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Young Israel head Rabbi Pesach Lerner steps down
What Mourning Means: Reflections of Rav Soloveitchik zt”l on the 3 Weeks and Tisha B’Av
How Do You Define Quality of Life?
The 7 habits of highly effective schnorrers
British women trailing men in Jewish leadership positions
Presbyterians narrowly reject divestment
200 haredim inducted into civilian service
Satmar Rift Complicates Politics of Brooklyn Hasidim
The Three Weeks and reliving the tragedy of Munich 1972
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks attacked over gay marriage opposition
D Mandel: A Call To Action
SALT Friday

Shamir and the Kohanim
17 Tammuz and the US Constitution
Decision on granting university status in Ariel delayed
Young Judaea’s separation from Hadassah begins
Courting Hasidim
New York Jews: Growing in Numbers, Growing Apart
Rav Breuer on the Internet
Daughter of Telz: Rebbetzin Rivkah Bloch Hacarmi
R B Wein: Inaccuracies
Half of US Reform Rabbis Officiate at Intermarriages
Mir rosh yeshiva cured of ALS
SALT Thursday

Haredi youth to bear Olympic torch
Feminism and Orthodoxy: The challenge of equality
Matisyahu: Exclusive interview with Aish
Stunning synagogue discovered in Huqoq
‘Frumer’ than God?
It’s the ‘spirituality,’ stupid
How my grandmother stood up to the Klan in Texas
SALT Tuesday
Rise of the Machine Translators
What Would George Washington Say?
Responsibility of the Jewish writer
Jewish leaders mock Hungarian far-right politician who reveals Jewish origins
Why has Jewish ritual of circumcision survived so long, and remained so resonant?
Ponevitch rosh yeshiva calls Israel living standard ‘miraculous’
Brooklyn DA Blames Israel for Mondrowitz Scandal
The Literature of Conversion
Jewish Hospital in Germany Bans Circumcision
In The Beginning: Women’s Rabbis
Roots of Faith
J Rosenblum: Israel and Jewish Identity
How to turn around Jewish education investments
SALT Monday

Prior news & links posts
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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance 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.

281 comments

  1. GIL:

    “How to turn around Jewish education investments”

    i guess you feel strongly about this one?

  2. As I was reading Philologos’ article Rise of the Machine Translators, my son Naftali Tzvi (who just recently turned three) saw the picture of the robot holding a book yelled, “That robot’s in my book”. He brought me his “Baby Einstein First Words” and sure enough it was. 🙂

  3. Interesting perspective from R. Shmuel Auerbach’s side on the recent occurrences at Yated Ne’eman:

    http://108.178.61.34/alma.pdf

  4. “Ponevitch rosh yeshiva calls Israel living standard ‘miraculous’”

    It is Ponevezh, not Ponevitch. Surprising that the Jerusalem Post makes such an error.

    http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Ponevezh_Yeshiva_of

  5. http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/religious-zionists-lose-legal-battle-over-rabbi-kook-s-former-jerusalem-home-1.448382

    “The disputed house was built in 1923 with money donated by an American philanthropist, Harry Fischel, as a home for the chief rabbi more fitting than his one-room apartment. The money went to an Ashkenazi charitable organization known as the Va’ad Haclali-Knesset Yisrael, and was built for the rabbi and his family in what is now downtown Jerusalem.”

  6. I would spell frummer with 2 ‘m’s.

  7. “Frummer Than God”

    While he makes some valid points, he unfortunately mixes up different things, some narishkeit, some not.

    For example, for a young girl to be drafted in the Army is yehareig v’al yaavor was a position taken by gedolei yisroel, incl. the Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rov. To mix that in with slipping out of the hospital while in labor to eat an esrog, for example, is dishonest, IMO.

  8. I like the feminism article. It strikes a nice balance between different demands while demeaning neither side.

  9. R’Aiwac,
    Did you get the sense of a practical derech from the article?(i.e. given that demands come from both types of “feminists”, how do you determine a course of where to give and where not to?)
    KT

  10. R’ Joel — Vox populi for the domain of people sincerely grappling with this appears to be the Partnership Minyan, or in its more apropos label in Hebrew: Hilchati-Shivioni.

