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Speaking with children about abuse
In tough times, relying on the Jewish community for help
Milk Street Cafe to close for good after ‘Occupy’ protests scare away customers
SALT Thursday
New Outreach To Intermarrieds Makes Wrong Assumptions
Orthodox Convert Nixed On Aliyah, Despite Deal
R. Slifkin: Gevalt! The Jerusalem Post!
Religous-Zionist rabbis mixed over IDF base raid
Making the White House Kitchen Kosher
Some Haredim call Beit Shemesh girls ‘prostitutes’
Bigger than the beard, Matisyahu move marks ongoing spiritual journey
Rumor aside, search for Sacks’ successor proceeds
Former teacher accused of “inappropriate sexual contact” with Torah Academy student
Jewish Action
OU Kosher Magazine: Behind the Union Label
SALT Wednesday
Schindler’s List Is Everything That’s Wrong With American-Jewish Life
Dutch ban on ritual slaughter in doubt
Orthodox Push for Own Districts
Beacon editor: Why I Published That Column
R. Jonathan Sacks tells pope Jewish-Christian relations in Britain good
Private and public faith in Israel
Naomi Ragen Plagiarism Verdict Not an Attempt to Limit Free Speech
Jerusalem Welcomes New, Niche-Driven Yeshivot
ADL, AJC reportedly suffering major drops in donations
Chief Rabbi: Has Europe Lost its Soul?
SALT Tuesday
Rabbi Yosef Agrees to Release His Would-Be Killer
Yoffie Led Return to Reform Roots
Rabbi-Chaplains of the Civil War
Gender fight reaches buses, billboards
Language Experts Float Dueling Theories on ‘L’Chaim’
David Hartman: ‘Religion now more dangerous than Arabs’
Revisionism and the Rav Revisited
Americans and God
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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About Gil Student

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

173 comments

  1. Gil, have you nothing about this story?

    http://www.yucommentator.org/2011/12/rabbi-yona-reiss-unveils-plan-
    for-internet-censorship-dormitory-pornography-to-be-blocked/

    I’d say it deserves it’s own post!

  2. Maybe a post. In my view, it’s just basic good practice. Every corporation has that sort of thing. It’s the university’s servers and its responsibility.

  3. Aside from the concerns already discussed in the comments to the article, smartphones make it completely irrelevant if the motivation is to make porn (or whatever else they want to censor) inaccessible.

  4. True, but the university still has a responsibility to filter its own servers. It’s a little shocking that they haven’t done it until now.

  5. Larry Kaplan-when was the last time that either RYG or RDH could seriously be described as a talmid of RYBS? Regardless of your views of RAS, RAL, RHS or R Meiselman, IMO, your comparison of the works of RHS and the interview with R Meiselman with RYG and RDH , and placing RDH in the same pantheon of Talmidim as RAL and RHS assumes that RDH is entitled to be so considered, despite the fact that by his own actions, RDH ceased being a talmid decades ago, notwithstanding the assumptions to the contrary in a recently posted interview.

  6. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: I do not understand what is bothering you. I did NOT place RIG and RDH “in the same pantheon of talmidim” as RAS, RHS, and RMM. I discussed all five individuals together in my article because they are all influential figures whose views about the Rav, views which, in my opinion, are colored to varying degrees by ideological revisionism (whether from the left or from the right) carry weight within certain precincts of Orthodoxy.

    Interestingly enough, in the first draft of my article, which was circulated at the First Edah conference, I had only criticized revisionism from the right. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein criticized the draft, correctly in my view, for not being balanced and not discussing revisionism from the left. It was in response to his criticism that I added the section on RDH and RIG. It seems I can’t win.

  7. R. Aharon Lichtenstein attended the first Edah conference?

  8. STOP THE ALPHABET RABBI SOUP! JUST WRITE OUT THE NAMES! IT DOESN’T TAKE THAT LONG!

  9. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: Obviously not, despite the fact that according to Rabbi Meiselman he is a feminist authority! However, he received reports of the conference, and evidently obtained a copy of my draft which had been circulated.

    Acronym hater: Steve is beginning to rub off on me. FYI:

    RIG or RYG= R. Irving(Yitzhak) Greenberg
    RDH= R. David Hartman
    RAS=R. Aharon Soloveitchik
    RHS= R.Hershel Schachter
    RMM=R. Moshe Meiselman

  10. The RCA puts it well. By the way, It’s odd that it was all revolutionary when Dr. Kinsey said that everyone’s on a spectrum, but now orthodox thinking is (along with the questionable idea that it’s normal at all), if you’re gay, you’re gay.

    Steve, I’m not quite sure why you’re all worked up, but let me just ask why you’re so eager to accept Meiselman as a “talmid” of the Rav and not Hartmann or Greenberg. Just because he wears a black hat? It’s possible for people who are more “frum” to be just as divorced from the Rav as those more to the left.

    Gil, the most troubling bit about this porn thing is the existence of this Orwellian-named “Areivim” group. Anonymous, causing trouble, raising likely non-existent issues, dictating policy…sound familiar? One point of relief is, reading between the lines, they’re actually being ignored.

    Reading the bit about R’ Yosef in the paper this morning, I had one thought: Who gives him the authority? He’s not the courts. We don’t have a “right” to forgive criminals, no matter who they planned against. And he’s conducting foreign policy now? (Let’s leave aside that France should care about these things at all. Worrying about Muslim terrorists who have a tenuous connection to a Western country seems all the rage now.)

    Anyway, here’s another news story: British bigwig asks R’ Metzger to be Chief Rabbi. I kid you not- look it up.

  11. He could not have been “offered” the post. He could have been offered to have his name thrown in the ring. There are other names already there. Does he speak English?

  12. Gil, no other university that I am aware of censors its internet in that way. YU is not a corporation, it’s a university.

    Rabbi Yoffie piece was quite fascinating. I was really amazed that he would openly acknowledge that most interfaith work is of absolutely no consequence, despite the fact that he pioneered it for Reform, if I recall correctly. I think his prediction is totally off though – the synagogue, in fact, is the place where one is judged more than any other place I’m aware of. The beit midrash, however, actually fits his description.

  13. Gil: Of course. I didn’t say offered. I think he speaks English poorly. I think it’s just some bigwig who has no idea who he is or what the position has become who thinks it would be a cool idea.

    Now, for R’ Sacks to become Israeli Chief Rabbi…

    If R’ Yoffie is going to say that “his religion” has his views on gays and abortion, he should up and admit that it’s a distinct religion from that of most other Jews.

    Re: The Forward piece. I did once hear the execution version, only that they said “le-mavet” before- although I’m not sure if that was said as the opposite of “lchayim” first or whether the l’chayim came later.

  14. Nachum,

    Are most Jews against gay marriage and abortion? That would surprise me.

  15. Jon_Brooklyn: A quick Google search yielded Walla Walla University, Sydney University, Brigham Young University and North Greenville University as internet filterers. I’m sure there are more.

  16. Do you really want YU to be boxed in with 4 other universities out of the 1000’s that are out there? Again, the question here isn’t whether it’s conceivable that YU would do it – the question is whether it’s expected, or appropriate.

  17. Richard Kahn – yeah I remember that quite well.

  18. “Rabbi Yosef Agrees to Release His Would-Be Killer”

    yikes
    what could he possibly be thinking?

  19. “Are most Jews against gay marriage and abortion?”

    Worldwide, probably.

  20. Given the vast majority live in the US and Israel, Nachum, I think that is your wishful thinking.

  21. Some quick browsing yielded some data on gay marriage

    http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Support-For-Same-Sex-Marriage-Edges-Upward.aspx
    76% of American Jews support gay marriage.
    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/36810/three_in_five_israelis_back_same_sex_marriage/
    60% of Israelis support gay marriage.

  22. Larry Kaplan-thanks for the clarification.

    Nachum-I don’t see your point. Neither RYG nor RDH can be seriously viewed as talmidim of RYBS when compared with RAL, RHS or RMM, despite their hashkafic differences, which many accentuate despite their common denominator of very similar views on TSBP, Mesorah and Baalei Mesorah.

  23. Steve — do you have any evidence the Rav himself disowned either R. Hartman or R. Greenberg as his talmidim?

  24. After reading the interview with RDH, I can only ask myself how does RDH understand such Mitzvos as Kedoshim Tihiyu and other Mitzvos Aseh and Lo Saaseh that require sweating the details as to their proper adherence as opposed to fuzzy, liberal-left unitarianism or, worse, thinking Halacha is what is in your abdominal captivity, as opposed to Torah Judaism and Halachic adherence asserting itself in the public eye. It is easy to knock the excesses and failures of the Charedi and RZ worlds,and the misguided halachic and hashkafic excesses of otherwise idealistic youth, but that is a far cry from suggesting that universalism must always trump religious particularism and that adherence to Halachic detail and precision is irrelevant. I hate to say this, but neither Amerian MO , their Charedi counterparts nor many Gentiles, are afraid of asserting their religious identities in the public arena. Why should we be as R Riskin often said-inverted Marranos? One searches in vein in RDH’s quoted responses or the excerpts of his works, which obviously downplay Jewish particularism (and the means of effectuating the same-namely the study of Torah and the observance of Mitzvos, as well as many Ikarei Emunah ) often discussed here, as to why one should be Jewish. When reduced to its core, there is nothing particularly Jewish in thought or practice about RDH’s world view. When taken to its logical extreme, RDH clearly advocates that Torah and Mitzvos have no relevance to the public arena- a view which RYBS, RMF and RSZA clearly disputed in their leadership of their respective communities.

