News & Links

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

R. Elyashiv bans Mishpacha magazine (Hebrew)
How Jewish Is Occupy Wall Street?
Occupy Wall Street and the Jews
Army rabbi: IDF is no place for mistreating women
Halachic Analysis: Celebrating New Year
Haredi accused of sexually harassing soldier files appeal
Dreidel-spinning record falls
Limmud Nation
How to Keep Shabbos in Samoa
Day Schools Stuck in Neutral
SALT Friday
RCA, OU Joint Statement Regarding Violence in Beit Shemesh, Israel
YUTorah 2011 Year in Review
Beit Shemesh rally ‘a success’ say protest leaders
Rabbi Melamed: Mehadrin Busses Undermine Family Structure
ACLU: State Violates Kosher Food Order
Agudath Israel: Acts Of Violence By Self Appointed Zealots Are Beyond Moral Jewish Behavior
Margaret Thatcher and the Jews
Court Crosses Constitutional Line by Ordering Husband to Give Get
The Silent Majority No More: We Protest the Colossal Desecration of Yiddishkeit and Torah
Charedi Arrested For Calling Girl A Derogatory Slur After She Refused To Move To The Back Of Bus
SALT Thursday
Rabbis get biblical on same-sex lovin’
Torah Declaration on Homosexuality
Who Can Replace R. Sacks?
Haredim join protest against zealots
MK On Women Singing: Orthodox Soldiers Should Use Earplugs
IDF chief: Ceremonies where women sing mandatory for religious soldiers
R. Elyashiv leader calls for boycott of IDF, college programs
An Index for the Talmud, After 1,500 Years (first??? – link)
New on OU Torah: Rabbi Pinchas Teitz in Yiddish
Manischewitz Creates Kosher Food for Gentiles
SALT Wednesday
On Reverend’s Handbooks and Bar Mitzvah speeches for American boys of a century ago
Displaying the Menorah on Public Property: Is it Really a Good Idea?
Israel city braces for thousands of protesters against exclusion of women
Ultra-Orthodox Jews ask Israeli media to help rid them of extremists
Women’s singing: Gantz proposes compromise
Haredim: Women excluding themselves
SALT Tuesday
On Partnership Minyanim
Girl, 8, Becomes Poster Child for Anti-Haredi Backlash
R. J. Sacks: The Limits of Secularism
L. Feldman: Hebraism and Hellenism reconsidered
L. Strauss: Jerusalem and Athens
Israeli archaeologists discover ancient clay seal in Jerusalem, suggest link to Temple ritual
‘Kosher psychology’ gives hope to haredim
▪ Rulings re Har Nof pedophile: I, II
Kars4Kids is questioned by charity watchdogs
New issue of Milin Havivin
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
Rules: link

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.

620 comments

  1. Two notes re: Har Nof.

    1) R’ Mayer Schiller once commented to me (in a very different context) that all living things have an instinct to protect their young. When that goes, you know things are over.

    Do people really need to consult with their “gedolim” to know that they should protect their children? I’m sorry, it’s over for them.

    2) A throwaway mention in the comments (and subsequent Google search) convinces me more than ever that Jewish “chaplains” in local and state public safety departments are more a scam, a power trip, and/or a way to influence matters in underhanded ways than anything else. My apologies to those in those positions who are otherwise.

  2. Re: Partnership Minyanim

    Gil, I think the OU (and others in the ORthodox world)is in a very tight fix in regards to Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.

    On the one hand, they came out with a very public statement the other year essentially proclaiming that there is no place within Orthodoxy for “Partnership Minyanim”.

    Yet, they must realize that many YCT grads are doing their best to promote that very concept.

    The Forward article you linked to is written by a very prominent YCT grad – who by his own admission is trying to do all he can to mainstream Partnership Minyanim into Orthodoxy.

    As he puts it, he’s trying his utmost at: ” . . . re-aligning the gender dynamic of Orthodox synagogue life.”

    He also seems excited to declare: ” . . . While still considered anomalous in the eyes of most of the Orthodox community, partnership minyanim are no longer beyond the pale.” (BTW, I think that line is self-contradicting.)

    Now consider the OU. They are on record for being against anything like a Partnership Minyan, yet are (understandibly) unwilling to challenge YCT for promoting the very trend they consider to be beyond the pale of Orthodoxy.

    How long can this go on for?

    Seems like they’re ignoring the elephant in the room & just wishing it will go away. It doesn’t seem like it will.

    Sure, more right-wing quarters of Orthodoxy consider the institution and its ideologies dangerous, but the OU seems to want to have their cake and eat it too – i.e. declaring certain concepts beyond Orthodoxy on the one hand, but nevr challenging the school which continues to promote those concepts.

    I’m not saying this is easy, but this situation cannot continue much longer.

  3. prof shapiro’s article in milin havivin was as usual interesting and informative.
    is he hoping to reach a wider audience by publishing this article in hebrew? more than just the hebrew medium itself, i was a bit surprised by his style, idiom, usage of honorifics (which he genrally considers a yeihareg ve-al yaavor even for simple ones, yet he engages in some inflation as well), etc.
    and is he serious with this: “הרב החרדי” מספר על שיחתו עם עוד גדול בישראל, שעדיין בחיים חיותו
    ומטעמים מובנים יש צורך להסתיר את זהותו כדי שלא יהיה מטרה לחצי הקנאים.

  4. prof shapiro’s article in milin havivin was as usual interesting and informative.
    is he hoping to reach a wider audience by publishing this article in hebrew? more than just the hebrew medium itself, i was a bit surprised by his style, idiom, usage of honorifics (which he genrally considers a yeihareg ve-al yaavor even for simple ones, yet he engages in some inflation as well), etc.
    and is he serious with this: “הרב החרדי” מספר על שיחתו עם עוד גדול בישראל, שעדיין בחיים חיותו
    ומטעמים מובנים יש צורך להסתיר את זהותו כדי שלא יהיה מטרה לחצי הקנאים.

  5. I’m just so fed up with the whole push to feminize Orthodoxy.
    I’m no right-winger, and I have no idea what YCT truly stands for, but in my mind and in that of many of my friends, it’s just some wacky egalitarian place trying to change the Orthodoxy I’m comfortable with.

  6. Re: Beit Shemesh

    You know how they say that the Misnagdim & Chasidim stopped fighting (publicly) when they realized Haskalah & Modernity posed a greater threat to Orthodox Judaism?

    I think that’s why you rarely see any right wing element within Orthodoxy publicly knocking the BS hoodlums.

    The same mindset says it’s not strategic to denounce a party which is a great ally in another struggle – regardless of how nuts they’ve gotten.

    I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying what I think is the reason for so much silence.

  7. YITZ:

    perhaps they are trying to change the orthodoxy that your (or others’) wife/sister/daughter/mother isn’t comfortable with

  8. Not trying to impose change, just making the option available. If you don’t like it, don’t go: just like any other shul selection criteria: nusach, degree of formal chazzanut, Rabbi’s oration style, cholent at kiddush, single malt at kiddush, etc.

  9. Partnership Minyan Article

    For years now, I’ve heard people defend YCT grads by painting them as some sort of crack Kiruv commandos who are willing to go to places where mainstream Yeshiva guys won’t in order to bring people into the Orthodox community.

    I think this article shows us that’s not the case at all.

    These guys are looking to fundamentally change the Orthodox community.

    Consider this line: ” . . . re-aligning the gender dynamic of Orthodox synagogue life.”

    That’s not about lowering a bar to bring others in, that’s about changing the very dynamics of Orthodox Shuls.

  10. this is a clip from the israeli television featuring that 8 (7?) years old girl from bet shemesh. it is posted with english subtitles at
    http://www.amotherinisrael.com/channel-2-documentary-on-beit-shemesh-school-battle/

  11. Do partnership minyanim feature a partition of any kind.

  12. “He also seems excited to declare: ” . . . While still considered anomalous in the eyes of most of the Orthodox community, partnership minyanim are no longer beyond the pale.” (BTW, I think that line is self-contradicting.)”

    Anomalous just means very rare, it doesn’t mean beyond the pale.

    A Jewish south-east asian living in Hawaii making more than $100,000 a year, for example, is anomalous, but perfectly within the pale. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/08/the-happiest-man-in-the-w_n_833098.html

  13. What pray tell is the point of a partnership minyan if the mechitzah still stands.

  14. “What pray tell is the point of a partnership minyan if the mechitzah still stands.”

    to remain in accordance with a fundamental orthodox practice?

  15. Abba’s Rantings, “fundamental orthodox practice” according to which legal texts and territories and for specific holidays or daily minyanim as well.

  16. “to remain in accordance with a fundamental orthodox practice?”

    just because they keep saying it doesn’t make it true

  17. I also had the same question, why did M. Shapiro write in Hebrew? And his style is very interesting. For example, he introduces Prof. Sharon Flatto as אשת ידידי הרה”ג יששכר כ”ץ. It sounds like the article was originally written for some RW journal like Ohr Yisrael (See his article there about nittel, compare the style) and then he changed his mind and published it in Milin Havivin.

  18. The juxtaposition of Yitz’s 2 consecutive comments at 11:00 & 11:04 is interesting.

    He is “fed up” with those trying to permit that which can be permitted for women; yet, understands why for RW Orthodoxy it is “not strategic to denounce a party which is a great ally in another struggle – regardless of how nuts they’ve gotten.”

    Seems to me that Orthodoxy would be better off if the sentiments were reversed.

  19. Is it fair to paint all YCT grads based on the actions of somev

  20. I don’t know what people will find more interesting in Shapiro’s article, the introduction or the letter by Rabbi Herzog (and they seem to be at odds a bit). Was anyone surprised by Rabbi Herzog’s conclusion? I think he is saying that everyone must accept the Zohar.

    Why don’t the partnership minyanim just take down the mechitza? I am sure they can find an “authority” to permit that also. We know that all they need is on “rabbi”, even if he is insignificant. And while they are at it, they can also count women to the minyan, since I am sure one of their ilk can write a teshuvah permitting this.

  21. Yeedle, do you think Ohr Yisroel would ever publish such an article? I doubt it.

  22. what is ohr yisroel? i didn’t realize he has published in hebrew.

    just to clarify my original comment at the top, i found his style, idiom, etc. intersting aside from the honorifics.

  23. “Why don’t the partnership minyanim just take down the mechitza? I am sure they can find an “authority” to permit that also. ”

    Maybe that shows their sincerity?

  24. I think every issue of Milin Havivin has a Hebrew section (but how come the rebbeim of the yeshiva don’t write in it? R. Linzer has written a bit but not really the others.)

  25. S., sincerity concerning what. What is the original textual halachic/legal basis for the mechitzah during daily minyanim for shachris mincha and mariv.

    [email protected] 12:25 pm, I don’t understand your mechitzah point are u suggesting there is a textual legal/halachic basis for the partition during the three daily minyan requirement.

  26. “S., sincerity concerning what.”

    One of the most frequent styles of attack on other Jews who have different ideas is to cast doubt on their sincerity.

  27. R. Chaim Regensburg, in the Sanctity of the Synagogue, says mechitzah is “just” a minhag. I wonder how long until the Paartnership Minyanim types figure out that view.

  28. Gil, you wrote: “Is it fair to paint all YCT grads based on the actions of some?”

    We know that YCT responds when they feel that one of their grads has crossed the line.

    See here: http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2008/10/yct-statement_19.html

    That implies that when we see no such statements from from YCT, they must stand behind all that their grads do.

    Am I wrong?

  29. There’s a middle ground where something objectionable hasn’t reached the level of public repudiation

  30. R. Chaim Regensburg, in the Sanctity of the Synagogue, says mechitzah is “just” a minhag. I wonder how long until the Partnership Minyanim types figure out that view.

    As you know, it was/is a conscious decision not to breach that barrier (pardon the pun). After 10 years, the predictions of that slippery slope have been proven wrong.

    People who want to daven without a mechitza have other options, but not in Partnership Minyanim.

  31. IH, where can one pray 3 times a day with a minyan of men sans the mechitzah in NYC or anywhere.

  32. Gil, you wrote: “There’s a middle ground where something objectionable hasn’t reached the level of public repudiation.”

    Does that mean that you think YCT objects to Partnership Minyanim?

  33. minyan lover: I don’t know if it solves every one of your criteria (no institution is perfect for each individual), but try Yeshivat Hadar on weekdays and Kehillat Hadar on Shabbat.

  34. IH: Yet

    Yitz: Most likely that have no stance on the issue, like most issues. It’s a school not a beis din.

  35. Anonymous @ 12:27
    in its current form, not. If he played around with it a little, changed the title, I would say why not.

    Abba’s rantings
    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=13608&st=&pgnum=165&hilite=

  36. mechitza is “just” a minhag.

    does he write that it’s “just” a minhag, or that it is a minhag?

  37. Hirhurim, did the gra require that a mechitzah be up for the daily minyan.

    IH, thanks for the response. Also in life its all about the absolute perfection.

  38. “Hirhurim, did the gra require that a mechitzah be up for the daily minyan. ”

    The Gra wrote to his family that the women should preferably stay home and not go to shul altogether.

  39. Tear down this wall!

    (calling it, so in case it ever becomes a cliche I can say I said it first)

  40. Yeedle: R. Regensburg held that mechitzah is a universal minhag that cannot be discarded. But I doubt that this will hold people back from abandoning what they consider to be an inconvenient and immoraal custom, especially when times have changed so much. If women can be lawyers and presidents, why can’t they sit together with men? Etc. Etc.

  41. Gil- is it analoguous? Sitting with men and being lawyers, doctors etc. or do you mean that they shouldn’t be in the public sphere which is the exclusive territory of men for more than thousand years till recently?

  42. S, thanks but that hearsay letter was not the objective legal opinion of the gra on mechitzah for daily minyan that I was looking for. Although I do love the purported opinion on what seems to be the importance of words at least according to that letter. Some of the sentences are over the top I have not analyzed that purported letter in depth yet.

  43. For all the complaining about how annoying the kars 4 kids commercials were, I personally found the ads of the guy singing “what’s out number? 800 cucmuber” from several years ago much worse.
    Those were also oorah & also offered a time share vacation – as long as you sat through the pitch.
    My wife and I sat through it.
    What torture.

  44. “to remain in accordance with a fundamental orthodox practice?”

    Come on. It ain’t “fundamental orthodox practice” to give women aliyot.

    Fred, I’m sure they’re very sincere. They’re also very wrong. Mechitza is a big deal in Orthodoxy because that’s what the big fights were in the 1950’s. (Conservativism hadn’t gone all egalitarian yet.) So they think mechitza is more important than the ikkar is all. It’s also why all efforts to make an egalitarian Orthodoxy are fraudulent- at some point, they’ll either have to stop or just discard everything. (Kehuna, for example.)

  45. Nahum- “It’s also why all efforts to make an egalitarian Orthodoxy are fraudulent- at some point, they’ll either have to stop or just discard everything. (Kehuna, for example.)”

    Is it egalitarian orthodoxy- whatever that may mean? Or do they think it’s permitting what is not not permitted via Halacha not done by previous generations? Or is it Halacha that drives YI from not allowing women to be president of a shul but is permitted by the ou?

  46. Glatt some questions

    Somewhere in between partnership minyanim and the despicable behavior of the Beit Shemesh residents who think it’s perfectly fine to spit on a seven-year-old girl is the halachically meaningful and sane Orthodoxy I grew up with that is both faithful to our tradition and respectful of others who may differ with us on their understanding of the mesora.

  47. Nachum — what are you talking about?

    First, mechitza was already an issue in the late 1920s as per the section of R. Rakaffet’s book that I posted in https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/12/revoking-ordination/comment-page-1/#comments. Ironically, it was used by the Agudat Harabanim to beat up R. Belkin at REITS.

    Second, Partnership Minyanim are not trying to be egalitarian Orthodoxy. They are pushing the boundary on permitting that which can be permitted, but there are clear lines of demarcation.

    There is a force pushing for egalitarian Orthodoxy as exemplified by Hadar, but that is not what we are discussing here.

    And your last sentance makes no sense to me; it is a faulty example of a slippery slope argument.

  48. That should have read: it is an example of a faulty slippery slope argument

  49. To dispel some myths about Partnership Minyanim, this is from http://www.dnoam.org/About.php:

    History and Vision

    Darkhei Noam was founded in March 2002 by four individuals who were inspired by Drisha’s high holiday minyan and encouraged by the publication in the Edah Journal of Mendel Shapiro’s halakhic analysis of mixed Torah reading. From its inception, the vision for Darkhei Noam has been the creation of a minyan and community centered around inclusivity and meaningful prayer. As such, women take on active roles in the ritual life of the minyan within the bounds of halakha. Darkhei Noam strives to provide a place where all who come to pray are active participants; where the voices of davening come not just from the leaders of tefillah, but from both sides of the mechitza as well; where public space is shared by men and women; and where the intrinsic value of each individual is recognized. […]

    Davening and Torah Reading

    The tefillah practices of Darkhei Noam reflect the minyan’s commitment to finding opportunities for women to play active roles in prayer within the framework of halakha. Women lead pseukei d’zimra and hotza’at vehaknasat sefer Torah (the Torah service) and men lead shacharit and musaf. Men and women fully participate in keriyat ha-Torah (Torah reading) in the context of a traditional minyan of ten men.