    Both Darkhei Noam in NY and Shira Chadasha in Jerusalem have just celebrated their 10th anniversary. And the phenomenon is spreading: e.g. here’s the one in Modi’in – http://www.darcheinoam.org.il/index.php/he/

  11. “R’ Joel — Vox populi for the domain of people sincerely grappling with this appears to be the Partnership Minyan, or in its more apropos label in Hebrew: Hilchati-Shivioni”

    IH,

    Wow, you’re a bona fide spokesperson for this model, aren’t you?

    In any event, I have doubts about its viability; I remember someone mentioning to me that Shirah Chadashah is exclusively a Shabbat phenomenon.

  12. “Did you get the sense of a practical derech from the article?(i.e. given that demands come from both types of “feminists”, how do you determine a course of where to give and where not to?)”

    This isn’t a mathematical formula, and I tend to be a fan of “difference feminism” than egalitarianism. The one can be blessed and fruitful, the other leads to female takeover and male flight.

  13. The thing that bothers me is partially in Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic Monthly article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” but really a broader concern – – I would have written “Why No One Can Have It All” and my concern is while some people are looking for their version of all (as an individual and as couples) the primary (or very close to it) job of being links in the mesorah chain falls to a too low priority (see for example in today’s NY Times –
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/science/carbon-catalyst-for-half-a-century.html?_r=1&ref=science

    “How did you manage a high-powered career with four children?

    A good husband is a vital part of it, somebody who understands what you’re trying to do and encourages it. I also had a good baby sitter. She worked for me for 29 years. “)

    KT

  14. “the primary (or very close to it) job of being links in the mesorah chain falls to a too low priority”

    Who says it even enters the equation? It’s all about ME, doncha know?

  15. MiMedinat HaYam

    r hertzfield’s huff post — what other changes were made in the 2006 by laws amendments? or was it limited strictly to such “egalitarian” purposes (though i admit wives cant vote without their husbands’s written permission is prob wrong, but (most) synagogues apportion membership (and voting rights) to family units (or more properly, “nuclear” familes) as opposed to individuals, so proxies to vote are proper to control such issues.

    2. shira chadasha, etc — besides being a shabbat only phenomenon (cant really fault them for that), the real question is, are their daughter’s (really) interested, or is it gonna end up being group of old fogies?

    3. charedi carrying olympic flag — i would need more than a claim that the flag carrier is charedi to believe it. second, a post on appropriateness of olympics and judaism might be good idea in a few weeks.

  16. R’Aiwac,
    The sad thing is that the baby boomers were supposed to be the me generation, unfortunately some of our children apparently didn’t realize they were supposed to rebel against this.
    KT

  17. R. Joel,

    What reason did you give for them to do so?

  18. R’Aiwac,
    Kids are supposed to naturally rebel without any reason 🙂
    KT

  19. “that demands come from both types of “feminists”, how do you determine a course of where to give and where not to?)”
    R. Joel,

    With respect (and I mean that), this way of talking doesn’t quite “get it.” Women make “demands” and then “you” (who?) “give” or don’t? I would say the question should be how do _we_, women and men together, balance these competing visions/values, how do we decide which is appropriate where. Not which group of women the men-in-power decide to placate on which day.

  20. “I would say the question should be how do _we_, women and men together, balance these competing visions/values, how do we decide which is appropriate where. Not which group of women the men-in-power decide to placate on which day.”

    Isn’t this a semantic argument? The results are the same, after all.

  21. The results are not the same.
    Let’s take two hypothetical marriages. Husband A makes $100K a year and gives Wife A an allowance of $300 per week. If she wants something outside that budget she asks him and he usually says yes, unless they really can’t afford it. Husband B makes $70k and wife B makes $30k. They have a shared budget for basic expenses and when either of them wants to spend on something unusually expensice s/he runs it by the other first.
    Even if the material goods purchased in both households were exactly the same, you don’t see a difference?

  22. “.. or in its more apropos label in Hebrew: Hilchati-Shivioni.”

    As opposed to? Hilchati-Mini? If that’s what you’re getting at, just say it.

  23. “Husband B makes $70k and wife B makes $30k. They have a shared budget for basic expenses and when either of them wants to spend on something unusually expensice s/he runs it by the other first”

    What if Husband B is adamant and says no – and she does it anyway?

  24. “What if Husband B is adamant and says no – and she does it anyway?”

    I dunno, they have a marriage issue to work on? same as if she adamantly said not to something (money related or otherwise) and he did it anyway? what if husband B always said no to her “extras” but asked her to OK his own? I can come up with lots of variations, but what is the nimshal you are trying to get at with teh additional hypo?

