or yehuda fatiyah. Just because you don’t learn them doesn’t mean they weren’t significant.

    in the end of the day, a beis yakov poem about a hat comes to mind…

  95. Steve- ignore my fight about the backwater thing – I thought you were talking about sefardic communities in general. As I know nothing about Italy, or the pletat sefarad in europe, you may be right. But I stand by my position that the mizrach was important too!

  96. “Proof please? I think that we can find much evidence of the persistence in adherence to Minhagim even in the State of Israel, and many halachic issues arising out of Ashkenazim marrying Sefardim, and vice versa. ”

    The only place you will find such adherence to minhagim is amongst Charedim who fight tooth and nail, to try to keep their minhagim. And even they get minhagim mixed up.

    Everywhere else in Israel, minhagim mix and match and people ditch old minhagim when making Aliyah to fit in wit the communities that they move to. There are 172 religious settlements/neighborhoods/cities in Israel. How many of those places can you find people keeping their strict minhagim? 10 maybe 15? How many of those places actually succeed in keeping all their minhagim? I doubt it’s more than 5.

  97. an interesting piece in the jewish week about non reporting sexual abuse cases in lakewood.

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

    one wonders if rabbis will be ever be held accountable by the law (maybe some jail time would help their daat torah) for non reporting. too bad their followers are the ones suffering – when rabbis rule a town.

  98. Last year, the CJLS unanimously accepted a teshuvah that conferred equal status to deaf Jews in virtually every other area of Jewish practice: observing the commandments, counting in a “minyan”, and worshipping using sign language. The CJLS left the question of reading Torah in Sign Language unresolved, however, because they lacked of consensus on whether Sign Language is considered reading or a translation. […]

    the committee members began to wrestle over the finer legal issues raised by the teshuvah, especially the “reading versus translation” debate. After about an hour of legalistic wrangling, one witness stood up and, through his interpreter, made this plea: “What I and the deaf community want are to have the same rights and opportunities as the hearing community. We want to be able to access the word of God the only way we can. Please,” he said, his passion and pain clear, “let us have Torah, too. That’s all we ask.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rabbis-preoccupied-with-systematic-rules-miss-the-point-of-halacha-1.400157

  99. Steve: this contemporary adherence to family minhag is a modern phenomenon, and as Avi says, it’s disappearing in Israel as we move towards a more traditional adherence to minhag hamaqom. Did R Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi insist on Ashkenazi minhagim in Tzfas? Or did he write his kavvanot to Nusach Edot Hamizrach prayers, such that Chassidim and Yaavetz are left running to reframe Ashkenazi nuschaot in his model?

  100. IH,
    From your article…

    “This is why the Talmud teaches that “a rabbinic judge only has what his or her eyes see” (Bava Batra 130b). ”

    Somehow, I think he isn’t quoting the Talmud here….

    “We want to be able to access the word of God the only way we can. Please,” he said, his passion and pain clear, “let us have Torah, too. That’s all we ask.””

    Are they unable to read books?

  101. Avi — I just thought it was interesting and germane. I know nothing about the topic, aside from casual conversations with an academic linguist friend over the years of our acquaintance.

    A quick look without looking at the full context is that the quote is from the top of BB 131a.

  102. ” quick look without looking at the full context is that the quote is from the top of BB 131a.”

    At no point does the Talmud write “his or her”… (Especially in regards to a Judge)

    ” I just thought it was interesting and germane.”

    Germane to what? It’s an interesting topic, but only because it goes to show how far removed from Halacha the CJLS really is.

  103. “And, related, from the OU site: http://www.ou.org/shabbat_shalom/article/deafblind_shabbaton

    BTW, this is a really nice kosher cafe/restuarunt in Yaffo.
    http://www.nalagaat.org.il/home.php

    You get to eat in pitch darkness served by blind waiters.

  104. Germane to the changed societal status of various groups and how it tracks with halacha. Are Orthodox deaf Jews in your community still excluded from getting an aliya?

  105. From http://www.hamodia.com/inthepaper.cfm?ArticleID=537:

    Rabbi Shuchatowitz discussed the importance of accommodating deaf people in shuls.

    “Many shuls won’t give an aliyah to a deaf person, and they understandably feel very excluded, both in terms of social acceptance and in terms of their ability to participate in kvod haTorah. If a deaf person is able to say the brachos and with the help of a hearing aid can follow along with the baal kriyah, or if he can read at least three pesukim during kriyas haTorah along with the baal kriyah – it’s helpful if he can prepare this in advance – then his aliyah would be valid. This would enable the hearing-impaired to receive aliyos and to feel accepted and respected, which is very meaningful. Otherwise, a she’eilah should be asked.

    “At the Shabbaton, Rabbi Kastor signed along with an explanation of the parashah. That is wonderful since the point of kriyas haTorah is so that people will know what is written in the Torah and learn from it,” Rabbi Shuchatowitz continued. “There is no hefsek involved in this as the ones who are watching and understanding the sign language cannot otherwise hear the kriyah, and they are watching silently without disrupting the kriyah for anyone else.

  106. RMF has a teshuvah on this. He paskens that if a deaf person is easily understood he can receive an aliyah. However, if he is not easily understood, he can still receive an aliyah on important occasions like a bar mitzvoh and the like.

    A blind man receiving an aliyah today is not an issue – see SA, OC Siman 139, Seif 2, and MB seifim katan 12 and 13.

  107. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b — restaurant on LES dates it back several decades, before charedim established their (current) yichus system. (by the way, who is RFS?)

    2. the lakewood article quotes the county prosecutor as making every citizen a “mandated reporetr”. first — that is news to me. second — why isnt he prosecuting the psychologist invloved? obviously, its a mandate with no teeth. third — the prosecutor says you can report to a prosecutor. if so, the beginning of the article critisizing reporting to a DA who will respond to political pressure is compliant, yet ineffectual. i note, too , that the penn state case took three years to investigate? why isnt that improper?

  108. IH, giving people an Aliyah, is not at all the same as declaring that “reading” the Torah in Sign Language counts as “reading” the Torah.

    Might as well just start reading the Torah in English.

  109. Number of yeridim by decade:
    1950s: 40,651
    1960s: 40,956
    1970s: 49,392
    1980s: 44,150
    1990s: 66,582
    2000s: 54,081
    In 2010, there were 5,172 Israel-born immigrants to the US.

    Given Israel’s population growth since 1950 (from about 1 to 8 million), the fact that the number of yordim per year has stayed almost constant is remarkable. Perhaps it’s because a higher percentage of Israelis are second- or third-generation.

    “The Zohar is rejected by almost all Spanish and Portuguese Jews.

    Ironic, given where the Zohar came from…

    Keep in mind, most ashkenazim can’t stand to be in shul long enough to be mkabel all the sefardi minhagim, which basically doubles your prayers. 😉 so its not worth it just for rice on pesach, accept maybe for mkubalim or ashkenazim marrying sefardiot.

    What, you can’t just pick and choose different customs regarding different issues???

    Germane to the changed societal status of various groups and how it tracks with halacha. Are Orthodox deaf Jews in your community still excluded from getting an aliya?

    Ever since most major poskim decided it was OK, no. Are you willing to accept that as the standard for halachic change?

  110. Shlomo — I’m not sure what you are asking, but according to the 2010 ha’Modia piece “Many shuls won’t give an aliyah to a deaf person.”

  111. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Many shuls won’t give an aliyah to a deaf person.”

    unless his family ha$.

    though not a requirement in my suburban shul.