    Mechitza

    Darkhei Noam’s mechitza is designed to create 3 separate domains: a davening space for men, a davening space for women, and a public ritual space, which houses the Torah reading and provides a space for the ba’alai tefillah (the women and men who lead tefillah) to stand while leading davening.

  50. Does anyone not believe that 2 of the most despised groups in Israel are the Chareidim and mitnachlim”

  51. And from Shira Chadasha’s English About Us at http://www.shirahadasha.org.il/english/index.php?page=25

    We are a community of observant men and women in Jerusalem, who have been drawn together by a shared desire to create a synagogue where we could increase participation of congregants, and particularly maximize the involvement of women in our services and in the administration – all within the rules and rituals of Orthodox Judaism. In so doing, we have created a congregation that reflects our values of worshipping G-d through meaningful prayer, hospitality, outreach, education, and social activism. Our emphasis on greater participation encourages regular congregants and visitors to join in harmonious singing, and it was therefore only natural that we should adopt the name of Shira Hadasha – ‘a new song’.

    We have no official Rabbi, rather a Halacha Committee composed of several ordained and learned lay members. Inclusion of women in our services includes the following:

    • As in other Orthodox congregations, men and women pray separately on either side of a mechizta (divider) that runs down the middle of our space, and our bima is situated in the center, affording equal access from both sides of the mechitza.

    • Women lead the optional parts of the service, such as Kabbalat Shabbat and Pesukei Dezimra, and girls too lead an’im zemirot – all from the women’s side of the mechitza – and recite Kaddish.

    • Women are called to the Torah, read from the Torah and make Kiddush. Women too are honored by the congregation on Simchat Torah.

    • Jewish life-cycle events for women – baby-girl naming, bat-mitzvah, pre-wedding Shabbat kallah and giving birth – are all celebrated within the synagogue service.

  52. Despite the quote from Rakeffet on Revel by Nachum-it was the Rav for better or worse who made separate seatingthe distinguishing aspect of Orthodox schules-it became open by the 50s before then many had no problem serving in mixed pews especially those from places like Torah Vaddaath-

    From speech 2/22/1969 at Jewish Center by R N Lamm
    found in
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=en&gbv=2&q=cache:CprxVZF-6gMJ:http://brussels.mc.yu.edu/gsdl/collect/lammserm/index/assoc/HASH5fe1.dir/doc.pdf+rabbi+norman+lamm+and+mechitza+and+jewish+center&ct=clnk

    “After all, the real identifying mark of Orthodoxy is not “glatt kosher”and not the mechitzah, but the study of Torah.”

  53. Mycroft — I agree there was a 2nd round of the issue as the post-war move to the suburbs, but there is no doubting the severity of the issue in the late 1920s given R. Rakeffet’s narrative:

    In many instances, the removal of the mechitza was the first deviation introduced by a congregation, which nonetheless considered itself Orthodox. A Pennsylvania synagogue wrote to the Yeshiva in 1929: […letter…].

    Revel did not permit the Yeshiva to acquiesce to a congregation’s introducing mixed pews. He insisted that the mechitza tradition be retained in the synagogue if a yeshiva rabbinical graduate was to occupy the pulpit.

    There were instances when Revel did permit graduates to be interviewed by congregations with mixed pews and he felt that “an able, diplomatic man could bring them back to the fold.” The rabbi was only authorized to accept the position if the congregation agreed to install a mechitza, or if the rabbi felt he had a reasonable chance of correcting the deviation. While ministering to the deviating synagogue, the rabbi corresponded with Revel to inform him of his progress. If the rabbi did not succeed within a year, Revel insisted that he leave the congregation.

    This is what led to the one case of revocation referenced recently in the brouhaha about R. Steve Greenberg.

  54. IH: Don’t be naïve. Even if Shirah Chadashah always keeps its mechitzah, it is a simple matter for people to start a new minyan that will adopt other changes. That’s what happened to KOE (although I’m sure there were also politics, which is always the case). I predict completely egalitarian mixed worship within a decade.

    It takes some time because the participants are still discovering these halakhic discussions and learning how to navigate their way through them.

  55. I tend to think that Shira Chadasha and the like want to preserve the aesthetics of an Orthodox shul so that they don’t attract a crowd that’s not serious about halakha even as they know that removing the mechitza is a much less serious halakhic offense than giving women aliyot, etc.

  56. Until very recently, the Shirah Chadasah website had on its front page one of their “takkanos”: that they will not start a minyan without at least 10 men AND ten women together. That seems to have been dropped from the website, though not clear if they still practice it.

    When I say that a couple of years ago, I knew I need look no further. That tells you all you need to know about their philosophy. The halakha of ten men is a din deoraysa learned from a derasha mentioned in Sanhedrin and Megillah. They apparently feel the Torah is unfair to women and needs a “workaround.” Apart from the halakhic incorrectness (if 10 men are together and it is the time to daven, they are obligated to start), it tells you that you are dealing with kofrim. The rest is details.

  57. Gil — That, after 10 years, those involved “are still discovering these halakhic discussions and learning how to navigate their way through them” is risible.

    It is a different proposition than “egalitarian mixed worship” and, frankly, I am surprised at your inability to “get” that.

    —–

    It is worth noting that mixed seating and egalitarian worship are separable issues. When I lived in London, I sometimes went to an independent shul that has mixed seating, but allowed a female on the bima only once in her life – for her bat mitzva.

    It was also my experience that there was little talking in that shul, compared to the standard Orthodox shuls. Families who sit together don’t feel the need to schmooze during the service.

  58. “It is not a coincidence that the Jews are the first to write great history. Others may be God-intoxicated; the Jew is history-intoxicated”

    Really? Jews have been interested in accurate history? See eg R S Schwab .

  59. “They apparently feel the Torah is unfair to women and needs a “workaround.””

    Pruzbul, heter iska, etc.

  60. “They apparently feel the Torah is unfair to women and needs a “workaround.””

    Pruzbul, heter iska, etc.

    Repeating kefirah does not make it truth, just repeats it. None of those cases have to do with importing a foreign hashkafah and judging the Torah thereby.

    As I often point out, a careful reading of the relevant gemara of prozbul states that the reason that Hillel enacted it was that he saw people were violating a Torah law — refraining from loaning out because the 7th year is approaching. (Which the Torah calls “bliaal” — exceptionally wicked.)

  61. “I predict completely egalitarian mixed worship within a decade.” Of course, this already exists. If you sharpen what I imagine you mean – “completely egalitarian worship among people whose other markers of affiliation suggest orthodoxy” – you will sharpen the real sociological issue that bugs everyone as well (the fact that calling someone and their minyan “not orthodox” does not make it so).

  62. “IH on December 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm
    Mycroft — I agree there was a 2nd round of the issue as the post-war move to the suburbs, but there is no doubting the severity of the issue in the late 1920s given R. Rakeffet’s narrative:”

    I have written in the past that IMHO R Rakeffets works on R Revel and R E Silver are worth reading. Having said that-schuls with mixed pews identifying with Orthodox were an accepted fact certainly until the Rav made it a defining issue.

    “Revel did not permit the Yeshiva to acquiesce to a congregation’s introducing mixed pews. He insisted that the mechitza tradition be retained in the synagogue if a yeshiva rabbinical graduate was to occupy the pulpit.”

    I am aware of famous Rabbis who were ordained by RIETS during the Revel period-thus obviously before the Rav- who served in mixed pews during the Revel period and certainly had no problem being at times employed by YU.

    “There were instances when Revel did permit graduates to be interviewed by congregations with mixed pews and he felt that “an able, diplomatic man could bring them back to the fold.” The rabbi was only authorized to accept the position if the congregation agreed to install a mechitza, or if the rabbi felt he had a reasonable chance of correcting the deviation. While ministering to the deviating synagogue, the rabbi corresponded with Revel to inform him of his progress. If the rabbi did not succeed within a year, Revel insisted that he leave the congregation. ”

    Revels time period was much quicker than the Rav would often expect a Rabbi be able to convince a separate seating schul to bedcome a proper mechitzah schul. It was a pragmatic decision of when to fight.

  63. I’m not sure what point you’re arguing here, Mycroft. The issue in the late 1920s (through the 1930s) was a power play by Agudat Harabanim meant to dampen the modernization of Orthodoxy happening at REITS. This extended to the point of (apparently) making REITS smicha conditional on not serving as Rabbi in a congregation with mixed pews!

    In post-WWII America, as the great migration to the suburbs occurred, the Rav used the issue to create a clear line of demarcation with the competing (in the field) Conservative movement. For better or worse, as you said.

  64. Tal – “They apparently feel the Torah is unfair to women and needs a “workaround””

    Did chazal not feel that the Torah was unfair to women as well and therefore made takanot to balance the unfairness? What do you think instituting the ketubot and refusing to marry those that do not provide one? What about takanat r’ gershon of not allowing a woman to be divorced against her will? Woman were not protected enough by Torah law from their viewpoint and the results were not good for society or do you have an alternative reality to these innovations?

  65. From the 2005 article Last Orthodox Shul With Mixed Seats Fighting for Its Traditions (http://www.forward.com/articles/2550/):

    At one time, before the Conservative movement began to adopt egalitarian worship in the 1970s and ’80s, congregations with mixed seating and Orthodox restrictions on women’s participation were an unremarkable feature in the landscape of American Jewish life. But over the past three decades, the vast majority of those synagogues either adopted egalitarianism or dropped out of the Conservative movement and embraced the term “traditional.”

    On the Orthodox side of the denominational divide, officials at the O.U., have said that they no longer would admit a congregation with mixed seating. In the late 1980s the O.U., which represents about 1,000 congregations, launched a concerted effort to encourage the dozen or so member synagogues with mixed seating to change their policies.

    From which one can deduce the degree to which the issue is sociological vs. halachic.

  66. “As I often point out, a careful reading of the relevant gemara of prozbul states that the reason that Hillel enacted it was that he saw people were violating a Torah law — refraining from loaning out because the 7th year is approaching. (Which the Torah calls “bliaal” — exceptionally wicked.)”

    A careful reading of the Gemara doesn’t tell us a thing about heter iska.

  67. Tal- ” None of those cases have to do with importing a foreign hashkafah and judging the Torah thereby.”

    So I assume your wife does not leave the house but 2 or 3 times a month per the rambam, learn gemera or any oral torah, certainly no bat mitzvah celebration? Aren’t these because foreign hashkafa? Do we have to go through the history books and see all the changes and innovations due to foreign ” hashkafas” – or do we look for other explanations because we wear blinders and can’t see the obvious?

  68. Michael Rogovin

    Nothing new in the discussions about partnership minyanim. But Gil, if there is a backlash against Haredim (i did not see that in the article) in beit shemesh, the very justifiable anger is focused primarily against fanatics that are machmir on dress, but see no problem with spitting on or violence against women and girls. To the extent there is anger against haredim it is against the leaders who are mostly silent instead of standing by (literally, not just figuratively) the women victims of these crimes, and the political establishment, including the police and courts, that allow the crimes to continue. Rabbinical leaders should be at the forefront of the battle against extremists: along with the PM, I think they should be personally escorting the children to school and banishing the hoodlums from the community.

    There IS a broader backlash against haredim that is also deserved. By imposing their chumrot on the entire country, including both modern orthodox and secular, on issues like transportation, Shabbat observance, conversion, immigration, kashrut, marriage, and cemetery customs, they are turning more people against any semblance of respect for religion, let alone observance, than even the most anti-religious Meretz or shomer hatzairnik leadership could have ever dreamed of doing.

  69. What do Haredim have to do with this conversation?

  70. Was that rhetorical Gil? Michael Rogovin’s comment has to do with the Haaretz article title you listed for the 8-year old girl’s terror at being spat at by thugs wearing black.

  71. “The halakha of ten men is a din deoraysa learned from a derasha mentioned in Sanhedrin and Megillah. ”

    Considering that the entire concept of tefillah b’tzibur is d’rabbanan (and, according to Ramban, tefillah itself is d’rabbanan), that is a really difficult argument.

    “Repeating kefirah does not make it truth, just repeats it.”

    The fourth perek of Gittin is kefirah????

    “None of those cases have to do with importing a foreign hashkafah”

    Restricting the role of women beyond what the rules of the religion require is characteristic of Christianity and Islam.

  72. “Many of the partnership minyanim are characterized by an anti-clericalism that is in keeping with the feminist challenge to traditional male authority.”

    Never having attended a partnership minyan, I can’t comment. But I do notice another phenomenon that has a strong anti-clerical strain: the hashkama minyan.

  73. ” I have no idea what YCT truly stands for, but in my mind and in that of many of my friends, it’s just some wacky egalitarian place ”

    Well, I have no connection to YCT, but I do attend Rabbi Dov Linzer’s Daf Yomi shiur. He is neither wacky, nor egalitarian. The shiurim are livestreamed and archived online (except on Shabat) so please join us.

    “IH, where can one pray 3 times a day with a minyan of men sans the mechitzah in NYC or anywhere.”

    There are probably a lot more places like that than there are “partnership minyans” or women’s tefillah groups put together: shuls with no women’s section. (Or lock the women’s section except for Shabat morning, which was the case at one shul I happened to visit once.) That sort of defeats the best argument against women’s tefillah groups — that women should be davening with a minyan.

    “It’s also why all efforts to make an egalitarian Orthodoxy are fraudulent- at some point, they’ll either have to stop or just discard everything. (Kehuna, for example.)”

    I’ve heard Rabbi Avi Weiss make basically this point.

  74. Charlie Hall,I’m not sure I understand your point. I’m a woman that has zero interest in egaliterian notions/issues/concerns with regards to prayer honorific/leadership opportunities etc. I also have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the mechitzah. I believe that ten men are required for a minyan and I love praying with a minyan (especially maariv) (hence the name minyan lover) which is why I’m always interested in daily minyanim that require ten men but do not require a mechitzah.

  75. “I do notice another phenomenon that has a strong anti-clerical strain: the hashkama minyan.”

    hah! although i think it’s more anti-sermon than anti-clerical, i.e., the rabbi may be a nice guy, but i really don’t care to listen to him rattle on.

  76. “Rabbinical leaders should be at the forefront of the battle against extremists: along with the PM, I think they should be personally escorting the children to school and banishing the hoodlums from the community.”

    that’s a good suggestion.
    wrt the PM, i’ve been wondering why the PM is generally silent on issues of a local nature. is it that i don’t realize his involvement in local issues because i’m not on the ground and don’t follow the news that closely, or is this just the way it works in israel (national leaders only deal with nation issues)?

  77. Minyan lover – “I love praying with a minyan (especially maariv) “. – why especially maariv ( although I can understand kaballat shabbat)?

  78. Charlie Hall, one more point, the only egalitarian issue of concern that interests me is the problematic notion that a woman cannot be a dayan. But that has nothing to do with the current thread conversation. I would never want to ruin a thread with frivolous sidetracking what would the gra say. Speaking of the gra can you provide the thread with the gra’s objective halachic analysis on the concept of the mechitzah.

  79. Ruvie, I think maariv is a profound prayer. Its a great way to conclude the day every day , on the spiritual level.

  80. Michael Rogovin

    Gil: as pointed out before, it was a response to YOUR headline that there is a backlash against haredim. That the News/Links discussion is almost exclusively about partnership minyanim is not germaine. The discussion is supposed to be about any of the articles linked to. You know that.

    I am pleased that recent reports of a rally drawing some haredi leaders to support the anti-zealots is scheduled for tomorrow, though the location had to be changed due to threats of violence if it was not (irony alert). I hate to say it, but I favor tear gas being used to disperse the zealots and also mass arrests the next time they go anywhere near the school or threaten anyone, anywhere. Time to get tough against those who would verbally and physically threaten and attack others.

  81. “The issue in the late 1920s (through the 1930s) was a power play by Agudat Harabanim meant to dampen the modernization of Orthodoxy happening at REITS. This extended to the point of (apparently) making REITS smicha conditional on not serving as Rabbi in a congregation with mixed pews!”

    But they didn’t care about musmachim of Torah Vaddath who had mixed pews?

  82. Abba’s Rantings on December 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm
    ““I do notice another phenomenon that has a strong anti-clerical strain: the hashkama minyan.”

    hah! although i think it’s more anti-sermon than anti-clerical, i.e., the rabbi may be a nice guy, but i really don’t care to listen to him rattle on.”

