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YUTorah Yom Ha-Atzma’ut To Go
Beyond Church And State: School Vouchers And The Blaine Amendment
Reconsideration of state aid to Jewish schools is welcome
May one convert without intent to fully observe mitzvot?
New issue of Klal Perspectives
Savitsky & R Sacks: Jewish Unity
Israel’s Masorti movement to ordain gays and lesbians as rabbis
In tribute to the 100th yahrtzeit of the Jewish victims of the Titanic tragedy
Affordable Orthodox day school slated to open in fall
SALT Friday
Righteous Among Our Nation
Mormon Church Shifting on Gay Rights?
Judah P Benjamin – The Jewish Rebel
R Aviner: Don’t Protest Expulsion from Beit El Homes
R Burg: Bullying and the house of horrors
Some Shalit deal prisoners resume terror
1,200 rabbis sign onto anti-divestment plea to churches
Felder To Run For ‘Super’ Jewish Senate District
Fewer Israelis Immigrate to US
R. Lau on Shoah and memory
Jewish groups rethinking vouchers, tax credits to religious schools
Orthodox group’s ethical seal gains ground
SALT Thursday
Ultra-Orthodox Would-Be Soldiers Not Drafted
On Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Folk Tales
Man jailed for nearly a year in recanted rape of Orthodox Jew
In The Name Of Judaism, Haredim Have Turned Inward
The Hidden Ingredient To Revitalizing Jewish Collegiate Life
Arab Israelis, Moving to Jewish Towns, Rarely Face Warm Welcome
Orthodoxy and Silence in the Public Square
Why Is the Newest Bible Translation in Modern Hebrew?
Praise for Jews at Pope’s birthday bash
SALT Wednesday
New Square arsonist sentenced to 7 years
First issue of the Journal of the Beth Din of America
A Response to the Citi Field Internet Convention
British Jews mixed on relevancy of chief rabbi
Kosher Ham
Curtis Sliwa’s Jewish family
SALT Tuesday
Kerovim Or Rechokim: Where Should Our Kiruv Priorities Lie?
Jews Cast Wary Eye on Evangelicals
Jews Are Not as Liberal as It Seems
What Should We Call Christian Bible?
The Titanic and Jews
Tunisia marks 10 years since synagogue bombing
Israeli brand uses Lord’s Prayer on T-shirts
Would the Chazon Ish compromise?
Remembering Rav Soloveitchik
School Vouchers Gain Ground
SALT Monday
Prior news & links posts
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.

183 comments

  1. Links to contemporaneous accounts of Ben Gurion’s meeting with the Chazon Ish from the NYT, Davar, Ma’ariv and the NYT; as well as to R. Berel Wein’s historical analysis can be found in the comments of https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/11/traditions-in-passing/

    Is there anything further in Mishpacha on their teaser: “A journal found in the archives of Rav Shimon Yosef Meller, the author of a monumental series of books about the Brisker Rav, reveals the internal storm that beset chareidi Jewry during the days before that visit.”?

  2. I think that Benny Brown wrote a good account of this meeting.

    As for the “monumental series of books about the Brisker Rav”, it is anything but. I tried to use it for scholarly purposes and found it severely lacking. It’s a hagiography full of hearsay and unrealistic glorification of its subject matter.

  3. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — background on this particular statement can be found herehttp://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/04/gedoloim-suspected-chazon-ish-ben.html (read the comments, too), with more exact references.

    2. why dont you post since its already in the public domain? (you refrencened the issue, though not this particular incident last week. the contrast is amazing. http://forward.com/articles/154828/former-ramaz-nurse-can-sue-under-whistleblower-law/
    the court decision is here http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/fcas/fcas_docs/2010JUL/3001084172009001SCIV.pdf

    why a two year old case is still in play is beyond me, but i assume there was a refusal to settle.

  4. MiMedinat HaYam

    delete last stmt. i didnt realize its an appeal. appellate decision is here: http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-first-department/2012/6220.html

  5. MiMedinat HaYam

    titanic — the story about lady astor catching the baby (now we have an id on the baby) is considered apocryphal.

    but note must be made that r geffen of atlanta (of coca cola fame) must have been the one who gave that sermon, the author of the jpost article is also a geffen, so he probably declined to give the identification.

  6. Why no link to the hilarious letter from the Israeli government to the flytilla participants?
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4215834,00.html

  7. Re What to call Christian Bible

    The late Prof Harry A Wolfson was opposed to usung the term New Testament.

  8. Lawrence Kaplan

    aiwac: The 3 volumes have a lot of nice pictures though!

  9. i’ve met the “kosher ham” rabbi (gave him a ride from a sheva brachos). out of curiousity i googled him now and came across his web page.
    http://rabbibarry.com/a-personal-odyssey/
    is his critique of the rabbinate and the jewish leadership accurate(or is it outdated)?

  10. Lawrence Kaplan

    Note how the new journal of the BDA is on-line. Tradition, take note!

  11. i’ve always thought of curtis sliwa as one of the chaside umos ha-olam. time and time again he has unequivically spoken out on behalf of jewish interests here and abroad. we could use a few more jews like him. it’s a pity he’s not more polished.

    (i met him in israel during the second intafada. i was eating an ice cream outside the deserted bet shean ampitheater. out comes 3 people, one of them curtis sliwa in his iconic red beret. he had come to israel in a show of support, although i don’t know how he ended up in bet shean. i asked what his favorite place in israel is. he thought for a moment and said chevron, city of the forefathers.)

  12. On Anglo Jewry, a good measure of its diversity can be seen in Jewish Book Week — one of the primary events of the non-Charedi London Jewish communities.

    Many of this year’s sessions (including R. Sacks) are now available on video or audio: http://www.jewishbookweek.com/2012/programme.php

  13. There’s a </b> tag missing after SALT Tuesday.

  14. Rav Willig says:

    “According to many authorities, the plaintiff forfeits his or her right to pursue the claim in beit din from the moment that substantive proceedings have begun in secular court. A wife’s claim for support in secular court is fundamentally the same as
    the support clause of the prenuptial arbitration agreement. As such, if she pursues support in secular court, she may forfeit her right to pursue the support clause of the prenuptial agreement in beit din.”

  15. The story on internet filtering is full of old mostly inaccurate social and technical tropes. I could tear it apart line by line, but I don’t have the time. For several years I managed the internet filtering system at a large corporation (tens of thousands of employees) and I saw what works and what doesn’t work. In short this article is based on the idea that since filters are not perfect, why bother?

    The answer is that although Internet filtering systems are not perfect they are often effective as a deterrent to the yetzer hora. Instead of shmutz being easily available it now requires an effort. If this keeps the large majority of people from getting into trouble it is well worth it. I recently heard a Rav compare it to putting a mechitza in front of your chametz on Pesach. Why should that be necessary? Why shouldn’t we just leave it out and say “Don’t eat it”. The answer is that barriers, even when imperfect prevent both accidents and are enough to sway the yetzer hora of the simply curious. The person who really wants chametz on Pesach will go out and find it. The same is true here. By combining filters with buddy systems where your browsing history goes to some outside monitor you add further deterrence. The greater the consequence of someone discovering your inappropriate browsing the greater the effectiveness. In a corporate setting this meant either firing or disciplinary action depending on the nature of the infraction. This was very effective. In the Frum world the equivalent would be some sort of social embarrassment.

    The Torah supports the creation of fences to prevent aveiros and in this case the fence is an effectively deployed internet filtering and monitoring system. I am endlessly shocked at how many frum people are not interested in learning the necessary technical skills or hiring people who have the technical skills to safeguard their homes. This is what this gathering is about, to emphasize the importance of protecting ones home and not being naïve.

  16. ARW: The author agrees with you. I made specifically that point to an earlier draft and he added this sentence to make it more clear: “And while it’s a great way to stop pop-ups and inappropriate web-pages, it is irrelevant to the issue we are facing.” I just spoke with him on the phone earlier and he reiterated exactly what you wrote.

    The concern with this gathering is that: 1) they will recommend technology that is already out of date, and 2) fail to acknowledge that in addition to filtering technology we also (or primarily) need to educate our children to be responsible.

  17. And I can easily get around a buddy system if I can control the filter.

  18. I think the point is addressing the root causes is more important than managing the symptoms
    KT

  19. Gil,
    Your second concern that the speakers at the gathering will only emphasize filters over education is not the case. I am very close to one Rav who has been deeply involved in this effort and that point is clearly understood and always has been. It is so basic that I don’t understand why you would think somebody of the stature of Rav Matisyahu Solomon would miss it.