    2. regarding intermarriage threats to yordim, see article in same newspaper “UJA-Fed. Launches Outreach To Intermarrieds ”

    3. surprised charedim dont counteract with “questionable russians in israel” billboards.

    4. interesting — the (original) ads were put up by yisrael be’aliyah appointees.

    5. also, tourism ad campaign in us returns to scantily clad women in ads. they had to sdtop thiose a number of years ago.

    6. thats what happens when you crop out hillary from your front page (though we now know the photo itself misrepresented the situation — it was a staged photo of an event that never took place.)

  112. STEVE BRIZEL:

    “When ROY refers to Sfard as practiced by the Edot Mizrach as being the source for Psak in Israel based on simple rule of Halacha Rabim, I have always wondered-which Sfardi community-Iraq, Syria, Turkey , the North African communities, the Taimanim, their many subgroups or the collective sum of the same”

    iraq of course. as i understnad many morrocans in particular don’t like him

    in any case, same could be argued for “ashkenaz”

    ” I think that we can find much evidence of the persistence in adherence to Minhagim even in the State of Israel”

    hogwash.
    of course there is still persistence, but you deny the heavy cross fertizilization of minhagim among communities in the last 50 years (i don’t mean just between ashkenaz/sephard)?

  113. SHLOMO:

    those numbers are pretty specific, down to the ones. i’m curious how they define a yored and how they kept track.

    “Perhaps it’s because a higher percentage of Israelis are second- or third-generation.”

    than when? 50 years ago? i don’t more than than 25 years ago (with the FSU aliyah)

  114. “those numbers are pretty specific, down to the ones. i’m curious how they define a yored and how they kept track.”

    Nobody is defining a Yored. Those numbers come from the US government. They are the number of people who have applied for US citizenship that year from the country of origin.

    It’s very possible that the US has a quota on how many people from each country can become a citizen each year, and so that is why the numbers are stable.

    It’s hard to know if there are 50,000 people every 10 years, or if there were 200,000 people 40 years ago. (though that is obviously unlikely, its still technically an unknown)

    “than when? 50 years ago? i don’t more than than 25 years ago (with the FSU aliyah)”

    Most Russians I meet in Israel are second generation already.

    According to the official statistics, there have been 3,374,275 Olim since 1916. Even if they were all still Alive it would be less than half the population.

  115. “iraq of course. as i understnad many morrocans in particular don’t like him”

    I live in a heavily Morrocon community and ROY is quoted every Seudat Shlishit.

    MiMedinat HaYam ,
    I can’t tell what your numbers are referring to 🙁

  116. If local customs purportedly are meaningless, and especially so in Israel, why is it that there is no shortage on ShuT on the interchange and adoption of minhagim when a Sefardi marries an Ashkenazi and vice versa ?

  117. Steve — What is the date of the last such sh’uT in the non-Charedi camp you have seen?

  118. MiMedinat HaYam

    “hey are the number of people who have applied for US citizenship that year from the country of origin”

    and therefore include palestinians.

    you ignore pre 1948 yordim (a good number, too.)

    also, yordim who’se country of origin is europe / sfardi african / sfardi mid east. yordim who spent a couple of years in other countries, awaiting green card. intermarriage of yordim with (jewish) non israelis. non citizen yordim.

    poor statistic.

  119. “If local customs purportedly are meaningless, and especially so in Israel, why is it that there is no shortage on ShuT on the interchange and adoption of minhagim when a Sefardi marries an Ashkenazi and vice versa ?”

    Because there are no shortage of questions which people will ask? But things which people do, and which they didn’t ask about, don’t usually get written up as a she’elah and teshuvah.

    As for questions which people will ask, there are whole seforim of thousands of questions, many of the most absurd kind, which people ask Rav Chaim Kanivesky. The existence of these seforim proves only that people will bother him with anything and everything.

    In any case, I don’t know how you can deny that there has been and continues to be a massive intermingling of minhagim? Forget about Israel – right here in the States. When was the last time you saw someone using a Machzor K’minhag Boehm u-Mehren? What happened to all these Jews? They or their descendents were assimilated by the Borg. If that’s not intermingling minhagim, I don’t know what is.

  120. It is not just nusach t’filla. I have been surprised by YU educated relatives who are personally-very-machmir Dati le’Umi types telling me they don’t think the kitniyot prohibition will survive more than one more generation in Israel among Ashkenazaim.

  121. But, lets make this more theologically interesting. For those of us who believe “Medinat Yisrael, Reishit Tzmichat Ge’ulatainu”, shouldn’t that also mean a willingness to sociologically evolve a more unified approach to nusach and minhag that draws on the best of all our galut traditions?

  122. IH-I say Hallel on Yom HaAtzamaut and Yom Yerushalayim-yet, IMO, your last post is tantamount to taking a Tefilah which in its most simple translation states that Hakamas HaMedinah is a spiritual beginning of the redemption and views the same as a license for abolition of Minhagim that many communities view very seriously.

    As far as Ashenazic-Sefardic Halachic give and take, one can see such inquiries to RMF and RSZA, both of whom were certainly viewed with tremendous respect in DL and RZ circles. R M Harary’s excellent works on the Yamim Tovim also reflect the interaction between Ashkenazic and Sefardic traditions, as well as a willingness to ask questions and recite the answers from a wide range of Poskim.

  123. As far as Nusach HaTefilah is concerned, perhaps the inquiry is what you should recite with the Tzibur if you recite Nusach Ashkenaz and you are davening with a Minyan that is reciting Nusach Sefard, etc.

  124. It is the opposite of an abolition of Minhagim. It will help ensure the best of Minhagim that will otherwise fall away.

    RMF died in 1986 and RSZA in 1995. We’re now about to enter 2012. You seem to be completely out of touch with Dati le’Umi reality in Israel.

  125. “It is not just nusach t’filla. ”

    Of course. I could have given many more examples; the placement of the seder plate, the addition of simanim on rosh hashanah, kapparot with chickens, wearing or not wearing tefillin on chol hamoed – basically the entire gamut of minhagim has sort of dissolved into a kind of amorphous type, at least in the communities I am most intimately familiar with (non-Chassidic Ashkenaz).

    I think it’s worthwhile to point this out for the US, because while it is obvious to anyone who has spent even a little time in Israel that the Jews from 100 countries have been mixing up their minhagim, even as they are also clinging to some of them, the same thing occurred in the United States as well, even if sometimes it may somehow appear otherwise.

  126. “But, lets make this more theologically interesting. For those of us who believe “Medinat Yisrael, Reishit Tzmichat Ge’ulatainu”, shouldn’t that also mean a willingness to sociologically evolve a more unified approach to nusach and minhag that draws on the best of all our galut traditions?”

    Not necessarily. While I see no reason why the march of minhag development should not continue, we should also be mindful that destroying the past isn’t a good thing either, whether it’s the Cultural Revolution or the Wahabbis. Obviously those are extreme examples, but I’m not sure why discarding much of the traditions and blurring the boundaries are always such a good thing.

    Abraham Geiger had a very good khap. He thanked the Lord that the Vilna Gaon lived after the advent of printing, for otherwise the printed books would have used his textual emendations of rabbinic literature, and it would have obscured the history of that literature.

  127. IH-The fact that a Posek was Niftar IMO has no bearing on whether a Posek’s Piskei Halacha, regardless of the date of his Petirah, are viewed as authoritative. I am familiar with R Harary’s works and the excellent volumes of Techumin-which certainly include the writings of Poskim who are Charedi such as R Asher Weiss and R Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg.