    QUite often the haskama minyan attenders do have an anti-clerical feeling-it is not simply the 10 minutes of a rabbis speech. Of course, other reasons to go may be-autobiographical-if davening is expectedto be extremely long eg Hallel,Chanukah , mvorchim. I attended a hashkama minyan last week because I had no patience for the very longHallel etc of my normal minyan. Of course, there is a shiur before my normal minyan which I go to-no shiur before or after hashkama minyan.

  83. “A throwaway mention in the comments (and subsequent Google search) convinces me more than ever that Jewish “chaplains” in local and state public safety departments are more a scam, a power trip, and/or a way to influence matters in underhanded ways than anything else”
    Essentially agree with Nachum-except I wouldn’t use his language of “scam”
    Generally pay quite a bit for the hours involved.

  84. Mycroft:

    1. I was actually wondering if they get paid. If so, it’s more of a scam. I mean, let’s be honest: How many Jewish chaplains does the NYPD need? The PAPD? The OEM? (How many, period? Unlike soldiers, cops can go to their regular church and priest whenever they want.)

    2. The Agudat HaRabbanim famously rejected Torah Vodaat grads too, hence the Igud HaRabbanim. Their rejection of anything American- and their rejection both by MO and UO- led to their marginalization. (The Igud is pretty marginal as well, but I don’t know if it ever wasn’t.)

    Richard:

    I think the mechitza may be more there to *attract* Orthodox Jews used to it, not to keep away non-Orthodox.

    IH:

    You misunderstand me, and in doing so prove my point. They were fighting over mechitza in the 1920’s? Of course, and how much better for my point: They weren’t fighting over women leading or getting aliyot! So for almost a century, Orthodox Jews have had mechitza- and nothing else!- imprinted in their minds as a dividing line. So when some new shul opens that makes some token move- almost always, a mechitza- and isn’t formally Conservative (or mealy-mouths their way around that), people assume it’s sorta “Orthodox.”

    (As is pointed out, keeping ten men from davening because only nine women are present is assur, plain and simple. Charlie, your point about d’rabbanans is dancing around the plain answer.)
    First, mechitza was already an issue in the late 1920s as per the section of R. Rakaffet’s book that I posted in https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/12/revoking-ordination/comment-page-1/#comments. Ironically, it was used by the Agudat Harabanim to beat up R. Belkin at REITS.

    “Second, Partnership Minyanim are not trying to be egalitarian Orthodoxy.”

    Come on. They would have no cachet at all, and a lot less attraction, if they simply announced that they weren’t Orthodox or called themselves “Conservative.” (Why do you think the UTJ got nowhere?)

    “And your last sentance makes no sense to me; it is a faulty example of a slippery slope argument.

    That should have read: it is an example of a faulty slippery slope argument”

    Well, I’m glad you admit that slippery slopes are sometimes true. 🙂 But in fact, I was making the opposite of one: I was simply pointing out that all these efforts are false precisely because they *must* stop at some point. So unless you’re going to go the full Reform and, say, eliminate kehunah or matrilineal descent, you’re not being honest by telling women you’re “egalitarian.” Unless, I suppose, you are upfront that it will never be total. In which case…why go this far at all? If women can’t duchan, why *must* they get aliyot?

  85. Tal- ” None of those cases have to do with importing a foreign hashkafah and judging the Torah thereby.”
    =========================================
    imho there is a bit of a circular issue here, any changes adopted are always considered organic, those not, foreign. imho one would be hard pressed to go back in time (without knowledge of the eventual result) and apply a set of rules and determine before the fact which changes would be deemed organic. I suspect it might be easier to prognosticate based on necessity.
    KT

  86. I was away so read the entire comment section in one fell swoop. My first reaction was “haven’t we been around this block once or twice or several hundred times, before?” My second reaction was something of an answer to Gil’s question to Michael: How sad that the epithet kifira is dragged out and hurled at supporters of partnership minyanim and not at the chareidim in Bet Shemesh who spit and yell at and frighten 7-year old girls — and their leadership who remain silent over this. How sad and how typical.

  87. Regarding news articles that are likely to be posted and written about in the next few days, I like to propose the following.

    Word of the day: “Sikirim”: Thugs who dress up in black clothes, have payot and beards and try to take over property and businesses by altering consumer and resident behavior via spitting, stone throwing, vandalism, and harassment. Taken from the name of a group of assassins named after the Sicarii from the time of the second Temple.

    Not to be confused with “Ultra-Orhtodox” or “Charedim” which they attempt to look like. Please repost on your status and share the word.

  88. Joseph Kaplan, what is the legal/halachicj/technical definition of “chareidim”.

  89. “How sad that the epithet kifira is dragged”

    Not a fair comparison. Nobody in the comments supported the Sikirim. (they are kofrim mamash).
    But people in the comments did support the minyanim.

    This is the difference between a controversial issue (minyanim), and tragedies (the sikirim and their victims). Controversies gets nasty labels hurled, tragedies don’t.

  90. Avi, thanks for that, saw your word of the day after I posted my query.

  91. When I was quite young, my much-wiser brother pointed out to me (and always attempted to point out to others) that the word “Apikores” refers to a very narrow band of beliefs. (See Sanhedrin.) The same would apply to “Kofer.” I don’t think that either partnership minyanim advocates or, l’havdil, charedi hooligans (both per se, of course) can be included, wrong as they both might be.

    On the other hand, poor old inoffensive me probably would be. I’ll klap a bit stronger at s’lach lanu at Maariv tonight. We can talk about Chabad another time. 🙂

  92. Not to be confused with “Ultra-Orhtodox” or “Charedim” which they attempt to look like.

    They were educated in charedi schools, of charedi parents, partake in charedi culture, no-doubt associate with charedim (as well as dress and talk as they do) and are not denounced publicly by the charedi leadership. So why should they not be thought of as charedi thugs?

    Shalom Rubashkin never spat on anyone to my knowledge but he was convicted of getting millions through fraud (which he subsequently lost) and of committing perjury in court and he’s considered by many a charedi hero. Rubashkin is a convicted white collar criminal and not thug but if we’re going by the old-term usage of charedi he wouldn’t be that either. Sociologically and by association he is charedi – as they are.

    Another way of looking at it: even if they are kofrim as they are thugs the charedi leadership wanted its members not to have the tools to leave. If this is the result – people who can’t leave but act less like a mensch then most any secular person – then the charedi leadership must take responsibility for that. And even if they are not kofrim but men who have taken the charedi counter-cultural rejection of Western mores to an extreme – then the charedi leadership has some responsibility for that as well.

  93. Tal , one quick point re your ten men and ten women point, while obviously not the solution, the fact that a woman cannot be counted as one of the ten required for a minyan appears to be both hurtful and insulting. Especially when there are nine men. While some can get over this, that doesn’t negate the fact. Which makes the ten men and ten women initiative laudable at the very least.

  94. HAGBTG, your comment does not address the first question that should be addressed before bringing random examples and scenarios. What is the halachic/legal definition of “chareidi”. Personally, if one is looking for perfection in behavior towards others , I believe that one should start with the gra’s halachic analysis/understanding re the importance of words/speech etc and how careful one should be with everyone.

  95. Nachum — First to correct something is said that you quoted w/o correction, it was R. Revel not R. Belkin who was the target of the Agudat HaRabbanim in the late 1920s and 1930s.

    Second, your “Come on” point is demonstrably false to anyone who has attended a Partnership Minyan. Have you been?

  96. minyan lover — “Charedi” is sociological segment. That it has any correlation with religiousity or piety is dubious. Same with “Orthodox”.

  97. “appears to be both hurtful and insulting”

    As are about a million details in halakha.

    What about boys aged 12 years and 364 days? What about non-Jews?

    I find it more offensive- patronizing, really- that the “rule” could be “kept” Friday evenings and Shabbat mornings at partnership minyanim and (logically) not bothered with at the other 19 tefillot of the week. I’ve said it before, but when we start seeing more than one or two women at a Tuesday morning minyan, well, we can talk.

  98. What is the halachic/legal definition of “chareidi”.

    If there is any halachic definition of charedi it has to do with individuals and not communities. A MO (even LW) could be charedi. It would have as much to do with a general attitude as chumrot, which would merely manifest the internal nature of the person.

    In short, it has nothing to do with the charedi commmunity now and is irrelevant to a discussion here.

    We are talking about a sociological grouping and a communal structure, perhaps bastardized from the original charedi concept, but now bearing scant resemblance to it.

    I am not that interested here in discussing the origins of the term “charedi.” At the end of the day, its just a word game. We are talking about a specific community and we can call them “Ultra Orthodox,””Charedi,” or “Chasidic” – we might call them by specific sect names – or “Sikarii” or “Butterscotch”, for that matter, but we all know who and what we are talking about.

  99. “Controversies gets nasty labels hurled”

    And why should that be? Why can’y controversies be debated without the nasty labels?

  100. “They were educated in charedi schools, of charedi parents, partake in charedi culture, no-doubt associate with charedim (as well as dress and talk as they do) and are not denounced publicly by the charedi leadership. So why should they not be thought of as charedi thugs?”

    For many reasons.

    1. They call themselves Sikkarim.
    2. They don’t listen to other Charedi Rabbis.
    3. They self identify as Sikkarim.

  101. Well, IH, I will admit that there are those who come to partnership (etc.) things from outside Orthodoxy who wouldn’t come to an Orthodox thing otherwise. But then one must ask why.

    I echo your comment to minyan lover. There’s no halakhic definition, which is why I prefer the term “ultra-Orthodox.” In Biblical Hebrew, all religious Jews are “charedim.” They rejected the UO terminology, and waged a very successful campaign in the media to have it changed, because they didn’t want to admit that there was anything exceptional about their practice above the minimal requirements (which “ultra” implies- for some reason, they preferred “fervent”); nor that “modern” Orthodox Jews may have just as strong a claim on tradition as them.

  102. I find it more offensive- patronizing, really- that the “rule” could be “kept” Friday evenings and Shabbat mornings at partnership minyanim and (logically) not bothered with at the other 19 tefillot of the week. I’ve said it before, but when we start seeing more than one or two women at a Tuesday morning minyan, well, we can talk.

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” is that the way of it Nachum? Why are your conditions relevant to where/how people may want to pray? There are many men who don’t go to minyan either and the rules of egalitarianism are quite easily accommodated there.

  103. 1. They call themselves Sikkarim.
    2. They don’t listen to other Charedi Rabbis.
    3. They self identify as Sikkarim.

    And the Sikari are part of the charedi community. When they merge with the Hilltop Youth we can talk about whether or not they’re a charedi component. Next I’ll hear Yigal Amir was not dati.

  104. I’ll try to restate this in a way that maybe Americans can understand.

    The Tea Party, and Republicans are not the same groups of people. News story distinguish between the two groups, even though to everyone else in the world, they basically look and talk alike.

    The same should be said about the Sikarim and Charedim, who may look and talk alike, but are two very distinct groups of people. Rubashkin btw, was/is not a Sikkari.

  105. The same should be said about the Sikarim and Charedim, who may look and talk alike, but are two very distinct groups of people. Rubashkin btw, was/is not a Sikkari.

    False. Not every Tea Party member is a Republican. So far, every Sikari is a Charedi.

  106. “And the Sikari are part of the charedi community.”

    In what way? Which Charedi rabbi do they listen to?

    They destroyed Manny’s book store in Meah Sharim. Is Manny’s now not a charedi store?

    They even attacked Feivish!

  107. Nachum — Come on. Sounds like you’ve never been to a Partnership Minyan (or at least not with open eyes). From my vantage point it is the dividing line between Modern and Centrist Orthodoxy that Gil wants to pretend doesn’t exist.

    On “Charedi” I’m surprised no one has mentioned that the official name of the OU in Hebrew was Ichud Ha’Kehilot ha’Charediot B’America.

  108. In what way? Which Charedi rabbi do they listen to?

    They dress like charedi, live amongst charedi, associate with charedi and are silently supported by a portion of the charedi community. No non-charedi would ever be able to be a part of the Sikari. That are a distinct charedi subset.

    They destroyed Manny’s book store in Meah Sharim. Is Manny’s now not a charedi store?

    Why does the fact that they attack charedim mean that they are not charedim? If a charedi mugs another charedi that means he is no longer charedi?

  109. “False. Not every Tea Party member is a Republican. So far, every Sikari is a Charedi.”

    False. Not every Sikari is a charedi, and so far, every tea party member is a republican.

    One of the leaders of the Sikarikim is a 21 year old, who grew up in a Toldot Aahron family, and switched over to Neturei Karta before starting this new group. They have no Rabinic leadership, and don’t listen to the Edat Haredim.

  110. They dress like Republicans, live amongst Republicans, associate with Republicans and are silently supported by a portion of the Republican community. No Democrat would ever be able to be a part of the Tea Party. That are a distinct Republican subset.

  111. Avi — what are you really arguing here? Intra-“charedi” violence is a matter of public record (for years) in both the US and in Israel.

  112. on sikkarim/shareidim and whatnot conversations here miss the point of what really is going on in israel. the people who spit on girls is an easy target to denounce by many if not all religious jews. that is not really the problem as r’ slifkin describes in his recent column. my issue is when will this issue come (not in the same way) to america – if not already see kiryat yoel? its not always physical violence but verbal and intimidation as well.

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/12/spitting-on-girls-is-not-main-problem.html

  113. You can read this article, and see clearly, that these are not part of the same group.

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/fanning-the-flames-1.317909

    Calling Sikarikim Charedim, is a disservice to everybody involved.

  114. “of Britain — or as one American writer calls them, weapons of mass consumption. Religion seems superfluous, redundant, de trop. Why then does it survive?”

    Certainly there are religious institutions but what percentage believe as man did a few centuries ago that sickness comes from God rather than germs . RCS wrote it better a couple of decades ago.

  115. “Why are your conditions relevant to where/how people may want to pray? There are many men who don’t go to minyan either and the rules of egalitarianism are quite easily accommodated there.”

    1. I have no idea what you meant by casting stones. If I understood the rest properly:

    2. They’re not my conditions, they’re halakha’s. That old thing. When Reform says it’s OK to eat pork, they don’t invoke halakha, and so don’t offend me (on that level). When Conservatives say it’s OK to drive on Shabbat, they do, and so do.

    3. I’ve never heard anyone trying to normalize *not* davening with a minyan. Hypocrisy can be a good thing, you know. Conversely, it *is* a mitzvah to do so.

    As to the “gotcha” question, why would I want to go to an egalitarian minyan, and why must I have had attended one to have an opinion?

    “Tea party” generally refers to a philosophy. “Republican” is a political party. Two different things. The Sikari are a subset of Charedim, which cannot be denied. Every group has its wackos, but the Sikari are under discussion.

  116. “The same should be said about the Sikarim and Charedim, who may look and talk alike, but are two very distinct groups of people. Rubashkin btw, was/is not a Sikkari.”

    It would be really very simple, as someone suggested earlier (sorry, don’t remnember who), to show that they’re really distinct groups if 2 or 3 “real” Chareidi leaders volunteered to accompany the 7 and 8 and 9-year old girls for week or two on their way to school and confront the spitters and yellers. Then I would gladly believe that the spitters are not Chareidim. But when the “real” Chareidi leadership says we won’t even condemn them because they’re not chareidim so what do we have to do with them — well, then you’ll have to forgive me but I get a bit suspicious that the groups aren’t as distinct as some would make them out to be.

  117. You can read this article, and see clearly, that these are not part of the same group… Calling Sikarikim Charedim, is a disservice to everybody involved.

    Since the article referred to the Sikari as Charedi I am not clear as to your point. It said they were a part of the Eda Haredit!

    Belz is not Satmar, which is not Chabad. I never argued that there was one single controlled group called “charedim.” Belz is Charedi. Satmar is Charedi. Chabad is (mostly) Charedi. Toldot Aharon is Charedi. Neturi Karta is Charada. And the Sikari is Charedi.

    Sikari are

  118. You can read this article, and see clearly, that these are not part of the same group… Calling Sikarikim Charedim, is a disservice to everybody involved.

    Since the article referred to the Sikari as Charedi I am not clear as to your point. It said they were a part of the Eda Haredit!

    Belz is not Satmar, which is not Chabad. I never argued that there was one single controlled group called “charedim.” Belz is Charedi. Satmar is Charedi. Chabad is (mostly) Charedi. Toldot Aharon is Charedi. Neturi Karta is Charadi. And the Sikari is Charedi.

  119. 3. I’ve never heard anyone trying to normalize *not* davening with a minyan. Hypocrisy can be a good thing, you know. Conversely, it *is* a mitzvah to do so.

    My point was that the mere fact they don’t go to minyan in the week doesn’t mean they can’t have a voice about shul on the weekends. Whatever the arguments against partnership minyanim, thats not one of them.