  25. IH-As far as RDH is concerned, I have heard from a very reliable source whose name I will not disclose that when RDH sent word that his talmid “Duvie” wanted to meet with RYBS, the response from RYBS was that “I have no talmid named Duvie.”

  26. IH-As far as RYG is concerned, AFAIK, RYG was never considered a talmid of RYBS in the first place.

  27. “RYG was never considered a talmid of RYBS in the first place.”

    i don’t know if he was ever a student of rybs, but his semicha is from yeshivas beis yosef (novordok)

  28. IH-see Pages 184-185 of My Yeshiva college re RYG’s description of his “limited but special relationship”, RAL’s sharply worded response thereto at Pp 374-377,as well as R D D Berger’s critique of RYG’s theological POV in his review in Tradition of For The Sake of Heaven and Earth.

    WADR, R D Berger’s review clearly illustrates the vast contrasts and differences between RYBS’s reaffirmation of the uniqueness of the covenantal relationship between HaShem and Am Yisrael in so many of his articles, shiurim and drashos, especially those for the Yamim Noraim and Chagim,and limitations on ecumenical theological dialogue as set forth in Confrontation, and RYG’s vastly differing views on revelation, religious pluralism and affirmative theological dialogue.

  29. Lawrence Kaplan

    Well, Steve, once in the early 1980s I had an appointment to meet with the Rav in Boston, and as I was entering his home in Brookline (he lived with the Twerskys) Rabbi Hartman was just finishing meeting with him and leaving. So much for the Rav not meeting with RDH. After RDH left, the Rav asked me “So, do you know him?” I answered “Of course I know him.” The Rav then asked “So, what do you think of him?” I gave an evasive, non-comittal answer. “He’s a great speaker. Very controversial” or something to that effect. The Rav then thought for a moment and said, “He’s a searcher. Could use more discipline. I like him.” As many people who know RDH have said to me when I told them that story, that’s about as concise, incisive, and accurate an appraisal of RDH as any.

  30. I’m not sure what Steve’s source is, but R’ Rakeffet mentioned the Rav’s dismissal when R’ Hartman was mentioned to him (no request for a meeting) in the 1970’s. He also said that a letter of condolence was sent by the Rav when the latter’s son was killed in the Lebanon War (fighter malfunction).

    As regards R’ Greenberg, off-topic, perhaps, but it’s worth noting that of all the Commentator essays on the Rav, his was the only one that didn’t make it into the book. Couldn’t have been a space issue. (I printed it out and stuck it in. I’m intellectually honest even if I don’t agree with him. Prof. Kaplan’s pieces had already been printed and placed with my copy of “Halakhic Man.”)

    In any event, Prof. Kaplan was not talking about talmidim. You’ll notice he mentions R’ Ahron Soloveichik, who was, of course, not a talmid of the Rav.

    Prof. Kaplan: Not to beat a dead horse, but they were all player copies. The Folio just may be a final revision. I guess he was like George Lucas that way. 🙂

  31. Shachar Ha'amim

    “Aside from the concerns already discussed in the comments to the article, smartphones make it completely irrelevant if the motivation is to make porn (or whatever else they want to censor) inaccessible.”

    I remeber a rosh yeshiva at YU – it was R. Moshe Tendler – who said at an informal “ask the rosh yeshiva” session that took place in the Morg dorm lobby, “I’m not mekabel that a student at YU would look at porn”. This was way before the days of the internet – even before PC’s were in every room.

  32. Re Revisionism and the Rav one should read
    Prof Kaplan
    http://www.zootorah.com/RationalistJudaism/Revisionism%20and%20the%20Rav%20Revisited.doc
    referrenced inthe R Slifkin blog.

  33. Lawrence Kaplan

    mycroft: Thanks, but it’s already linked in the News and Links.

  34. While I rarely agree with Liel Leibovitz, he makes an excellent point in the Schindler’s List piece:

    From a community that was, until three or four decades ago, not only emotionally equipped but also eager to hold difficult internal debates, we’ve allowed so many of our communal vistas to become splintered terrains of intolerance and mutual suspicion. Try talking about Israel to someone who sees the country in a very different light. Try bringing up conversion next time you run into someone from a different denomination. Chances are the conversation will soon descend into chaos, with each side claiming absolute moral validity for itself and casting calumnies at the other. Put differently, we used to see the world like Lanzmann, as a nuanced and complex place where even the greatest villains deserved a few quiet moments on camera to speak their mind. We now see it like Spielberg saw the Holocaust, in black and white, all feeling and movement.

    This is true for halachic/hashkafic disagreements, as in regard to politics and history. And it is as true in Israel as in the US.

  35. http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/orthodox-secular-jews-keep-ancient-poems-alive-in-singing-groups-across-israel-1.400912

    “But if the piyyutim are so ancient, and are shared by Jews from many cultures, how come the piyyut is now a species in danger of extinction? Because only isolated islands of memory are preserving it in the State of Israel, and the piyyutim that remain in the general repertoire are isolated examples from among thousands. Hundreds of people gather every week, in 10 groups all over the country, to study piyyutim from experts, as part of a unique movement called Kehilot Sharot (Singing Communities ).”

  36. “Hartman is considered one of the great students of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. Like him, he belongs to the liberal stream of Orthodox Judaism that is thriving in the United States ”

    Really?

  37. IH on December 13, 2011 at 10:50 am
    “While I rarely agree with Liel Leibovitz, he makes an excellent point in the Schindler’s List piece:…”

    Please. The end of his piece is a disservice to the first half. His review of Schindler’s List as a movie is simply one man’s judgment call, and it’s interesting enough as far as it goes.

    His label of the film as “a moral and an aesthetic disaster” is melodrama, and his lampooning jumps the shark with his invocation of Seinfeld.

    But his closing paragraphs are just a melange of diffuse clichès lamenting the supposed contemporary ‘loss of nuance’ among a once-great-and-sophisticated society, blah, blah, blah. The same refrains can be read daily in any one of a thousand websites and magazines catering to the left’ish urban elite of America (and Israel too).

    He’d hardly be so worried at ‘declining nuance’ if he thought the majority of society agreed with his views — which he studiously avoids specifying.

  38. STBO — I agreed with the specific point in the selected text. Do you disagree with it?

  39. “It’s the university’s servers and its responsibility.”

    I’ve never not been able to access any web site from Einstein. OTOH, I haven’t tried to access a porn site — but some of the medical stuff I do access is pretty explicit.

  40. “Richard Kahn on December 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm
    Some quick browsing yielded some data on gay marriage

    http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Support-For-Same-Sex-Marriage-Edges-Upward.aspx
    76% of American Jews support gay marriage.
    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/36810/three_in_five_israelis_back_same_sex_marriage/
    60% of Israelis support gay marriage.”

    Thus even inIsrael it appears that the majority of nonOrthodox Jews support “gay marriage”

  41. “mycroft on December 13, 2011 at 6:24 am
    Re Revisionism and the Rav one should read
    Prof Kaplan
    http://www.zootorah.com/RationalistJudaism/Revisionism%20and%20the%20Rav%20Revisited.doc
    referrenced inthe R Slifkin blog.

    Lawrence Kaplan on December 13, 2011 at 8:10 am
    mycroft: Thanks, but it’s already linked in the News and Links”

    When I used the link-it took me to R SLifkins blog-in his blog he has a link to your piece-I believe I referenced the direct link to your piece wo going through R Slifkin’s comments.

  42. http://www.chiefrabbi.org/ReadArtical.aspx?id=1844 See this link and especially CR Sacks’ insights into Breishis 12-50, why sex is viewed by the Torah within the context of marriage and why Emunah and covenant are rooted in the language of a marriage. Contrary to RDH, CR Sacks understands why a covenantal relationship is rooted in Jews acting in a manner contrary to the surrounding environment not just in sexual matters, but in also in many other Halachic and Hashkafic ideas that enable the Jewish People collectively and individually to maintain the vitality of a covenantal relationship that is rooted in the concept of a marriage.

  43. Contrary to RDH? Proof please (as you would say, Steve)?

  44. I notice that he doesn’t include “homosexuality” in his list of sins. Clearly the Torah feels that rape wasn’t the only issue in Sodom.

    “OTOH, I haven’t tried to access a porn site”

    That’s a problem with filters- they filter out harmless (or important) stuff a lot.

  45. “Hirhurim on December 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm
    He could not have been “offered” the post. He could have been offered to have his name thrown in the ring. There are other names already there”

    Which is frequently the case when peope leak that they have been offered a post- similar leaks have happened in the past for the British “CR” post and other posts. People have leaked being offered when they weren’t.

  46. “OTOH, I haven’t tried to access a porn site”

    That’s a problem with filters- they filter out harmless (or important) stuff a lot”

    I have had an English translation of a few psukim from CHumash causing a recipient to have e-mail rejected by a filter as sexist.

  47. “despite the fact that according to Rabbi Meiselman he is a feminist authority!”

    His late aunt Mrs. Gerber who was a Professor at Simmons until she retired about 30 years ago would more likely a feminist authority than RMM.
    Of course she was referred professionally as Anne Gerber not Anne Soloveitchik Gerber-why do people give credence to RMMs views as close family members there are others who were closer to the Rav than nephew who clearly did not have RMMs views.

  48. “Hirhurim on December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm
    R. Aharon Lichtenstein attended the first Edah conference?