  128. S wrote:

    “Of course. I could have given many more examples; the placement of the seder plate, the addition of simanim on rosh hashanah, kapparot with chickens, wearing or not wearing tefillin on chol hamoed – basically the entire gamut of minhagim has sort of dissolved into a kind of amorphous type, at least in the communities I am most intimately familiar with (non-Chassidic Ashkenaz”

    Perhaps, in the US, at least, unless one lives either in a Chasidishe community or a yeshivishe equivalent thereto, the notion of a Minhag America would be very difficult to demonstrate.

  129. Steve — as a reminder, I was responding to:

    If local customs purportedly are meaningless, and especially so in Israel, why is it that there is no shortage on ShuT on the interchange and adoption of minhagim when a Sefardi marries an Ashkenazi and vice versa ?

    And your Sh’uT are at least a generation old. The rate of Ashkenazi/Sephardi intermarriage is high enough in the intervening period that this is no longer a serious halachic debate.

    S. — As with all sociological change, those minhagim that have resonance with their followers are the ones that will survive, because people care about them enough to take a stand and sell others on their continuation. But, Reishit Tzmichat Ge’ulatainu surely has meaning in praxis and not just in rhetoric, no?

  130. “IMO, your last post is tantamount to taking a Tefilah which in its most simple translation states that Hakamas HaMedinah is a spiritual beginning of the redemption and views the same as a license for abolition of Minhagim that many communities view very seriously.”

    Steve — is that what Reishit Tzmichat Ge’ulatainu primarily means to you — a t’filla that enables you to say Hallel on Yom ha’Atzma’ut and Yom Yerushalayim?

  131. Steve

    “The fact that a Posek was Niftar IMO has no bearing on whether a Posek’s Piskei Halacha, regardless of the date of his Petirah, are viewed as authoritative.”

    Sociology plays a role in psak, whether you call it that or not. Part of the reason why a posek’s teshuvos are viewed as authoritative is, in addition to the great learning and piety of the posek, because they have some correlation with the reality of the day. For example, whether the Chasam Sofer permitted or promoted the Rabbenu Tam zman lekullah as well as lechumra, probably has little bearing on what Jews will do today, right? Does that mean that he is less authoritative? No, it only means that certain norms developed certain ways for certain reasons. But does it mean that his position – not to mention Rabbenu Tam himself! – is viable and resurrectable when conditions require it? Absolutely.

    “Perhaps, in the US, at least, unless one lives either in a Chasidishe community or a yeshivishe equivalent thereto, the notion of a Minhag America would be very difficult to demonstrate.”

    I disagree. McYiddishkeit is in general Minhag America. I’m surprised that you don’t see it. Don’t be fooled because some places daven nusach sefard and some places daven nusach ashkenaz (which, in both case, are homogenized American nuschaos).

    IH

    “S. — As with all sociological change, those minhagim that have resonance with their followers are the ones that will survive, because people care about them enough to take a stand and sell others on their continuation. But, Reishit Tzmichat Ge’ulatainu surely has meaning in praxis and not just in rhetoric, no?”

    I guess so. Personally I like the past (as well as the present), and am also not really an RZ per se, so maybe it doesn’t resonate for me the same way.

  132. IH-Reshit Tzmichat Geulateinu represents the amazing reality of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, with all the benefits and problems, spiritual and temporal, associated with the same, which in the view of many Poskim, obligate me to say Hallel as a matter of Hakaras Hatov. I do not see the phrase as a license for willy nilly change in Halacha and Minghagim. Change may indeed happen among Charedim , RZ/DL , Ashkenazim and Sefardim on an incremental basis for sociological, political and economic reasons, but I would be very hesitant on using any hashkafic or ideological slogan as the rationale for the same.

  133. S wrote in part:

    “I disagree. McYiddishkeit is in general Minhag America”

    I would agree if you are referring to the growth in English language works on very sophisticated Halachic works and Torah commentaries , and the major elements of TSBP, as well as the role of ArtScroll, in the creation and marketing of the same.

  134. But not minhagim? Do you not agree that many people, maybe most, really have absolutely no clue about the minhagim of their family, except sometimes in a few cases – whether liturgical, ritual or otherwise? How many people have the foggiest notion of how X, Y or Z was done in the land of their family origin? Why is that even though the American Ashkenazi non-Chassidic Orthodox society actually stems from many places, their practices are really quite similar? How is this not Minhag America?

  135. Joseph Kaplan

    I would add that part of minhag america is to have conflicting minhagim in the same place. See, e.g., wearing and not wearing tefillin on chol ha’mo’ed in the same shul, members of the same shul eating, and not eating, in a succah on SA, some men wearing a gartel in a MO shul etc. IOW, ISTM that live and let live with respect to minhagim is part of minhag america.

  136. “willy nilly change”

    Steve — please stop moving the goal posts. We are talking about people cross-adopting time-proven minhagim from across the spectrum of Jewish communities. The absolutist principle you espouse has been roundly criticized from various perspectives today.

  137. In his commentary to the Koren Siddur, R. Sacks writes (p. 523): “A key element of the prayer is the phrase ‘the first flowering of our redemption.’ It means that the restoration of Israel as a sovereign nation in its own land was not merely an event in secular history. It was the fulfilment of the prophetic vision […] In this view, Israel’s independence was itself a redemptive moment, a return to Jewish self-determination, self-government and self-defense under the sovereignty of God alone.”

    Steve — I don’t see how one can believe this and also believe in each individual rigidly maintaining the minhagim of their particular eretz p’zureihem as you seem to do.

  138. [The above is obviously not relevant to those who don’t believe in “Medinat Yisrael, Reishit Tzmichat Ge’ulatainu”]

  139. “They are the number of people who have applied for US citizenship that year from the country of origin.”

    No, it is the number of persons accepted as legal permanent resident aliens from the country of origin.

    “It’s very possible that the US has a quota on how many people from each country can become a citizen each year, and so that is why the numbers are stable.”

    No such quota. There IS a quota that no one country can contribute more than 7% of total immigration. (This penalizes large countries with a lot of people who want to immigrate such as China, India, and Mexico.) Israel is nowhere near that limit.

  140. ” wearing and not wearing tefillin on chol ha’mo’ed in the same shul”

    My rav took his tefillin to Shearith Israel in Manhattan on Chol HaMoed. He was asked to leave. They believe that THEY are minhag America and they do have a point as they were here first.

  141. “poor statistic.”

    Indeed it would be an underestimation of the number of yeridim for the reasons you give. I suspect that the Israeli government may have a better estimate, but doesn’t want to publish it.

  142. “post-1700 maybe?”

    The Me’am Lo’ez was written in the 18th century. I don’t think any culture that can produce a work of that mangnitude can be called a backwater.

  143. Abba's Rantings

    IH:

    “In his commentary to the Koren Siddur, R. Sacks writes (p. 523): “A key element of the prayer is the phrase ‘the first flowering of our redemption.’ It means that the restoration of Israel as a sovereign nation in its own land was not merely an event in secular history. It was the fulfilment of the prophetic vision […] In this view, Israel’s independence was itself a redemptive moment, a return to Jewish self-determination, self-government and self-defense under the sovereignty of God alone.”

    Steve — I don’t see how one can believe this and also believe in each individual rigidly maintaining the minhagim of their particular eretz p’zureihem as you seem to do.”

    i don’t see how one has anything to do with the other.