    As for your first concern, I assume you mean they will recommend filters that are not effective. That is also not the case. I am not actually sure if the gathering at Citi Field will go into technical details. I believe it will not, but I could be wrong. What has already happened is that in several communities volunteers have already been trained on the deployment of various filters and buddy systems. I either attended or reviewed the trainings and found them to be quite relevant. These volunteers will be responsible for spreading the technical solutions to those who want help.

  20. My apologies on the posting error. If you could delete the last paragraph I would appreciate it.

  21. Based on my experience over the past decade, I don’t think Rav Matisyahu Salomon or any other manhig in the yeshiva community is capable of adequately dealing with this issue. Their past very public statements have caused a good deal of people to simply dismiss them. Either they are speaking to too broad a public — some more open than others — and therefore can’t relate to everyone in one breath or they simply don’t get it. I suspect the former. Additionally, there is an inexplicable inability to say in public that you disagree with one of the other speakers. Regardless, I expect this gathering at Citi Field to be counterproductive. It will speak to the choir and turn everyone else off.

    It is certainly important to emphasize filters and the like to the community because I’ve been repeatedly shocked when good people tell me that they don’t even know how to filter their internet. But it is only the start of the solution. We have to teach our children to go out into the world responsibly.

  22. Will the asifa address the bittul zman on the internet?

  23. Also, focusing on a specific technology is a mistake. These things change so quickly that anything they recommend today will be obsolete in a few years. Even today, smartphones and tablets are slightly different beasts than computers.

    Personally, I’d rather use a Christian filter system than Jewish because I’m skeptical and cynical about Jewish “askanim”.

  24. “Additionally, there is an inexplicable inability to say in public that you disagree with one of the other speakers. ”
    Why inexplicable? isnt this part of presenting a unified daas torah?

  25. Daas Torah does not have to be unified. Just about everyone knows it isn’t and the charade only hurts.

  26. Re Curtis Sliwa’s Jewish family:

    I recall that former NYC councilwoman Melinda Katz, mother of the young children, is the daughter of a Jewish father and a non Jewish mother, so not considered Jewish according to our tradition. Hence the tabloid story (from NY post via Algemeiner), doesn’t get off the ground, as shimmering and alluring as it may seem to some.

  27. In the New Square sentencing article:

    “Gribetz said growing up in New Square is all about religious education and honoring the grand rebbe — 18 year-olds need written permission to leave the community and there is no television, internet or newspapers allowed.

    They described Spitzer as an 18-year-old with the emotions of a 14-year-old.”

    Was the defense stating that most 18-year olds in New Square have the emotions of a [non-isolated] 14-year old? Or that Spitzer in particular suffers from that diagnosis?

    —–

    While I have no interest in the debate about the Citifield debate, at a broader level ARW’s raising of “The Torah supports the creation of fences to prevent aveiros” must surely be informed by the efficacy of these fences. Given the constant stream of publicly reported “aveiros” – particularly those related to sex – it seems to me (and other observers) that the fences regarding women erected so obsessively in post-war America have, at best, been ineffective; and, at worst, may be exacerbating “averiros”.

    Perhaps, like 18-year old Spitzer, exposure to the real world might be a more effective fence.

  28. IH: The New Square “fences” are very different from those in the more moderate Orthodox communities. But remember that even Modern Orthodox communities have crazies.

  29. I feel slightly bad to be nitpicking, but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that there are several errors on the first page of text (P.9) of the BDA’s journal, to the extent that many sentences make no sense whatsoever. How exactly can they persuade people to take them seriously as an effective adjudicator of complex legal disputes if they can’t get their act together on this most basic of tasks?

  30. “Was the defense stating that most 18-year olds in New Square have the emotions of a [non-isolated] 14-year old? Or that Spitzer in particular suffers from that diagnosis?”

    Probably only Spitzer, since he was the only one that lit someone on fire.

  31. J: Clearly there were Hebrew words like בית דין that were somehow omitted by the printer. It’s a copy-edit issue. First times are always difficult.

  32. MiMedinat HaYam

    internet asifa — will the stadium food be (lakewood acceptable) kosher?

    seriously, “they” are afraid of alltogether losing their lakewood control. thats why filters, etc dont help.

    curtis sliwa — arent the two ploitically “incompatible”? (and i recall l”s comment’s truth.)

    new square — he probably is a 14 yr, socially )and legal knowledge wise) speaking

  33. Lawrence Kaplan

    hirhurim: The words that are missing are the Hebrew words in transliteration, like Beit Din, and halahcha. It’s still pretty embarrassing. The articles themselves ,however, seem to be OK in terms of proofing, and the transliterated words are there where they are supposed be.

  34. “seriously, “they” are afraid of alltogether losing their lakewood control. thats why filters, etc dont help.”

    Please. Do you have any family in Lakewood? It’s not exactly Taliban territory. Believe it or not, there are in fact people that have been ruined by the internet. And believe it or not, their families do in fact come crying to these gedolim.

    There are also “moderates” like Rabbi Viener and R Elya Brudny involved. They don’t exert control over anyone and have no need to maintain power.

    That’s not to say there’s no exxagerations going on, of course, but that doesn’t negate the overall urgency of the problem.

  35. “Believe it or not, there are in fact people that have been ruined by the internet.”

    Shaul,

    Define “ruined”.

  36. ” It’s still pretty embarrassing ”

    it means no one proofed the blues.

  37. MiMedinat HaYam

    shaul s — perhaps those “ruined” are so dysfunctional (in terms of the outside world, not in terms of life in general) that they cant cope with a concept like the outside world.

    not the internet per se.

    somewhat like my comment on the 14 / 18 yr old.

    yes — its not “taliban” territory, cause most everyone has the internet, and the rabbonim are afraid of thereby loosing their control. where they cant be filtered out.

    2. are smartphones / blackberries “banned” at the citifield event?

    (blackberries might be allowed; they’re dying out. will the food there be kosher per lakewood standards? (actually, the “rabbonim” lost control of kashrut in lakewood a while ago. the food is still kosher; its just the control.)

  38. aiwac on April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    Shaul,

    Define “ruined”.

    I mean that they have ceased to funtion outside of their computer screen. That’s putting it briefly, bluntly, and G-ratedly.

    Mimedinat Hayam- Not quite. Like I said, they aren’t making this crisis up out of whole cloth, and the people involved aren’t all Tamanny hall kingpins.

    “yes — its not “taliban” territory, cause most everyone has the internet, and the rabbonim are afraid of thereby loosing their control. where they cant be filtered out.”

    Like I said, unless you’re a part of the community you can’t possibly know how ridiculous that sounds. Why don’t you try going to watch one these Charedi Gedolim gansters. See how much money they make off their grand influence peddling schemes. They’re very comfortable. That’s why R Matisyahu is seeing a thousand people a day until he collapses from exhaustion and has to go the hospital.

    I’m the last one to pretend that the Yated Ne’eman’s version of events coincides with reality, but it’s whole lot closer than the one peddled on the blogosphere. Shut your computer for a minute and venture out into Charedi reality.

  39. aiwac on April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    Shaul,

    Define “ruined”.

    I mean that they have ceased to funtion outside of their computer screen. That’s putting it briefly, bluntly, and G-ratedly.

    Mimedinat Hayam- Not quite. Like I said, they aren’t making this crisis up out of whole cloth, and the people involved aren’t all Tamanny hall kingpins.

    “yes — its not “taliban” territory, cause most everyone has the internet, and the rabbonim are afraid of thereby loosing their control. where they cant be filtered out.”

    Like I said, unless you’re a part of the community you can’t possibly know how ridiculous that sounds. Why don’t you try going to watch one these Charedi Gedolim gansters. See how much money they make off their grand influence peddling schemes. They’re very comfortable. That’s why R Matisyahu is seeing a thousand people a day until he collapses from exhaustion and has to go the hospital.

    I’m the last one to pretend that the Yated Ne’eman’s version of events coincides with reality, but it’s whole lot closer than the one peddled on the blogosphere. Shut your computer for a minute and venture out into Charedi reality.

  40. Shaul,

    “I mean that they have ceased to funtion outside of their computer screen. That’s putting it briefly, bluntly, and G-ratedly”

    and just how common is this addiction?