  25. “Hilchati-Shivioni”

    Does the word “oxymoron” mean nothing to you?

    aiwac: It is Shabbat-only (to be specific, Friday night and Shabbat morning only) indeed, as are most if not all of its kin. (Those that even meet every week.) I know a number of members. Many are former Conservative. Most olim I know who were serious Conservative or Reform in the US simply move into Orthodoxy when they move to Israel; many those who were less serious become Chiloni or Masorati (but not all- even some of these become Dati). Perhaps not coincidentally, many of the former are in Jerusalem and many of the latter in the Merkaz. Some- the younger, USY types- go to Shira Chadasha and similar places.

  26. Sorry, I’m in a facebook chat mode.

    I don’t believe the mutual model you’re mentioning is workable. The minute men say no to any particular request for specific female activity in the shul, I don’t think they’ll accept it or stop protesting loudly. Or the men’ll accept egalitarianism and sulk or leave because they’re unnecessary.

    A true men-women partnership would require compromise. I don’t believe those of a feminist bent would accept compromise any more than die-hards from the other extreme.

  27. Does the word “oxymoron” mean nothing to you?

    Sure. Republican Jew 🙂

  28. Aiwac — you’re missing the point. It’s not the men saying no to any particular request. It’s the men-and-women, in consultation with their halachic advisors, together working to permit that which can be permitted (using R. Sperber’s language).

    As to whether it is workable, in 2001 R. Henkin famously predicted “[…] women’s aliyyot remain outside the consensus, and a congregation that institutes them is not Orthodox in name and will not long remain Orthodox in practice. In my judgement, this is an accurate statement now and for the foreseeable future, and I see no point in arguing about it.” It has been 11 years since and that has not occurred.

    Nachum – Darkhei Noam in NY is primarily composed of people who identify as MO with many member regulars who are also members of institutional synagogues like the JC, OZ and LSS.

  29. IH,

    and what of people like Suzzanah Heschel, who complains of the “invisible mechitza” in even C and R places of worship?

    “It’s the men-and-women, in consultation with their halachic advisors, together working to permit that which can be permitted (using R. Sperber’s language)”

    That reminds me of two Yemenite families who consulted with an halachic advisor (a din Torah) on honors on Yamim Nora’im. One of the sides didn’t like the ruling/disobeyed, so now the shul remains empty…

  30. “Nachum – Darkhei Noam in NY is primarily composed of people who identify as MO with many member regulars who are also members of institutional synagogues like the JC, OZ and LSS”

    Congrats. It’s still not a mass phenomenon, but a niche.

  31. aiwac — attracting 175 to 200 adults every Shabbat to daven in a school gym, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan which is rich with choice doesn’t bear any resemble to your pessimistic prognostications.

    You’re not married either, as I recall — you should come and maybe you’ll find someone 🙂

  32. “attracting 175 to 200 adults every Shabbat to daven in a school gym, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan which is rich with choice doesn’t bear any resemble to your pessimistic prognostications”

    An attractive niche is still a niche. Get back to me when you can’t count them all on two hands.

    “You’re not married either, as I recall — you should come and maybe you’ll find someone :-)”

    Appreciate the sentiment, but I live in Eretz HaKodesh and have no intention of leaving. 🙂

  33. Speaking of, a good sign of the enduring strength of these minyanim will be if they can attract families with children.

  34. When you next visit the UWS, you can see for your self. We have children of all ages in the main minyan plus a tot-t’filla.

  35. IH, 11 years is not a “long” time, as these things go.

    “I don’t believe the mutual model you’re mentioning is workable. The minute men say no to any particular request for specific female activity in the shul, I don’t think they’ll accept it or stop protesting loudly. Or the men’ll accept egalitarianism and sulk or leave because they’re unnecessary.”

    Aiwac, I know many feel this way, but can you explain why men who can count in a minyan are suddenly “unnecessary” just beause women can count too? In a shul of 300 men are 290 of them “unnecessary” too? My husband has gotten maybe one aliyah in the last year. (well, two – we had a baby.) Why is he any more “necessary” when the people getting aliyot instead of him are men vs. women?

    I know a lot of women who feel “unnecessary” though. Most of them have not left orthodoxy, but I would say the majority of women that I know don’t in their 30s who were active shul-goers in their teens and 20s no longer go to shul regularly. And it’s not just because of kids.