  144. “Not necessarily. While I see no reason why the march of minhag development should not continue, we should also be mindful that destroying the past isn’t a good thing either, whether it’s the Cultural Revolution or the Wahabbis. Obviously those are extreme examples, but I’m not sure why discarding much of the traditions and blurring the boundaries are always such a good thing.”

    The last 2 times the Jewish people moved from outside of Israel into Israel, halacha and Minhagim changed drastically.

    When Joshua led the people into Israel, rules of which meat you could eat, how tribes interacted, and inheritance worked, and agriculture rules all changed from the practices in the desert.

    When the 2nd temple was built, again, Ezra made many changes to the way that Judaism was practiced from the way it was done in Bavel.

    Protecting history for history’s sake when there is a clear reason to shift practice seems sort of silly. Our literature is full of statements that tell us that when we Return to Israel our practices will change. What we did in Galut was good for Galut, but it’s not what we do during Geulah.

  145. “No, it is the number of persons accepted as legal permanent resident aliens from the country of origin.”

    I’m not aware what the practical difference is for the conversation at hand. Landing off a plane and declaring that you plan to live in America does not grant you that status. My own family members spent many years in America before they got their green card.

  146. Shachar Ha'amim

    “The last 2 times the Jewish people moved from outside of Israel into Israel, halacha and Minhagim changed drastically”

    you could say the same thing about the increase in Jewish population in E”Y after the expulsion from Spain which ultimately produced the shulchan aruch

  147. “you could say the same thing about the increase in Jewish population in E”Y after the expulsion from Spain which ultimately produced the shulchan aruch”

    Good point. Especially with the output of the minhagim of Zfat.

  148. Moshe Shoshan

    Does anybody have a copy of or at least seen Rabbi Belsky’s letter about the Lakewood abuse case?

  149. Baruch Alster

    On mixing and matching minhagim – two Israeli rabbis recently came out with an approach pretty much in tune with the Israeli reality: RN Rabinovitch from Maale Adumim in Shu”t Siah Nahum (don’t have the reference), and R. Yigal Ariel:
    אריאל, יגאל, “ואל תיטוש תורת אמך” (האם אישה נשואה צריכה לאמץ את מנהגי משפחת בעלה?) צהר לא שבט תשסח עמ’ 9-19.
    His brother R. Yaakov wrote a rejoinder, but was not nearly as convincing.
    Also worth noting is that in shuls in many (most?) new communities in Israel, the official nosah is whatever the hazan says. Yes, this is the popular custom and many rabbis don’t condone it, but it is the reality.

  150. If I recall correctly, R. Nachum Rabinovich only discusses new yishuvim where he says they can establish a minhag ha-makom.

  151. BARUCH ALSTER:

    “Also worth noting is that in shuls in many (most?) new communities in Israel, the official nosah is whatever the hazan says.”

    to what extent? i remember a shul in israel that had this policy 20 years ago, but from what i remember (was a long time ago and i was younger and not attuned to these things) it was an option of ashkenaz or nusach sefard, not anything else.

  152. as an aside, whatever mingling of minhag takes place is slowly and not imposed. note the failure of rav goren’s nusach achid.

  153. Abba — please explain further on the theological plane:

    “i don’t see how one has anything to do with the other.”

    Isn’t unification meant to be an outcome of redemption?

    “whatever mingling of minhag takes place is slowly and not imposed. note the failure of rav goren’s nusach achid.”

    On the practical plane, agreed. This is the lesson of most attempts at modernization in the 2nd half of the 20th century. It just takes longer and with more back-and-forth de-facto. Which just goes to show that the amcha is in control, not pontificating Rabbis.

  154. IH:

    “Isn’t unification meant to be an outcome of redemption?”

    yes, political and national unification
    but why should redemption mean we all have to act the same way? maybe there should only be one hashkafah/theology also? act the same way, think the same way. is utltimately redemption supposed to produce a borg-like environment?

    i can definately see how different minhagim create communal/national divisiveness, but it doesn’t have to. maybe *that’s* what redemption is all about. social, communal and national achdus in spite of divergent minhag and other differences.

    and i’m surprised you wouldn’t go for the richness, beaughty and strenght in diversity argument.

  155. Unification, but still division by tribe.

  156. Re: Siah Nahum, IIRC he addressed the husband-wife situation, just as did R. Yigal Ariel. I also remember him writing there that the idea that one must pasken by SA for Sefaradim and Rema for Ashkenazim is a “myth”.

    Re: Shuls – as more Sefaradim and Ashkenazim establish communities together, there are more shuls that are lax about nosah. In Zufim, where I live, the main (mainly Ashkenazi) shul goes by the hazan for nosah, and while most other minhagim are Ashkenazi, there are a couple of Sefaradi ones so all members will feel welcome. The Sefaradi shul AFAIK is all Sefaradi nosah, but they have Ashkenazi members, including one (z”l) who was a regular baal keriah there (in the Ashkenazi tune).
    Even in my parents’ Nosah Sefarad shul in Raanana, they’ve gotten used to a regular member saying kaddish in the Sefaradi nosah, and their rabbi supported it. Things are definitely different now than when I was growing up.

  157. Does the ADL actually think that Charedim care what the Chief Rabbis say?

  158. “My rav took his tefillin to Shearith Israel in Manhattan on Chol HaMoed. He was asked to leave. They believe that THEY are minhag America and they do have a point as they were here first.”

    A point? No they don’t.

    You know, the Spanish exiles moved to many places in Western Europe and the Levant where they were not there first, and they did not change their own minhagim or join the Ashkenazim or local ‘Mizrahim’ and dissolve themselves as communities. If anything they are the ones who first established the precedent of maintaining one’s minhagim.

  159. Nachum “Does the ADL actually think that Charedim care what the Chief Rabbis say?”

    I doubt the ADL has more than the faintest notion of religious dynamics in Israel. But even apart for that, they are going on record because they want to be on record.

  160. “I doubt the ADL has more than the faintest notion of religious dynamics in Israel.”

    I should modify that – I meant intra-religious. There’s only so much you can glean from the media, blogs or even personal observation. Outsiders generally don’t get all the fighting about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and probably cannot possibly see a distinction between the Rabbanut and Chareidim.

  161. S: I doubt the ADL has more than the faintest notion of religious dynamics in Israel.

    Oh, please. I’m sure they know the difference between what used to be Mafdal and Agudat Yisrael.

    But even apart for that, they are going on record because they want to be on record.

    Yeah, by throwing the chief rabbinate under the bus. Not nice.

  162. “Oh, please. I’m sure they know the difference between what used to be Mafdal and Agudat Yisrael.”

    See my clarification. What I meant, in addressing Nachum’s comment, was that I don’t think the ADL likely fully gets that the Rabbanut barely exists, let alone wields any moral authority, over Chareidim.

    “Yeah, by throwing the chief rabbinate under the bus. Not nice.”

    Under the bus? Why didn’t they denounce it in the first place? (Or did they?)

  163. S. is right. The Rabbinate is irrelevant to Charedim except as a source of jobs and political patronage.

  164. Just to close out my thinking out loud on redemption and minhag redemption. my point is that what is happening slowly de-facto — a mixing of the best of all the diverse traditions through the bringing together of Jews me’artzot p’zureihem — is theologically congruent with the idea that we are at the start of the redemption.

    The converse, though, is inconsistent: one can’t have redemption if each community me’artzot p’zureihem remains sociologically xenophobic.

    Gil’s point that “Unification, but still division by tribe” does nothing to support Steve B’s purity of “mesorah” argument that started this discussion thread.