  120. “One of the leaders of the Sikarikim is a 21 year old, who grew up in a Toldot Aahron family, and switched over to Neturei Karta before starting this new group. They have no Rabinic leadership, and don’t listen to the Edat Haredim.”

    What? One has to listen to the Edat Charedit to be a Charedi? So the Agudat Yisrael isn’t Charedi? Ger, Belz, Bobov, Lakewood, Lubavitch- none are them are Charedim? If anything, the Toldot Aharon and NK are *closer* to the Edah Charedit (along with Brisk, etc.)

    Yes, sometimes is does boil down to what type of hat you wear (so to speak).

  121. HAGTBG: Maybe not, but it says something about the commitment of those involved, and the practicalities of enforcing it, and the message the contradictions may send. But hey, I just myself said hypocrisy is good. 🙂

  122. the larger issue of sikkarim/chareidim: from r’ slifkin article that i posted above: also, notice the takedown of the “disingenuous” johnathan rosenblum.

    ” general problem, which is this: At every level in charedi society, there is a certain degree of intolerance towards non-charedim, which is never protested by those to their left in charedi society.”

    “The end result of all this is that while the crazy violent extremists are indeed only a fringe element, there is a much wider problem of charedi intolerance to non-charedim at many levels, and a general attitude of not protesting unacceptable intolerance that allows it to endure and proliferate. Furthermore, there is a general charedi belief that, once they are in the majority, the neighborhood should conform to charedi sensitivities; and they are generally working to increase the charedi percentage of the population (to bring the city in line with their spiritual ideals)!”

  123. Nachum, I saw no disagreement between us on hypocrisy. 🙂

  124. The whole thing is ridiculous. This is a problem which really threatens to consume the Chareidim more than anyone else, because everyone else will only put up with so much, so it is everyone else’s perception which matters. Denying any connection will not make the problem go away, since no one will be convinced; it only makes it more acute. Think of the reaction to Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz’s public refusal to even condemn them, because in his mind by condemning them he is acknowledging a connection which he denies exists. Very nice, that’s what he thought he said. But what everyone else heard was that he can’t find the words to condemn people who are harassing little girls. Does anyone really think his approach, which is Avi’s approach, is doing more for the Chareidim?

  125. minyan lover, since you appear to feel its relevant, why not tell us what he says instead of vague allusions. No one else here thinks we are talking about halachic categories so you have to make your case.

  126. Avi — the only thing that article “proves” is that the Eda Charedit is politically astute enough to spin a policy of plausible deniability.

  127. They dress like Republicans, live amongst Republicans, associate with Republicans and are silently supported by a portion of the Republican community. No Democrat would ever be able to be a part of the Tea Party. That are a distinct Republican subset.

    Democrats also dress like and live amongst Republicans, etc. Democrat and Republican is not a sociological grouping. There are independent Tea Party members for certain.

  128. And also lets not forget what the real issue going on in Ramot Beit Shemesh is: real estate. The Sikari are trying to kick the MO and secular out of neighborhoods that adjoin theirs. They are not doing this to the charedi. In actuality, many charedi – who are mostly silent to date in their public condemnations – benefit from sikari activities when communities flip more to their liking.

  129. Neither Belz, nor Satmar, nor Chabad, nor Toldot Aharon, nor Neturie Karta, nor anybody else is involved with whats going on in Beit Shemesh. Only the Sikarikim are.

    “It would be really very simple, as someone suggested earlier ”

    It would not be very simple, because of the politics of the city, and the TOV political party, as well as the Am Shalem political party. As we know, when it comes to politics, Charedim leadership is willing to be silent on evil things so as not to appear in any shape or form to be accepting of Zionists.

  130. ” the only thing that article “proves” is that the Eda Charedit is politically astute enough to spin a policy of plausible deniability.”

    Perhaps you failed to notice the date of the article.

  131. ” Does anyone really think his approach, which is Avi’s approach, is doing more for the Chareidim?”

    That isn’t my approach.

    My approach is to separate the Sikirim from the Charedim, so that Charedim can feel free to criticize and speak against them, without feeling like they are attacking themselves. Charedim have no problem condeming Zionists, because they have no interest in protecting them. As long as everybody thinks that the Sikirim are Charedim, they have to “circle the wagons”.

  132. I can’t help but think of that old joke: Officer, officer, I swear that traffic light came out and hit my car 🙂

  133. HAGTBG , I can’t argue without the facts and legal definitions. I just thought the gra’s perspective on hasidic sects would be useful to the thread conversation especially with regards to costumes etc. Its also difficult to distingush between hearsay and gra opinions that have been authenticated which is why I thought it would be better to have a gra scholar state them. Since the gra is unfortunately not available for cross examination and or to testify about his opinions and knowledge 😉

  134. Avi — no, the date demonstrates that the line you’re peddling is just spin which only the gullible believe. Sorry to be blunt.

  135. “As we know, when it comes to politics, Charedim leadership is willing to be silent on evil things so as not to appear in any shape or form to be accepting of Zionists.”

    You have to manage your own reputation. No one is entitled to appearing to support evil yet a presumption that they do not support it.

  136. Charlie Hall: But I do notice another phenomenon that has a strong anti-clerical strain: the hashkama minyan

    In my experience, it is more anti-shlep and anti-sermon. I davened at a suburban “main minyan” this past Shabbos and returned from shul 4 hours after leaving! My kids were on the verge of collapse. When, in the past, we went to hashkamah minyan, we returned 2 hours after leaving. (Both include kiddush)

    HAGTBG: Was that rhetorical Gil? Michael Rogovin’s comment has to do with the Haaretz article title you listed for the 8-year old girl’s terror at being spat at by thugs wearing black

    No, it wasn’t rhetorical. I misunderstood and thought he was connecting the two conversations. On second look, I see he was responding to two articles in one paragraph. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Joseph Kaplan: My second reaction was something of an answer to Gil’s question to Michael: How sad that the epithet kifira is dragged out and hurled at supporters of partnership minyanim and not at the chareidim in Bet Shemesh who spit and yell at and frighten 7-year old girls — and their leadership who remain silent over this.

    The thugs have leadership? Who?

    The answer to your question is another question: are they heretics? I think they are criminals who should be physically restrained, thrown in jail, deported, whatever. Not every crook is a heretic.

  137. AVI- you have misused the word tragedy. A tragedy is a sad event, but usually implies that in part it was unavoidable or due to forces beyond control. The people spitting and frightening small children have total control over their behavior, and so their activities are just plain horribly wrong and unpardonable.

  138. “no, the date demonstrates that the line you’re peddling is just spin which only the gullible believe. Sorry to be blunt.”

    I appreciate your insults. But really, how does the date say that?

    To be blunt, I think you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Considering, that I came up with what I came up on my own, and tried to find articles on the net which said the same thing, I’ll have to say that you are 100% wrong about whatever you are thinking.

    “Plausible deniability” is a fiction of movies and novels.

  139. IH: Sounds like you’ve never been to a Partnership Minyan (or at least not with open eyes). From my vantage point it is the dividing line between Modern and Centrist Orthodoxy that Gil wants to pretend doesn’t exist

    I think you either overestimate support for Partnership Minyanim or underestimate the size of the Modern Orthodox population.

  140. avi -“My approach is to separate the Sikirim from the Charedim…”

    face it you can’t. if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck – guess what: its a duck. plus, as r’ slifkin points out its the attitude of chareidim in general that is the root of the problem not this side show which is terrible on its own and is a lens into the chareidi society and how it thinks and behaves (in their reaction or non to it). chareidim in general want the same result just not the violence and the public scorn.

  141. AVI- don’t be disingenuous. The thugs are chareidim and should remain labelled as chareidim until every single chareidi rav and ‘gadol’ stands up and condemns them in unambiguous terms. It is similar to the PA who claim not to be terrorists but never criticize terrorists actions. The leadership has to pick sides and lead. Silence speaks volumes. These actions didn’t start from a vacuum.

  142. Noam, tell me how I, or anyone, can prevent the existence of people who call themselves Sikirim. They are a tragedy for Am Yisorel.

  143. Ruvie and Noam,

    I don’t believe all Palestinians are Terrorists, and in fact I’m fairly certain that most Palestinians do not support Terrorism.
    And as long as people keep deciding to be racist and prejudicial and lumping all people who don’t look like you as one group, you will allow bad things to continue.

    Things only get better if you let Palestinians, and Charedim know that you recognize that they are not the same as the Terrorists and the Sikrikim. Only then, can they actually see them as a different group, and fight against it.

    Change from without is never as effective as change from “within” or those who are most like minded with eachother.

    You can shout at “the other” as much as you want, and they will only do more to upset you.

  144. avi – so its blame the victim time? “circle the wagons” is acceptable behavior? the root of the cause is the philosophy and attitude towards non chareidim and the availability of political power to coerce others. its that simple attitude that leads to extremism that the leadership still hasn’t disavowed through action and ahavat yisrael of non-chareidim in this case. anything less is just excuses that are inexcusable. at last, we have (imho) reach the tipping point of the issue in israel.

  145. Avi – Of course these people are ‘charedim’.The Toldos Aharon rebbe was just in Ramat Beit Shemesh to encourage them to keep up the fight.

  146. Funny you mention that, Avi. I was wondering if you think it is legitimate to hold Hamas responsible for the Salafists firing rockets into Israel?

  147. “avi – so its blame the victim time? ”

    Only a fanatic could twist what I wrote to say “blame the victim”…
    How about, you just recognize that the Thugs and Terrorists are not a representation of the people who they dress like? Can you do just that one small thing?

    If you insist on creating enemies were none exist, then you only make matters worse.

    Spent 10 seconds and try to empathize with Charedim who are also victims of the Sikirim? Where can they turn? What can they do? How can you help them?

    Stop being so self centered for 2 seconds.

  148. From the rebbe’s drasha (http://www.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=36012&cat=6&scat=40):

    “צריכים להלחם ולשמור על השלטים ועל קווי המהדרין. אסור להתפשר. המלחמה היא על הבית היהודי”.

    יצויין, כי למחרת דבריו של האדמו”ר החלו עימותים בבית שמש במהלכם שוטר נפצע קל וצוותי תקשורת הותקפו.

  149. “Funny you mention that, Avi. I was wondering if you think it is legitimate to hold Hamas responsible for the Salafists firing rockets into Israel?”

    To the extent that Hamas are themselves a brutal government that uses violence and thuggery to control their people, then yes.
    If there was a group of Sikirim who were murdering people, I would hold the Sikirim that just vandalize responsible for those actions.

    But If Hamas was not a brutal government, but just the dominant philosophy/world view of the people in Gaza, I would not hold them responsible.

  150. Give me a break. The terrorists are part of the Palestinian people. Of course not all Palestinians are terrorists. But as long as the leadership accepts/condones the actions provides support for the actions, and does nothing to prevent them, at least partial responsibility for the terror lies with the leadership. I am not saying that Rav Elyashiv wants to spit on little girls. However, until he does everything in his power to prevent it, he is partially responsible. You are saying that the thugs don’t answer to the chareidi leadership. That may be true. However, until the chareidi leadership does everything they can to stop it, we won’t know. It is reasonable to expect that the chareidi leadership should be as outraged as the rest of the world and would want to put a stop to this. Where is the outrage and action?

  151. “Spent 10 seconds and try to empathize with Charedim who are also victims of the Sikirim? Where can they turn? What can they do? How can you help them?”

    Where can they turn? They can turn inward and reflective and try to see a little bit of what everyone else has been seeing. And if they do that, perhaps they can make some changes and corrections of their problems, and they can change their reputation. You think it’s an accident that after 60 years of stones finally the US Secretary of State noticed?

  152. avi – “How about, you just recognize that the Thugs and Terrorists are not a representation of the people who they dress like? Can you do just that one small thing?”

    nobody ever said that they representative of the general population. would you agree that possibly the philosophy toward non chareidim may be at its root cause (of course taken to an extreme) and not simply a break away group who dress alike but is totally different than chareidim?

  153. Anon, why would you quote that part of what he said, but not the part where he says that Violence is unacceptable?

    ” הרבי מתו”א הולך בדרכו בדרך של שמירת המחנה והקהילה המסוגרת שלו, אך מדבר ללא הרף על אהבת ישראל לכל יהודי, ועושה את זה דרך מפעליו הכבירים לכל יהודי באשר הוא, ובודאי שכל דרך של אלימות פסולה בעיניו ומגנה ולוחם כנגדה”.

  154. IH: Sounds like you’ve never been to a Partnership Minyan (or at least not with open eyes). From my vantage point it is the dividing line between Modern and Centrist Orthodoxy that Gil wants to pretend doesn’t exist

    Hirhurim: I think you either overestimate support for Partnership Minyanim or underestimate the size of the Modern Orthodox population.

    In absolute numbers, there are few Partnership Minyanim and so, by definition, regular attendance is small relative to the MO population. But, the 10-year trending perspective is significant: there is increasing interest, support and growth. And even among those for whom it is not their thing, I see higher tolerance amongst the old Modern Orthodox axis (e.g. JC, KJ, Ramaz) and lower tolerance amongst the old Yeshivish axis. As time passes, the debate (even here) is becoming less hostile. R. Lamm’s “things have to be done gradually” and “the passage of time solves many problems” comes to mind.

  155. avi – as always it starts at the top – the rabbis and their attitudes. it really is that simple – everything else filters down. some are just to blind to see that [ a perfect example of taking responsibility is RAL’s speech post rabin assassination].

  156. Avi, Next you’ll tell us the people throwing stones on Shabbat for the past few decades aren’t charedi either.

  157. Neither Belz, nor Satmar, nor Chabad, nor Toldot Aharon, nor Neturie Karta, nor anybody else is involved with whats going on in Beit Shemesh. Only the Sikarikim are.

    No. But some of the above groups benefit from Sikari actions.

  158. Are any of the “hareidim” in question litvaks.

  159. Minyan Lover: Brisk has a big hand in this.

  160. to avi’s point: from ynet –

    “In an official statement issued by senior officials, who are responsible for the community’s official stand, they renounce violent acts committed by haredi zealots but blame the media for the recent radicalization.”

    the lack of introspection is mind blowing. feels like they view themselves as victims (shtetl mentality anyone?) but not of their fellow men’s actions:

    “We condemn any type of violence, but we also condemn the media’s wild attacks… The press is initiating intentional provocations in a bid to ruin the reputation of the residents, who are calm, quiet and tolerant people, living their lives according to their faith.

    “In some cases, media crews initiated the arrival of immodest women to the neighborhood in order to inflame the situation and reach ‘media achievements’. They will pay the price in the conventional ways.”

    see entire article here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4167228,00.html

  161. “It would not be very simple, because of the politics of the city, and the TOV political party, as well as the Am Shalem political party. As we know, when it comes to politics, Charedim leadership is willing to be silent on evil things so as not to appear in any shape or form to be accepting of Zionists.”

    I’m underwhelmed. If politics is more important to them than stopping people from harassing and frightening little girls, then the leadership is entitled to no resopect whatsoever. They enable the thugs which is dispicable behavior no matter how much Torah they know.

    “How about, you just recognize that the Thugs and Terrorists are not a representation of the people who they dress like? Can you do just that one small thing?”

    I’ll be happy to recognize that as soon as the firtst Chareidi leader accompanies a small girl to school (he can bring his rebitzen along to stand in between him and the girl if he thinks that’s necessary). Until then I don’t believe it and see no reason to believe it.

    Let’s take another issue we’ve been discussing forever. A musmach of YU performs a commitment ceremony between two men. The MO leadership could have said: it’s not our business. R. Steven Greenberg, wherever his smicha came from is no longer Orhtodox so whay should we get involved. But because there was, at the very least a perception that he was MO and that MO supported such activities, the MO leadership made a public statement disassociating themselves publically from such acticities and making it clear that they condemned such activities from a religious perspective.

    Is it really so difficult to take some action to protect little innocent girls. I would ahve thought we’re talking about motherhood and apple pie (or teh Israeli equivelent thereof). The failure of the Chareidi leadership to dio anything speaks volumes.

  162. “The answer to your question is another question: are they heretics? I think they are criminals who should be physically restrained, thrown in jail, deported, whatever. Not every crook is a heretic.”

    Of course not. And not every “deviant” theological position is heresy. My point was simply that accusations of heresy add nothing to the discussion and, indeed, detract from it. It’s fancy name calling rather than argument.

  163. Yeedle, would that be the Bais Halevi approved Brisk or some diluted confused derivative. In addition to mesechtas chanukah the mesechta on intellectual property appears to be missing in 2011.

  164. to tal’s previous point against “foreign influences” in judaism: as well as foreign aspirations:

    Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv…said in a letter Tuesday that he was opposed to the recent phenomenon of hareidim integrating secular college level studies with Torah education, and to institutions that encourage youths to enlist in the IDF or National Service (Sherut Leumi).