    Lawrence Kaplan on December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm
    Gil: Obviously not”

    Why obviously not-many attended and spoke at the conference who were not part of Edah-to many speaking does not equal agreement, they will find any place to spread dvah hashem-see eg the Rav speaking at a Catholic seminary inBrighton Mass.-does that mean the Rav agreed with views of the seminary?
    Unlike Rabbi Tendler others felt that one could speak even if did not agree with the main spritual source of Edah.

  49. RAL not only “did not agree with the main spritual source of Edah,” he was extremely opposed to the organization, and he wrote a letter expressing that.

  50. “Religous-Zionist rabbis mixed over IDF base raid” .. Once again, the Headline is proven false by the article. Way too common.

    Also, way to common are self contradicting arguments.

    “Religious Zionist leaders’ reactions to the Tuesday morning attack on an IDF base in the West Bank were mixed, with some rabbis expressing vehement criticism, and others, while decrying the attack, nevertheless blaming the government for the growing number of such incidents.”

    If all the Religious Zionist leaders were against the attacks, how is their reaction “mixed”?

    “Haredim call Beit Shemesh girls ‘prostitutes'”

    I thought this was going to be an article about people quoting Bereshit saying that woman who wear veils are harlots, and talking about the girls in beit shemesh which wear the burkah… Oh well, would have been more fun to read.

  51. >IH on December 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm
    “STBO — I agreed with the specific point in the selected text. Do you disagree with it?”

    I do. It’s a nebulous clichè whose goal is to reprove and express disappointment at a society that doesn’t agree with his views — while simultaneously concealing his views so that nobody can have grounds to disagree with him. How BORING!!

    Additionally I see no reason to lament or be surprised at the basic fact that the forms and content of sociopolitical arguments can change over time, as society and politics change over time. He laments that we supposedly ‘don’t argue anymore’ like we did in 1970 or 1980. Well, why should we?! It’s now decades later!

  52. “Naomi Ragen Plagiarism Verdict Not an Attempt to Limit Free Speech”

    The “free speech” dodge by Naomi Ragen is really lame, and just makes her credibility worse. The Copyright Act and the First Amendment have co-existed in U.S. law for over 200 years. There is no contradiction between having robust free speech and robust protection of creativity through IP laws.

  53. It’s just an attempt to hide her shame. It’s hard to admit to being a plagiarist, but I’m sure the world is more forgiving of a contrite plagiarist than an absurdly defensive one.

  54. IH-read R Sacks’s article on sex within marriage and why it is accorded a very important view within Halacha and then read RDH’s comments about what he viewed as an obsession with sex in Halacha. IMO, R Sacks’s article superbly illustrates why the Torah uses the words denoting anger by acts of AZ-because AZ is an act of supreme disloyalty by a partner to the covenant. Why else would Kedoshim Tihiyu as understood by the Ramban be of critical importance and why else would acts of premarital sex or adultery be viewed as so contrary to the premises of a covenant for a member of a covenental community?

  55. IH quoted this excerpt from Liel Lebowitz:

    “From a community that was, until three or four decades ago, not only emotionally equipped but also eager to hold difficult internal debates, we’ve allowed so many of our communal vistas to become splintered terrains of intolerance and mutual suspicion. Try talking about Israel to someone who sees the country in a very different light. Try bringing up conversion next time you run into someone from a different denomination. Chances are the conversation will soon descend into chaos, with each side claiming absolute moral validity for itself and casting calumnies at the other. Put differently, we used to see the world like Lanzmann, as a nuanced and complex place where even the greatest villains deserved a few quiet moments on camera to speak their mind. We now see it like Spielberg saw the Holocaust, in black and white, all feeling and movement”

    IIRC,RYBS once remarked that Democrats would not be expected to be welcome as speakers at a Republican convention. We should not be ashamed as viewing those who view Israel “in a very different light” as imposing a view on Israel that they would impose on no other country or from the POV of BDS advocates, the 21st Century version of the American Council for Judaism or the advocates of a binational state such as Judah Magnes, Martin Buber, or the assimilationist and vehemently anti Zionist Sulzberger family. For the same reason, viewing conversion as it has been viewed throughout the ages by Chazal, Rishonim , Acharonim and Poskei Zmaneinu should not embarrass anyone except someone who seeks to twist Halacha like a pretzel beyond those limits. Contrary to Lebowitz, certain perspectives need to be declared beyond the boundaries of polite discussion and debate.

    I saw Lanzman’s film and Schindler’s List. Likewise, for those who lack the patience to sit through Lanzman’s superb documentary, Schindler’s List looks at what motivated one Gentile to act in such a manner. It does not diminish the Holocaust and its effects on European Jewry in the process.

  56. IH-take a look at Jack Wertheimer’s scathing critique of a recent survey and his conclusion in the above linked article:

    ‘A case in point: the chairman of the task force asserted to this newspaper, “We are not endorsing interfaith marriage or condemning it.” A generous reading of such stunning “non-judgmentalism” might attribute it to pragmatism. The task force was to come up with a “welcoming” program and, by golly, it has. Let others worry about questions of right and wrong.

    As a statement about where the largest Jewish community in the United States stands on the religious and communal imperative to perpetuate Jewish life through endogamy, the neutrality of the UJA-Federation of New York is a devastating commentary on our times. In the name of “welcoming,” the federation no longer asserts what Jews have understood for millennia: that leaving aside exceptional cases when conversion or unambiguous commitment to Jewish life are embraced by the intermarried, intermarriage is bad for the Jewish people and for the perpetuation of Judaism. In abandoning the Jewish commitment to endogamy, the task force does not reflect the views of large populations of traditional Jews in greater New York”

    Dr Wertheimer represents one of the last vestiges of traditional CJ values at JTS. But for his affiliation with CJ, I have always detected a strong respect for both the Charedi and MO worlds in his articles. The last sentence in the quoted excerpt is IMO very illustrative of why the Federation world and task forces of this nature rarely represent the interests of either traditional CJ and certainly not the MO or Charedi worlds.

  57. IMO, R Sacks is expressing a very important Hashkafic statement in his Dvar Torah. If one is a partner in a covenant which is rooted in marriage like principles, then attention to detail is a paramount consideration, regardless of the nature of the halachic inquiry posed. RDH, in contrast, in the interview practically lampoons and rejects attention to halachic details. While HaShem hates lies, HaShem demands loyalty in detailed, not generalized acts which demonstrate the same which comprise Torah and Mitzvos that prove that you want to identify yourself as a member and partner in the covernantal relationship,as well as adherence to the interpersonal obligations and provided the Jewish People with the ability to do Teshuvah and for mankind to ultimately recognize Malchus HaShem. WADR, RDH fails to appreciate the importance of sweating the details when he states that Halacha is what you feel in your gut.

  58. I’m not as opposed to Schindler’s List as Lebowitz is- I’m not opposed to it at all. Kitsch? Maybe, but so is everything Hollywood makes. (And everything Spielberg makes. Really, ET number one? ET is terrible. And what’s so “Jewish” about it?”)

    One argument I have a bit of sympathy for is the one quoted as Kubrick’s: The Holocaust is overwhelmingly *not* the story of Schindler’s List. It’s six million Jews killed by Germans (and helpers), not a few thousand saved by one. Now, granted, it would be hard to make a Hollywood movie about the war as it was. But this was (and is) “the” Holocaust movie. Again, I think it’s a great movie and don’t hold it against Spielberg. But it irks me a bit.

  59. “of the Rav and not Hartmann or Greenberg. Just because he wears a black hat? It’s possible for people who are more “frum” to be just as divorced from the Rav as those more to the left.”

    Possible-but assuming someone does not accept the eternal binding aspect of halacha process that would be missing something fundamental that the Rav believed in.

  60. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Documents obtained by The Jewish Week reveal that the Interior Ministry asked the Chief Rabbinate to decide whether Sivan’s conversion — performed by a well-known Orthodox rabbi of an Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan — met the criteria for aliyah.”

    unfortunately, a well known O rabbi of an O synagogue in manhattan, is not (necesarily) criteria for accepting conversions today.

    though i personally would have no pblm, others might.

    2. the Rav may speak in a catholic seminary, and no one will confuse his beliefs, but an O rav speaking at an edah confrence, may very well lead to confusion.

  61. Mimedinat Hayam,
    This particular Rabbi was on the approved list (according to the article. But even before that, I was pretty sure I knew who it was, and he is on the list).

  62. MiMedinat HaYam

    mdj — meaning that the rca’s “famed” gps systemm is a sham.

  63. A sham?
    Sounds more like a story of a woman falling between the cracks.
    Using a series of visitor visas to live in a country raises red flags in beuracracies.

    The only reason she is applying for permanent resident status is because they caught on to her abuse of using visitor visas. It’s a sad situation, but not one that indicates any sort of “sham”.

  64. “I, as should have been clear, focussed on the Rav’s two sons-in-law not only because they wrote about the Rav, but because of their great personal stature and their ongoing exceptionally close access to the Rav. In any event, when R. Meiselmman says that most of the Rav’s family members share his views, I wonder to whom he is referring.

    Lawrence Kaplan ”

    I AGREE WITH THE BASIC IDEA OF YOUR COMMENTS-but it is possible that at least one of the Ravs descendants has RMMs general ideas-R Moshe Twersky.

  65. “Rabbi Farber called it “ironic” that diaspora Reform and Conservative converts generally experience few problems related to aliyah because they are vetted by the heads of the Reform and Conservative leadership in Israel.