    “Men saying no” is not part of the mutual model. The mutual model does not involve giving men a veto. Is your contention that “feminists” will never be willing to compromise, therefore men can’t even try out the mutual model? I actually think that, in my experience, when women feel that they are actually being included in a conversation and listened to rather than dictated to, they are _more_ willing to accept restrictions that they otherwise chafe against.

    I agree that women should not have a veto either.

  36. emma,

    1) The mass “feminization” (a sociological term, don’t blame me) of C synagogues would argue against your belief that men won’t have a problem or feel unnecessary.

    And, yes, when men do not have a unique role to play which can’t be done by women, they’ll likely opt out in increasing numbers. Why work if someone else can do it for me?

    2) “I actually think that, in my experience, when women feel that they are actually being included in a conversation and listened to rather than dictated to, they are _more_ willing to accept restrictions that they otherwise chafe against”

    I’d like to see evidence for this assertion.

  37. IH,

    Now I see why you’re so enthusiastic :). OK, so you’re an enduring niche.

    My point still stands: there is no mass “wave” of partnership minyanim a la the Carlebach phenomenon or otherwise. A little modesty and sense of proportion is in order here.

  38. I am not saying that “feminization” would not happen. If you said that men only want to be in a boys club, that would make sense to me (even if i think it is somewhat unfair to have your club on other people’s backs). But it’s the language/feeling of “unnecessary” that i am trying to understand. Why is a man in a community of 30 men and 30 women less “necessary” than a many in a community of 60, or 160, men? My point is that there is already, usually, “someone else” male to do most of the “work.”

    My second assertion was based on my experience, as I said, so the evidence is my assertion that it occurs. I am unaware of more “objective” empirical evidence in either direction.

  39. IH-look at it this way-how many women who are university and seminary educated would rather either daven beyond a conventional mechitzah or stay home rather than women of the same age attend Darkhei Noam , etc?

  40. “there is no mass “wave” of partnership minyanim a la the Carlebach phenomenon or otherwise”

    agree. arguably, though, there is a mass wave of smaller female-inclusion practices, such as more shuls carrying the torah through or next to the women’s section. Also it seems that it’s now fairly widespread for fathers to get a misheberach that they should raise girls as well as boys “letorah, lechuppah, ulemaasim tovim.” (heard it in a chassidic shul!) when i was small it was audacious to include “torah” for girls. so lets say partnership minyanim lav davka. there is widespread change, and where it will end none of us know.

  41. “I am not saying that “feminization” would not happen”

    …and this would be a disaster, for both the men who would leave and the women who would be fighting for an ever-shrinking pool of available marriage mates.

    “If you said that men only want to be in a boys club, that would make sense to me (even if i think it is somewhat unfair to have your club on other people’s backs)”

    This is a distortion of what I said. What I meant was men need to have roles that are uniquely theirs and where they feel they are needed. The fact that they can be replaced by other men doesn’t change the fact that they know they can be counted on to complete a minyan, for instance. This doesn’t mean women shouldn’t have unique roles to play which are meaningful – but the roles should be differentiated, with women and men serving important and unique functions.

    I really feel that your objections to the present halachic limitations on women are blinding you to empathy towards men’s feelings. Please try to see it from our POV as well.

  42. “arguably, though, there is a mass wave of smaller female-inclusion practices”

    Which I fully support and which are different than “sameness” egalitarianism. Glad we’re on the same page here.

  43. I recall a conversation my wife and I had with Rabbi JJ Schacter, circa 1990, when his pulpit was the JC in which he said that he did not understand why women were not formally asking for more. His position was that there was only so far he could go on his own without the intensive lobbying of women members.

    We’ve come a long way, baby.

  44. Tal,

    Was there anything the Brisker Rov was LENIENT on?

  45. AIWAC-
    The Brisker Rov was once asked that very question. He wittingly responded that he was meikel on the issur to learn Torah on Erev Tisha B’Av (in some versions its only when its Shabbos like this year). I don’t have a source at the moment but its possible I heard this from R Rakkefet at some point.

  46. aiwac,
    so what are the “unique” and “meaningful” roles that _only_ women can do per the torah/halacha? (Is there anything other than what biology determines?)