    “Thus they (the secular government) encourage all sorts of programs, academies, colleges, and the like which promise degrees, licenses, academic credentials, etc., intended to introduce goals and aspirations foreign to our way of life. This is in direct contradiction to the instructions of the the great rabbis of previous generations, who battled against all institutions that had these purposes, and removed them from the ‘camp of Torah.’ This is especially the case now, where the institutions make clear that their purpose is to change our ways of life, and to instill foreign aspirations – nationalistic and academic – that our forefathers never accepted, bringing us to make inappropriate connections with secular people, those of the ‘culture of sinners.’”

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/151133#.TvnvfyNSS8V

  165. “Displaying the Menorah on Public Property: Is it Really a Good Idea?”

    bad idea
    particularly when they claim it is just a secular jewish symbol and then use the same menmorah for a public lighting ceremony with berachos, etc.

  166. “Avi, Next you’ll tell us the people throwing stones on Shabbat for the past few decades aren’t charedi either.”

    Why would I do that?

  167. Why would I do that?

    So that is done by charedim? Are you okay with that? That doesn’t endanger people? Or is the issue here only to you that they are spitting on little girls.

  168. “Until then I don’t believe it and see no reason to believe it.”

    Feel free not to believe it. Do you feel better now? Do you feel more connected to your fellow Jew? Does this help you empower charedim to stand up to the thugs in that frighten them?

  169. “Is it really so difficult to take some action to protect little innocent girls. I would ahve thought we’re talking about motherhood and apple pie (or teh Israeli equivelent thereof). The failure of the Chareidi leadership to dio anything speaks volumes.”

    You say you are trying to protect little girls. They say you are trying to cause little girls to sin, and are waging a political war to win seats in the city council and the kenesset. They say this is all just a ruse to force the coalition between Haredi parties and the Netanyahu government to break apart so Kadima can force elections.

    You don’t believe them, they don’t believe you. Shcoach, now what?

  170. “So that is done by charedim? Are you okay with that? That doesn’t endanger people? Or is the issue here only to you that they are spitting on little girls.”

    Why would I be ok with that?
    As far as I’m aware, the Sikrikim group has only been around for a couple of years. I’m not aware of any group that the people who threw stones called themselves other than Charedim.

  171. Joseph: Of course not. And not every “deviant” theological position is heresy. My point was simply that accusations of heresy add nothing to the discussion and, indeed, detract from it. It’s fancy name calling rather than argument

    I disagree. It is a technical term that is useful when used appropriately. I’m not sure who used it here but I doubt it applies to those advocating egalitarianism.

  172. Does this help you empower charedim to stand up to the thugs in that frighten them?

    Right here is the problem. You are already empowered. You do not need us to help you and we can not hinder you. If you believe it is right then stand behind it. if you believe it is wrong, condemn it. And it shouldn’t matter that it is haredi and you are too. If anything that should increase the odds you condemn it because people associate this behavior with you.

    It is that simple. Really and truly.

    If your rabbis are so concerned with what the Joneses are doing that they can not do whats right… if you are alleging that they have such a skewed view of social policy that the fact that everyone else condemns it that they can not… then that perverse logic raises the issue of why you bother following such people in the first place.

    This has been on the Israeli Orthodox front burner for months, if not years. It should not take the media showing a little girl getting spat upon … which everyone already knew was happening but didn’t have a face to put with it… to bring it to the fore. Where were the charedi leaders until now in Beit Shemesh? Claiming its not their problem. Just like the Shas mayor or Beit Shemesh until this broadcast.

    And btw, in the news today, it seems the charedi leadership only seems to understand the spitting to be wrong. They don’t seem to understand the whole agenda of instilling fear and claiming they own the public grounds to be the problem.

  173. “Right here is the problem. You are already empowered. You do not need us to help you and we can not hinder you.”

    Who is “You”? What Charedi is talking on this blog that you are addressing?

  174. Seperate question.. Are charedim even allowed to read this blog?

  175. If you are not charedi then why am I even bothering to have a discussion with you about whether the Sikari are charedi when every news report says they are. Thanks for letting me know explicitly I was wasting my time.

  176. Where are the Israeli Police in all this? Are there more important law enforcement problems going on in RBS than the harassment of children?

  177. “Hirhurim on December 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    Joseph: Of course not. And not every “deviant” theological position is heresy. My point was simply that accusations of heresy add nothing to the discussion and, indeed, detract from it. It’s fancy name calling rather than argument

    I disagree. It is a technical term that is useful when used appropriately. I’m not sure who used it here but I doubt it applies to those advocating egalitarianism”

    I’m in between-obviously some positions are clearly heretic BUT since the term is overused IMO so much-it would be wiser to minimize use of the term.

  178. ” every news report says they are”

    Every news report also said that Iraq had WMDs.

    “Where are the Israeli Police in all this? Are there more important law enforcement problems going on in RBS than the harassment of children?”

    Why are people so blinded by their hatred of folks who dress funny? Don’t people get upset when the police forcefully remove protesters from public property? Are people advocating for a Singapore style police force?

  179. Please. The Iraqis never said they had WMD. Here, the charedi say they are charedi. This is not dan lkaf zchut but willful blindness on your part.

  180. AVI:

    “They say you are trying to cause little girls to sin”

    partly. worse yet, these sick perverts say the little girls will cause them to sin. listen to the driver in the video: זה מפריע לי, אני איש בריא

  181. “You don’t believe them, they don’t believe you. Shcoach, now what?”

    I don’t spit on little gitrls. Don’t compare me to them. Some things are legitimate in politics and some aren’t legitimate anywhere. Spitting on little girls isn’t.

    As for “Does this help you empower charedim to stand up to the thugs in that frighten them?”, there’s nothing I can do to empower chareidi leadership to do something. They either have the guts to do it themselves or they don’t. Or, the other possibility is that they actually silently support the action of the “few.” There really are no other choices.

  182. “I disagree. It is a technical term that is useful when used appropriately. I’m not sure who used it here but I doubt it applies to those advocating egalitarianism.”

    A blog discussion is not a place where it can be used appropriately. And yes, it was used here against those who support partnership minyanim.

  183. avi:
    >“Why are people so blinded by their hatred of folks who dress funny? Don’t people get upset when the police forcefully remove protesters from public property? Are people advocating for a Singapore style police force?”

    Would you like a special exemption protecting the rights of funny-dressed people to harass children?

    I’m not “upset” when the police forcefully remove assailants and harassers from public property. Are you?

  184. Any first hand reports from the rally today?

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/thousands-of-israelis-protest-gender-segregation-in-beit-shemesh-1.403916

    Ha’aretz and ynet report “thousands” / “אלפים” while JPost reports “hundreds”.

  185. abba’s rantings: partly. worse yet, these sick perverts say the little girls will cause them to sin. listen to the driver in the video: זה מפריע לי, אני איש בריא

    raised in charedi culture you become ultra-sensitive to women, even small girls. It his totally not his fault. Sad fact. Many raised in that environment who later get out say they have dificulites to view women as people not as objects.

  186. What is news about Handbooks, Sermon Manuals, etc?

  187. mycroft: What is news about Handbooks, Sermon Manuals, etc?

    an oasis of normalcy amidst a desert of meshuga.

  188. http://www.vosizneias.com/97688/2011/12/27/london-noted-charedi-mechanech-banning-the-internot-is-not-the-answer
    ====================================
    News Flash: The Emperor has no clothes.
    KT

  189. YEEDLE:

    “raised in charedi culture you become ultra-sensitive to women, even small girls. It his totally not his fault. Sad fact. Many raised in that environment who later get out say they have dificulites to view women as people not as objects.”

    1) call me culturally insensitive, but i think that if he gets gets turned on by an eight-year-old girl in long sleeves and a knee-legnth skirt he should be locked away or castrated (or both, just to be sure)
    2) and who told him to move to bet shemesh, where inevitable he would face these temptations. let him and his sicko buddies move to some isolated male-only settlement.
    3) if it is true that he is a product of his community and upbringing as you descibe, then contra avi the larger haredi community does bear blame and should stand up to put an end to it.

  190. “Here, the charedi say they are charedi.”

    Huh? Haaretz is Charedi now? what are you talking about?

    “raised in charedi culture you become ultra-sensitive to women, even small girls. It his totally not his fault. Sad fact. Many raised in that environment who later get out say they have dificulites to view women as people not as objects.”

    Your evidence doesn’t match your claim.

    People who grow up with FHM feel the same way. (There was a news article that people could not tell if a statement was from FHM or from a Rapist)

    IH:

    http://www.mpaths.com/2011/12/live-from-beit-shemesh.html
    http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2011/12/massive-hafgana-in-bet-shemesh-this.html
    http://www.mpaths.com/2011/12/beit-shemesh-gone-wild.html

  191. Avi read the articles, read the public statement by the “gedolim” in Beit Shemesh. Then come back to me. All of them refer to these people basically as charedi hooligans.

  192. joel rich: http://www.vosizneias.com/97688/2011/12/27/london-noted-charedi-mechanech-banning-the-internot-is-not-the-answer
    ====================================
    News Flash: The Emperor has no clothes

    Not a very gutsy thing to say now that Agudah has allowed internet use as long as it is filtered.

  193. gil – surprise you did not link to johnathan rosenblum’s article (jp and cross currents) that appear over the weekend: Think again: First, let’s calm down ;How a rejection of any separation between the sexes has become a fetish.

  194. When we saw the man in that Channel 2 video saying that secular Israelis treat women like objects, my first reaction was “kol haposel, b’mumu posel.” He’s the one with the problem, not them.

    Avi’s claim that he’s trying to separate charedim from sikarim so they can condemn them is ignorant at best. Charedi apologists, in fact, have tried to use the supposed “difference” to *avoid* condemning them: “They’re not us, why should I bother?” (Never mind that even Netanyahu has.) “If I condemn them, people will think we’re the same!” (Too late.)

    Then again, I think Avi is trying the Big Lie by even getting us to discuss this.

  195. Nachum – its not just the avi’s of the world but the johnathan rosenblum’s of the world trying to blame other communities or claiming over reaction: spin only works if people want to be fooled or feel better about themselves: see menachem lipkin comment in the comments section.

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/12/23/first-lets-calm-down/

  196. “How a rejection of any separation between the sexes has become a fetish.”

    Of course, the Rav ZT”L had a different viewpoint-famous story he comes to a wedding with his wife-there was separate seating-“I sit with my wife” and wouldn’t stay because he couldn’t sit with his wife.

  197. The question is whether this situation will change the underlying dynamic. As I commented on RHM’s blog 2 days ago:

    There is a strange phenomenon I have observed about the Dati Leumi mainstream to make excuses for Charedi demands until it reaches their backyard. And even then, their criticism is kept local to their own backyard. This is a strategic mistake.

    Fundamentalism is so hard to combat precisely because it is unified by its simplicity; whereas pluralism is, by definition, accommodating to difference. This is why we hear things like (secular) MK Livnat’s statement the other day: “I don’t think we should tell them how to live. We should live and let live”.

    Until the national Dati Leumi community In Israel stops making excuses for the fundamentalists, the fundamentalist Charedim will keep winning battle by battle. Sadly, I fear the “ad kan” event that will catalyse the necessary unity among the pluralists has not yet occurred.

  198. “ruvie on December 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm
    Nachum – its not just the avi’s of the world but the johnathan rosenblum’s of the world trying to blame other communities or claiming over reaction: spin only works if people want to be fooled or feel better about themselves: see menachem lipkin comment in the comments section.

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/12/23/first-lets-calm-down/

    Rabbi Blau’s comments are woth reading from that thread.

    “Yosef Blau
    December 25, 2011 at 9:08 am
    In order that Rabbi Rosenbloom’s defence be effective it has to deal with the issues that are causing the recent criticism of the treatment of women by elements of the Haredi community in Israel.
    !)The often violent daily demonstrations in Beit shemesh against the students of aa single sex girls elementary school
    2)The gender separation on public buses with women in the back of the bus
    3)Signs telling women told that they are not permitted to walk on one side of the street
    4)No pictures of women or girls in Haredi newspapers
    5)The Taliban women
    Non of the above is even mentioned in the article

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/12/23/first-lets-calm-down/#ixzz1hmdARxPG
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  199. “Until the national Dati Leumi community In Israel stops making excuses for the fundamentalists, the fundamentalist Charedim will keep winning battle by battle”

    When the National Dati Leumi community became in general a synonomous with Gush Emunim-they were willing to give up everything for the shetachim-end result of course, chareidim control religion and future Israeli control of shetachim is questionnable.

  200. Looks like Avi got through to someone:

    “In a statement released to Kikar Shabbat, President Shimon Peres commented on the current anti-chareidi atmosphere prevalent in the media in response to the wave of incidents involving modesty, mehadrin buses and related issues.

    The president called for an immediate end to the generalizations, reminding the public that the overwhelming number of chareidim in Eretz Yisrael are not involved in the current mayhem, and they do not support such abhorrent actions. Mr. Peres added that the actions of this small minority does reflect poorly on the entire tzibur, adding he is certain the majority of the community is outraged no less than other residents of the country.

    President Peres expressed words of support for the many chareidi leaders whom have come out publically to condemn the recent violence and he called for an end to the current unfavorable atmosphere that depicts the chareidi tzibur as being responsible or supportive of these unacceptable actions.”

  201. I don’t think Pres. Peres means Sicarim vs. Charedim. He means the minority of Charedim that are trying to impose their beliefs on everyone — e.g. separation of sexes in the public arena.

    “Referring to religious extremists who would impose their will on others, Peres said, “We are not the masters of this country; we are the citizens of this country,” meaning that everyone, without exception, must abide by the rule of law.” (from JPost).

    In effect, he is pleading with the silent Charedi majority to rein in their own. “Peres said that religious, secular and traditional citizens must band together to save the soul of the nation and the substance of the state.”

  202. “It seems that there are three strong arguments against religious displays on public property. First, it is important to maintain a strong separation between church and state, so that no one religion is favored by the government. Second, the highly conspicuous display of Jewish religious items may lead to anti-semitism. Third, as was alluded to in the Allegheny case, Chanukah has (unfortunately) attained a “secular status” in American society; placing large menorahs next to Christmas trees in “seasonal holiday” displays detracts from the true sanctity and meaning of the holiday.”

    I tend to agree.

  203. “The president called for an immediate end to the generalizations, reminding the public that the overwhelming number of chareidim in Eretz Yisrael are not involved in the current mayhem, and they do not support such abhorrent actions. Mr. Peres added that the actions of this small minority does reflect poorly on the entire tzibur, adding he is certain the majority of the community is outraged no less than other residents of the country.

    President Peres expressed words of support for the many chareidi leaders whom have come out publically to condemn the recent violence and he called for an end to the current unfavorable atmosphere that depicts the chareidi tzibur as being responsible or supportive of these unacceptable actions.””

    I don’t know if S Peres believes hwat he is attributed to have said -but they certainly are the correct words to say.

  204. Tal Benschar , As IH points out, Pres. Peres considers the Sikari a small component of the Charedi, not separate from it (like Avi claimed). No one claimed they were a majority. The claim was they were a part of the haredi who have support from a component larger then themselves (as well as some rabbis) and silence to their actions from another significant portion of the charedi community and rabbinate.

    As for his certainty the majority is outraged, I certainly hope that is true.

  205. “Hirhurim on December 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm
    joel rich: http://www.vosizneias.com/97688/2011/12/27/london-noted-charedi-mechanech-banning-the-internot-is-not-the-answer
    ====================================
    News Flash: The Emperor has no clothes

    Not a very gutsy thing to say now that Agudah has allowed internet use as long as it is filtered”

    “In fact, Rabbi Shapiro placed the blame for the younger generation’s fascination with the internet squarely on the shoulders of those who issued internet bans and said that the act of banning something such as the internet or a concert only increases its appeal. According to Rabbi Shapiro the internet, like the telephone, the radio or the cell phone, is an instrument that was, at first, met with great trepidation by many in the Jewish community, but when used properly can become an integral and appropriate part of our lives.”

    “said that the act of banning something such as the internet or a concert only increases its appeal.”
    Certainly added a filter only increases the appeal of what is kept out.

  206. “Avi read the articles, read the public statement by the “gedolim” in Beit Shemesh. Then come back to me. All of them refer to these people basically as charedi hooligans.”

    I’ve read them, and I don’t agree with you.

    There is a split of opinion about what exactly Charedim should be trying to do. I’m not 100% certain where the line is drawn, because I havn’t looked into it directly. However, even if Sikirikim and Charedim have the same view on a particular issue (like mehadrim buses), their tactics are completely different. The Sikirkim will shout and beat women who sit in the front, normal charedim will just tell them once, and then be quite about it. (If they say anything at all) But clearly, the Charedim in Beit Shemesh are saying that this whole situation is just a ploy to weaken their power in the city government, and has nothing to do with anything else.