    “The Orthodox world is much more diffuse,” and there is no single Orthodox authority, he said. “But the Jewish Agency knows these communities and has the tools to determine whether someone is Jewish.””

    I have been attacked for years on this blog for writing that the cave in by the RCA to the Israeli CR has the effect of not accepting the geirus of those converted by probably most Orthodox Rabbis-including those who are clearly acceptable to the vast majority or maybe all Hirhurim readers. To have not supported prior geirm who followed the procedures that the RCA and the CR had in place for decades is scandalous.

  66. Lawrence Kaplan

    mycroft: I did not want to get into grandhildren. But speaking of grandhildren, certainly Rabbi Moshe Lichtenstein’s view of his grandfather differs sharply from that of Rabbi Meiselman. But indeed, you are right. A eulogy that Rabbi Moshe Twersky gave for his grandfather was published in Masorah, and his views expressed in it resemble those of R. Meiselman.

  67. Mycroft wrote:

    “I have been attacked for years on this blog for writing that the cave in by the RCA to the Israeli CR has the effect of not accepting the geirus of those converted by probably most Orthodox Rabbis-including those who are clearly acceptable to the vast majority or maybe all Hirhurim readers. To have not supported prior geirm who followed the procedures that the RCA and the CR had in place for decades is scandalous”

    It is my undertanding that the new Gerus standards were adopted because many out of town rabbanim needed reinforcement when confronted with choosing with Gerus Lshem Ishuus related issues and being unable to withstand the pressures of prominent lay leaders whose attitude was either conduct a meaningless conversion ceremony or lose their jobs. The fact that the standards include guidelines that may not be present among a sizeable percentage of some prominent rabbinical leaders FFB membership such as adherence to Taharas Mishpacha, etc, really is IMO irrelevant.

  68. Mycroft-I would venture to guess that R Meiselman. R Mayer Twersky, R Moshe Twersky and R Y Lichstenstein have much in common with respect to their views. One cannot deny that the Haggadah Siach HaGrid or the Shiurim R Chaim HaLevi on BK, BM and BB do not reflect the expertise of R Y Lichtenstein and R M Meiselman-regardless of the fact that their views are decidedly different than R M Lichtenstein, who has written a superb sefer translated into English on Moshe Rabbeinu as a servant of HaShem and His People. The notion that all grandchildren must be 100% clones of their grandfather strikes me IMO as incorrect, to say nothing of stifling each person’s spiritual growth in the direction that he deems appropriate.

  69. “The notion that all grandchildren must be 100% clones of their grandfather strikes me IMO as incorrect”

    It probably strikes everyone else as incorrect too.

  70. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: It was R. Meiselman who maintained that “most of the family” shares his views about the Rav. BTW, I am not sure that Rabbi Mayer Twersky shares his bother’s or first-cousin once removed’s view.

  71. Lawrence Kaplan

    should be “brother’s”

  72. “The notion that all grandchildren must be 100% clones of their grandfather strikes me IMO as incorrect, to say nothing of stifling each person’s spiritual growth in the direction that he deems appropriate.”

    I doubt anyone disagrees; indeed, no one said anything about this because that’s not the issue. The issue is not what the grandchildren are, it’s how they charecterize what their grandfather was. No one has the right to expect that R. Meiselman be a clone of his grandfather or adopt his views and practices. But they do have a right to expect that his description of his grandfather’s beliefs be accurate. The argument being made by many is that it is not accurate.

  73. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joseph: Needless to say, I agree with you 100%. But you meant to write “uncle.”

  74. I heard — not from him personally but from a student — that R. Mayer Twersky was very unhappy with some elements of R. Meiselman’s portrayal of Rav Soloveitchik in his “Insider’s Perspective” article.

  75. “I heard” is the major problem with the Rav’s legacy.

  76. R Gil-Yet, even if R Mayer Twersky was unhappy with R Meiselman’s portrait in the Tradition article, am I not correct in stating that R Moshe Twersky is a Rebbe in Toras Moshe?

  77. Yes, R. Moshe Twersky is a rebbe in Toras Moshe, which is irrelevant to this discussion.

  78. FWIW, we now have read interviews with R Meiselman in Yated, the Five Towns Jewish News and Mishpacha, as well the article in Tradition. I found the interview in Mishpacha the most interesting of the articles because it illustrated R Meiselman’s approach to Chinuch. I would certainly rely on R Gil as a reliable source as to how R Meiselman’s article was received both within RIETS and by other family members.

    I would suggest to anyone interested in exploring the total package of RYBS’s thought that they should be explore the legacy of RYBS in terms of shiurim, drashos, printed works in Lashon HaKodesh and English, as well as the works made available and published after 1993, such as Harerei Kedem, Noraos HaRav, Mesorah, RHS’s seforim, R D Holzer’s works and that of R A David and the hespedim of talmidim. The Machzorim and Siddur are great respositories of Divrei Torah on Tefilah and the Yamim Noraim. The Toras HaRav works are also very important in understanding RYBS’s Torah, whether in Halacha or Hashkafa. All of the above are crucial in not making a mistake of reading from a Sefer Torah Sheino Hugah.

  79. Full disclosure-this past Shabbos, there was an Agudah sponsored Shabbos of Unity in KGH that featured R Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, who was a classmate of mine in law school and who gave shiurim in Taharas HaMishpacha for those of us, myself included who were chasanim at the time. I certainly enjoyed R Zwiebel’s drasha, Dvar Torah , as well as R NI Oelbaum’s superb Shiur on Chumash prior to Shacharis.

    R Zwiebel is superbly qualified to serve in his role and is an equally unmatched and articulate representative in setting forth the role of Agudah, which in the US has many members who have a high degree of secular knowledge. R Zwiebel is extraordinarily skilled at presiding over a coalition of the Litvishe, and Chasidishe groups that ally themselves with Agudah, and certainly IMO is far more personally appreciative of the role of RIETS than R Sherer ZL ever expressed during his tenure. R Zwiebel is also very aware of the issues confronting Agudah vis a vis abuse, etc. I would suggest that instead of condemnation, that the proper perspective would be to watch how Agudah’s views evolve on any issue in the same way that we watch people who have walked out on a proverbial limb, and need help to walk back from the precipice. IMO, I think that while extreme NK views are not trumpeted within Agudah, there is at least a de facto acceptance of the importance of supporting Israel, while reserving the right to dissent on issues affecting the Charedi world in Israel, which many of us know is far more “Charedi” than the American Yeshivish or Chasidishe worlds because of a four letter word-work. That’s why IMO the American Agudah is seemingly very reluctant to condemn Charedi protests in Jerusalem and RBS that would not be viewed as acceptable or appropriate in the US.

    Yet, I consider myself far more comfortable within the RIETS Beis Medrash and with its RY as my sources for Halachic and Hashkafic guidance, as well as the OU out of a very deep sense of Hakaras Hatov simply because without the combination of NCSY, the OU and YU, I doubt very much that any of the charedi oriented kiruv strategies would have ever left a positive and powerful impression of the profound nature of Torah study and its everlasting relevance. While I certainly have my qualms about some policies and strategies of YU, they have always been in the spirit of Edmund Burke, who applauded the results of the American Revolution while condemning the excesses of the French Revolution.

    I think that R Slifkin is correct in his assessment of R S Sherer’s recent speech at the Agudah convention. R S Sherer’s remarks seemed eerily reminescent of the views of R M Sherer ZL, who also was quoted in a recent hagiography of having very negative views of any Talmid Chacham whose views differed from the Moetzes as if no such Talmid Chacham’s views counted at all. Such views, as opposed to the views one sees in Mishpacha, Ami and even Yated re RIETS RY, show IMO an inability to distinguish between the RY of RIETS and the spiritual leaders of LW MO.

  80. “an inability to distinguish between the RY of RIETS and the spiritual leaders of LW MO.”

    Isn’t this the same as what R. Wurzburger wrote in 1994, per the article that was the basis for Gil’s post “Post-modern Objections to Academic Jewish Studies”:

    […] it is widely taken for granted that “Modern Orthodoxy” is not really an authentic form of Orthodoxy, but a hybrid of an illicit union between modernity and Orthodoxy, a kind of oxymoron. Its opponents ridicule it as a compromise designed to facilitate entry into a modern lifestyle by offering less stringent interpretations of halakha and even condoning laxity in religious observance.

    Because the term “Modern Orthodoxy” has acquired such a pejorative meaning, Rabbi Norman Lamm has proposed that we replace it with “Centrist Orthodoxy.”1 In my opinion, “Post-Modern Orthodoxy” would be the most appropriate designation for a movement which stands not for evasion or accomodation but for uncompromising confrontation of modernity.

    It is this type of halakhic Judaism which can invoke the spiritual authority of the Rav, […]

    And earlier, to the harranging of R. Revel as per the quotations from R. Rakeffet’s book that I contributed yesterday to the discussion thread in the “Revoking Ordination” post.

  81. History shows that no matter how right “Modern Orthodoxy” tacks, it will not satisfy the Agudah. So choose which club you want to join (or join both with the understanding there will not be dialogue regarding anything of substance).

  82. History shows that no matter how right “Modern Orthodoxy” tacks, it will not satisfy the Agudah

    I happen to agree with this. But it doesn’t mean we can’t work together on the many mutually agreeable issues.