  41. Aiwac: Every school has a few

  42. “Every school has a few”

    That’s kinda general and vague.

  43. You expect data?

  44. “You expect data?”

    If not data, then at least a reasonable approximation. I don’t like having discussions without knowing as many facts as possible.

  45. “You expect data?”

    “If not data, then at least a reasonable approximation. I don’t like having discussions without knowing as many facts as possible.”

    Enough to require an asifa at Citifield.
    🙂

  46. ““yes — its not “taliban” territory, cause most everyone has the internet, and the rabbonim are afraid of thereby loosing their control. where they cant be filtered out.”

    Like I said, unless you’re a part of the community you can’t possibly know how ridiculous that sounds. Why don’t you try going to watch one these Charedi Gedolim gansters. See how much money they make off their grand influence peddling schemes. They’re very comfortable. That’s why R Matisyahu is seeing a thousand people a day until he collapses from exhaustion and has to go the hospital.”

    He said control, and you said money. I’m not saying this is the way it is, but people crave things besides money. And while some rabbis aren’t rich, others make shidduchim with rich people, making their kids rich, and still others actually are rich (i.e., the Kotler family).

  47. What’s funny is that until now, most of the critics claimed that the Charedi tendency to decry the use of the internet altogether was foolish because it’s a fact. Better, we were told, to focus on the dangers and how to avoid.
    Along comes a group of concerned askanim focused primarily on learning how to use technology responsibly and now we’re told that this too is not a good idea.
    Sometimes it’s hard not to suspect that the critics are not as sincere as they claim and may just harbor a bit of animus to Charedim that goes beyond the intellectual.

  48. “Sometimes it’s hard not to suspect that the critics are not as sincere as they claim and may just harbor a bit of animus to Charedim that goes beyond the intellectual.”

    Similary many Chareidim harbor more than a bit of animus against the MO world.

  49. Mark: No one is saying that advocating responsible use of technology is a bad thing. What people are criticizing is the attitude that there is a magic bullet, a specific formula that if implemented will solve all problems. The only solution to the Internet is responsible use, which includes but is not limited to filters and other security measures.

  50. on the asifa from dovbear which i found interesting:

    Let me briefly summarize the other positions:

    #1: The Asifa is just the latest attempt by the zealots and the gedolim they control to control our thoughts
    #2: They’re worried about a neo-hashkofa and are trying to limit access to blogs and the like
    #3: They fear their authority is eroding

    To which I reply: No, sorry. This Asifa has nothing to do with any of that. They’ve given up trying to ban the Internet, and the average haredi isn’t interested in thinking or reading. The problem, primarily, is porn.

    To which the others reply (paraphrased): But people have always looked at porn! That can’t be the issue! Its a scam! A trick! They don’t really care about porn! They are just using that as an excuse! What they really want to do is run our lives, and close our minds. If they are saying they care about porn, they are a bunch of liars! And hypocrites! Porn has always been a problem! What a bunch of hypocrite they are to suddenly make believe they care!

    To which I reply: Sure people have always looked at porn, but over the last few years its become easier. You can do it quickly, privately and at no cost. The desire to look at porn is a constant, I agree. But the obstacles to looking at porn have been mostly removed. When obstacles disappear consumption goes up. That’s ECO 101.

    IS THIS TRUE – TO THE PEOPLE KNOWLEDGABLE IN THE REASON FOR THE ASIFA?

  51. On Tanach Ram, Hebrew Wikipedia clarifies:

    כל עמוד בספר מחולק לשני טורים: בטור הימני מופיע הטקסט המקראי כלשונו (בגופן קורן), ובטור השמאלי התרגום לעברית של אהוביה (בגופן פרנק-ריהל), פסוק מול פסוק. הטקסט מנוקד כולו.

    It seems to me this neuters the criticism highlighted in the article.

  52. Ruvie: Yes, I agree that the primary problem is porn, although there are many secondary problems.

  53. If porn is such a problem, what does that say about their societial obession with sexual mores? Do the women also seek out porn on the Internet?

  54. IH: If porn is such a problem, what does that say about their societial obession with sexual mores?

    It’s a problem EVERYWHERE. You’re so good at finding articles on sociological issues, try finding a few on this.

    In general, women seek out porn much less than men.

  55. IH,

    Porn viewing on the net is rampant everywhere. You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you.

  56. Ruvie,
    Yes your analysis is 100% true but not quite 100% complete. The asifa has nothing to do with “control” and the concern for porn is not a trick. As you stated, the primary issue is the easy availability of porn, but online gambling has also been a problem (more for parents)as have the dangers of kids being lured into unsavory activity via social networks. All mechanchim in the Yeshiva world have been impacted by porn. Once a boy gets hooked on porn, their desire to learn goes way down.

    Also included and I am sure will be emphasized at the asifa is the concern that too much recreational time is being consumed by the Internet. The amount of time spent on recreational activities is not really the issue but that so much of it is now on the internet which could eventually lead to porn, gambling or some other internet vice. In my community people are trying to come up with recreational alternatives, mostly for older children, to replace some of the internet time. However, I am not sure that this is going to succeed.

    As for this being about “control” or any action of the Gedolim, particularly here in America, being about control, I think this is mostly based on ignorance in the MO world of how things work in the Yeshiva world.

  57. Gil, aiwac — you’re missing the point. If someone spends an inordinate amount of their communal time worrying & preaching about sexual mores, but then can’t resist the availability of porn privately; what does that say about their communal obessesion?

    Also, women are just over 50% of their population last I checked.

  58. ARW: As for this being about “control” or any action of the Gedolim, particularly here in America, being about control, I think this is mostly based on ignorance in the MO world of how things work in the Yeshiva world

    I agree but add that there is also a good deal of ignorance/paranoia in the Yeshiva world about Gedolim control.

    IH: If someone spends an inordinate amount of their communal time worrying & preaching about sexual mores, but then can’t resist the availability of porn privately; what does that say about their communal obessesion?

    That the urge is natural and constant, and therefore the worrying and preaching is correct and needs to be increased.

    Also, women are just over 50% of their population last I checked

    Finally something on which we can agree.

  59. Also, in general society looking at porn per se is not viewed as a problem; looking at porn addictively such that it impacts normal sex life is viewed as a problem.

  60. IH: Also, in general society looking at porn per se is not viewed as a problem; looking at porn addictively such that it impacts normal sex life is viewed as a problem

    I believe we are really only discussing here looking at porn in such a way that it disrupts life. While we care about any looking at porn, that isn’t going to cause the community to shift its priorities.

  61. “Also, in general society looking at porn per se is not viewed as a problem”

    Well, this is quite consistent with your own view of the world, but that doesn’t make it OK halachically (and I’m not in favor of banning or other measures).

  62. Resorting to ad hominem already?

  63. “Also, women are just over 50% of their population last I checked”

    Irrelevant. Human beings aren’t abstract statistical variables. There are real gender differences between men and women, and they express themselves in things like gender differences in porn viewing, relationship choice and career decisions.

  64. “Resorting to ad hominem already?”

    No, just using a tactic your fond of (that’s just your personal opinion on X).

  65. “More and more” doesn’t change the fact that it’s men that are the main consumers. Your mention of “women being 50% of the population” still has no relevance.

  66. This one is interesting: http://www.thefrisky.com/2010-04-26/the-top-10-reasons-women-watch-porn/ (despite the website name there is nothing offensive on this page that I see)

  67. IH: Doesn’t address the issue of relativity. But I don’t know why you’re bringing this up in this discussion.

  68. Just trying to understand, Gil. So far your comment of 10:02 has been the only informative one — I will leave it now, but curious if ARW (et al) would agree that is the focus/concern/effort.

  69. I do have to ask, though – do the planners of this aseifa plan to discuss promoting an alternative, healthier attitude to sexuality or do they intend to just keep it under wraps? Personally, I’d have every chatan buy this book before they get married:

    http://marriedmansexlife.com/books/primer/

  70. The precise numbers vary, but by any account, women partake of porn in large numbers. The estimates I have seen of the percentage of female visitors to porn sites ranged from 28-40% female. If I recall correctly though, the data shows women do not spend as much time when they visit. In any case, any notions that women’s porn use is negligible or that female users are major unrepresentative outliers is not grounded in reality.

  71. “The precise numbers vary, but by any account, women partake of porn in large numbers. The estimates I have seen of the percentage of female visitors to porn sites ranged from 28-40% female.”