    The lumping of the charedim with the sikirim in their view is an attack on them, and it needs to be fought in the bizzare ways that Charedim like to do things.

    Regarding R. Blau’s comment, he is making the same mistake here by including the “Taliban Women” in his listings.

    The Taliban women dress differently than Charedim. They have been given a title by the general media which does not include the word Charedi, and therefore, the Charedim Rabbis HAVE in fact come out against them, and said that they are evil people doing evil things.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4021877,00.html

    When people percieve another group as being “other”, either by label or dress, it becomes easy for them to criticize and attack them. But while the media and every other Jew in the world keeps letting Charedim know that they think Sikirikim are Charedim, they will not be able to come out against them.

  207. As far as Shimon Perez goes, I doubt he even knows of the term. I only learned about it because of a lesson I was taught. Stop saying “they”, and start looking at who the individual people are. When I did that, I found all these blogs and articles calling them Sikirkim that I had never seen or heard of before.

    Also, unlike myself, I’m sure Shimon Perez knows that you can’t give a message which goes completely against what the people are currently thinking. Just as statements that Palestinians in general are not terrorists tends to be ignored or scoffed at by people even though, in reality, the majority wish there was a better way of getting what they want.

  208. “whereas pluralism is, by definition, accommodating to difference”

    Then you need fundamentalism to stand up to it. To tell them that what they’re doing isn’t Jewish, isn’t Orthodox, and they should be treated as such.

  209. Do the modern orthodox gedolim, like Rav Schachter have a view when it comes to the date of the Zohar?

  210. “;How a rejection of any separation between the sexes has become a fetish.”

    Really-we have separate bathrooms, locker rooms etc-fundamental separation of sexes remain in appropriate locations.

  211. “Really-we have separate bathrooms,”

    We don’t at my office.

  212. As far as Shimon Perez goes, I doubt he even knows of the term. I only learned about it because of a lesson I was taught

    Because you learn a term therefore they are a different sort of thing entirely??? You needed the term to know that most charedi were not the ones actually doing this? I have no idea why the fact that there is a subgrouping within charedi more responsible for this is a revelation to you.

    For the record, I am no longer trying to debate you Avi. You seem to attach importance to your claim that the sikari are non-charedi and even with no facts backing you, you continue to make the distinction. However, for the sake of accuracy and because the sikari arise from pressures within the broader charedi culture (concerning those with different religious beliefs, dealing with broader society and integration, secular education, secular culture etc.) your false claims must be noted. The sikari are a symptom of a bigger problem.

  213. Prof Shapiro writes that “הגריד”ס היה בקי בזוהר”. This is evidenced by what?

    In any event, I hope that someone takes this article, which is really just a series of citations, an adds some needed analysis.

    I would also welcome anyone who would like to take up the claim that
    “בשאלת מחברו של הזוהר, יש פער גדול בין מה שאפשר לכנות בשם היהדות האורטודוקסית האקדמית ובין היהדות המסורתית.”

    Finally! Orthodox academics are recognized as a distinct sub-denomination. (can we now go ahead and establish the מועצת גדולי היהדות האורטודוקסית האקדמית)

    OK, tongue in cheek, but now that this has been made explicit it needs to be asked whether the authorship of the Zohar the only issue where a significant difference exists. I think not. Perhaps it’s the only one where you can say so openly.

  214. MJ – can you identify who falls into each group- or is it obvious (are their writings that theologically bias)? are there any fence sittes – in your opinion?

  215. It’s interesting that the rabbis who signed the declaration on homosexuality consider themselves such experts on the effectiveness of therapy to change one’s sexual orientation.

    On another note, what does Rav Elyashiv actually think the Charedi community in Israel should be doing? No secular education at all. No service in any state-mediated organisation etc. etc. Is he aware of what this means for his community? Does he think that not a single male who has the misfortune of being born into the system he stands at the helm of should be given the opportunity to have some form of professional training? Does he think that the ensuing poverty and deprivation is ‘worth it’? Does he maintain that Hashem will provide whatever happens? Is this just another piece of political propaganda engineered by Yated Ne’eman to further some murky agenda?

  216. LongTimeReader

    Re the Torah declaration.

    This is what we can get unity within Klal Yisrael for? How irresponsible. My question for the brave 157 – would you let your daughter marry a graduate of your therapy?

    The MO leadership is dropping the ball on this in a way that borders on criminal negligence.

    “Can everyone change their homosexual inclinations? What about individuals who claim that they have sincerely tried to heal through reparative therapy but were unsuccessful?

    Answer:

    Not everyone succeeds with their current therapy, but everyone is capable of healing. ”

    Did these people even watch the YU forum? This may be true about some people, but it is clearly untrue about some, and dwelling on the debate over reparative therapy is the way to ensure that nothing real gets done.

    The model to follow is Aguna. While you can’t change the enormous obstacle at the center of the issue – sometimes there is no halachik way – you can address it on the fringes. Pre-nups, ORA, legislative initiatives and improvements to the BD system have improved things a lot without compromising halacha (according to many for all of these things, for some just parts).

    Why can’t the leadership at YU or OU or anyone else get into a room and discuss the shadchan in Israel who is making the sham marriages? Good idea? Ziyuf Hatorah? What about a conversation about whether there can be a role for a single person in the community to declare that s/he’s not interested in dating for reasons that can be apparent, and living life as an unattached member of the community. Right now, there is no place for that and the people who feel this way are faced with the realization that their community believes that if they have “SSA”, they might as well give up on Shabbos & tefillin too. Why should this be?

    The current approach is a recipe for suicides, and I am all too frightened that it is only a high-profile suicide that will snap the leadership into addressing the problem. I hope I’m wrong.

  217. Well, J., at least they are able to see what is normal and what is not, something that a shockingly large number of people are unable or unwilling to do, as we witnessed the last time we had this discussion.

  218. “This is what we can get unity within Klal Yisrael for? How irresponsible.”

    Why shouldn’t there be unity to defend a major halacha?

    “What about a conversation about whether there can be a role for a single person in the community”

    What exactly would you want them to do?

    Like many issues parading under the guise of “science,” this one has a lot of politics under it. There’s no reason we religious Jews have to accept the conventional knowledge here, of all issues. And this is from someone who respects the scientific method above all.

  219. They are not defending a halacha – they are making a statement out of thin air which affirm certainties that they have no evidence for, and that most of them are not qualified to judge.

  220. Re the Torah declaration: While I did not sign it, I note that a number of health care professionals did. One rabbi who signed it told me that he has congregants who went through the therapy successfully and are now married to women who are fully aware of their pasts.

  221. How exactly does one rabbi’s experience with his congregants imply that therapy is a universal ‘cure’ for homosexuality?

    Gil, there are people who actually know what they are talking about on this topic (such as the rabbi who wrote THE book on this topic). I’m not surprised they haven’t signed.

  222. J: That’s what I responded to him. He says he’s heard from professionals that the success rate is 15-20%. I’m not sure how that justifies signing.

    There are psychiatrists and psychologists who signed this statement. I suspect they have more right to an opinion on this subject than you or I.

    Nevertheless, I consulted with three health care professionals I trust before deciding not to sign.

  223. It could be that they are suggesting that everyone try the treatment. Certainly homosexual behaviors are changeable.

  224. It is extremely strange that so many prominent and intelligent rabbanim would sign their name to a declaration of a scientific “fact” for which there is no evidence whatsoever and which hardly any medical or scientific professionals believe. (I counted 4 or 5 M.D.’s among the signatories, but that doesn’t change the reality that they are a miniscule minority among the medical community and have no scientific evidence to back up their beliefs.)

    On another note, I found the following statement from the declaration quite interesting: “The concept that G-d created a human being who is unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a biblical prohibition is neither plausible nor acceptable.”

    It appears that the signatories are asserting that if they are wrong about the mutability of sexual orientation, then that would make their religious beliefs implausible. That is a bold position, to say the least.

  225. The declaration says the following: “We emphatically reject the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her INCLINATION”. Doesn’t just sound like behaviors to me, and this seems like a pretty universal statement. How do the signatories know this?

  226. Got to love the subgroupings on the signatures:
    http://www.torahdec.org/Signatures.aspx
    note the separate YU section (vs. roshei yeshivas, ravs and rabbis????)

    I don’t know the answer to the “can they change” question, but I’m pretty sure the fact that 25 people (out of how many who have tried?)”overcame” something doesn’t prove that everyone can overcome it.

    KT

  227. HAGTB,
    You wrote: “Because you learn a term therefore they are a different sort of thing entirely??? You needed the term to know that most charedi were not the ones actually doing this?”

    Again, you twist what I write so that is has no connection to what I have said.

    Did you know that the group “tea party” existed before 2008, and that that group was a campaign fundraising unit for Ron Paul? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKZmIzEMUN8 Most people don’t know that. They think it was a response to Obama winning the election. The only reason I do know that, is because I decided to look into who the Tea Party founders were.

    Groups tend to exist before the media picks up on it and it become common knowledge. And if the name Sikarikim didn’t exist, I would just suggest as Perez did that you don’t paint them all with the same brush. But the fact is, they exist as a different group. They have their own leadership, their own political goals, and their own gangs. They are not part of the Charedi society as much as you would like them to be. Anymore than “Yishivish” are part of the MO society, or YCT folk are part of YU folk depsite the fact that many such people go to the same shul or come from the same high school.

    Again, evidence of how naming and outside identification can play an important part in condemnations is the fact that the “Taliban Women” have gotten so much criticism from Charedi leadership.

  228. J: I think the language wavers between changing orientation and overcoming it. Overcoming it means not acting according to it. But then the comment about finding happiness in a loving relationship implies changing the orientation. Needed more editing.

  229. Joel: I thought the groupings was a fairly tasteful way of making this broad-based without starting fights about adjacent signatures.

  230. See the FAQ’s – there’s no wavering there. WADR to whoever signed, these people are making themselves and Orthodox Judaism look totally foolish. I’m not quite sure what was wrong with the RCA’s declaration; obviously these people felt that the RCA declaration was too agnostic in its advocacy of particular methods of therapy.

    What’s surprising is that R. Twersky, who wrote the blurb on the back of R. Chaim Rapoport’s informed discussion of the topic, would go on to sign something like this.

  231. gil – “It could be that they are suggesting that everyone try the treatment.”

    one can read into the statement whatever is not there (or contradicted by the words in the statement) if that makes you feel better about it. so emphatic so sure of themselves that they cannot possibly be wrong.

  232. I didn’t sign and prefer the other statement: http://orthodoxrabbis.wordpress.com

    But I believe it is best to try to understand what people are actually saying, even if I disagree.

  233. “New on OU Torah: Rabbi Pinchas Teitz in Yiddish”

    Great news! ימא טבא לרבנן!

    Listening to R. Teitz can take one back on a journey to the good old days, to the old Litvishe, European born, Yiddish speaking Torah world.

    One can learn Torah and learn from Yiddish, from a master in both, at the same time! A great opportunity for ehrlicher Yidden פון אלע קרייזען.

    א שיינעם דאנק און א הארציגען יישר כח צו אלע וואס ברענגען דעם געוואלדיגען אוצר צו אונז אלעמען

  234. GIL:

    “An Index for the Talmud, After 1,500 Years (first??? – link)”

    the NYT article acknowledges the soncino index

  235. a public statement signed by […] and Mental Health Professionals”

    It would be helpful to have an indication of whether each signatory personally profits, directly or indirectly, from the treatments recommended in this statement.

    Perhaps a 3rd party will publish this, based on public information.

  236. I really do see where this statement is coming from. On the one hand the Yeshivish and now Hareidi world has embraced modern psychology, tried to be more open about mental health issues, embraced cognitive behavioral therapy, and generally accepted mental health issues to be best understood as akin to health issues in general: you accept the medical worldview and get help from recognized practitioners.

    So what happens when a consensus develops among the professionals that they otherwise defer to that homosexuality is (like heterosexuality) a biological trait, that it generally cannot be changed, that homosexuals can lead happy and productive lives by accepting their gay identities, and that it is therefore wrong to characterize it as a disorder (in the normative sense as something that one ought to treat and attempt to improve)?

    The modern Orthodox camp reasoned as follows: if that’s the consensus then it’s our job to find ways to accommodate it and foster the ability of homosexuals to remain in the community and pursue happy and productive lives. The only line we have to draw is that we cannot accept the religious legitimacy of homosexual intercourse.

    The yeshivish/ chareidi world reasoned that the concept of homosexuals remaining in the community pursuing happy and productive lives as homosexuals was not drawing a line at all, it was putting a religious imprimatur on homosexuality writ large.

    From there you can reason backward to reject all the consensus positions and come to the conclusion that it is a disease (and from a normative perspective for that community it certainly is), it can be treated (if only because treatment is a tangible expression of a belief that it is a disorder, not because they think treatment is particularly efficacious), if treatment doesn’t work and you want to remain in the community you need to bite the bullet and attempt to emotionally castrate yourself– and keep quiet about it.

    It makes perfect sense and I can’t fault them for taking this line.

    The problem I have with this position is that it is immune from even future empirical evidence. It doesn’t really matter if they do isolate which biological factors influence sexual orientation, find that treatment is seldom efficacious, notice that this approach leads to more defection from orthodoxy, or even results in more “secondary” mental health disorders like depression and suicidality. It won’t matter.

    I would therefore much rather that they put out a statement of religious principles and forget the therapeutic cover idea, which ultimately just makes them look like bigots in the public eye when they compare it to alcoholism or kleptomania.

  237. It may not be a coincidence that one of the signatories runs a nice little business offering just the type of therapy that this declaration advocates. The fact that he is a convicted felon should also raise some questions.

  238. MJ you wrote

    “Finally! Orthodox academics are recognized as a distinct sub-denomination”

    I think that many secularly educated Modern Orthodox Jews would also regard themselves as falling into this category, so it is not just the academics. And why are you saying “Finally!”? Didn’t we already know that the orthodox academics see things differently than the roshe yeshivah?

  239. “The MO leadership is dropping the ball on this in a way that borders on criminal negligence. ”

    I thought the recent RCA declaration was pretty good – or at least as good as it’s going to get. You disagree?

  240. Well stated, MJ. I had just been thinking that I can understand why Charedim would take the risk of publishing something so hostage to fortune; but, what does this say about the YU signatories?

    I was also wondering if there has been any peer reviewed evidence of success since the trial balloon floated by Dr. Spitzer in the Oct 2003 edition of the professional journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. As a reminder, the editor introduced that issue stating:

    It is really only in the last couple of years that we are beginning to see the semblance of some research about who exactly are the types of clients who seek out this form of treatment and some data on outcome (Beckstead, 1999, 2001; Beckstead & Morrow, 2003; Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000b; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002). From a scientific standpoint, however, the empirical database remains rather primitive and any decisive claim about benefits or harms really must be taken with a rather substantial grain of salt and without such data it is difficult to understand how professional societies can issue any clear statement that is not contaminated by rhetorical fervor. Sexual science should encourage the establishment of a methodologically sound database from which more reasoned and nuanced conclusions might be drawn.

    If the peer review literature has gone silent in the intervening 8 years, that too tells us something about the scientific basis for what the signatories choose to believe.

  241. Abba: That’s just one of many. JD Eisenstein’s Otzar Ma’amarei Chazal, Guttmann’s Maftei’ach Ha-Talmud and there’s the two-volume big green book whose name escapes me right now.

  242. IH: It would be helpful to have an indication of whether each signatory personally profits, directly or indirectly, from the treatments recommended in this statement

    Nice one! Damned if they include professional experts, damned if they don’t. To my knowledge, only one signator profits directly from treatments and his institutional affilliation is clearly stated.

  243. Incidentally, this Bob Unruh promotes other, umm, interesting ideas. Here’s an amusing one: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=156861

  244. “This year under its Season brand, the company introduced Moroccan fish meat balls, which unlike more mild gefilte fish has bolder spices including cumin.”

    We thought these were pretty good this past Pesach: far better than other jars of processed gefilte fish we avoid.

  245. Nice one! Damned if they include professional experts, damned if they don’t.

    I don’t understand. Why is tranparency akin to being “damned”? If they are nogeah ba’davar, it should be made clear.

  246. “Charedi apologists, in fact, have tried to use the supposed “difference” to *avoid* condemning them: “They’re not us, why should I bother?” ”

    Often the apologists are those who aren’t born chareidi but became chareidi after attending Ivy League schools etc.

  247. GIL:

    “I note that a number of health care professionals did [sign]”

    just because someone got the most basic degree possible from a third-tier school and conducts a part-time counseling practice (in a field completely unrelated to the one at hand). of course they are entitled to a personal opinion like everyone else.