  83. I agree with the above comment of R Gil:

    “History shows that no matter how right “Modern Orthodoxy” tacks, it will not satisfy the Agudah

    I happen to agree with this. But it doesn’t mean we can’t work together on the many mutually agreeable issues”

  84. Sure, just like the Rav’s conception of interfaith dialogue with Christians.

  85. IH-MO and Agudah “satisfying” each other’s Hashkafic definitions ala the US’s attitude prior to its recognition of mainland China IMO is an irelevant and unsatsifying issue. I do believe that there are many issues which I outlined in a post at Beyond BT where I suggested that there are areas of mutual appreciation between the MO and Charedi worlds. That’s why I have always adhered to a policy of appreciating the best of both the Charedi and MO worlds, while rejecting their extremes.

  86. IH-actually RYBS was well known for his close personal ties with many Charedi RY in the US such as RMF (family), R Y Hutner, R Ruderman , as well as RAK and RSK, Zicronam Livracha,as well as R MM Schneerson ZL regardless of their many Hashkafic differences.

  87. IH-let me give you one very obvious example of crossing Hashkafic boundaries-every year, on the night of the innaugural recitation of Slichos, in KGH, we have shiurim given in R NI Oelbaum’s shul given both a RIETS RY ( RHS, R M Willig, R Y Sacks, etc)and R Oelbaum. If a community wants to bridge gaps, there is no better means than Talmud Torah on a communal level.

  88. Steve — Can you provide a link to your Beyond BT piece?

  89. “RYBS was well known for his close personal ties with many Charedi RY in the US”

    As was the case for R. Saul Lieberman as well 🙂

  90. IH-FYI-http://www.beyondbt.com/2006/10/19/how-the-charedi-and-modern-worlds-can-learn-to-appreciate-each-other/

  91. FWIW, I think that the so called swing to the right in MO is not IMO substantiated by hard data. We don’t know about the long term effect of a year or two learning in a yeshiva or seminary. Those effects can only best be developed by seeing where youg couples live, where they daven and send their kids to school. While some MO raised men and women may have moved to the right, there are many strong MO communities today. The real question remains whether MO is interested more in preserving itself per se from the gruesome twosome of OTD/Kids at risk and flipping out or projecting a message that one can be profoundly committed to Torah observance and study and function in the secular world, regardless of the economic, political and cultural milieu.

  92. R Wurzburger ZL wrote the following as a description of Charedi attitudes towards MO:

    “Its opponents ridicule it as a compromise designed to facilitate entry into a modern lifestyle by offering less stringent interpretations of halakha and even condoning laxity in religious observance”

    IMO, the characterization is obvious Charedi urban myth and stereotype inasmuch many MO are professionals, etc with very busy schedules, etc who are Kovea Itim LaTorah as often as possible in a very intense manner. I would add that in contrast to the Charedi catechism of MO, my RY never advocated Kollel for all-rather they all maintained that whatever professional calling one took-one had to be Kovea Itim LaTorah. The notion that Baal HaBatim were exempted from serious learning merely by supporting a Kollel never was expresssed by any of my RY.

  93. Steve — it is a sociological pendulum, driven by intertia in one direction, until a force of energy stops it and it reverses.

    As for your analysis, there is no credible evidence that “the gruesome twosome of OTD/Kids at risk and flipping out” is any less prevalent in the Charedi velt than in the MO (including LW) world.

  94. IH-I agree with your take on kids at risk re the Charedi velt. One can find no shortage of articles in the Charedi media on the issue, and many suggestions on helping families cope with the issue. In the MO and Charedi discussions of the issue, one does encounter some articles where MO and Charedi parents view themselves as failures if a MO kid becomes Charedi or a Charedi kid becomes RZ or DL. I would argue that the criteria that I suggested for a long term effect of the year in Israel remain the best means of evaluating such a trend.

    On the issue of Charedi and MO interaction, OU Kashrus sponsors shiurim in Charedi communities which are very well attended and received.

  95. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b — taharat hamishpacha classes in a law school? what will happen next — yeshiva style law school to accompany the “btl” degree? i guess a “jdl” degree.

    above satire — couldnt resist. but note the american agudah and israeli aguda have NO relationship with each other. i once attended an agudah annual dinner (had to go — business reasons) and noted video of aguda projects in israel all with banners saying “project of agudah of america” very prominent. also, all but one of the honorees had yu graduate degrees.

  96. “Rabbi Yoffie piece was quite fascinating. I was really amazed that he would openly acknowledge that most interfaith work is of absolutely no consequence, despite the fact that he pioneered it for Reform,”

    Reform was active in interfaith work before Rabbi Yoffie was born.

  97. “Steve Brizel on December 15, 2011 at 10:11 am
    Mycroft wrote:

    “I have been attacked for years on this blog for writing that the cave in by the RCA to the Israeli CR has the effect of not accepting the geirus of those converted by probably most Orthodox Rabbis-including those who are clearly acceptable to the vast majority or maybe all Hirhurim readers. To have not supported prior geirm who followed the procedures that the RCA and the CR had in place for decades is scandalous”

    It is my undertanding that the new Gerus standards were adopted because many out of town rabbanim needed reinforcement when confronted with choosing with Gerus Lshem Ishuus related issues and being unable to withstand the pressures of prominent lay leaders whose attitude was either conduct a meaningless conversion ceremony or lose their jobs. The fact that the standards include guidelines that may not be present among a sizeable percentage of some prominent rabbinical leaders FFB membership such as adherence to Taharas Mishpacha, etc, really is IMO irrelevant”

    Disagree 100% with your analysis-I have written before on this blog about the reasons for the change but will not repeat it. You are insulting the vast majority of Rabbonim-. The CR accepted conversions and still does of those who if they had a hechsher on water you wouldn’t drink.

  98. MeMedinat, R’ Rakeffet has recently said that a big issue for the American Aguda’s relations with the Israeli is that in Israel, the Chassidim and Misnagdim don’t get along at all- they have separate parties. They don’t want to bring that to the US; hence, no Israelis at their conventions.

  99. “mycroft on December 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm
    “Steve Brizel on December 15, 2011 at 10:11 am
    Mycroft wrote:

    “I have been attacked for years on this blog for writing that the cave in by the RCA to the Israeli CR has the effect of not accepting the geirus of those converted by probably most Orthodox Rabbis-including those who are clearly acceptable to the vast majority or maybe all Hirhurim readers. To have not supported prior geirm who followed the procedures that the RCA and the CR had in place for decades is scandalous”

    It is my undertanding that the new Gerus standards were adopted because many out of town rabbanim needed reinforcement when confronted with choosing with Gerus Lshem Ishuus related issues and being unable to withstand the pressures of prominent lay leaders whose attitude was either conduct a meaningless conversion ceremony or lose their jobs. The fact that the standards include guidelines that may not be present among a sizeable percentage of some prominent rabbinical leaders FFB membership such as adherence to Taharas Mishpacha, etc, really is IMO irrelevant”

    iF ONE CAN’T TRUST A RAV-ONE CAN’T TRUST HIS KIDDUSHIN ,KASHRUT ETC-THE VAAD HAKAVOD SHOULD KICK HIM OUT. Even assuming arguendo that the reasons for the change were yours-one can’t ignore those who ocnverted over the decades and were promisedthat their conversions would be accepted by the CR and they were for decades with a certification by the RCA that the Rabbonim who did the geirus were in good standing. No one is concerned about onaas ger-which has been the result of retroactively routinely not standing behind your geirus. Bargaining away standing behind existing gerim to me is abig issue.

  100. On the conversion issue I think Mycroft has it just right.

  101. Interesting link on lchayim

  102. Mycroft-WADR, ask any rav out of town what kinds of pressures he faces in dealing with intermmarriage and the threat of losing a job that either insisting on Kabalas Ol Mitzvos or refusing to perform Gerus Las Vegas style entails. The RCA’s Gerus standards were intended to supply a standard where instead out of town rabbanim had nowhere to turn to in such situations. I think that you are IMO confusing those intances of Giyur which were accepted in the past with cases where there was minimal or no insistence on Kabalas Ol Mitzvos. WADR, Onaas HaGer AFAIK, means not oppressing a Ger once you know that a person is a Ger Tzedek-I would not use Onaas HaGer as a basis for condemning any rav who insisted on a genuine Gerus.

    Again, this comment , which is based on my hearing a shiur from one of the members of the BDA this past Sukkos, warrants reiteration:

    “The fact that the standards include guidelines that may not be present among a sizeable percentage of some prominent rabbinical leaders FFB membership such as adherence to Taharas Mishpacha, etc, really is IMO irrelevant” in determing what constitutes Kabalas Ol Mitzvos and is IMO ignorant of the fact that any rav who deals with issues of Gerus can and should be equipped to ascertain who is a Ger Tzedek and who is a Ger Lshem Ishus or worse.

  103. Larry Lennhoff

    Steve

    The fact that not just gerim, but children and grandchildren of gerim are legitimately fearful that they may be declared non-Jewish or at least in need of a gerut l’chumrah to my mind is obviously Onaas HaGer. Otherwise being a ger is equivalent to being a true Scotsman. “No true ger is persecuted, therefore if we retroactively disqualify your conversion 20 years after the fact because of who converted you, you were not a true ger and thus we haven’t violated the halacha.”

  104. Larry Lenhoff-can you name one instance as oppposed to a theoretical one, putting aside a Gerus by a heterodox clergyperson, where a child or grandchild of a gerus performed by a RCA musmach and approved by a Bes Din has been required to undergo such a Gerus?

  105. Steve — the problem is in Israel, where the geirut may have been done chutz la’aretz (or not); and the implications vis a vis status in the State are life-changing.