    That still leaves a majority of men.

    “If I recall correctly though, the data shows women do not spend as much time when they visit”

    Exactly.

    “In any case, any notions that women’s porn use is negligible or that female users are major unrepresentative outliers is not grounded in reality”

    No, but even according to you, they don’t come close to men in terms of numbers or intensity.

  72. “Sometimes it’s hard not to suspect that the critics are not as sincere as they claim and may just harbor a bit of animus to Charedim that goes beyond the intellectual.”

    I agree 100%

    “Similary many Chareidim harbor more than a bit of animus against the MO world.”

    Ditto.

  73. As some commenters noted yesterday, there were some copy-edit problems with the pdf version of The Journal of the Beth Din of America that was linked to from the website. The printed version does not contain these errors. Apparently the wrong pdf file was uploaded to the website, but this problem has now been corrected. We thank the commenters who alerted us to the issue and apologize for any inconvenience. Please enjoy the corrected version at http://www.bethdin.com/journal !

  74. I never made any claim of equal participation. But certainly we’re not talking degrees of magnitude here in terms of difference. If you found out that 65% of Shabbos texters are women and 35% are men, and the men send shorter and fewer texts, would you consider it reasonable to target 99% of your mussar and other prevention efforts entirely at women? The porn issue is different halachically, since porn use can cause more halachic problems for men, so probably efforts should be more prioritized towards them. But no need to unduly minimize the prevalence of porn use among women.

  75. Justvising,

    Fair enough. But I have to wonder what the split is in the UO community. This is why I want data/studies on the subject. Remember – the numbers you’ve seen are the overall average. If we were to break it down into subgroup, we might see significant differences (or not, but we need data to determine that).

  76. wait, you all are just now figuring out that the biggest inernet problem, from the yeshivish perspective, is porn?

  77. also, the bigger problem with “addiction” to porn is not that boys don’t want to learn (ie sublimate) anymore but that they have unrealistic and/or damaging expectations for marriage… maybe this explains why some people want women who are made of plastic?

  78. Aiwac: I do have to ask, though – do the planners of this aseifa plan to discuss promoting an alternative, healthier attitude to sexuality or do they intend to just keep it under wraps?

    I can’t imagine that they would promote a different attitude to sexuality.

    Why are we discussing the percentage of women who view porn? What relevance does it have to this asifah?

  79. “wait, you all are just now figuring out that the biggest inernet problem, from the yeshivish perspective, is porn?”

    I’ve known about the porn problem for over a decade.

  80. the vast majority of porn is made for men, even if women watch sometimes too. sort of like how romance novels are for women, whether or not some men may also read them. there is extensive literature and cultural commentary on this but probably not appropriate for this blog.

  81. emma: also, the bigger problem with “addiction” to porn is not that boys don’t want to learn (ie sublimate) anymore but that they have unrealistic and/or damaging expectations for marriage

    Yes, it destroys lives in multiple ways.

  82. “I’ve known about the porn problem for over a decade.”
    So has everyone I know. I was responding mainly to ruvie and IH, who seemed to think that this was some sort of chiddush.

  83. Yes, I agree it would be great to have more data. Unfortunately, I think the intense stigma around this issue in the UO community would make any kind of self-reported data, even in the most anonymous survey, tremendously more unreliable than it is in the secular world (where it is already pretty unreliable).

  84. When it comes to internet use, I’d argue that internet facilitation of both emotional and physical infidelity is probably much more disruptive on the whole to families than pornography use. Definitely in the secular world. Facebook, for example, often comes up in divorce cases. But there are also adult chat rooms, craigslist and backpage. Even in completely non-sexual forums devoted to random hobbies or academic interests one often sees relationships develop between regular posters.

  85. Some interesting data in http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.23.1.209

    “[Porn] Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality.”

    “on the whole, those who attend religious services shift their consumption of adult entertainment to other days of the week [from Sunday], despite on average consuming the same amount of adult entertainment as others.”

  86. And, perhaps closer correlation to the UO community: “subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality. In states where more people agree that “Even today miracles are performed by the power of God” and “I never doubt the existence of God,” there are more subscriptions to this service. Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where more people agree that “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage” and “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.” Survey results come from the Pew Value Surveys (1987–2007 combined dataset).”

  87. IH,

    I don’t know how close a connection one can make between conservative Christians and like-minded Jews. They don’t have an halachic-centric religion like we do.

  88. “It’s a problem EVERYWHERE.”

    It’s not seen as the same problem. To whit, the asifa people are not concerned only about porn addiction and/or sexual dysfunction in marriage. They are concerned with casual porn viewing, which is not seen as a problem EVERYWHERE by any means.

    Anyway, I think it’s so strange that people are discussing this as if the primary problem “Chareidim” have with the internet is porn. When they say “shmutz” they also mean a Macy’s ad. The problem is that internet in general is a fundamental threat to the Chareidim way of life and its assumptions. Facebook doesn’t only destroy marriages, as if that were the only problem Chareidi society has between people of the opposite gender (or differing religions, or different hashkafas) casually sharing laughs, thoughts, friendships. I also noticed that the internet has publicized people’s interest in secular things to a much greater extent than ever before. Sure, everyone knew that many people read, let’s say, Agatha Christie. But there was no profile to put it in as an area of interest. Many yeshivish and chassidishe people have no problem at all listing their favorite movie, even a nice wholesome one, whereas years ago you just didn’t do that. It wasn’t obvious that scores of regular “our kind” of people enjoy secular culture. It wasn’t flaunted.

  89. “I believe we are really only discussing here looking at porn in such a way that it disrupts life. While we care about any looking at porn, that isn’t going to cause the community to shift its priorities.”

    I disagree. In the Chareidi world viewing a sex video two or three times a week isn’t considered a guilty pleasure or a lapse, it is considered a spiritual catastrophe.

  90. “I disagree. In the Chareidi world viewing a sex video two or three times a week isn’t considered a guilty pleasure or a lapse, it is considered a spiritual catastrophe”

    You could probably say the same thing about regularly reading women’s magazines, even those that don’t have nudity.

  91. Gil,

    “What people are criticizing is the attitude that there is a magic bullet, a specific formula that if implemented will solve all problems.”

    i’ve seen about two dozen ads for this event and not a single said or so much as insinuated that they’ve got the magic bullet that will solve all problems. All they’ve done is emphasize that they are NOT taking the old approach of banning the internet. rather they’re going to try and demonstrate that it needs to be done responsibly and that there are methods of doing so.

    “The only solution to the Internet is responsible use, which includes but is not limited to filters and other security measures.”

    And that’s what they’ve been saying.This is something that should be applauded by you and the commenters here because it’s almost exactly what you all claimed should be done. Instead we discover that it’s not “exactly” as you believe so you find room to criticize.

    Here’s a suggestion – why not do something that you believe is the right way to do it? You have the resources – you marshaled all kinds of support for N. Slifkin when you felt it was important. Go ahead and do it exactly as it needs to be done and you’ll have accomplished far more than tearing down an effort that is sincere and trying to do it correctly.

  92. Mark: The reason we are so cynical about this asifah, and anything the leaders of that community does, is because we have been watching them for years. This is a cynicism based on experience.

    Do you read the Flatbush Jewish Journal? Have you seen how Dovid Teitelbaum is being destroyed by the newspaper’s rabbanim for suggesting that the internet must be used responsibly?

    Your idea that I have resources is, sadly, misguided. I’ve been circulating one particular proposal (on a specific issue) for over a year with no success. I’m working with some others on a different proposal but I don’t think it will work either. And I have a third in the works that I think might actually turn into something good.

  93. “You could probably say the same thing about regularly reading women’s magazines, even those that don’t have nudity.”

    Exactly. The general attitude in the Chareidi world toward what is considered mainstream in general society is that it is bad or spiritually threatening. The rabbonim also don’t want you subscribing to New York Magazine.

    Anyway, I think a big problem people have with the asifa (apart for the odd venue) is that the “we can’t live with it, we can’t live without it” message should have been grasped 10 or even 15 years ago. Fine, 10. It did not take chachomim or nevonim to know that. Instead the message until very, very recently was “we can live without it.” Why, people must wonder, was silly me able to realize what the rabbis didn’t?