    “Nice one! . . .”

    health care experts should reveal fundings sources or other potential conflicts of interest when relevant. see for example, the bottom of the faculty profile pages at mt. sinai.
    and peer reviewed journals require a disclosure of such conflicts. (when i was a health care student–not as a physician or in a mental health care field–we spent a lot of time dissecting and critiqing research articles and one of the first things we looked for was the declaratioun of conflicts of interest. of course funding or other support from an interested party doesn’t necessarily imply a bias and sometmies research without that support is impossible.)

    that having been said, i don’t think transparency is necessary for this type of a kol korei.

    on the other hand, wrt to damened if you do, damned if you don’t, i would respond thus to

    ” If they are nogeah ba’davar, it should be made clear”

    and if they aren’t nogeah badavar you would claim they have no expertise in the matter.

  248. agh. i meant to write, “just because someone got . . . doesn’t make them a health care professional whose signature matters.”

    and for an example of a mt sinai faculty page disclosure, see
    http://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/barry-a-love

  249. Transparency is not necessary, but if the statement is to be taken seriously, it would be helpful (which is the word I used in my original comment at 10:26 am).

    As far as I’m concerned, this statement is an ill-advised cri de coeur (as per MJ’s analysis of 10:28am). It is of interest to the signatories’ choirs and to fringe rabblerousers like Bob Unruh.

  250. “One 50-year-old translation of the Talmud, by Soncino Press, has an index, but its pages do not match those of the standard Aramaic text used by most students hunched over their dog-eared volumes.”

    The indes volume is the only volumethat I use with any regularity-the lack of matching just makes one additional step go to Soncino page and mesechta listed and there the pages of the standard version are also used as division lines.

  251. There is also a topical index printed at the back of each Steinsaltz Gemara for that specific masechet.

  252. MYCROFT:

    so instead of buying one book i should buy a set of 30 just to make that 1 volume usable?
    (perhaps soncino should have republished the index to match up with standard pagination, but it has missed the boat on that one).

    and who dog ears their gemaras?

    GIL:

    GIL:

    it’s been a whle since i opened einsenstein’s otzar maamrei chazal, but i don’t recall it being a fully comprehensive index? could be wrong. i’m not familiar with the other 2 you mention. so although this new one isn’t really the first, does it replicate the previous ones or improve on them?

  253. of related interest on the need for such an index per eisentein (from his preface): “It appears to me that there is no need to explain the need for such a book that shows the sources for quotations from the two Talmuds and all the Midrashim. For if there was a need for such a book as זכרון תורת משה [Constantinople, 1554], which R. Moses Figo authored about four hundred years ago, ‘in order to ease the burden of searching’—in the earlier generations when their Torah was their faith and they toiled in it all day and were experts in all the of Talmud, and also their hearts were wide open for learning Torah and were empty of secular subjects,—so much more so [is there a need] in these generations when Torah is made temporary and working is permanent, and hearts are too small to include Torah studies together with the secular studies as the present time demands. Even the majority of the rabbis are busy with congregational matters, and they [only] fulfill ‘you should mediate on it day and night’ [Jud. 1:8] by reciting the Shema of the morning and evening prayers . . . Certainly we need an index of rabbinic quotations. But what if the readers say that we already have many indices in our literature? . . . I will reply that that previous authors did not fulfill their obligation because they did not do their job properly. It is amazing that in the four hundred years that authors of indices have attempted to improve and complete what Figo began, they have only damaged it . . . Indeed, until today we have not found an index that approximates זכרון תורת משה . . . This anthology, אוצר מאמרי חז”ל, is truly an index of all the . . . treasures in the Talmudic and Midrashic literature, for it comprises almost 1,300 [subject] entries . . . and in each entry are many quotations from the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds and the Midrash, and there are entries that extend over full pages . . . Specifically in this age [when there is little time for study] . . . we must devise new means so that the Torah will not, God forbid, be forgotten in Israel. And these means are the compilations or anthologies of all genres of literature for quick reference and study (reference books).”

  254. “and who dog ears their gemaras?”

    Me. I dog ear everything. It’s a terrible vice. In my defense I fold them really small. I was comforted when I saw a reference somewhere to how R. Yonasan Eybeschutz used to dimple, for lack of a better word, the pages in the middle on the edge, for the same reason.

  255. I saw a reference in Ira Robinson’s “Rabbis & Their Community: Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896-1930” to an unpublished index to Tosafos called גל לקוטים מבעלי התוספות by Rabbi Getzel Laxer. Sure wish it was printed.

  256. S:

    ” an unpublished index to Tosafos ”

    einsenstein started an index of all the teshuvos and posekim until the 19th c., but all he ever published was a 5-page sample prospectus from the index of the rosh. around the same time r. revel proposed an index of teshuvos for historical research. einsenstein later claimed that revel circulated the rosh prospectus under his own name.

  257. oy, what kefirah!…

    “If readers find any errors, the index provides a very contemporary way of making suggestions for corrections that the ancient sages never foresaw and so could not have quibbled with: an e-mail address, [email protected].”

  258. yeedle:

    “oy, what kefirah”

    nu, what do you expect from the NYT?

  259. Abba’s rantings, I meant “the contemporary way” of submitting corrections, an email address RCH”L!

  260. mj – excellent insightful analysis at 10:28 – spot on.

  261. Goldberg, the head of Jonah told me that approximately 2/3 of patients receive “some benefit” from reparative therapy. This means that even leshitatam that there is a very high percentage of patients who get little to no benefit from this treatment. What do these rabbis have to say to this population?

    The absurdity of the theological claim made here should be obvious to any one with any education. This is an invented 14th ani maamin being used to cast aspersions upon other people. The danger here threatens the very integrity of Jewish theology and theodicy in the
    contemporary Jewish community. We simply cannot afford to have rabbis invent ideas about God out of nowhere and then on this basis determine not only public policy but empirical clinical facts.

    As for Gil’s point that this statement is signed by several clinicians, this is of no real value. There are MD’s and PhD’s who, for various reasons, voice their support for all sorts of hokum and snake oil. Many of these people are sincere and well meaning.

    Finally at stake here is not the ultimate efficacy of reparative therapy. This remains to be resolved by clinical study. Rather the question is how do rabbis and communal leaders deal with this option. Thr SoP said that since there are reports which suggest that it might be helpful, there are also reports that it can inflict damage upon patients, Only the individual can decide what to do. This is general halachic policy with regard to all experimental treatments. If these rabbis had merely encouraged homosexuals to try this therapy, that would be one thing, but they go much much further than that, far exceeding the claims even of this therapies most enthusiastic advocates.

  262. MOSHE SHOSHAN:

    “Goldberg, the head of Jonah told me that approximately 2/3 of patients receive “some benefit” from reparative therapy. This means that even leshitatam that there is a very high percentage of patients who get little to no benefit from this treatment.”

    actually i don’t think 2/3 efficacy success rate is clinically insignifigant. (leaving aside the definition of “some benefit,” evidence, long term follow up, etc.).

    “What do these rabbis have to say to this population?”

    agreed. i asked this on the previous thread dealing with this issue. how do the “failures” fit in?

  263. Moshe: This means that even leshitatam that there is a very high percentage of patients who get little to no benefit from this treatment. What do these rabbis have to say to this population?

    They will say that, perhaps, they didn’t fully commit to the therapy or didn’t give it enough of a chance.

    The absurdity of the theological claim made here should be obvious to any one with any education

    I wouldn’t call it absurd. I just find it hard to understand given that we see people born with physical and mental disabilities fairly frequently. Why can’t one just say that this orientation is also a disability?

    As for Gil’s point that this statement is signed by several clinicians, this is of no real value. There are MD’s and PhD’s who, for various reasons, voice their support for all sorts of hokum and snake oil

    I disagree. I find it disingenuous to summarily dismiss subject matter experts who disagree with your conclusion. You at least owe them the benefit of voicing their views on the subject before dismissing it. It could be that they have something quite intelligent to say on the subject.

    Finally at stake here is not the ultimate efficacy of reparative therapy. This remains to be resolved by clinical study.

    I’m not sure that “reparative therapy” has to work. As long as some kind of therapy works, this claim can survive. Although you do raise the important point that the claim has never been disproven.

  264. “long term follow up”

    this should not be underestimated. on the previous thread i asked about risk vs. benefit. someone said there are no risks. well there are if someone is “cured” gets married (and perhaps has kids) and then relapses. wife (and kids) is the risk factor.

  265. GIL:

    “I find it disingenuous to summarily dismiss subject matter experts”

    are the CSW and MHC all subject matter experts? if you think so (i don’t personally know all of them), define expertise as it pertains to them.

  266. are the CSW and MHC all subject matter experts?

    Look again and you’ll see some Phds, MDs and PsyDs.

  267. We emphatically reject the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her inclination and desire. Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not forbid something which is impossible to avoid. Abandoning people to lifelong loneliness and despair by denying all hope of overcoming and healing their same-sex attraction is heartlessly cruel.
    ————————————–
    IIUC part I says they can overcome the prohibited behavior, Part II thay they can overcome the attraction. Those are 2 very different things. Am I misreading?
    KT

  268. Abba,
    agreed, if the 2/3’s number would be confirmed by some real data, it would be very significant.

    Gil,
    To give excuses as to why the therapy doent work in %100 of cases by blaming the patient, is a) disgusting, what would happen is someone declared that all those people who die of cancer do so be cause they werenot commited to chemotherapy. b) baseless, ideological speculation. No therapy has a 100% success rate. In cases of psychological disorders I would bet that 2/3’s is a very high success rate for a psychotherapeutic treatment. So why blame the victim?

    You know full well that this statement cannot be reconciled with any thing approaching responsible public policy.

  269. Moshe: You can’t compare chemotherapy to psychotherapy. One is physical and the other is psychological. Before we make judgments on whether this is a legitimate response, I suggest we ask clinicians whether it is. I’m not so sure it is blaming the victim or just acknowledging the difficulty of the treatment.

    You know full well that this statement cannot be reconciled with any thing approaching responsible public policy

    Meaning, you have already made up your mind and won’t acknowledge that anyone reasonable can reach a different conclusion. I’ve also already made up my mind but I won’t rule out the possibility that reasonable people can disagree with me. It’s not like anything on this subject has been conclusively proven.

  270. Re Menorahs on public property-would we appreciate creches in City Hall?

  271. “MYCROFT:

    so instead of buying one book i should buy a set of 30 just to make that 1 volume usable?”

    Obviously not-my English Soncino is decades old-from well before Art Scroll.

  272. But this statement doesn’t allow for doubts so I’m not sure how it helps to say nothing has been proven. This statement maintains that it is a theological certainty that homosexual can have his inclination changed if he tries hard enough, which doesn’t leave much room for disagreement. I would be interested to hear what Rav Schachter based his assessment on.

  273. “IIUC part I says they can overcome the prohibited behavior, Part II thay they can overcome the attraction. Those are 2 very different things. Am I misreading?
    KT”

    I think so. I read it as saying that they can overcome the pain of the attraction. Just as a married man can overcome the attraction of women who are not his wife.

  274. “Israeli Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger, whose name was recently raised in the Israeli media, stands “no chance,” according to sources.”

    No surprise.

  275. ” This statement maintains that it is a theological certainty that homosexual can have his inclination changed if he tries hard enough, which doesn’t leave much room for disagreement. I would be interested to hear what Rav Schachter based his assessment on.”

    Agreed, but it also seems to be a straight forward hashkafa. “Darchai Shalom”. A lo taseh that can be kept by some people, but not be kept by others, even if they exert much effort to do so, seems to go against many teachings in modern Judaism.

  276. “Hirhurim on December 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm
    are the CSW and MHC all subject matter experts?

    Look again and you’ll see some Phds, MDs and PsyDs”

    Gil from Dec 18

    “That not all rabbis are equally qualified should be obvious. In any area of study, some scholars are greater experts than others. Some people graduate with degrees despite lacking important skills and even fully trained graduates lack the maturity of a scholar decades their senior. not all rabbis are equally authoritative.”

  277. “The Torah does not forbid something which is impossible to avoid.”

    Is that the same as “The Torah does not forbid something which everyone finds impossible to avoid”

    Are both sentences true- I have no problem accepting the second -but wish someone to prove to me the first sentence.

  278. Re statement on Homosexuality-so heads of elementary schools are referred to as Rosh Yeshiva?
    As far as YU-I saw very few RY signing-I’d be interested in seeing if Rabbi Jeremy Weider and Rabbi Yosef Blau signed it.

    Is this statement the next division between Chareid and MO?

  279. GIL:

    “Look again and you’ll see some Phds, MDs and PsyDs.”

    ok, i looked again.
    1) the majority were *not* phds, md, psyds
    2) one social worker was listed without any credentials whatsover and i could not find his name on the nys database of licensed professionals. presumably the omission of credentials was typographical oversight and my inability to find him in the database is because he uses an english name or different spelling (although i did try all sorts of permutations)

    3) mycroft already pointed out the obvious. even being an md, phd, psyd doesn’t qualify one to comment on every matter. this is why i too, like IH, am curious as to their affiliations, activities, experience, etc. i’m not looking for any conspiracy theory as IH wrt to conflict of interests. i’m just curious how many are really qualified to pronounce on these matters. as i stated above, getting a degree from a third rate school and running a part-time counseling practice really doesn’t add up to being an authority.(and speak to any serious clinician who attends nefesh conferences about the quality of some attendees)

  280. abba: 1) the majority were *not* phds, md, psyds

    Irrelevant what the majority are.

    mycroft already pointed out the obvious. even being an md, phd, psyd doesn’t qualify one to comment on every matter

    True, but don’t dismiss them without knowing. Are you qualified to judge who is or isn’t an expert? I’m not. But it seems you are immediately dismissing them because they aren’t saying what you want them to. That doesn’t seem honest to me.

  281. gil – “One is physical and the other is psychological.” – does that mean you believe that homosexuality is a psychological disorder or disease – per the statement?

  282. ruvie: Not necessarily. But it is still a psychological aspect of the personality.

  283. I think someone above tried to discredit the statement by discrediting the reporter in the article to which I linked. I’m not sure how that makes sense, as I just linked to the first article Google sent me. Here’s another article on Arutz Sheva by a licensed social worker: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/151170

  284. gil – does that mean you have ruled out biological ?

    one can say everything or everyone has a psychological aspect to their personality – is that a meaningful or meaningless statement – or just evasive? nothing wrong in saying i am not sure but lean….

  285. In the FAQ’s of the Declaration one finds the following statement:

    “The most widely accepted theory, among those with the most experience in helping individuals heal, as to the root cause of homosexuality is that something has gone awry in childhood development.,,the underlying factor is that this developmental deficiency with male bonding may manifest in a desire to connect with males in an inappropriate sexualized way.”

    Since the Declaration advocates reparative therapy as the “only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah”, and since reparative therapy seems to be based on this theory of sexual orientation, can we infer that the signatories are endorsing this theory? If so, how do they purport to know this? Is there some theological or scientific basis for this claim or is this just some guy’s unsubstantiated wild guess?

  286. the first article you link to on this subject looks like a conservative conspiracy website that specialized in birthers (obama)….. not that there is anything wrong with associating with them. no mother jones.

  287. ruvie: One can also say that everything is physical. Is that a meaningful or meaningless statement?

  288. “Re the Torah declaration.

    This is what we can get unity within Klal Yisrael for? How irresponsible. My question for the brave 157 – would you let your daughter marry a graduate of your therapy?”

    I don’t find this argument convincing, in spite of its rhetorical force, and the fact that emotionally I am somewhat partial to it. As a convert (to Judaism) I know plenty of people who would probably not set their daughters up with converts (or BTs for that matter), but do view geirus and return to observance as a good thing, when done sincerely. Or, to be less offensive, people with a prior history of substance abuse or criminal behavior, who claim to have overcome their prior vices, still stand to lose out in the shidduch game if thier personal histories are common knowledge. The “would you set your daughter up with this person?” test is one that probably most orthodox Jews (or responsible parents of single children) would fail one way or another, depending on the suitor in question, and I don’t think it is a good litmus test to apply in general.

  289. A Reader: Since the Declaration advocates reparative therapy as the “only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah”, and since reparative therapy seems to be based on this theory of sexual orientation, can we infer that the signatories are endorsing this theory?

    It depends on how literally you take the term “Reparative Therapy,” whether you take it as specifying a specific type of therapy or any therapy that repairs the individual.

  290. So, I again ask — has there been any peer reviewed evidence of success since the trial balloon floated by Dr. Spitzer in the Oct 2003 edition of the professional journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. As a reminder, the editor introduced that issue stating:

    It is really only in the last couple of years that we are beginning to see the semblance of some research about who exactly are the types of clients who seek out this form of treatment and some data on outcome (Beckstead, 1999, 2001; Beckstead & Morrow, 2003; Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000b; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002). From a scientific standpoint, however, the empirical database remains rather primitive and any decisive claim about benefits or harms really must be taken with a rather substantial grain of salt and without such data it is difficult to understand how professional societies can issue any clear statement that is not contaminated by rhetorical fervor. Sexual science should encourage the establishment of a methodologically sound database from which more reasoned and nuanced conclusions might be drawn.