  106. Larry Lennhoff

    Steve

    An RCA musmach? That sort of question is why the cases required a gerut l’chumrah. The grandparents are dead, the rabbi is dead, all the grandkids know is that the rabbi was the leader of an Orthodox shul. But nowadays for some people the chazakah is reversed, and unless the rabbi was known and has a track record any gerut is considered questionable.

  107. Larry Lennhoff

    Steve

    In Israel the situation is even worse. A friend of mine has 4 living Jewish grandparents, but was unable to get married in Israel because neither his mother or his grandmother had been religious, so there was no one the Rabbinate would recognize who would vouch for his Jewishness. I suggested he kill his maternal grandmother – once she was buried in a Jewish cemetery, perhaps the rabbinate would accept a photograph of the gravestone as proof. (Nowadays I wouldn’t recommend that, but things were more lenient then.) Instead he decided to have his chasanah in Brooklyn.

  108. “Now, for R’ Sacks to become Israeli Chief Rabbi…”

    Does he speak Hebrew fluently?

  109. “Larry Lennhoff on December 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm
    Steve

    The fact that not just gerim, but children and grandchildren of gerim are legitimately fearful that they may be declared non-Jewish or at least in need of a gerut l’chumrah to my mind is obviously Onaas HaGer. Otherwise being a ger is equivalent to being a true Scotsman. “No true ger is persecuted, therefore if we retroactively disqualify your conversion 20 years after the fact because of who converted you, you were not a true ger and thus we haven’t violated the halacha.””
    Agreed

    “Steve Brizel on December 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm
    Larry Lenhoff-can you name one instance as oppposed to a theoretical one, putting aside a Gerus by a heterodox clergyperson, where a child or grandchild of a gerus performed by a RCA musmach and approved by a Bes Din has been required to undergo such a Gerus?”

    A public example of one converted apparently by clearly reputable Rabbis was Yossie Fackenheim-I was told by one living Metro NY RCA Rabbi that he saw the names and are all reputable- another RCA member who has smicha from both a Boston Rabbi and a Toronto Rabbi both of impeccable credentials also stated in a lecture that he was converted by impeccable Rabbonim.
    The Israeli CR stated that he didn’t even have to give a get!!

  110. “Larry Lennhoff on December 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm
    Steve

    An RCA musmach? That sort of question is why the cases required a gerut l’chumrah. The grandparents are dead, the rabbi is dead, all the grandkids know is that the rabbi was the leader of an Orthodox shul. But nowadays for some people the chazakah is reversed, and unless the rabbi was known and has a track record any gerut is considered questionable”

    I’ll repeat a short conversation I had about 25 years ago with an MO Rabbi about gerus. He was not known for dealing with conversions but I was told by a frum UWS NYS judge about 30 years ago that this Rabbi was the RCA Rep on a Federation committee dealing with adoptions about 10 years earlier-(about 40 years ago from now) and was the person responsible for guidelines on geirus. During this time period the Rav was clearly the halachik expert for the RCA. I asked this MO Rabbi about proof that gerin would have-in the US he told me no problem-if decades alter chazakeah wouldrule -if Israel the CR would recognize automatically upon certification by the RCA of the good standing of these Rabbonim the geirus. THE CR relied on the RCA simply because local Rabbinic groups had to certify RAbbonim-one could not expect the CR to know local Rabbonim aroundthe world.
    People have been mgayer on these conditions for decades and no one cares.

  111. There is a simple solution for orthodox converts to make aliyah: Get re-converted by a Reform, Reconstructionist, or Conservative rabbi. Their conversions are accepted under the law of return without question.

    (I wish this were satire.)

  112. “La révolution dévore ses enfants”

  113. Mycroft

    See

    http://www.forward.com/articles/148009/?p=all

    It is not just Modern Orthodox rabbis. R. Karelitz beit din isn’t accepted either.

  114. Charlie is right. The whole thing is a complete joke. A Reform convert is accepted! It is only some Orthodox converts who aren’t accepted and will be deported. Is this the craziest thing you have ever heard? Are you going to try to make sense of this Steve?

  115. MYCRoFT:

    “Does he speak Hebrew fluently?”

    did rav herzog?
    (althoug according to wiki he did speak irish fluently)

  116. From Rav and Revisionism :
    “Perhaps RMM’s mother, Shulamit Soloveitchik Meiselman, could provide some insight based on her book about the family”

    Although both Shulamith Meiselman and her sister both had arichas yamim and lived to their upper 90s they are bot sadly in the olam haemes and thus can’t provide any more insight.

  117. “Charlie Hall on December 17, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    There is a simple solution for orthodox converts to make aliyah: Get re-converted by a Reform, Reconstructionist, or Conservative rabbi. Their conversions are accepted under the law of return without question.

    (I wish this were satire.)”

    I have seriously thought about making this suggestion-after all if the Orthodox Rabbinate doesn’t care about gerim and is willing to let them hang out to dry why not get admitted to Israel with a “gerus misafek” by the CCAR

  118. Abba’s Rantings on December 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm
    “MYCRoFT:

    “Does he speak Hebrew fluently?”

    did rav herzog?
    (althoug according to wiki he did speak irish fluently)”

    A couple of weeks ago during Hamshushalayim I was in Heichal Shlomo where they opened up R Herzog’s study- his sforim were there-they try and claim with manuscripts that he wrote tfilla lishlom hamdinah-they recognize the Agnon claim. Rav Herzog wrote sfarim in Hebrew. Of course, Herzog started being CR during the British Mandate and thus fluency in English might have been more required.
    It is certainly true that his sons were fluent in English and it is my understanding that Chaim Herzog for example would be addressed by his wife as Vivian.

  119. “Anonymous on December 17, 2011 at 8:05 pm
    Charlie is right. The whole thing is a complete joke. A Reform convert is accepted! It is only some Orthodox converts who aren’t accepted and will be deported. Is this the craziest thing you have ever heard?”

    Yes-but sadder is the acquiesence to this by the Orthodox Rabbinate.

  120. Abba and Mycroft – on Rav Herzog, see pp. 31 – 37 of “Yaakov Herzog: A Biography” by Michael Bar-Zohar. Most specifically:

    “Isaac excelled not only in Talmud, but also in Oriental languages which he studied at the Sorbonne, and classics which he studied at the University of London. His first degree was in mathematics, and the second in Semitic languages.”

    While this does not necessarily mean he was fluent in spoken modern Hebrew, it is generally the case that people gifted with the ability to learn multiple languages develop such fluency easily.

    [Fascinating book, btw]

  121. I’m not sure why people are so shocked by Orthodox Rabbis not seeing other Orthodox Rabbis as acceptable.

    Isn’t this what Gil advocates here on a regular basis?

  122. “Perhaps RMM’s mother, Shulamit Soloveitchik Meiselman, could provide some insight based on her book about the family”

    I recall hearing that R’ Meiselman banned his own mother’s book from his yeshiva.

  123. Wouldn’t surprise me – there’s some unflattering stuff in there. Of course, with the Jewish community the way it is, any person’s perspective turns into authoritative history, so if the book were more widely circulated it would become Official Torah-True History that R. Moshe Soloveitchik favored the Rav over R. Shmuel Soloveitchik. So honestly I can understand RMM’s decision there, even if I find censorship moves like that obnoxious.

  124. Re Milk St Cafe- Et chatai ani mazkir hayom I was watching Fox News on its Sunday AM (Fox and Friends) a few minutes ago. They had a story about the closing of the Milk St Cafe-of course kedarkam they basically used it as an attempt to paint the rest of people as the 99% and the protestors as evil etc.
    The video that they showed ofthe MIlk St Cafe appeared to show well over 90% of males going gilui rosh while eating. I was never at theNY MIlk St Cafe so I have no independent knowledge if that is typical.

  125. “I recall hearing that R’ Meiselman banned his own mother’s book from his yeshiva.”
    There is no doubt that RMM would have despised his mothers book.I have called it before a retaliation by R Chaims daughter-in-law against R Chaim-a lot of the information clearly came from R Chaim’s wife. Given that it was his mothers book can anyone confirm what Nachum heard. Anyone elses book RMM would have led a public burning.

    “Jon_Brooklyn on December 18, 2011 at 5:38 am
    Wouldn’t surprise me – there’s some unflattering stuff in there. Of course, with the Jewish community the way it is, any person’s perspective turns into authoritative history, so if the book were more widely circulated it would become Official Torah-True History that R. Moshe Soloveitchik favored the Rav over R. Shmuel Soloveitchik.” So what is news about that?

  126. Interesting piece-

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/12/16/bibi-new-york-times-netanyahu-bias/#more-778082

    surprised Steve didn’t link to it yet.

    from
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/opinion/sunday/war-really-is-going-out-of-style.html?_r=1

    relevant to issue of Yehudah vShomron

    “Why is war in decline? For one thing, it no longer pays. For centuries, wars reallocated huge territories, as empires were agglomerated or dismantled and states wiped off the map. But since shortly after World War II, virtually no borders have changed by force, and no member of the United Nations has disappeared through conquest. The Korean War caused a million battle deaths, but the border ended up where it started. The Iran-Iraq War killed 650,000 with the same result. Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait in 1990 backfired. Israel seized land in 1967, but since then most has been returned and the rest remains contested.”

  127. “The video that they showed ofthe MIlk St Cafe appeared to show well over 90% of males going gilui rosh while eating. I was never at theNY MIlk St Cafe so I have no independent knowledge if that is typical.”