  94. S: I disagree. In the Chareidi world viewing a sex video two or three times a week isn’t considered a guilty pleasure or a lapse, it is considered a spiritual catastrophe

    Yes and no. I don’t think it would get noticed and cause a major stink. Rabbanim are running wild because they see marriages collapsing and mechanchim see children who can no longer function. While these are minorities, they get the attention of those in charge.

    People who look at lingerie ads or watch risque movie are secondary concerns.

  95. If the article about the recanted rape allegation is accurate, the prosecutor should be arrested.

  96. “Why, people must wonder, was silly me able to realize what the rabbis didn’t?”

    Contrary to received Charedi wisdom, baalei batim have knowledge and understanding of certain fields that Rabbis and even egdolim often lack. It’s called real-world experience.

  97. Mark: i’ve seen about two dozen ads for this event and not a single said or so much as insinuated that they’ve got the magic bullet that will solve all problems

    I do more than read. I speak with and listen to rabbanim. Filters and buddy systems — those are the new magic bullets.

  98. Gil: “People who look at lingerie ads or watch risque movie are secondary concerns.”

    Obviously, but my point is that the entire culture has shifted. All these things taken together are a threat to an entire way of life. The regularizing of experiencing secular culture is very different from the way things used to be not very long ago. Even apart from teenaged zombies and divorces for newer reasons.

  99. Aiwac: Contrary to received Charedi wisdom, baalei batim have knowledge and understanding of certain fields that Rabbis and even egdolim often lack. It’s called real-world experience

    I think it’s a combination of that and that there was an expectation that some section of the community, the more devoted Charedim, could live without the internet. It turns out that this was overly optimistic.

  100. “People who look at lingerie ads or watch risque movie are secondary concerns.”

    That’s putting it mildly. Or kindly. It idn’t “turn out” to be anything. It made no sense 10 years ago. And that caused a credibility gap. The rabbonim were saying something which everyone besides them knew was impossible.

    It just made no sense at all. In order for that to have even been a possibility it would have required a shift comparable to embracing the Amish way of life. They were not telling the masses that they were now required to become Amish, but that is what it amounted to, so why weren’t they being realistic about it? I can’t think of any reason but that they themselves didn’t realize that they were basically telling people “horse and buggies from now on.” Chareidi society was never in the past as cut off from the manner in which general society lives as it would have to be from now on by the expectation that the internet could really be shunned. I think it’s fair to compare it to cars vs horses.

  101. Meant to respond to this comment: “It turns out that this was overly optimistic.”

  102. “The cost of a haredi soldier is very high, we have to pay him for family costs, special training (without women), special food, Torah lessons – all these things cost money.”

    Interesting.

  103. Funny, in classical Jewish sources discussing Jewish soldiers it never discusses the religious needs and what they might cost.

  104. The article about the expense and complications of drafting Charedi soldiers is emblematic of an entire worldview that has developed that doesn’t really take into account the broader effects of decisions when forming policy. To take another example, the rabbanim will support tzeddaka initiatives to help families who are in dire economic straits, but they never seem to consider why so many Charedi families are in need in the first place. So too here, running an army is not their problem, so what difference does it make if it becomes an inordinately complex and expensive procedure to draft a Charedi soldier?

    On another level, the story also demonstrates the short-sightedness of Israeli policy on this issue (as argued by the anti-Charedi journalist Shachar Ilan). Yes, it may cost a lot now to employ a Charedi solider, but in the long run you are creating a person who will work and pay taxes instead of living off welfare, and someone who will create a legitimate model for other Charedim to follow. Knowing Israeli politics and bureaucracy, I can’t say I’m surprised.

  105. J. — On your second paragraph, while not perfect I think the (policy) tide has turned in terms of affirmative action for Charedim in the army. Where I fear you are correct about politics and bureaucracy is structuring it so that it time-lapses and doesn’t become an entitlement in perpetuity.

  106. [Apologies for the US-centric language, J. but I think you understand from the frequent discussions here].

  107. Arw – it wasn’t my analysis – i said on the post it was dovbear’s. i just found it interesting that THIS is the reason behind the asifa – not there may be a problem of porn etc in the chareidi community. it seems that r’gil (i assume he is in the parsha and knows the players) has confirmed that as a primary driver.

    emma – the chiddush – or what i found interesting dovbear’s remarks -would be to rent out citifields to discuss porn addiction – but couched in subliminal ways of course – this drove these rabbis to create this asifa. not that rabbis see porn as problem and it has invaded their turf – ever since playboy its been around – the problem of porn (maybe not the addiction) has been with us since magazines where available at you local newstand. the internet only accelerated this trend and now you dont even need a computer to access.

  108. IH – No problem – I now have nearly 8 years of experience deciphering Americanisms here.

  109. just to follow up on dovbear’s comments he adds at the end:

    I’m oversimplifying. Other problems the asifa will tackle include kids who text on shabbos, adults who look at porn, and married people who use the Internet to form emotional connections with members of the opposite sex or to meet extramarital partners and set up assignations. All of that happens today with greater frequency for the same reason 14 year old boys see more porn: Its become cheaper and easier to do. The purpose of the asifa is to raise awareness about all of these problems and to let people know what they can do to protect themselves and their families. ”

    i would think educating on the local level would be more effective – via schools.

  110. Schools usually don’t let kids use the internet at home or anywhere else anyway. How will they educate toward proper usage?

  111. s. -i thought the banning of the internet failed. but you are right – i am not in that world so i forgot the internet doesn’t exist for their kids – is it really the adults that have the problem? i live in the a world where elementary school kids have smartphones.

  112. It didn’t fail in schools. I don’t think it has ever entered anyone’s mind that kids might use the internet too. Of course in the real world the situation is very varied. I would bet that most Chassidishe kids in Williamsburg do not use the internet, but that most yeshivishe kids in Flatbush do. And of course it changes depending upon the age, situation, school, real yeshivish vs yeshivish style, etc.

  113. “He said control, and you said money. I’m not saying this is the way it is, but people crave things besides money.”

    Define control. I thought it was code for money, but I could be wrong.

    “others actually are rich (i.e., the Kotler family).”

    R Malkiel’s salary is not under threat from the internet. Neither are Aron Kotler’s corporate holdings.

  114. The problems that this asifa may be addressing are real, but as Reb Gil has said, the gedolim and their askanim long ago lost their credibility. The reason? MONEY. Think about the wedding “rules” that were paskened by the gedoilim to help stop that runaway train. In theory, creating rules made some sense, as the middle class or less financially blessed people might be able to afford to make a simcha and maintain either their self-respect or their home or both. But when the fancy shmancy g’vir who sits on the dais of the big conventions wants to spend six figures on his tachshit’s wedding, not only was that okay, but all of those gedolim were lined up to be mesader kidushin or at least get a bracha under the chuppa. Good-bye rules.
    It’s no different here. When the gedolim were telling people in their communities (eg Lakewood but not exclusively so)that they would be ostracized if they had the internet in their homes, they really only meant the poor shnooks. The wealthy and children of the wealthy will always get a free pass because if they are ostracized by the community, they will cease supporting that community with their money (or they will replace the gedolim – but it never gets that far does it?).
    We all know what people are called when they will do anything for money. That’s why gathering to accept mussar from these leaders is a bracha levatala.
    The core issue here is yiras shomayim. There is a paucity of it out there, and the Yeshivas are certainly not teaching it. I agree that internet problems are real. But with apologies to the Chasam Sofer, the answer of “chadash assur” just does not resonate with today’s generation, child or adult. The answer is real education, not just of how to use a filter, but to how to be a yirei shomayim, so that a filter is not the last line of defense, but one’s own relationship with HKB”H is.

  115. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. will women be allowed / invited (with proper mechitza, of course) to this asifa? or will it be a token amount? will they be busing in girls from bais yaakov’s, etc?

    2. regarding women, i have a MO divorced friend who tells me he gets “hit on” regularly by married charedi women. (he’s not ashton kutcher ( = google’s first result), but he’s ok. and he tells me he’s not interested in such a relationship. i believe him.)

    i challenged him two years ago and this year, at the pesach hotel we happened to be going to together. it was 100% true, once with the husband “encouraging”.

    so drop the men only, not women, attitude. (and for every married man (jewish or not) having an affair, assume its a married woman, too. you can argue not necessarily, but statistically probable. esp if you consider the supposed shortage of men, esp in charedi society.)

  116. MiMedinat HaYam

    dave – there is an exemption in the “simcha guidelines” for the roshei yeshiva, who “have” to have big weddings. kudos, at least, to the smaller “rebbelach” who make simple weddings in smaller halls (since they know they cant money on the weddings, like others do.)