    If the peer review literature has gone silent in the intervening 8 years, that too tells us something about the scientific basis for what the signatories choose to believe.

  291. IH: If the peer review literature has gone silent in the intervening 8 years, that too tells us something about the scientific basis for what the signatories choose to believe

    Wait, are you choosing to believe that it DOESN’T work despite the lack of peer reviewed evidence to back up such a belief?

  292. 1. I think the division of names is an awkward way of separating Litvish Charedim from other groups. I thought it was odd that YU was separate too, until I saw that Chassidim were as well. It’s just a way of identifying is all.

    2. I’ve said this before: It was considered revolutionary when Dr. Kinsey said that almost all people are not 100% gay or straight, but are on a continuum. Now bien pensant thought is that if you’re gay, you’re gay. What’s being suggested here is simply that maybe Kinsey was right: People with leanings are not 100%, and maybe can be swayed a bit to the other side, especially if (as is likely) the causes are not 100% genetic or congenital. (Herman Wouk nicely points out that there was no need to condemn Kinsey.)

    3. The version of the Soncino index Gil linked to- the one that matches the Hebrew/English edition- has a table matching all the pages to dafim. (The online Soncino does as well, but doesn’t include the index.)

  293. Gil — I am agnostic on the issue. The journal editor:

    This issue of Archives contains an invited target article by Spitzer that examined a sample of 200 reparative therapy clients who sought treatment to change their sexual orientation. Because of the nature of the study, the Editor was of the view that it should be published only with the opportunity for detailed peer commentary, along with a reply by the author.

    […]

    Of approximately 40 individuals who expressed an interest in writing a commentary, 26 commentaries were received and these immediately follow the target article, followed by a reply from Spitzer.

    It is the Editor’s view that a scholarly journal is a legitimate forum to address controversial scientific and ethical issues rather than leaving the complexity of the attendant discourse to “the street.” Additional commentaries are welcome in the form of a Letter to the Editor.

    Hence my question for those behind this statement that asserts a scientific basis.

  294. GIL:

    “Wait, are you choosing to believe that it DOESN’T work despite the lack of peer reviewed evidence to back up such a belief?”

    this isn’t a matter of what one “believes” or doesn’t “believe” works. do you understand how medical associations formulate clinical guidelines?

  295. abba: I have no idea how medical associations formulate clinical guidelines. Do you? My only point is that the jury is still out on this subject.

  296. Gil, you give us your opinions about lots of matters. Did you ever write about how you view the Zohar and Kabbalah in general?

  297. gil – “It depends on how literally you take the term “Reparative Therapy,” whether you take it as specifying a specific type of therapy or any therapy that repairs the individual.”1

    it has a definition to what it means:

    “Conversion therapy, sometimes called reparative therapy or reorientation therapy, is one type of sexual orientation change effort that attempts to change the sexual orientation of a person from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual.” ^ “Statement of the American Psychological Association”

  298. IH:

    IH:

    “If the peer review literature has gone silent in the intervening 8 years, that too tells us something about the scientific basis for what the signatories choose to believe.”

    IRBs (institutional review boards) will apparently not approve studies using reparative therapy. interpret this as you choose.
    a) those who control IRBs have an agenda to prevent study of it
    b) it is dangerous and/or unethical

  299. Anonymous: I am largely ignorant of the Zohar and Kabbalah and have no opinion on the subject other than that most people are likewise ignorant, even if they do not realize that. I follow R. Mordechai Willig’s view that 1) we are not obligated to study Kabbalah, and therefore 2) we do not have to follow it le-halakhah.

  300. ruvie: You are assuming that the rabbis involved are using the technical term and not a non-technical usage. But that is somewhat irrelevant because they don’t actually use the precise term “Reparative Therapy”.

  301. Abba — is “IRBs (institutional review boards) will apparently not approve studies using reparative therapy” documented somewhere. This doesn’t seem to have been the the case in regard to the Oct 2003 Archives of Sexual Behavior, published by Springer.

    http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/19080873052_archives_of_sexual_behavior

  302. What about preexisting halachos that are based on kaballah?

  303. J: What about preexisting halachos that are based on kaballah?

    Such as…?

  304. gil – on the use of term: reparative therapy – look at the Q&A of the statement: it seems to be a specific type of therapy.

    “In the Torah Observant world there is a whole network of frum individuals who have gone through reparative therapy and have overcome their same-sex attractions.”

    “Reparative therapy or Gender affirming processes involves changing one’s inner sense of gender identity and changing the response patterns that may lead to a desire to act out in ways that are forbidden by the Torah.”

  305. ruvie: I don’t think it’s fair to assume the signatories approved the FAQ, just the actual declaration. The rest was added by whomever prepared the website.

  306. A million and one things. Many of the rules of netilas yadayim in the morning; the idea of not saying tachanun and selichos at night. The Beis Yosef quotes kabbala all over the place.

  307. The Declaration itself says the following:

    “The therapy consists of reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual by helping him or her understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation and weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the individual’s emotional development.”

    On what basis did the signatories conclude that a homosexual orientation is a result of weak gender-identity, emotional wounds, and retarded emotional development? This claim does not appear to follow from any of their previous theological arguments.

  308. J: I remember R. Willig saying it in regard to the halakhos of netilas yadayim (specifically, the requirement of daled amos).

  309. A Reader: Presumably, the experts they consulted told it to them.

  310. Gil – the zohar is cited by r’ yosef karo as one of the texts he used a source for basing his halachic decisions – mostly in orach chaim.

  311. Ruvie: He gives his sources in Beis Yosef and the Be’er Ha-Golah notes them on the side of the Shulchan Arukh. Zohar is pretty rare.

  312. gil – ” I follow R. Mordechai Willig’s view that 1) we are not obligated to study Kabbalah, and therefore 2) we do not have to follow it le-halakhah.”

    r’ karo quotes the zohar a dozen times and elevates it to a non – talmudic legal status. first to do so (ashkanazim were against this in general at that time).

    also, not wearing tefilin on chol hamoed is decided according to the zohar. see shlomo brody’s article on text and texture: halacha and kabbalah: rabbi joseph karo’s shulchan aruch and magid mesharim.

    http://text.rcarabbis.org/halakha-and-kabbalah-rabbi-joseph-karos-shulchan-aruch-and-magid-mesharim-by-shlomo-brody/

  313. I’ve been surprised there has been no discussion of this article from the Times magazine back in June:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/magazine/therapists-who-help-people-stay-in-the-closet.html?pagewanted=all

    While not “reparative therapy”, some respected psychologists are saying to their (non-Jewish) religious patients that it is better for them to stay “in the closet” and live in their religious circle (as the patients are sincerely religious) then to become openly gay and leave the fold. The whole article is a “must-read” — key quotes:
    “So if John wanted to be a gay man who lived as a straight man, Haldeman would help him become that person.”
    “The A.P.A. considered the kind of identity therapy proposed by Throckmorton and Yarhouse to be a viable option.”

    I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this take, especially any reason why this wouldn’t work for frum Jews — why can’t the yetzer ha-tov beat the yetzer ha-ra?

  314. Ruvie: He gives his sources in Beis Yosef and the Be’er Ha-Golah notes them on the side of the Shulchan Arukh. Zohar is pretty rare.

    i think kabbalistic reasons play a role in r’ karo’s works – see ta-shma, elior, halamish and katz. all cited in the article. certainly karo was a kabbalist and introduce new minhagim based on the zohar (of course he ruled that the zohar does not override maskanot in the talmud but can decide against rishonim)

    “He introduces Zohar-based laws with modifying language like “yesh omrim,” “ha-minhag ha-nachon,” “tov la-hakpid,” but in other places simply states the law” – again the zohar is not always cited as the source.

  315. typo – r’ karo

  316. “”The concept that G-d created a human being who is unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a biblical prohibition is neither plausible nor acceptable,””

    Sadly beings are created that will not have anywhere close to a normal life-see eg Tay Sachs children-why is the above statement an obvious religious truth. BTW-that does not IMHO give a heter to violate the Torah-pursuit of happiness is not the Torahs ideal.

  317. “ruvie on December 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm
    gil – ” I follow R. Mordechai Willig’s view that 1) we are not obligated to study Kabbalah, and therefore 2) we do not have to follow it le-halakhah.”

    r’ karo quotes the zohar a dozen times and elevates it to a non – talmudic legal status. first to do so (ashkanazim were against this in general at that time).

    also, not wearing tefilin on chol hamoed is decided according to the zohar”
    See the general custom of leviim washing kohanims hands before duchanan -a Zohar based custom-Kohanim washed their own hands in Beis Hamikdash.
    Note general custom of not worrying about missing chazaratz hashas even during middle of malchiot, zichronot and shofarot.
    I am aware of some who insist the washing take place after the last set of tekios in chazarat hashas so as not tob be mafsik in the unit of the kolot from the meyushgaav to the last ones of chazarat hashas. They’ll have washing done during hayom harat olam or areset sefateinu just before rezei.

  318. A Reader on December 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    The Declaration itself says the following:

    “The therapy consists of reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual by helping him or her understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation and weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the individual’s emotional development.”

    On what basis did the signatories conclude that a homosexual orientation is a result of weak gender-identity, emotional wounds, and retarded emotional development? This claim does not appear to follow from any of their previous theological arguments.

    Hirhurim on December 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm
    A Reader: Presumably, the experts they consulted told it to them.

    Gil – you seem very blasé about how a posek such as RHS establishes the scientific basis upon which he makes decisions to sign a declaration such as this; yet, as Mycroft reminded us at 3:45pm, it was only 10 days ago when you made a big deal that:

    That not all rabbis are equally qualified should be obvious. In any area of study, some scholars are greater experts than others. Some people graduate with degrees despite lacking important skills and even fully trained graduates lack the maturity of a scholar decades their senior. not all rabbis are equally authoritative.

    Given that a section of this declaration is signed by 7 Rabbis affiliated with YU, I think it is fair game to determine the credibility of the expert advice on which they relied to sign this declaration.

  319. Agudah of America makes a statement on violence against women in israel:

    http://matzav.com/agudas-yisroel-weighs-in-on-misplaced-kannaus

  320. Earplugs?

  321. Ruvie: I think you have to distinguish between NEW practices from the Zohar and where the Zohar is used to support a view. Washing hands in the morning and tefillin on chol ha-moed are examples of the latter.

  322. “article on text and texture: halacha and kabbalah: rabbi joseph karo’s shulchan aruch and magid mesharim.

    http://text.rcarabbis.org/halakha-and-kabbalah-rabbi-joseph-karos-shulchan-aruch-and-magid-mesharim-by-shlomo-brody/

    Interesting article to read on this issue.

    Full disclosure-I had the pleasure of being invited to eat at R Shlomo Brody’s parents house in Brookline before Prof Baruch Brody moved to Texas. Of course, this was before R Shlomo Brody was born.

  323. “Hirhurim on December 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm
    Ruvie: I think you have to distinguish between NEW practices from the Zohar and where the Zohar is used to support a view. Washing hands in the morning and tefillin on chol ha-moed are examples of the latter”
    Do you have a source for leviim washing the Kohens hands before duchenan before the Zohar?
    BTW-can you name a single Rishon who held that one should not put on tfillin on chol hamoed before the Zohar? I am aware of Tanaatic support for that custom along with of course putting on tfillin but any Riwshon who held that way?

  324. “Quite the contrary, the extremist element is odious to, and rejected by, the vast majority of charedi Jews.”

    Is that the way chareidi Jews talk internally or this reserved for PR statements klapei chutz.

  325. “Is that the way chareidi Jews talk internally or this reserved for PR statements klapei chutz.”

    Well gee, how could you ever know?

    But anecdotally – at least in the United States – Chareidim seem to feel that they are odious, but generally that the causes they espouse are basically correct. I have heard this time and again, most recently last shabbos in a public drasha. There is of course a significant dissenting body who feels that even the cause are at least overblown.

  326. “BTW-can you name a single Rishon who held that one should not put on tfillin on chol hamoed before the Zohar?”

    Tosafos Moed Katan 19a “Rabbi Yosi” ובהלכות גדולות פסק דאסור להניח תפילין בחולו של מועד ולטעם שממעט שבתות וימים טובים מימים ימימה מסתבר שפיר דממעט חולו של מועד

    and others as well.

  327. re: understanding the roots of homosexuality as a “developmental deficiency with male bonding [that] may manifest in a desire to connect with males in an inappropriate sexualized way.” Did anyone else wonder what happened to women in this statement? I realize the issurim are potentially lesser but still. Not sure what to make of it, but my gut tells me that “forgetting” about lesbians in this statement says a lot about where it is coming from.

  328. IH: you seem very blasé about how a posek such as RHS establishes the scientific basis upon which he makes decisions to sign a declaration such as this

    First, I’m not convinced RHS definitely holds like that. Regardless, the political atmosphere surrounding this issue is why the website includes this: http://www.torahdec.org/FatAPA.aspx

  329. Mycroft: BTW-can you name a single Rishon who held that one should not put on tfillin on chol hamoed before the Zohar?

    In addition to what S wrote, the Rashba, Raavad and Sefer Ha-Itim.

    I have no idea about Levi’im washing the Kohanim’s hands but that’s just a minhag anyway.

  330. Gil- “Hirhurim on December 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm
    Ruvie: I think you have to distinguish between NEW practices from the Zohar and where the Zohar is used to support a view. Washing hands in the morning and tefillin on chol ha-moed are examples of the latter.”

    Actually, al regel achat, tefillimg on chol hamoed is a perfect example of a new minhag. The Talmud is silent on the issue. I forgot the exact source from a shiur with RMS but it is believe that Sephardim prior to the zohar and the bet yosef did put on tefilin on chol hamoed and post Zohar and beit yosef did not. Hence a new minhag for the Zohar was explicit about it being issur ( or was it detrimental) to put on tefilin on chol hamoed ( this is from a poor memory). There is no tipping the scales here. If you disagree please provide sources showing that tefilin was not put on during chol hamoed prior to the “re-discovery” of the Zohar.

  331. I see I stand corrected by s. already before I posted. But stand by the statement of RMS – about Sephardim putting on tefilin. Need to find the source.

  332. Bear in mind that citing the Behag, etc. as advocating this hardly proves that in practice anyone actually did not wear it. I have no idea, but it seems that such positions might be seen as more theoretical rather than practical without other evidence that people actually would not wear them. I’m inclined to believe that the Zohar *did* play a major role in spreading this in practice, although we can document that as a halachic position it existed before the Zohar was luckily found in that cave.

  333. I stand corrected, since the Rashba which Gil linked said that he himself did not wear them.

  334. Gil — When I see “evidence” like that presented in http://www.torahdec.org/FatAPA.aspx, it just confirms my sense that the Rabbis signing this are choosing to believe what they want to believe.

    To take one example, their point 3 reference a “2010 peer reviewed … found that men experiencing unwanted homosexual attractions seeking sexual orientation change experienced “a decrease in homosexual feelings and behavior, an increase in heterosexual feelings and behavior, and a positive change in psychological functioning.”

    But, the abstract of the actual journal paper (http://mensstudies.metapress.com/content/12u7381583313360/?p=a522ceed85db4e8ab0632664f1974c0b&pi=4) tells a different story:

    This study concerned the psychological and social characteristics of 117 men dissatisfied with their same-sex attraction who had pursued sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). We specifically examined whether sexual identity, male identity, religiosity, marital status, and gender role conflict associated with affection between men were related to self-reports of change in sexual and psychological functioning after having participated in SOCE. Additionally, we explored what motivated the participants to seek SOCE, and what therapeutic interventions and techniques they found to be most and least helpful. Results showed that being married, feeling disconnected with other men prior to seeking help, and reduced conflict in expressing nonsexual affection toward other men related to goals consistent with SOCE. Intrinsic religiosity and a heterosexual identity were related to reports of not changing one’s sexual feelings and behavior. Participants perceived the most helpful sexual orientation change interventions to be a men’s weekend/retreat, a psychologist, and a mentoring relationship, and the two most helpful techniques to be understanding better the causes one’s homosexuality and one’s emotional needs and issues and developing nonsexual relationships with same-sex peers, mentors, family members, and friends.

    Did any of the YU signatories even look at the abstract, let alone the paper itself? Or did they just rely on the press release summary from the lobbying group that promotes reparative therapy, NARTH?

    This is the first time I have seen the Charedi askanim phenomenon penetrate YU Roshei Yeshiva so blatantly.

  335. Just to clarify that I did not cherry pick. Points 1 & 2 on that webpage were context-setting statements; and I poked at the first substantive Point 3.

  336. IH: To be clear, are you saying that: 1) you agree one should rely on top experts in a field, 2) except when there are political agendas and pressures, 3) in this case you are unconvinced of the agendas of the top experts?