  47. emma on July 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    “that demands come from both types of “feminists”, how do you determine a course of where to give and where not to?)”
    R. Joel,

    With respect (and I mean that), this way of talking doesn’t quite “get it.” Women make “demands” and then “you” (who?) “give” or don’t? I would say the question should be how do _we_, women and men together, balance these competing visions/values, how do we decide which is appropriate where. Not which group of women the men-in-power decide to placate on which day.
    ================================================
    With respect (and I do mean it), I was simply describing the facts on the ground as I understood them. There is/was a status quo. From what I understand, it was not the case that a group of men and women got together and said “come let us reason together – nd then let’s go to our local poseik” but rather primarily groups of women who undertook various methods to change the status quo. If I am wrong, I stand corrected.
    Halevai groups of concerned men and women would get together and first talk through the priorities based on a thorough intellectually honest discussion of where the priorities are coming from (e.g does self fulfillment take priority over mesorah transmission effectiveness)
    KT

  48. I am honestly trying to see your pov, btw. That’s why I engaged it. But I still dont get it.

    “What I meant was men need to have roles that are uniquely theirs and where they feel they are needed. The fact that they can be replaced by other men doesn’t change the fact that they know they can be counted on to complete a minyan, for instance.”

    I still don’t get it. Why do they need to be needed *as men* vs. just as Jews or people? Why couldn’t men feel needed as part of a society that needed to make minyanim, and in which the tenth to walk in the door was still “counted on,” just because that society included women?

    I actually think the feminization concern is a serious one, pragmatically, but I have a hard time taking it seriously as anything other than a concession to a sad reality. I really can’t see what men lose, in theory, when they let women in other than the ability to exclude. In practice, what they lose is a certain aesthetic, which may be important, but should I think be taken at least a little critically.

  49. Men can also gain, as documented in: http://www.amazon.com/The-Mens-Section-Orthodox-Egalitarian/dp/1611680794/ref=la_B005EOQHV8_1_1 which is now previewable on Google Books as well.

  50. R. Joel, you may be right that historically it was women who approached male decisors for “permission” on many things. But I believe that the decisors themselves could/should have taken a more “what is important to you an why” approach, where there was a genuine give and take, rather than what i perceive to have been a largely adversarial “how little can i get away with giving you” approach. on matters that do not involve public ritual, i think there has been a men-and-women collective give and take and eventual shift in many communities re: gendered apportionment of domestic and ritual tasks. (eg, do men “let” their wives make a zimmun when halachicalyl appropriate or was it a mutual decision to be a home in which zimmunim are made whenever possible?)

  51. re: olympic torch,
    my observation is that once “hareidi” has crept into english-language journalism to replace “ultra orthodox” and similar, it tends to get overused to apply to anyone with a velvet yarmulka (or perhaps any yarmulka at all). Also that israelis may not understand the dynamics of English communities…

  52. Tal,

    Was there anything the Brisker Rov was LENIENT on?

    Yes. He held, contra the Satmar Rov, that dairy products are not forbidden on Sheviis.

    (YU Talmid, the story about learning on Erev Tisha B’Av was said about the Beis ha Levi.)

  53. thanks for the clarifying link ih.

  54. Just noticed the Huqoq synagogue story. I guess feminization is an old issue: “In another section of the mosaic, two female faces border a circular medallion, with a Hebrew inscription praising those who perform Torah commandments.”

    [See the comments at the end of the article for a response to the predictable “minim” argument.]

  55. “Why do they need to be needed *as men* vs. just as Jews or people?”

    Why do many women insist on special rituals and prayers for women qua women? Why is there a whole feminist literature of Torah and Talmud interpretation from “the woman’s perspective” and women’s shi’urim? Aren’t the traditional sources enough?

    Come to think of it, why do human beings in general feel the need to form groups (nations, communities, tribes)? Why can’t we all just be one big happy humanity?

    The need to feel unique and needed from a gender or other perspective is innate and no amount of universalist rhetoric will change that.

    “I really can’t see what men lose, in theory, when they let women in other than the ability to exclude”

    Not to exclude – to differentiate. To feel that they have a place that is not replaceable. From the Men’s POV there’s nowhere else they can be men and alone aside from shul, aside perhaps the beit midrash. Everywhere else is mixed.