  117. Ezra made Takanos that didn’t work also. Doesn’t mean he had no credibilty. The fact that siiting in kollel remains the de facto choice for most Yeshiva guys should tell you something. (And no, they don’t all have rich parents supporting them. And no, they’re not all illiterate.)

    And what is R Shmuel Kamenetzky doing on Time’s top fifty list anyway? How many Charedim (his ‘denomination’) are there to influence already?

  118. shaul shapira : “Define control. I thought it was code for money, but I could be wrong.”

    I say to you this is what you ought to do, and you do it. I say this is what you ought not do, and you don’t do it.

    “R Malkiel’s salary is not under threat from the internet. Neither are Aron Kotler’s corporate holdings.”

    I don’t think that gedolim and rabbonim generally crave money, and that wasn’t the point. As an aside, plenty of rabbis have money and marry money. But the point is that even if this isn’t true, they *may* crave power, honor and control. I’m not saying they do crave those things. But not all the things people covet in life are green and made out of paper such that so long as you can see that they are not making themselves rich they cannot possibly be acting out of any other type of self-interest. Maybe they do not act this way, but money is neither here nor there. Try this on for size: you personally venerate, let’s say, Rabbi Akiva Eger. Because of who you are and what you do, one day posterity will include you in his rank. You don’t think that thought could *possibly* be worth even more than money to some people?

  119. R’ Dave,
    I just wanted to compliment your turn of the phrase “his tachshit’s wedding” – it made me laugh a bitter gelechter.

    kt

  120. “Try this on for size: you personally venerate, let’s say, Rabbi Akiva Eger. Because of who you are and what you do, one day posterity will include you in his rank. You don’t think that thought could *possibly* be worth even more than money to some people?”

    In, hachi nami.

  121. i’m a little confused. as it is being explained here, i don’t necessarily think this asifa is trying to spread the wrong message. but what is the purpose of this mass asifa in a stadium. if this is truly about educating people, then why is it being organized as a rally? wouldn’t the $ be better spent in supporting localized and small-scale educational programming?

  122. “wouldn’t the $ be better spent in supporting localized and small-scale educational programming?”

    I honestly don’t know, but my guess is they’ve tried that already. You don’t just decide to throw an asifa like this for the heck of this unless you’re desperate.

  123. SHAUL:

    “You don’t just decide to throw an asifa like this for the heck of this unless you’re desperate.”

    well it does give organizers publicity in general, and in specific makes it seem like they are out in the forefront addressing the problem, regardless of whether it has any practical benefit. rallies in general are often more about creating the ra-ra atmosphere than in accomplishing anything practical.

    (i’m not saying the above motivated the organizers, just saying another reason to do so besids desperation)

  124. Abba, why did N. Korea spend the money it could have used to feed its people on firing a missile? To put on a show, send a message, etc.

  125. S:

    ” I don’t think it has ever entered anyone’s mind that kids might use the internet too.”

    i’m not sure if this is true. some area RW schools have mandatory meetings for parents to discuss internet in the home. i thought this more about the kids than the parents. maybe i’m wrong.

    GIL:

    “mechanchim see children who can no longer function”

    how widespread is this? is it more so in the RW schools? where is the OU etc. on this?
    the MO high school i went to was very open with programing to educate us about drugs, etoh, eating disorders, etc. i wonder if today they have anything about internet risks.

  126. MiMedinat HaYam

    “localized and small-scale educational programming”

    theres no money in localized
    theres no money in small scale
    theres no money in educational
    at least they like the programming

    in ten years, agudah will still be talking about the famous shea citifield asifa. just like they talk about the first daf yomi siyum, the various agudah conventions in europe (but dont mention the chofetz chaim refused to step into the hall in vienna, cause of the infighting and opposition to rav kook) etc other events.

  127. abba – ” i wonder if today they have anything about internet risks.”
    yes they do. usually its handled together with the education of drugs etc. but of late they have seperate meetings with parents on how to deal with internet safeguards and its issues. it starts in elementary school in the mo world. parents deal with it in different ways and their involvement is key. bhut its more complicated today then 5 or 10 years ago – everything has wifi buit in – so its not only the computer but the ipod your child may listen to a shiur or music on can access the internet as well if they have a smartphone (my kids were not allowed one when they were young) – almost any phone has internet access even non smartphones.

  128. i think i’ve uncovered the real reason for this asifa. i don’t know what time is scheduled for, but it is scheduled for yom yerushalayim. they want to keep people from attending yom yerushalayim festivities instead!

    RUVIE:

    thanks for clarifying

  129. s:

    “To put on a show, send a message, etc.”

    seems to me the wrong way to go about things. but i’m not a leader, so what do i know.

  130. “in ten years, agudah will still be talking about the famous shea citifield asifa. just like they talk about the first daf yomi siyum, the various agudah conventions in europe”

    If a few hundred thousand people finish Shas because of this Asifa, it will have been a roaring succes

    “but dont mention the chofetz chaim refused to step into the hall in vienna, cause of the infighting and opposition to rav kook) etc other events.”

    This sounds mighty interesting. Do you have source? I’m especially interested in info about the CC’s attitude towards R Kook.

  131. MiMedinat HaYam

    shaul — http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2007/10/chafetz-chaim-and-rav-kook.html

    as the post says, beware of google results.

    there are numerous cases of haskama censorships. i guess seforim blogspot would be your best source on that, as i recall.

  132. MiMedinat HaYam- Thanks very much. Is there any way to verify their authenticity? I don’t doubt it, but some people I deal with very well might [1] and it would helpful to “da ma sh’tashiv”.

    [1]They would understand the last line in that post a bit differently: “The Rav [Rav Kook] wrote an approbation for Nidchei Yisrael and the Aderet signed it, thus forging a strong bond of friendship between the Chafetz Chayim and Rav Kook.”

    Vd”l

  133. “i’m not sure if this is true. some area RW schools have mandatory meetings for parents to discuss internet in the home. i thought this more about the kids than the parents. maybe i’m wrong.”

    I didn’t explain myself well. I was being a little facetious. I meant that the organizers (ostensibly R. Salomon and Skulener Rebbe, who represent groups who are more “Chareidi” than Flatbush yeshivish lite) do not think that “we can’t live with it we can’t live without it” applies to children. They don’t have in mind an email exchange between a talmid and his rebbe, or looking something up for homework. They have in mind paying bills and things like that. Grown-up stuff.

    Of course the reality is far more nuanced, and many yeshivos which encourage/ require/ expect their 8th graders to wear a hat to davening do not forbid all internet use among students. But many yeshivos do, and that doesn’t seem about to change.

  134. S- You forgot to add that many schools in Lakewood dont teach english, er, secular studies. But like I’ve said- and having read the Ichud ha’kehillos paraphanelia that came with my hamodia, it’s pretty clear- I think they get that the world extends to more modern places where many of their finest yungerleit grew up. Don’t forget that R Malkiel’s SIL is a Far Rockaway boy. Not Teaneck exactly, but not BMG land either.

  135. Gil,

    I happen to know two of the organizers personally and neither one is what one would call a major mover and shaker. They’re fairly serious bnai torah who’ve seen firsthand a lot of the damage the internet has wrought on kids thanks to their involvement in chinuch. They solicited Rav Matisyahu’s involvement [not the other way around as many of the commenters here have alleged – this was not a Rav Matisyahu power grab] and he, in turn, brought many others on board.
    The one Rav I’ve spoken to on two occasions is as sincere as they come and has both feet on the ground and is well aware that this is no magic bullet. Perhaps you’ve heard otherwise from others, but I haven’t and I don’t believe that anyone is foolish enough to believe that.
    Regardless, there’s no harm in supporting this initiative with a caveat that it’s not the entire answer.

  136. Ruvie,

    “Arw – it wasn’t my analysis – i said on the post it was dovbear’s. i just found it interesting that THIS is the reason behind the asifa – not there may be a problem of porn etc in the chareidi community. it seems that r’gil (i assume he is in the parsha and knows the players) has confirmed that as a primary driver.”

    Whatever you do – don’t take Dovbear’s word as fact. He knows very few facts and is driven by a rabid hatred of Charedim. The same, obviously, is not true of Gil and others, but a few days of Dovbear ought to help you recognize this.