  165. On spitting, from new-links-72:

    IH on November 23, 2011 at 9:31 am
    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/israeli-public-figures-apologize-to-greek-patriarch-for-ultra-orthodox-spitting-incidents-1.397173

    Interesting that it was only what some here call “self-hating leftists” it seems.

    [The link was then added by Gil to the News & Links, but I don’t think there were further comments]

  166. “The converse, though, is inconsistent: one can’t have redemption if each community me’artzot p’zureihem remains sociologically xenophobic.”

    The key word is xenophobic. Why is diversity xenophibia? A society really can’t exist with people speaking the same language with different accents, or even different dialects? U pluribus unum.

  167. ” they did not change their own minhagim or join the Ashkenazim or local ‘Mizrahim’ and dissolve themselves as communities”

    I’ve met many Ashkenazic Jews who can trace their ancestry to survivors of the 1492 expulsion. The ones that ended up in Eastern Europe became Ashkenazic.

  168. The general pesak from those times was that when you settled as individuals you adopted the community’s practices but when you settled as a group, you created your own mini-community and kept your minhagim.

  169. “I’ve met many Ashkenazic Jews who can trace their ancestry to survivors of the 1492 expulsion. The ones that ended up in Eastern Europe became Ashkenazic.”

    Well of course this happens to individuals (and maybe even to small pockets of people). Ostensibly every Sefardi surnamed Ashkenazi or Sarfati originated in Germany, France or at least some perceived Ashkenazi community. In fact, a good friend of mine is Egyptian, very much so. Yet one of his great-grandfathers was from eastern Europe, and somehow moved to Egypt toward the end of the 19th century, married a local girl and went native – but they kept the last name. So my Egyptian friend (he even named his children after his living parents) has a very particulary European Jewish last name, but there’s almost nothing Ashkenazi about him besides that name.

    By the way, I am rather suspicious of most of these genealogies and would take them with a grain of salt.

  170. “The general pesak from those times was that when you settled as individuals you adopted the community’s practices but when you settled as a group, you created your own mini-community and kept your minhagim.”

    Pesak or practice? Do you think that the Sefardim re-established themselves as distinct communities because this was paskened/ ordered? How come the refugees from Poland after 1648-9 didn’t establish Polish communities where they ended up, whether in Germany or even in Turkish lands?

  171. “Why is diversity xenophibia?”

    It’s not. What I mean by sociologically xenophobic, is Steve’s rigid “mesorah” position, that others’ minhagim “are IMO of purely historical, academic, and sociological interest for anyone who is not bound by the above listed communities Chumros, Kulos, Minhagim, etc.”

  172. “By the way, I am rather suspicious of most of these genealogies and would take them with a grain of salt.”

    We are learning a lot from DNA testing. Sample of one: for my Galizianer Chassidic Y-DNA line, there are some non-Jewish Spaniards who have matching DNA. Unlike some, I have no family stories of a Sephardic ancestor, but as the FamilyTreeDNA database continues to grow, we may be able to statistically work out if and when my family was there pre-1492.

  173. “Avi — I think this one is a tighter version of similar reaction:”

    I disagree, that is just a rant. There is no room for discussion there regarding who is doing what, or what language things are written in. It’s just demanding that people write public statements against people who can not respond to those statements in kind.

  174. Avi — ok, but I’m wondering if we read the same article by R. Rackover from your last sentence.

  175. “It’s not. What I mean by sociologically xenophobic, is Steve’s rigid “mesorah” position, that others’ minhagim “are IMO of purely historical, academic, and sociological interest for anyone who is not bound by the above listed communities Chumros, Kulos, Minhagim, etc.””

    Yeah, well that position is his position. But I’ve never really heard that seriously espoused by anyone else but him. Mind you, his position is that all other communities besides whatever he considers the mainstream are cute and “fascinating” for historical interest, except of course for the descendents of those people. This is a pretty extreme and bizarre view, and I don’t see why this has anything to do with diversity.

  176. S. — I was exploring the internal consistency of Steve’s position.

    FTR I did not use the word “diversity” except in response to Abba and yourself using it.

  177. IH-I don’t think that it is rigid to postulate that Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Jewry presently are basically subjects for historians. Proofs as to what isolated Spanish Portuguese synagogues in NYC or Philadephia do vis a vis Minhagim are fascinating sociological observations but IMO are grossly irrelevant for anyone who does not have a scintilla of affiliation with the same.

  178. Steve — Your comment was about “Italians, Spanish & Portugese, Eidot ha’Mizrach and Taymanim”. FWIW, the several longstanding Shearith Israel people I know are (by recent bloodline) Ashkenazi.

  179. And let’s not forget that S&P R. Marc Angel has been very active in MO and had served as President of the RCA.

  180. IH-how many S & P shuls are there in the US and Israel?

  181. How many Eidot ha’Mizrach shuls are there, if you want to play that game?

  182. And what %age of your chevra actually have ancestors who lived in Vilna and environs?

  183. “IH-I don’t think that it is rigid to postulate that Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Jewry presently are basically subjects for historians. Proofs as to what isolated Spanish Portuguese synagogues in NYC or Philadephia do vis a vis Minhagim are fascinating sociological observations but IMO are grossly irrelevant for anyone who does not have a scintilla of affiliation with the same.”

    This is wrong. It’s wrong because it’s wrong. There’s simply no reasonw why the minhagim of Lita are more important than the minhagim of any other kehilla kedosha. It’s also wrong because it’s factually incorrect. For example, one reason why the Chasam Sofer ruled (correctly) that removing the beard is entirely permitted, provided it is done properly, is because of the historical and current fact that the Jews in Italy, including the rabbis, were wont to remove their beards. In another case he refuted the contention of the Yismach Moshe regarding a certain mode of dress for the sheliach tzibur favored by Chasidim, and claimed to have been favored by the Ari, by writing that he knows that the Sefardim in London, Amsterdam, etc. are faithful to their minhagim, and what the Yismach Moshe claimed was the Sefardic practice was unknown to them.

  184. “As a business, EcoGlatt has its challenges. Saunders takes his time slaughtering, saying a standard blessing over each animal―rather than over a whole lot, as is common among kosher meat producers―and guiding each animal into a slaughter box. After the cut is made, EcoGlatt delays processing until an animal has fully bled out and ceased all motion, a process that takes between 10 to 15 minutes. That means they can process only four or five animals an hour. The fastest conventional kosher meat lines can process about 250 heads an hour; non-kosher slaughterhouses can process nearly 400 an hour.”

    http://www.tabletmag.com/life-and-religion/85608/cuts-above/

  185. MiMedinat HaYam

    there was an ashkenazi community in egypt dating back to the early 20th century, separate from the “ancient” jewish community (sephardi) of egypt.

    2. despite the claim that the first jews in america were the 24 that were shipwerecked, etc. it turns out there already were two jews in new york when they came. one, an officer of the dutch east india company, who presumably returned to holland. the second, a shochet named asser levy. presumably, he was the most learned, and was prob the authority for halacha, esp kashrut. (thus, the claim of kitniyot in america being the first minhag is wrong, except for r gil’s comment of community vs individual.)

    i say the above to downplay the S & P tfillin chol hamoed discussion. not necessary normative. (also, over the years, the majority of S & P synagague members were ashkenaz, including those who broke away in 1825 to form adat yeshurun, etc,.)

    3. “I have been surprised by YU educated relatives who are personally-very-machmir Dati le’Umi types telling me they don’t think the kitniyot prohibition will survive more than one more generation in Israel among Ashkenazaim.”

    perhaps a few decades ago. not now, with the power of the charedim.

    though your comment of YU educated becoming charedi is a comment i would like to see yu look into (?phd dissertation?)