    Mycroft — the (failed) business plan for Milk St Cafe seems to have assumed significant patronage from people who didn’t keep kosher. Unfortunately, per the reviews on Yelp, they could not compete on either price or quality. The owner will not be the first to blame a failed business plan on external events rather that his own failings.

  128. Re Dr Katz and Jewish Action and Day Schools-nothing wrong in his suggestions but doubt the problem of 1st Amendment and in NY the Blaine Amendment are really considered adequately.
    Of course, if Day Schools are so important why not put the OU profits or whatthe OU profits should be into day schoolsdirectly?
    Of course, no one has done a rigorousstudy showing that day schools are a net positive to the American Jewish community-economic raising of the bar and pushing people of less than superior intellect out of Yahadus-a copy of 1st 6 centuries or so of the Common era. Anyone claiming day schools have been a net positive-I’ll simply state “proof please”

  129. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4163271,00.html

    “Rabbi Metzger speaks out against sex segregation on buses, says ultra-Orthodox public cannot impose its opinion on rest of population”

    So on the heel of SoS Clinton’s remarks, once again the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has to be forced to confront reality.

  130. Count me as unimpressed. The Charedim originally wanted to have a private bus line with separate seating. Egged, the nationally subsidized company (meaning by everyone’s taxes) did everything it could to force them out of business. As compensation, Egged agreed to have certain lines separate. If the Chief Rabbis think private lines are the solution, then let them tell Egged to back off next time. (I too would prefer that the separate buses be private, but when the State imposes itself on you, then you have no choice.)

  131. Ok. So, Tal, suggest how one would structure a private line that is neither unfair competition to companies who buy a franchise; and/or indirect State subsidy of sexual discrimination (as highlighted in the recent Brooklyn example)?

  132. suggest how one would structure a private line that is neither unfair competition to companies who buy a franchise; and/or indirect State subsidy of sexual discrimination (as highlighted in the recent Brooklyn example)?

    Please elaborate. What is “unfair competition?” The private line has a rule of gender separation. Egged doesn’t. Free market choice.

    As for state subsidy, please elaborate what you mean. Unless you mean that merely using the street is a subsidy, then again you have a private line doing what it wants.

  133. tal – is gender segregation and/or any discrimination ok(going to the back of the bus is isn’t it?) as long as it is done privately and not by the state or subsidize by it? i think most would disagree – as you see from this instance coercion is part and parcel of its implementation.

  134. tal – is gender segregation and/or any discrimination ok(going to the back of the bus is isn’t it?) as long as it is done privately and not by the state or subsidize by it? i think most would disagree – as you see from this instance coercion is part and parcel of its implementation

    The Chief Rabbis raised this as a solution.

    So let me understand, Ruvie, are separate bathrooms illegal? How about mechitzas — those are in private property, but acc. to you not OK. Should those be outlawed?

    How about separate colleges at universities? Is YU in violation of the Civil Rights Act?

    Or separate dorms?

    Or gender separate yeshivas? (Not to mention Jews only yeshivas.)

    Just because of the history of what occurred in Jim Crow south does not mean any separation of any kind is evil or should be illegal.

  135. coercion is part and parcel of its implementation

    Any invasion of private property is met with coercion. The reason you cannot come into my house without my invitation is the law of trespass. If you refuse to leave, I can have you arrested. Does that mean that the law should require me to let anyone who wants enter my house?

  136. Please elaborate. What is “unfair competition?”

    Tal — bus lines in Israel are licensed and franchised via a State-managed competitive bid process. A commercial “private bus line” is unfair competition to operators who pay for a license.

    On the other hand, would it be legal for the State to license a franchise to an operator that discriminates based on sex? [If it’s truly voluntary, as has been my experience on Superbus lines from Kiryat Sefer to Jerusalem, there is no such problem].

    Squaring this circle is required to find a public policy alternative that satisfies all parties.

  137. tal – i believe religious institutions are exempt from gender discrimination per their rules – but it is discrimination that people of that institution accept or else they can find another institution that doesn’t discriminate in their view. (yu is a religious institution isn’t it – or at least parts of it while aecom is not).

    but our case is a private line that is franchised or license and should abide by the rules of non private lines since its under state supervision. here its coercion that people that use the bus line refuse to accept and there are no alternatives at that moment in time – so not using it becomes a hardship.

    usually – but no all the time – separation or the exclusion of “others” – means discrimination and 2nd class status in our society. that would include gender separated schools in many parts of the religious world – not that i am against it.

  138. IH:

    AFAIK, in most of the areas in question, the ONLY bus line that operates is Egged, which is publicly owned. So I don’t see what the problem is.

    Nor do I agree that this is “discrimination,” anymore than many other separate-sex institutions are discrmination. I understand that it is not the norm in most of Israel and many Western countries (although some have pointed out that trains and subways in some countries, including Japan, are run separately), but it is not invidious discrimination of the type practiced in the South against blacks circa 1890 to 1960.

    Frankly, while I sympathize with the young lady whose Facebook post you posted, the one thing that bothered me is that there was no mention of whether the bus line was officially separate or not. This is typical Israeli hefkerus. I don’t think it is too much for the Charedi community to ask that in the few lines that service their community almost exclusively, that their norms be respected. (Tom Friedman’s recent abomination of a column cited 55 bus “lines” as a statistic. That is out of, what, several thousand “lines” in the whole country?)

    OTOH, if it is not a Mehadrin bus, then they should not impose their ways on others.

  139. AFAIK, in most of the areas in question, the ONLY bus line that operates is Egged, which is publicly owned. So I don’t see what the problem is.

    Tal — you are way out of date on the structure (and policy) of public transport in Israel, I’m afraid.

    no mention of whether the bus line was officially separate or not

    Bus lines cannot be officlally seperate. There can be voluntary segregation amongst those who wish to so participate, but they cannot impose it on another passenger.

  140. ” I don’t think it is too much for the Charedi community to ask that in the few lines that service their community almost exclusively, that their norms be respected.”

    Sure.. if there is a legitmate norm then fine. But this isn’t legitimate, and isn’t a norm. It’s crazy, obey us or we will beat you, Sikirim land.

  141. Tal — I obviously have personal views on the topic from all angles, but my comment of 11:11 am was meant to try to frame the issue as dispassionately and objectively as I possibly can.

    If you have an idea on how to square the circle, many of us would like to know.

  142. “Addressing the incident in which a female passengers was ordered to sit in the back of a bus traveling from Ashdod to Jerusalem, Metzger added that ‘if we want separation, setting up a special bus company for certain lines is legitimate, and then we’ll be the landlords.'”

    IH: What do you understand R. Metzger to be proposing?

  143. Sure.. if there is a legitmate norm then fine. But this isn’t legitimate, and isn’t a norm. It’s crazy, obey us or we will beat you, Sikirim land

    Avi, please tell us what makes it illegitimate, apart from your passion about it?

    Suppose I walk into the women’s bathroom at the local Wal-Mart. I am likely to be asked to leave, and if I refuse, arrested for trespass. That is the coercive power of the State.

  144. Tal — R. Metzger is either not informed about the competition issue, or ignoring it. My comment of 11:11 summarizes the reality.

  145. bus lines in Israel are licensed and franchised via a State-managed competitive bid process. A commercial “private bus line” is unfair competition to operators who pay for a license

    If I understand you correctly, this means that the State grants a monopoly to a bus company on a certain line. E.g., Bnei Brak to Jerusalem. Or are there competitive companies operating the same line?

    How many different bus companies are there in Israel? Besides Egged?

  146. Tal, if there is no 2nd class issues involved, why do the women always have to be at the back. Why not in the front, or on the right (or left)?

  147. Tal, if there is no 2nd class issues involved, why do the women always have to be at the back. Why not in the front, or on the right (or left)?</i?

    Because the halakha is a man should not view a woman from behind.

    And, actually, on the mechitzah buses that operate from Monsey to Manahattan, the do sit side-to-side, with a curtain. So perhaps that is an answer. Or have men sit in the back, and place a curtain or other barrier between them.

  148. Comments from Jewish Action of kids schul attendance

    “The importance of avoiding coercion in chinuch is also emphasized in Torah literature. The Shlah Hakadosh (Parashat Vayetzei 31:5) writes that when someone wants something done by his family members, it isn’t advisable to impose his will–even if he has authority over them. Rather he should try to influence them in a manner that will bring them to want it themselves.

    When we make harsh demands of our children, our values don’t become internalized. This is an important principle in chinuch.”
    Especially crucial in HS why is that some mechanchim are still proud of my way or the highway-or are in demand depending on how many non glamorous kids can be encouraged to leave the system.

    “However, I am not pessimistic. Why? I recall over thirty years ago when I was a dorm counselor at Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Yosef Blau, the mashgiach, spoke to us about the alarming number of boys who were not coming to davening on Shabbat. He discussed with us what, if anything, there was to do about it.

    I no longer recall if the policies helped. However, my hunch tells me that most of those “boys” are now men who are in shul on Shabbat and they are grappling with their own children’s shul attendance.”

    I hope the men are in schul davening but I suspect there is much more correlation in behavior from YC to decades alter than the writer thinks. Of course, I remember when minyan attendance was mandatory in the dorms-of course making YU a nonsectarian institution effectively barred mandatory minyan attendance.

    ” But after the Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration, the excitement has dissipated and the sweet taste has long left their systems.”
    Crucial question-why has it left their sytems

    ” For some children, after elementary school or junior high school the synagogue becomes, at best, a social center on Shabbat and holidays. ”
    Halevai that it has become a social center-certainly pledges of making the schul not welcoming to all see eg pledges of quiet publicly signed will not encourage kids to treat it as a social center. If the schul is not the social center on weekends they’ll find another social center with disastorous results to Yahadus.