  56. IH,

    Read Dr. Finkelman’s review of that book for a more critical perspective (BTW, Finkelman himself is sympathetic to feminism):

    http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Judaic&month=1204&week=d&msg=kgUBhKjLBJBoFZm4Xe79Bw&user=&pw=

  57. BTW, emma, in Israel there’s even talk of a “Woman’s way of learning Torah” and “Female halacha” 🙂

  58. aiwac — yep, read it and agree with a lot based on hearing the author speak about the book. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain valuable information benefits men get derive. BTW, the very fact such a book was published by a University press is itself a statement.

  59. “Why do many women insist on special rituals and prayers for women qua women?”

    Because when they insist on “the traditional rituals” they are told they are only for men? (Tongue partly in cheek.) I am not sure what you are refering to, though – which sort of women and which sort of rituals are you talking about?

    re: “Torah and Talmud interpretation from “the woman’s perspective”” I think there are genuine contributions to be made, especially in areas that have to do with sex or gender where men’s perceptions of women’s needs and motivations may be very different than women’s own (and vice versa). Re: women’s shiurim, I do not really understand the point, to be honest. Practically, it is often true that women feel more comfortable in an all-women environment and/or that they will speak up less if men are present. I would rather see those things change and see more coed opportunities. But the question of gender segregation is, technically, separate from the question of inherent differences. Men and women could do exactly the same thing from different rooms, for reasons of comfort or tsnius, without implicating the whole “ned to feel unique and special as men/women” issue.

    “The need to feel unique and needed from a gender or other perspective is innate and no amount of universalist rhetoric will change that”

    So I return to my question from earlier: where is the “unique and meaningful” role that is reserved *exclusively* for women? Is there anything other than the biologically feminine (eg childbirth, nursing, even menstruating and its associated halachot)? And why can’t it be the feeling of being unique and needed as Jews, which is not exactly all universalistic?

    I have mixed feelings about the “women’s way of learning” etc. I think it is inevitable taht there will be some differences, especially wrt topics that touch on gender and sex, but I am not sure that I subscribe to the essentialism that women will necessarily create something new or different. To the extent that they do, however, I see it as similar to the fact that there exists a “litvish” or a “brisker” way of learning.

  60. From the Men’s POV there’s nowhere else they can be men and alone aside from shul, aside perhaps the beit midrash. Everywhere else is mixed.

    Really? I’ve never experienced such a need myself as far as I can remember. Can you elaborate on when you feel the need for men-only time — I’d truly like to understand.

  61. P.S. I strongly dislike schmoozing during davening, so that men’s (and corresponding women’s) club is a turnoff for me.

  62. “which sort of women and which sort of rituals are you talking about?”

    Aliza Lavie’s book, for one.

    “Practically, it is often true that women feel more comfortable in an all-women environment and/or that they will speak up less if men are present”

    and vice versa. Men feel more comfortable to have environments where they are together with their own gender and not mixed.

    “But the question of gender segregation is, technically, separate from the question of inherent differences. Men and women could do exactly the same thing from different rooms, for reasons of comfort or tsnius, without implicating the whole “ned to feel unique and special as men/women” issue”

    I feel you’ve made the same argument that I’ve made with different overtones.

    “Is there anything other than the biologically feminine (eg childbirth, nursing, even menstruating and its associated halachot)?”

    You just answered your own question. There’s also (mostly) running the household, being a nurturing influence rather than a disciplinary one. Women also provided and provide much of the informal value teaching in the household.

    BTW, I support women’s tefila groups and the like and am happy that there are more ‘female-inclusive’ customs. I go to a shul where the women dance with a sefer Torah and are ecstatic – but the mechitza is still up. That’s what I mean by compromise.

    “And why can’t it be the feeling of being unique and needed as Jews, which is not exactly all universalistic?”

    For basically the same reason that Jews need to feel as Jews – because we know we’re different, are proud of it and wish to express as much.

    “Men and women could do exactly the same thing from different rooms”

    But they don’t. Even today, women still spend most of the time with their children even at the expense of their career. There’s even a marked difference in what degrees men and women get at university, not based on ability per se but plans about life. I’m fairly certain that even if a 10-year kollel program were established for women like men, thee wouldn’t be as many willing to sacrifice that many years as men. This is just a sampling of differential choices made based on innate gender needs and desires.

    In TT it’s the same – women will often study different things (even on their own) than men. Not because of ability but because we’re drawn to different subjects and so on.

    Both men and women need a place of their own to express their masculinity and femininity and not ‘just’ do the exact same thing in different rooms. This is why I’m a lot bigger on ‘difference feminism’ than egalitarianism.