  137. Mark: You’d be absolutely right in a vacuum but I’ve been burned too many times. Here’s what I predict will happen: the moderate speakers will be very thoughtful but speak very carefully and unexplicitly to avoid upsetting the extremists and the extremist speakers will scream chai ve-kayam about the end of the world. Everyone but the most dedicated moderates will leave talking about the extremists with only a faint memory of the moderates. And the dedicated moderates will think they won the battle.

  138. Everyone but the most dedicated moderates will leave talking about the extremists with only a faint memory of the moderates. And the dedicated moderates will think they won the battle.
    ===========================================

    and the real question the organizers should be asking themselves is what does success look like?, that is how would I hope the world will be different for having this event. the next question is how do i make sure this happens, what are the follow ons, what are the obvious challenges. (imho i’m not sure this happened with the simcha takanot)
    KT

  139. Mark – ” They’re fairly serious bnai torah who’ve seen firsthand a lot of the damage the internet has wrought on kids thanks to their involvement in chinuch.”

    could you be more specific of what exactly they or you define what is “damage” – it seems there is a debate here of what exactly is the primary concern of the asifa or what cause -specifics please – those that originally came up with the idea. hope you can clarify

  140. “Judah P Benjamin – The Jewish Rebel”

    i would add to the article:
    1) benjamin’s image appears on 2 separate issues of confederate currency as well as on a confederate bond. it has been suggested that this was davis’s way of showing publicly in that benjamin’s departure from the department of war should’t be interpreted that he was no longer close with davis
    2) davis was one of the best known lawyers in america, reputedely the highest paid. what is amazing is that even as an older man, in england he once again climbed to the top, becoming not just wealthy as stated in the article, but again a prominent jurist. iirc he authored a legal work that became a standard text in england
    3) he was of course jewish, but there was nothing jewish about him. he had no known connection with the jewish community. on the other hand he didn’t deny his jewish background (contra yulee iirc)

  141. “Righteous Among Our Nation”

    1) without getting into the various issues of the katsner debate, if its true (as stated in the article) that he knew about aushwitz but didn’t tell, then nothing he did can rehabilitate his image.

    2) the article overlooks another reason we celebrate the rightious among the gentiles but not those among the jews. non-jews generally don’t save jewish lifes, certainly not at risk to their own lives. sometimes this is due to malevolence, sometimes apathy. i don’t blame them for the latter. why should they save jewish lives? so when do so, it is noteworthy.
    jews on the other hand are expected to take care of one another. so stories about jews who saved jews might be interesting and inspiring, and yes deserving of commemoration, they simply aren’t surprising.

  142. Why no mention of Moshe Miklosh Kraus, who is credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews by working alongside Lutz and others?

    http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000200540

  143. whichever editor deleted the link I posted, would you care to explain what you found offensive?

  144. “Why Is the Newest Bible Translation in Modern Hebrew?”

    From yesterday’s links- for people that still think there’s something holy about Ivrit:

    “Gil’ad Zuckermann, a professor of linguistics[…] asks: “How many Israelis know that an egla meshulleshet [Genesis 15:9] is not a triangular cow but ‘a heifer of three years old’? […]Another example Zuckermann cites: “Most Israelis misunderstand yeled sha’ashuim [Jeremiah 31:19] as ‘playboy’ rather than ‘pleasant child.’”

    Interesting (hebrew) article in the new Ha’maayan basically arguing that R Kook was a Halachic Man.
    http://www.shaalvim.co.il/uploads/files/12-C-3%2069-82.pdf

  145. “From yesterday’s links- for people that still think there’s something holy about Ivrit”

    It’s holier than Yiddish, that’s for sure…

  146. In what way my dear Yeled Sha’shuim? (In the Biblical sense)

  147. “In what way my dear Yeled Sha’shuim? (In the Biblical sense)”

    In every way.

  148. “In every way.”

    oh.

  149. Apropos of the theme of the new Klal Perspectives, it is worth seeing the 3rd PRRI question summary highlighted in http://menachemmendel.net/blog/2012/04/17/the-prri-survey-of-american-jews/: Which Statement Comes Closest to your View of God.

  150. I am stuck and struck at the foreword of Klal- the disconnect between the roshei yeshiva and everyone else is striking – I suppose it could be reality but……..

    “Thirty people were invited to contribute, and eighteen agreed.
    Those solicited included pulpit rabbis, educators, outreach
    professionals, roshei yeshiva, community activists and
    researchers. Contributors uniformly agreed that the problem
    of being disconnected is real. The only people who declined
    to support this observation were three roshei yeshiva teaching
    post-high school yeshiva students. These roshei yeshiva,
    serving in three different types of yeshivas, each advised that
    they were unqualified to address the questions because they
    had no familiarity with the problem. They explained that their
    students were all intensely connected and involved, and they
    had no indication that this strong connection weakened in the
    years after the students leave yeshiva.”

    KT

  151. Nit Pick for R’ rothstein, iirc the quote from R’YBS was “have davened mincha” 🙂
    KT

  152. R’ Joel — well, to some extent they may be right since there is self-selection in those who choose post-high school yeshiva; on, the other hand the empirical evidence for those who go to Israel for a year of post-high school yeshiva is certainly a mixed bag by all accounts.

  153. joel r. – sad but our reality that many a ry just don’t know the world around them.
    is it me but before you can answer the question you need to know what exactly what the issue is(from an sociological or anthropology perspective) as oppose something broad and elusive? has anyone done any research in this area. also, its not like the first time orthodoxy has this issue in the last 100-200 years (especially pree wwII). nothing wrong with attempting to discuss it in public, btw, without knowing what is the problem, how many affected, and which part of the community is most affected.

  154. IH -“the other hand the empirical evidence for those who go to Israel for a year of post-high school yeshiva is certainly a mixed bag by all accounts.”
    any links to some empricalness? besides the usual anecdotals

  155. Ruvie — no, I was basing it on the many go-arounds in Hirhurim and the various related links. I should have said anecdotal rather than empirical to be clearer.

  156. r’ ruvie,
    Ironic, as you were posting that I was in a meeting on a work situation and my comment was “wouldn’t it be best to speak to that population that includes those we think aren’t engaged (a buzz word about how they feel about their jobs) AND DETERMINE IF IT IS GENERALLY TRUE AND IF SO WHAT THEY THINK THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM IS”

    kt

  157. “Mark: You’d be absolutely right in a vacuum but I’ve been burned too many times. Here’s what I predict will happen: the moderate speakers will be very thoughtful but speak very carefully and unexplicitly to avoid upsetting the extremists and the extremist speakers will scream chai ve-kayam about the end of the world. Everyone but the most dedicated moderates will leave talking about the extremists with only a faint memory of the moderates. And the dedicated moderates will think they won the battle.”

    Wonderful and very possible. But what’s that got to do with it? The extremist viewpoint has been rejected for years and no one pays attention to it. They’re voices are not heard but the voices of the moderates are widely respected. Their words will have meaning and will have some impact, at least. They won’t fix the problem but they’ll make some headway and a path will have been cleared for future work on the project and it won’t have been entirely subsumed by the extremist faction.
    That’s the way it works in real life. Most things are fixed in one mass asifah. It takes time and a sustained effort. I still don’t see the need to criticize this. It’s a [big] step in the direction that you and everyone else felt needed to be taken.

  158. MiMedinat HaYam

    ruvie — unfortunately correct. with the recent revelation that a major RY / posek in israel doesnt even know his daughter’s name, and this particular rov was heavily into gitten, etc. brilliant, yes, but no personal involvement, even with his family. an “aloof” personage.

    RMF would often say “ask you local rav” (even in IM, he often gives such A disclaimer) and he was known for personal involvement (though he doesnt reach the level of not understanding checking accounts (a la another (now) prominent israeli posek), a careful reading of some tshuvot shows RMF was told the relevant facts.)

  159. Mark: I agree that this is a big step forward. However, it is nothing that I particularly support because it isn’t nearly enough.

    The extremist viewpoint has been rejected for years and no one pays attention to it

    Absolutely untrue

  160. MMY – people forget that this was not the case in the past.

  161. ▪ Israel’s Masorti movement to ordain gays and lesbians as rabbis

    “The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary views the serious process leading to this decision as an example of confronting social dilemmas within the framework of tradition and halachah,” or Jewish law,”

    Not clear from the article if someone wrote a Teshuva. Or is this conservative ‘daas Torah’?