  149. tal – “Because the halakha is a man should not view a woman from behind.” – so how are they allowed to walk in the streets per their halacha (obviously this is not normative).
    i believe there is a misnha that states one is not allowed to walk behind one’s mother or wife (as well as a rtiva or rashba on why that no longer applies and not normative)

  150. RUVIE:

    “tal – “Because the halakha is a man should not view a woman from behind.” – so how are they allowed to walk in the streets per their halacha (obviously this is not normative).”

    bite your tongue (or typing fingers). you think some don’t wish for separate gender sidewalks? (don’t they exist already?)

    also, i thought the problem with mixed buses was wrt bumping up against women when crowded, not seeing them?

  151. >>Because the halakha is a man should not view a woman from behind.
    Then let them look in a sefer or at the floor. I should add that my comments here are l’shitatcha. I would be little more happy with separate seating with women at the front that with women at the back.

  152. “How many different bus companies are there in Israel? Besides Egged?”

    Off the top of my head, there is Egged, Dan, Kavim, Afikim, Illit Metropoline, Nateev Express, G B Tours, Omni Express, Veolia and Superbus.

    “Avi, please tell us what makes it illegitimate, apart from your passion about it?”

    For starters, this… http://blog.webyeshiva.org/halacha/applying-old-halachot-to-new-conditions

  153. abba – were there separate sidewalks in the shtetl? separate gender sidewalks is based on what halacha – can you show me it being ever instituted? in the end separation io men and women is generally religious coercion (tal’s reference to separate gender bathrooms id a red herring – it is a societal norm not based on religion).

  154. Obviously, the shtettle only had one side walk. Because they were poor and it was all they could afford. But really, they wanted a balcony sidewalk for the women. 😛

  155. Re link

    http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/article/what_a_difference_a_year_makes_masa_israel_journey_is_changing_the_way

    It is very importantthat we don’t treat our teenagers/young adults as either learn in Israel at Yeshiva or out-we need to offer other opportunities-appears worthwhile. Of course, even non religious programs have their advantage over nothing for the sadly nonobservant.

  156. “In general, when it comes to North America, the Chief Rabbinate is prepared to accept conversions done under Haredi auspices or those of the Rabbinical Council of America – but not by other Orthodox organizations such as the International Rabbinic Fellowship.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-interior-ministry-still-letting-chief-rabbinate-decide-who-is-a-jew-1.402198

    Anyone know who is advising the Israeli Chief Rabbinate on US Orthodox intramurals?

  157. “Signs in Jerusalem buses now say people have a right to sit wherever they wish and that harassing passengers could be a criminal offense.”

    At times on the “chareidi buses” if carrying a lot of packages my wife has sat in front-no one bothered her-but of course limited experience. In order to have your Rav kav charged you have to place it in/omn the machine next to the driver-how do the chareidi women pay who get on in the back?

    .

  158. “In general, when it comes to North America, the Chief Rabbinate is prepared to accept conversions done under Haredi auspices or those of the Rabbinical Council of America -”
    Misleading language-conversions for decades were done by RCA Rabbis-the RCA would certify them to theIsraeli CR when the need arose-which was only in cases of aliyah and marriage in Israel. THere never was almost never the question ofaliyah itself-the JA would certify conversion and Jewish identity of more than a year, Of course, notthat many cases-notthat much aliyah from Us inthe first place.
    The RCA/RCA Bes Din was involved in certifying the good standing of the Rabbis involved to the Israeli CR.

  159. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4163397,00.html

    “The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs unanimously voted to approve the ‘Tzohar bill,’ which allows citizens to register for marriage at any rabbinate in Israel and not necessarily at the rabbinate in their place of residence.

    Shas party officials have expressed their indignation over the government’s overwhelming support of the proposal.”

  160. “Steve Brizel on December 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm
    Mycroft-WADR, ask any rav out of town what kinds of pressures he faces in dealing with intermmarriage and the threat of losing a job that either insisting on Kabalas Ol Mitzvos or refusing to perform Gerus Las Vegas style entails.”

    Not just out of town-but even in NY it is my impression that the vast majority of geirus are either giyurei katan or giyur of BTs who always thought they were Jewish but had lets say a maternal grandmother who was not Jewish. By the way your attack on RAbbis losingtheir job is insulting to Rabbis-it is much more likely that many Rabbis agree with me privately-but are afraid of publicly disagreeing with those who are involved in the new system. It is not exactly a good career move-and BTW the only people who could write the way that I am are those who are not in Orthodox professional life, have no kids in the shidduch market, don’t have children or siblings in Orthodox professional life.
    I have heard from RCA members how because of this new policy they can’t recommend that converts after Day School go to Israeli Yeshiva for the year post HS. Remember a high percentage of converts were giyurei katan. Somehow or other you seem to ignore the facts onthe ground of what the onas ger that hastaken place.

    “The RCA’s Gerus standards were intended to supply a standard where instead out of town rabbanim had nowhere to turn to in such situations.”
    You believe that Rabbonim don’t consult with others-either senior local Rabbonim, their Rebbeim, or people with expertise on a sheila. That is standard practice to the best of my knowledge of Rabbonim that I have known and spoken to-not just inthis issue but forall issues that arise. True there are difficult halachik issues that may arise such as sudden second day yom tov questions in which are difficult because one can’t consult with others- but those are not relevant to gerus which are not sudden emergency sheilos.

    “I think that you are IMO confusing those intances of Giyur which were accepted in the past with cases where there was minimal or no insistence on Kabalas Ol Mitzvos.”
    I am not confusingthose cases-the ones and Rabbis that Iam familiar with ahve always made Kabalas Ol Mitzvot the essential and if giyurei katan a promise from the parents to bring up child as a shomer mitzvot. BTW to the best of my knowledge such promises were demanded even from obviously frum parents.

    “WADR, Onaas HaGer AFAIK, means not oppressing a Ger once you know that a person is a Ger Tzedek”
    Hoiw about Chazakah-a person was brought up Jewish and actedJewish for decades-you can’t usually prove the gerus decades later-the sad reality is that there is a good chance one of The Rabbonim will be inYeshiva shel maalah.

    “-I would not use Onaas HaGer as a basis for condemning any rav who insisted on a genuine Gerus. ”
    Not accepting a gerus done by shomrei mitzvot when there is no indication that fraud was involved is onaas Hager.

    Again, this comment , which is based on my hearing a shiur from one of the members of the BDA this past Sukkos, warrants reiteration:

    “The fact that the standards include guidelines that may not be present among a sizeable percentage of some prominent rabbinical leaders FFB membership such as adherence to Taharas Mishpacha, etc, really is IMO irrelevant” in determing what constitutes Kabalas Ol Mitzvos and is IMO ignorant of the fact that any rav who deals with issues of Gerus can and should be equipped to ascertain who is a Ger Tzedek and who is a Ger Lshem Ishus or worse

  161. ““The fact that the standards include guidelines that may not be present among a sizeable percentage of some prominent rabbinical leaders FFB membership such as adherence to Taharas Mishpacha, etc, really is IMO irrelevant” in determing what constitutes Kabalas Ol Mitzvos and is IMO ignorant of the fact that any rav who deals with issues of Gerus can and should be equipped to ascertain who is a Ger Tzedek and who is a Ger Lshem Ishus or worse”
    Determining the facts of an individual person if ithe gerus was dond for Ishus or lishma is a factual question which is best done by those closestto the facts-thusthe Rav believed that sheilas hadto be answered locally and refused attimes to answer even very close talmidim-he’d offer to over the sugyot but as he said “what do you want me to say you’re there”

  162. “of the fact that any rav who deals with issues of Gerus can and should be equipped to ascertain who is a Ger Tzedek and who is a Ger Lshem Ishus or worse”

    There is absolutely no reason to assume that a RY even a world class talmid chacham is able better to ascertain the genuineness of person Xs beliefs than a local Rav is where the Ger is located.

  163. “but not by other Orthodox organizations such as the International Rabbinic Fellowship.”

    Yes, the long-established Fellowship, that venerable institution, with so many years of good standing behind it. Come on. I wouldn’t even accept the Agudat HaRabbanim.

    “Signs in Jerusalem buses now say people have a right to sit wherever they wish and that harassing passengers could be a criminal offense.”

    According to my wife, who is very active in this issue (one of our first “dates” was a protest at the Supreme Court), the stickers are regularly torn off by the crazies. But the drivers are aware of the new rules and refuse to tell people where to sit. She regularly sits in the front of segregated buses but has never encountered real problems, by the way.

  164. That was me.

  165. Lawrence Kaplan

    mycroft: The main reason you are able say what you say is that you post anonymously.

    That said I agree with you re gerus.

  166. Is there any organization in Israel that can take up R’ Nathan Lopes Cardozo message and stop this “oppression of the ger”?

  167. “Lawrence Kaplan on December 19, 2011 at 7:18 am
    mycroft: The main reason you are able say what you say is that you post anonymously”

    I am not really anonymous-I am known by many-since I describe myself exactly many who know me have recognized me and commented to me about my comments. You may not believe that but within relevant circles many know who I am.

  168. Lawrence Kaplan

    mycroft: So if people know you anyway and you have nothing to lose, aa you say, why don’t you post under your own name and take personal l responsibility for your own often very critical comments?

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