  63. “I’ve never experienced such a need myself as far as I can remember”

    You’re an exception. I’m talking about Joe Q. Average.

  64. Educate me. When do you feel the need for men-only time, in general, and what does that have to do with time spent davening in particular?

  65. “I strongly dislike schmoozing during davening, so that men’s (and corresponding women’s) club is a turnoff for me”

    Not for me. I talk a lot of Torah with my father during davening. And I see nothing wrong with a Beit Knesset serving as a social meeting place as long as it’s whispered and doesn’t bother the davening – for much the same reason that I support including children in davening when possible.

    “Can you elaborate on when you feel the need for men-only time — I’d truly like to understand”

    Coincidentally – the shul and Beit Midrash. It’s where I feel comfortable to talk and learn with my fellow men. I’m generally surrounded by women (I have three sisters, I’ve worked in women-dominated offices most of my life and the same goes for my university studies).

    I would join a sports club but I’ve never been very good and there’s not much socializing going on at chess matches 🙁

  66. BTW, although I served in national service, many of my Israeli brethren see reserve duty as “men time”.

  67. “and what does that have to do with time spent davening in particular?”

    It has to do with feeling more comfortable and at ease, in part. When women are present next to me, I feel tense, like I’m constantly being judged or that I can’t be myself and let loose a little. It frees my mind to focus on HKBH.

  68. Thanks for the candor, aiwac. Will think about it some.

  69. Joseph Kaplan

    The argument that increased participation of women in religious ritual results in decreased participation by men is not so simple. The study upon which it is based was of Conservative and Reform shuls where participation was more men’s club than religious obligation. But in Orthodox shuls where men presumably feel a religious chiyuv to daven betzibur as they claim to do, why would they/how could they justify stopping going to shul just because women play a greater role than before? interestingly, in Evangelical churches, where the congregants attend out of great religious fervor, women have recently been playing a much greater role (many very successful preachers) and it hasn’t hurt male participation at all.

    Seems to me, if you stop participating because women play a greater role, your participation wasn’t very religiously heartfelt to begin with.

  70. FWIW, at the end of an article on women and Tefilah, R S Riskin offered the following trenchant comment and conclusion:

    “Changes in the
    conduct of family life (such as marriage age,
    entry of women into the workforce, and
    greater longevity, which results in more free
    time after the children leave the nest) cannot
    be regarded as necessarily implying changes in
    the assignment of duties to men and to
    women. Indeed, I have been quite surprised
    over the years to the extent that we do not find
    even halakhically learned women taking
    additional obligations upon themselves, such as
    public prayer or hearing public Torah reading
    on days other than Sabbaths. And so the
    conclusion is that the halakhah remains in
    place, and that one exempt from an obligation
    cannot discharge the obligation of one who is
    bound by it.”

    Joseph Kaplan wrote in part:

    “But in Orthodox shuls where men presumably feel a religious chiyuv to daven betzibur as they claim to do, why would they/how could they justify stopping going to shul just because women play a greater role than before?”

    Joseph Kaplan-are you seriously maintaining that men only “claim” to be obligated to daven btzibur, even though the sources from the Talmud are adamant that only ten adult males can form a minyan, Tefilah Btzibur is at least an enhanced form of Tefilah, and at least according to some Rishonim, on YT, is a Mitzvah Min HaTorah?

  71. I have been quite surprised over the years to the extent that we do not find even halakhically learned women taking additional obligations upon themselves, such as public prayer or hearing public Torah reading on days other than Sabbaths.

    Steve — With sincere respect for R. Riskin, partnership minyanim are disproving his trenchant commment. We have a very nice cadre of women who perform these very functions for the parts of the service they are permitted to lead, including some very fine leyners.

    It is no accident these innovations are happening within a lay-led context. As a century ago, was the Young Israel movement.

  72. Ih, “on days other than sabbaths” is key.

    That said, having davened with a minyan during the week regularly at various points in my life I can say that the experience for women at daily minyan is not so great. Its not oleasant to open the door to the shul whee 9 men waiting inside and see the visible disappointment when people realize you are female. Its not pleasant to have men use the place you have to daven as a coatroom (or personal davening annex). Its not pleasant to attend minyan for months and have no one even ask your name. Etc. There is something oif a viscious cycle wherre weekday minyan is not female friendly because women don’t come, and women don’t come because it is not friendly.