  162. No, it was the lay leaders that pushed it.

  163. From klal perspectives- “One of the repeated responses was that many observant Jews suffer from the absence of a connection to G-d, Torah and the Jewish people.  In this new issue, we asked whether the experience of feeling disconnected is as rampant among observant Jews as suggested, and if true, to identify the causes.”

    Absence of connection ( sentence 1) is not really the same meaning to feeling disconnected in sentence 2. Precise wording and meaning of words is important when trying to ask questions of what ails our community. There seems to be a lack of understanding as well as defining the terms among the editors as well as authors who after reading some of articles late last night seem to miss the mark entirely. In the end, there seems a reluctance to use the word spiritual or the lack of it in many religious people’s lives.
    It would be interesting if someone would contrast these articles and the ones in Conversations ( from rabbi angel organization- ideals) winter 2011 edition entitled orthodoxy and spirituality

  164. Finished reading most of the Klal Perspectives over Shabbos. Some great articles (Weinberger, Bane, Feigenbaum) and others ok.
    Though there seems to be a lack of definition of terms, it is understandable due to the emotional aspect which is hard to qualify or define. Spirituality (what ever that means!) is not the same as a relationship, and the relationship aspect with God is the central focus of the articles.

  165. joey – Bane makes one insight – the insight of the views of the other writers and this should hit home to everyone:
    “Surveying the Orthodox disconnected, others see Jews who are, at best, insufficiently motivated and educated, if not self-absorbed and lazy. Jews who appear to be connecting to G-d are lauded as the pious and focused, while all others are viewed as misguided, uneducated or simply self-centered. And the path to becoming connected is so obvious. If only the disconnected would make the effort. After all, a relationship with G-d is very accessible, if only they had been taught the correct lessons in grade school, or would now read the correct books, attend the correct minyan, or seek guidance from the proper mentor. And the list of solutions goes on.”

  166. joey – “Spirituality (what ever that means!) is not the same as a relationship, and the relationship aspect with God is the central focus of the articles.”

    from wikipedia “An idea or practice is “spiritual” when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life.” i think this means hashem. i understand why they shy away from the word spiritual – to goyish and not yeshivish or frum enough.

    from the forward by the editors:”Rabbi Dr. Dovid Fox, who explained that many dispirited Orthodox Jews complain that “spirituality was never well defined and was never really talked about either at home or in yeshiva education.”

    i would add that “the relationship aspect with God…” or connectedness (whatever that may mean) is in the same subjective and nebulous meaning as spiritual. perhaps you prefer ruchniut or devekut? it seemed that the authors were too perplexed by what they are trying to discuss (only by looking at the some the answers do i conclude that).

    isn’t strange that the most learned laity in the history of the jewish people (one can argue with that statement but i assume there some truth to that) that there so much discussion of the lack of a relationship (or connectedness) with – or people feel estrange from – hashem? surely we have not really broached the subject here in the correct manner.

  167. When I started reading the opening paragraphs of the Ettinger piece this morning, the first thing that popped into my head was The Stepford Wives (1975 version with Katherine Ross).

  168. I support R Gil’s comments and would suggest that the following linkhttp://www.torahweb.org/torah/2007/parsha/rwil_reeh.html, as well as other shiurim by R Willig on the issue are of relevance IMO as to how address the issue. I don’t think that all filters work, but shouldn’t we at least have oyur own internal filters?The Asifah potentially could have a great goal-that of increasing our sense of Kedusha and awareness that the Internet is the latest challenge to to our need of being sensitive to Avizurahu Arayos in our homes that are unfortunately far morer obtainable than in the manner described by the SR, when he decried the Tumaah available on a subway ride.

  169. I liked the responses in Klal. Such a discussion about such fundamental issues and our need for a relationship with HaShem Yisborach, as opposed to merely being people who, for instance, are different merely because of our strange diet, weekly and holiday observances (such as “our family keeps Shabbos” with no real comprehension of the basis of the same) has long been overdue.

  170. For those interested, in late December, I underwent emergency life saving surgery . As a result, on the day after Isru Chag Pesach, I underwent a reversal of that surgery which enabled me last Thursday to recite Asher Yatzar Kdarcho with the most intense Kavanah in my life. When I recited that Bracha , I thought of the words in the first Bracha before Krias Shema and HaShem’s enabling doctors and other scientists to serve as partners with HaShem in Maaseh Breishis on an ongoing basis, even under trying circumstances. Baruch HaShem, I was discharged Erev Shabbos, recited Birkas HaGomel, and was able to attend my niece’s chasunah today.

    I would suggest that most of us can gain and have a relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu as Avinu Malkeinu even without being placed in a Makom Sakanah, aka “a foxhole” where even atheists, let alone anyone who could be properly be classified by Rashi as one of the Ketanei Emunah would at least have a semblance of such a relationship with HaShem Yisborach.

    When you are a patient in a GI ward, you have two means of expediting your recitation of that Bracha-you walk and drink. I walked the lenghth of my ward and down the floor overlooking the pavillion in the lobby beteeen two day rooms which faced the east and west sides of Manhattan. Once I was awake early in the morning, and at the proper halachic times, I was able to daven, and learn as well.I thought of RAS ZL, and his essay that he penned in Tradition while recovering from a stroke, and the testimony of his grandchildren, that as RAS ZL negotiated the stairs of his house, he would recite “Achas VAchas” etc from the Avodah of YK, as his personal Avodah. I reccomend RHS ‘s MiPninei HaRav and the sefer of R C Karlenstein ZL on Sefiras HaOmer which both led me to a great explanation as to why I was reciting Birkas HaGomel only after the most recent surgery-just as one does not recite Sefiras HaOmer on the first night of Pesach or even at Maariv on the second night, according to many Minhagei Chasidus because Zecer Ltzias Mitzrayim is only 1/50th of the way to Kabalas HaTorah, so too, a Choleh Shenisprapeh should recite Birkas Hagomel when the true Refuah has occurred.

    One aside-the chaplain in the hospital where I was is IIRC, is a female Satmar, who inquired on a daily basis on my behalf.

    One more aside-when you are in a ward, you walk back and forth and talk with your fellow patients-each has a story why they were in same ward as you. I met a Chasidishe Yungerman whose wife was in the ward, and on one night, my wife and I walked with the couple and her parents. I commented to the woman’s father-when it comes to Bikur Cholim, your community has no equals, and that we go to Williamsburg for simchas, and when we went years ago to buy our kids Shabbos clothes and coats, one could sense a feeling of Chesed and the special spiritual preparations associated with Chodesh Elul in that small neighborhood-where I have searched in vein to find in many other communities, until I watched the pre Pesach shopping in KGH , and then walked down Main Street on the first day of Pesach without any open stores, and far less traffic than on an ordinary weekday. Sometimes, one can sense the Shechinah in our midst even by a simple walk-if one’s eyes, ears and spiritual antennae are available and one has at least delved in some manner into what consititutes the Kedushas HaYom in Mitzvos, Tefilos, etc.

  171. “the chaplain in the hospital where I was is IIRC, is a female Satmar, ”

    Satmar have female clergy?!

  172. Moshe Shoshan-The person in question is definitely a Satmar Chasidische woman who obviously has no smicha but who is employed by the hospital in question as a chaplain and identified herself in that capacity.

  173. How about comparing the subjects discussed in the linked book of essayshttp://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/725787//Jewish_
    Spirituality_and_Divine_Law and the contents therein with the recent essays in Klal? Except for RAL’s critique of certain inappropriate uses of “Nusach Carlebach”, and clearly inapppropriate theological notions advanced at a chasunah, I though that the rest of the essays in the book in question were an underwhelming collection of essays on a variety of topics that all circled warily around the issue that discussed educational theory,Sifrei Kabalah, Jewish history, and a discussion of RYBS’s and RAYHK’s views on Tefilah and Bakasha. Except for RAL’s essay,and the last essay, none of the essays in question struck me as IMO being terribly helpful in aiding one’s sense for balancing spirituality and Halacha.

  174. Steve,

    I’m happy things went well and you’re home — and able to jump back into the Hirhurim battles! 🙂

  175. Joseph-thanks for your kind comments. B’H, the surgery was a complete sucess.

  176. MiMedinat HaYam

    satmar chaplain — lenox hill? her son the rebbe the cpa from queens college?

    she (and her son) are ok. (gotta get him a shidduch.)

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