    4. “Unification, but still division by tribe.”

    but did those tribes really have different minhagim? (prayer as we know it today did not exist then, despite the 70 tunnels argument.) there was a sanhedrin to decide “customs”, and till (bet) hillel and (bet) shamai, (almost) no divisions.

    5. the truth is that s & P minhagim are considered authentic and are being preserved just like frankfurt / yekke minhagim are considered authentic and are (not really) being preserved.

    6. the “minhag america” term has been coopted by the 19th century reform movement (r stephen wise, i beileve, wrote the book called minhag america. it was a siddur / catechism text.)

  186. MiMedinat HaYam

    s — but did the chatam sofer object to the shliach tzibur garb of america?

    the divrei chaim called on his colleagues to reject gitten from america.

  187. Some of us do have a scintilla of affiliation with the S&P. Don’t be so Litvak-centered as to consider it “grossly irrelevant.”

  188. IH-I would certainy agree that there are many Edpt HaMizrach shuls that serve that community quite well. Again, how many S & P shuls are there worldwide?

  189. “IH-I would certainy agree that there are many Edpt HaMizrach shuls that serve that community quite well. Again, how many S & P shuls are there worldwide?”

    What on earth is the difference?

    I really don’t get why you keep on demeaning worthy and important communities. Is it for fear that someone will get a good idea from them? Hopefully one day no one will speak of putting Orthodox Jews from Queens into cute and fascinating museums that are allowed to be of interest only to historians.

  190. “The general pesak from those times was that when you settled as individuals you adopted the community’s practices but when you settled as a group, you created your own mini-community and kept your minhagim.”

    That was NOT done in America; the first communities all followed the S&P nusach, but Ashkenazic breakaways started in the late 19th century.

    No surprise that every single Ashkenazic congregation in America that is more than 160 years old either died out or is no longer Orthodox.

  191. “Proofs as to what isolated Spanish Portuguese synagogues in NYC or Philadephia ”

    Uh, be glad that the Spanish and Portuguese synagogues in NYC and Philadelphia isolated themselves. They are the only two Orthodox congregations in the United States that survived the Reform onslaught.

  192. “Avi — ok, but I’m wondering if we read the same article by R. Rackover from your last sentence.”

    The Sikirim, child abusers, tax cheats, swindlers, and Thugs in black clothing are not writing blog posts which champion their unorthodox and unhalachic and inhuman activities. Nor do I suspect that they even would be reading the same newspapers or blogs that we read. This means there can’t be any dialogue with them in this format, which means posting something to condemn them is just pointless. And perhaps even breaks rules of Lashon Harah, since nobody who would be reading your condemnation even believes that those activities are allowed.

    Ofcourse, at this point, with so many people asking why the condemnations aren’t being made, it might be required to make them… but that then becomes a weird game for another post/topic.

  193. “If it’s the latter, then the Zionist premise of Jewish nationalism providing the most durable, primary form of Jewish identity is called into question. What does it mean if at the end of the day many Israelis are as eager to leave Israel for New York as their great-grandparents were to leave Eastern Europe for the shores of Ellis Island?”

    Hasn’t that always been the case-there has been comparatively very little aliyah from wealthy countries where Jews are treated well. Look around in theUS hiow many Yordim there are in frum circles-of all types-chareidi, MO etc.

  194. IH, I don’t think you quoted the most interesting part of the article. 🙂 http://www.tabletmag.com/life-and-religion/85608/cuts-above/

    “About a year later, in the spring of 2009, Saunders and Brenner ate meat again—a goat named Hansel that they raised and slaughtered on the eve of Passover with other members of the tiny Jewish community in Pueblo. We “really developed a sense of the sacrificial consciousness that went into bringing an animal that you know,” said Brenner. “It wasn’t just that we’re taking an animal to butcher it. We understood the identification that people had with their animals at the Temple.””

    Also, curious if this makes the meat not kosher anymore.
    “The EcoGlatt team raise sheep in Pueblo and then buy Warhill lambs and Charolais cows from other ranchers in Colorado, which they process at a hahal slaughterhouse in Fort Collins, 180 miles away”

  195. What I was thinking when I read the cuts-above piece was: industrial kosher butchering (250 heads an hour) may be technically kosher, but I wonder if a time-travelling shochet from 19th century Eastern Europe would think so (before it was rationalized for him step by step).

  196. Interestingly, “An Editor’s Goodbye” is not very smoothly written and has grammatical issues as well. Kind of ironic.

  197. If you’d like to read the actual “YU Beacon Article on Sexuality” rather than an article about it, here’s the link. http://yubeacon.com/2011/12/the__written_word/how-do-i-even-begin-to-explain-this/

  198. “The Sikirim, child abusers, tax cheats, swindlers, and Thugs in black clothing are not writing blog posts which champion their unorthodox and unhalachic and inhuman activities.”
    The MO community has ahrdly been immune to white collar crime by its machers.

  199. Re Egged Buses and Mea Shearim-Egged Buses that are de facto segregated-women entering and sitting in the back. How do the women pay? In the old days the excuse was that the chareidi women were punching their own tickets-which my limited observation told me that few were-today with the Rav-Kav how do theyget their Rav Kavs charged for the trip.

  200. After all the hullaballoo I was somewhat surprised when I finally read the YU Beacon story that not only was there basically no erotic content but also that it was a morality tale with the message “don’t have sex with someone you don’t love just because you are curious or you will feel bad about it.” Really?
    Imagine the same short story were published at a secular university.
    First, it couldn’t be in it’s current form because it wouldn’t make much sense to the uninitiated (“his head uncovered” – so what?). But that aside, second, it would be lambasted as prudish both for leaving out basically all details and as “sex-negative” because the girl felt bad about having sex.
    Is the problem that that message was given over via a story written in first person as opposed to proclaimed by rabbinical authority?

  201. “Since December 2010, approximately 10,000 kollel students have continued to receive the allotments of NIS 1,040 a month”

    I believe minimum Israeli wage is around 22 NIS an hour-thus stipend is equivalent to working at minimum wage for about a little more than 6 8 hour days.

  202. emma – my wife also expected teacher/professor sleeping with student type scandal. however its a big deal about mindshare vs. turo and how many rabbis and others tell girls not to go to stern because its not religious and bad morals. yu is embarrassed.

  203. “The MO community has ahrdly been immune to white collar crime by its machers.”

    And who in the MO community writes that these are Torah ideals?
    The Sikirim, if they had a blog, would write that what they are doing is a Torah Ideal however.

  204. ” How do the women pay?”

    From what I have seen, the honest people give their Rav Kav to their husband and he swipes it multiple times.
    The dishonest people don’t pay.

  205. Re Salary survey:

    How do I get one of those jobs?

  206. Does anyone seriously believe that cheating of all sorts is not pandemic in day schools and other schools?

  207. “” How do the women pay?”

    From what I have seen, the honest people give their Rav Kav to their husband and he swipes it multiple times.
    The dishonest people don’t pay.”

    Unlike the kartisia the Rav Kav is not transferable-it has your picture and name on it. There were ads recently reminding people of that fact. BTW I noticed very few womens RavKavs being swiped.

  208. “After all the hullaballoo I was somewhat surprised when I finally read the YU Beacon story that not only was there basically no erotic content but also that it was a morality tale with the message “don’t have sex with someone you don’t love just because you are curious or you will feel bad about it.” Really?”

    There has been much general media coverage about the story -News.google the issue and one will see many articles about ti-including NYT and WSJ.

  209. “Uh, be glad that the Spanish and Portuguese synagogues in NYC and Philadelphia isolated themselves. They are the only two Orthodox congregations in the United States that survived the Reform onslaught”

    The Sefardic world did not have the Reform Challenge or the counter moves to Reform.

  210. “Also for the first time this year, the Forward sent certified letters to the leaders of religious organizations to urge them to disclose their salaries in the spirit of transparency, even though they are not required to do so by law.

    The only one of the 13 religious leaders to respond was Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. “While RRC does not release information about any individual salaries, I can report that our administrative costs annually average about 15% of our total budget,” Ehrenkrantz wrote.

    The highest-paid leader in the Forward survey continues to be Yeshiva University President Richard Joel, who earned $848,176 in 2010, a slight decrease from his 2009 salary. The two other university presidents in the survey enjoyed pay hikes. Jehuda Reinharz, in his last year at Brandeis University, received a 12.46% increase, while Alan Kadish at Touro College saw his pay go up by 25.62% from that of his predecessor.”

    Read more: http://forward.com/articles/147568/#ixzz1gC0Eq9mL

  211. “There has been much general media coverage about the story -News.google the issue and one will see many articles about ti-including NYT and WSJ.”

    Right. If anything this confirms that it strikes many people as remarkable that the original story caused such a negative reaction.

  212. “Unlike the kartisia the Rav Kav is not transferable-it has your picture and name on it. ”

    I’m aware of that, and so are the bus drivers who are handed 2-3 cards at a time from a single man at the front of the bus while some women and children enter from the back…

  213. “Pandemic” is an adjective?

  214. Actually, Nachum, yes, it is. So is “epidemic”. There is nothing unusual in this usage.

  215. The following is a comment that I received from one ofthe Baker Street Irregulars.

    “”The highest-paid leader in the Forward survey continues to be Yeshiva University President Richard Joel, who earned $848,176 in 2010, a slight decrease from his 2009 salary.”

    In 2009 President Joel received $1.2 million in total compensation. For comparison, President Faust (Harvard) received $0.9 million in total compensation in 2009, and President Obama (U.S.A.) received $0.4 million in salary. http://chronicle.com/article/Executive-Compensation/129979/

  216. avi on December 11, 2011 at 12:29 am
    ““Unlike the kartisia the Rav Kav is not transferable-it has your picture and name on it. ”

    I’m aware of that, and so are the bus drivers who are handed 2-3 cards at a time from a single man at the front of the bus while some women and children enter from the back…”

    Since the Rav Kav -I have taken Egged unofficial Chareidi buses and my observations do not show that to be a usual happening. It appears to me that based on my limited observations that very few cards of women are being swiped.
    To be fair I don’t expect to have much compliance by many who enter the Rackevet kalah in the stops near Shuafot. A mevaker is about as likely to start up with a bunch of teenage boys from those stops as they are with a bunch of chareidi women on the chareidi buses.

  217. “avi on December 10, 2011 at 11:26 am
    Re Salary survey:

    How do I get one of those jobs?”

    Have a friend who is an important macher on the Board

    or it seems be a member of a family that controls a nonprofit

    see eg from the Forward story

    “The second-highest-paid leader in the survey is Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Hier also works for and is compensated by SWC Museum Corp. His total take-home pay in 2010 was $721,714.

    But the Hier family makes even more. Marlene Hier, the rabbi’s wife, earned $344,329 as director of membership development, working for both institutions, and his son, Alan D. Hier, earned $187,274 as international director of fundraising and communications for SWC Museum Corp.”

    That smells even worse than having a friend on the Board-BTW does anyone doubt that this may also be a problem with some of our schuls/yeshivot that have father son combinations getting jobs. Of course, those instittuitions are either exempt from filing 990s or take the position that they are exempt from filing 990s becausethey claim to be churches. IMHO children/spouses etc should never be employed by an institution that their father/husband etc are key employees of.If I recall correctly there was such a policy around 700 years ago in many European communities-maybe we would be better off if we returned to such a policy.

  218. While the hypocrisy is lamentable, I can’t get worked up about Charedim cheating the transport companies. The fares are regulated and the operator’s business plan will have accounted for revenue, lossage (i.e. theft of service) and the cost of enforcement. This is a matter for the franchised transport companies to manage, as long as the revenue lossage (beyond a benchmarked metric) does not get calculated into the regulated price to customers.

  219. Re GEDs-What is wrong with earning a GED? IfI recall correctly the passing rate is at approximately the 40 percentile of all HS students. It is an objective examination. Assuming no cheating is allowed by the testing organization a GED shows some sort of minimum competence that many with so called college degrees never have to show.

  220. IH on December 11, 2011 at 7:58 am
    “While the hypocrisy is lamentable, I can’t get worked up about Charedim cheating the transport companies. The fares are regulated and the operator’s business plan will have accounted for revenue, lossage (i.e. theft of service) and the cost of enforcement. This is a matter for the franchised transport companies to manage, as long as the revenue lossage (beyond a benchmarked metric) does not get calculated into the regulated price to customers”

    All cheating affects a third party-obviously what will be charged will be affected by slippage due to cheating.

  221. Mycroft — The 3rd party is shareholders. I have some experience in regulation and a good regulator will prevent an improperly managed cost being passed on in pricing. This is no rocket science — there are benchmarks for such lossage in like markets.

  222. There is an update on ynet about another sexual molestation arrest in NYC. Respecting Gil’s views, I will not post a link nor his name, but the piece concludes:

    “[name] is one of 85 accused Orthodox child molesters in Brooklyn who have been caught in the past three years.”

  223. I’ve heard of “epidemic” as an adjective, but I think mycroft may have just invented a new one here.

    Remember that Joel’s salary previously reflected home, etc. As for Hier…well, at least YU can point to things it does.

  224. “There are discussion groups between Jews and Christians, and Jews and Muslims; how about a few more between Orthodox Jews and the rest of the community?”

    And how about discussions between groups of Orthodox Jews? How about RAW and RSSherer?

  225. who said that the holocaust business isn’t a good business? its also good to be king. since he raised the money i think he who is that decides how to spend it.

  226. “a good regulator will prevent an improperly managed cost being passed on in pricing. ”

    What is “a good regulator “?

  227. I was being colloquial. An effective regulator (and, yes, there a some of those, just as there are some effective corporations).

  228. ““”The highest-paid leader in the Forward survey continues to be Yeshiva University President Richard Joel, who earned $848,176 in 2010, a slight decrease from his 2009 salary.”

    In 2009 President Joel received $1.2 million in total compensation.”
    “Remember that Joel’s salary previously reflected home, etc. ”

    From 2009 990 -reportable compensation from organization 848,176 estimated amount of other compensation from organization and related organizations 362,284. Since Joel is not a clergyman-thus parsonage not a potential and does not live on the premises ofthe employer-thus normal rules of housing being exempt not being possible his housing value if anywould probably be reflected on his W-2.

  229. “who said that the holocaust business isn’t a good business? ”

    As others have said there is no business like Shoah business.

  230. ““[name] is one of 85 accused Orthodox child molesters in Brooklyn who have been caught in the past three years.”

    This is why Gil has the policy that he does. What percentage of those accusations are attempts to hurt someone?

  231. “The Sefardic world did not have the Reform Challenge or the counter moves to Reform”

    what do you think happened to the early sephardi shuls in savannah, charleston and richmond?

  232. ” Either way, it is terribly important for you to know that, perhaps completely unbeknownst to you, your actions, decisions, insular school systems and social habits are being noted, observed and recorded. Either by impartial journalists, judgmental bloggers, angry former Ortho-folk, or anyone. Please don’t assume that anything you do is ever private. Because it’s not.”

    Agreed.

  233. “abba’s rantings on December 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm
    “The Sefardic world did not have the Reform Challenge or the counter moves to Reform”

    what do you think happened to the early sephardi shuls in savannah, charleston and richmond?”

    Fair enough-especially to one who due to Mrs Mycroft once took the tour of the Reform Synagogue in Savannah-and that it switched I believe in the early 1800s to Reform. The Sefardi world -and especially the early American Sefardic worlds practices would not generally have been classified as Orthodox-the official synagogue did not have a different model as of yet. The population was far from majority Sefardic by the time of the changeover.

  234. “The population was far from majority Sefardic by the time of the changeover.”

    of the 3 i mentioned i’m familiar mostly with the charleston case. certainly there it was davka sephardi members who early on advocated for reform. see the list of the members appended to the constituion of reformed society of israelites (charleston, 1825). this was an initiative of well-to-do and highly acculturated sephardim led by isaac harby, himself a sephardi.

    on the other hand compare with mikveh israel in philadelphia. although officially sephardi, its early membership was larlgely ashkenazi, its earliest extant consitution was in yiddish and early leadership was ashkenazi. yet it remained orthodox.

    i.e., the older narrative of american judaism that spoke of traditional sephardi judaism overrun by reform german jews has been to a certain extent re-written.

  235. Mycroft — The 3rd party is shareholders. I have some experience in regulation and a good regulator will prevent an improperly managed cost being passed on in pricing. This is no rocket science — there are benchmarks for such lossage in like markets.

    No, the third party is the public. When sets of bus lines in Israel are “privatized” on occasion, the government accepts bids from companies who think they can make a profit while providing the most bus service at the lowest cost to passengers. If it is known that revenues will be lower because some passengers do not pay their fare, this affects the quality of the bids.

  236. That is possible, Shlomo, but the fact is that global transport companies like Arriva and Veolia bid and win franchises in Israel.

  237. BTW, the same problem exists in many urban areas with self-ticketing. It is endemic on London’s flexi-buses where which have unstaffed card readers installed at each set of doors as one traverses poorer areas. [The fine was about 20x the cost of a fare, last I checked, so passengers too made a calculation].

  238. “IH on December 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    That is possible, Shlomo, but the fact is that global transport companies like Arriva and Veolia bid and win franchises in Israel”

    Do either of them have buses that women enter in the middle of the bus. I only oncetook Veolia in Israel-theModiin-Jerusalem route-it was not Chareidi.

    ” [The fine was about 20x the cost of a fare, last I checked, so passengers too made a calculation].”

    I believe the fine is 180 NIS a single ride fare of 6.20 NIS-thus fine is about 29 times-of course which inspector is goingto try and write up a chareid in a chareidi bus-a suicide mission.

  239. “i.e., the older narrative of american judaism that spoke of traditional sephardi judaism overrun by reform german jews has been to a certain extent re-written”
    Traditional formal Judaism to the extent there was any formal Judsaism.but very little practice by the vast majority of early Jewish colonists. But since very little practice as soon as Reform was avialable it became very desireable.

  240. “The time has come for Yeshiva to revoke Steven Greenberg’s semichah,”

    My opposition is the slipperly slope that action would cause-obviously inm y mind one can’t be anOrthodox Rabbi and do what R Steven Greenberg apparently did-but to start revoking smichas would haveeven worse side affects than trying to have uniformity on all issues by Rabbinic organizations. Would one revoke RAWs smicha if smicha were revokeable -certainly some bloggers here woulod state to do that-IMHO suchactions would only make martyrs out of those people.

  241. Mycroft — On buses, I don’t know. And to be clear, these people are stealing, irrespective of the way they’re dress. It is the height of hypocrisy to steal while claiming the need for segregated seating for religious compliance. My point, though, is that it is up to the bus companies to manage their business appropriately.

    One response is what I have seen all my life in NYC — the bus driver simply refuses to drive until payment is made.

  242. Apropos the recent discussion on intimacy in marriage, I just came across this in today’s NYT Magazine: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/is-generosity-better-than-sex/

  243. Revoking semicha for one would also give a hechsher to the behavior and teachings of any musmach whose semicha isn’t revoked. Unwise, meaningless gesture. A Rabbi Greenberg could have come out of any yeshiva.

  244. “As Reb Weinman told us the following part of the story, his face became flushed with emotion and he had to pause for a few moments to compose himself. The very next morning, he received a phone call from the IRS, requesting his presence at the main office in Manhattan. Reb Weinman was petrified. What did they want from him? “Were they going to send him straight to prison, without even the benefit of a trial? Instead, the unbelievable happened. The clerk smiled (yes, he smiled!) and informed Reb Weinman that the office had decided not to take the case to court. Instead, he was asked to pay a fine and then his case would be closed.

    Reb Weinman’s accountant was astounded.”
    Story is not credible-potential criminal cases wouild not be handled by accountant-criminal tax attorneys at least a white collar specialist-pay a fine wo a deficiency? The story is so full of baloney it sounds like a parody.

  245. “S. on December 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm
    Revoking semicha for one would also give a hechsher to the behavior and teachings of any musmach whose semicha isn’t revoked. Unwise, meaningless gesture.”

    Agreed.

  246. An appreciation of RHS that some who don’t usually read R Slifkin should read:

    “If you’re looking for a close talmid of the Rav who has a more rational approach to these topics than that of Rabbi Meiselman, then this is the shiur for you! Rav Schachter does not shy away from acknowledging that some things are impossible from the perspective of modern science. Nor does he pretend that rabbinic thought on this topic is monolithic; he freely discusses the diversity of opinions that exists. “

  247. “Levine says the holiday seems to have become popular sometime in the third to fifth centuries. ”
    Of course, Chanukah became very popular inthe late 19th century to make Jews part of the acceptable American Civil Religion-just after De3c 25 became a legal holiday sometime around 1870-givetheJews a reason to spend and be happy also.

  248. IH- huh. Go figure.

    A small story: My father got semikha from YU in 1961. A few years back, he ran into a classmate who had worked as a chemist who casually asked him if YU ever revoked his semikha. Apparently, after the famous nursing home scandal of the late 70’s, which featured a YU musmakh, YU sent out letters revoking the semikha of anyone who wasn’t an active rabbi. My father wasn’t by that point, but had been a rebbe for ten years, so perhaps that’s why they missed him.

    The irony here, of course, is that Greenberg wouldn’t have his semikha revoked under that policy, if it still exists. 🙂

  249. YU never sent out letters revoking semichah of those who were not active rabbis.

  250. Well, he claimed to have gotten one. As a lawyer, I’ll admit that neither my, my father, or his testimony would have stood up in court.

    Is there even such a thing in halakha as revoking a semikha?

  251. “Is there even such a thing in halakha as revoking a semikha?”

    A better question is, is there such a thing in halacha as semicha?

  252. “fact is that global transport companies like Arriva and Veolia”
    I believe Veolia is going to divest its transportation company.

  253. “mycroft on December 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm
    “i.e., the older narrative of american judaism that spoke of traditional sephardi judaism overrun by reform german jews has been to a certain extent re-written”

    Anybocy remember what Dr Grinstein taught about this subject?
    I remmber Grants Order No 11 but not this detail.

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