  73. Emma — perhaps, but R. Riskin is speaking of passive involvement and my point is that the catalyst for change is active involvement.

  74. IH wrote:

    “It is no accident these innovations are happening within a lay-led context. As a century ago, was the Young Israel movement.”

    How many Darkhei Noam style groups would you estimate are extant besides the UWS and Modin? Again-how many university and seminary educated women, regardless of their hashkafa, would rather daven behind a proper mechitzah, even if aesthetically ugly or stay home, as opposed to attend a “partnership minyan”?

    Emma-I think that any man who goes to minyan regularly, especially an early Shacharis Minyan, can tell you that socializing is hardly valued, and that any socialization will be if and when you chop a nosh at a Tikun for a Yahrtzeit . Weekday Minyanim, in other words, function on the run. The key factor is having a minyan and being able to daven without watching the clock so that you don’t miss a commute to work, while grabbing a quick breakfast before you leave the house. One key way of enhancing one’s weekday minyan that many men find an essential means of preparing a proper mood for davening is to learn with a Chavrusa or attend a Daf Yomi shiur before the davening.

    FWIW, one of our friends, who was Niftar last year, said Kaddish for one of her parents, ZL, at our shul, in the Ezras Nashim, which is always available for any woman who chooses to daven there. In some shuls, the issue of men davening in a coatroom area where a woman might otherwise daven can be easily addressed if you speak to a Gabbai, as opposed to engaging in the rhetoric of a victim and accusing men of depriving you of space to daven in a shul.

  75. IH wrote:

    “Steve — With sincere respect for R. Riskin, partnership minyanim are disproving his trenchant commment. We have a very nice cadre of women who perform these very functions for the parts of the service they are permitted to lead, including some very fine leyners”

    Mishum Rayah?!-someone whose level of committment cannot discharge the duty of someone who has a greater level of obligation-

  76. Aiwac, thank you for your thoughtful responses.

    ““Is there anything other than the biologically feminine (eg childbirth, nursing, even menstruating and its associated halachot)?”

    You just answered your own question. There’s also (mostly) running the household, being a nurturing influence rather than a disciplinary one. Women also provided and provide much of the informal value teaching in the household.”

    I personally think birth is amazing, but recall also that for most of human history it was very scary, and the sensations involved explained in the torah as curses. So that’s one thing that God gave women and not men. Nursing goes hand in hand with that, although men can occasionally make milk. Only women menstruate, but men also have things that only they do, so I think that’s a draw. Leaving only childbirth as exclusively and “meaningfully” female. Which is a big deal, I realize. But even there the primary mitzvah is on the man. Where are the traditional sources that help us process childbearing as a spiritual process in the Jewish tradition? I’m sure there are some, but mostly it makes you tamei. I consider this an area ripe for elaboration by the “women’s torah” crowd… But I also see the fact that only women can give birth as not so relevant to the fact that, say, only men can wear tefillin.

    As for your other examples, even granting for now that these differentiations are “innate” or universal rather than at least partly constructed, they are still not *exclusive.* If a man wants to be nurturing, no one tells him that he is transgressing his torah-ordained role and needs to leave something special for women to have exclusively. And if a particular couple decides to balance things differently, also ok. Indeed the increased involvement of fathers in the care of young children over the last decades is generally viewed positively even in frum circles, I think.

    “BTW, I support women’s tefila groups and the like and am happy that there are more ‘female-inclusive’ customs. I go to a shul where the women dance with a sefer Torah and are ecstatic – but the mechitza is still up. That’s what I mean by compromise.”

    If that compromise works for everyone, great. I think there are many men who would include holding a torah, however, among the things that they like doing because it is special for men, and who would feel alienated by seeing women do it, even if men could also do it on the other side of the mechitza. so then what?

    “Compromises” involve everyone giving up something. Most of the women I know who are interested in greater inclusion are willing to put up with assorted “sexist” halachot and to sit behind a mechitza, in order to be part of a serious torah-oriented community. But they become less and less willing as the men in the community show an unwillingness to take them seriously. This perhaps gets back to rabbi hertzfeld’s piece. It’s great that he asserts that halacha in general and his shul in particular balance “difference” and “equality” feminisms. But do the women also feel that the right balance has been struck? or is he just patting himself on the back for coming up with a framework wherein halacha can be “feminist” without being egalitarian? So too your personal feelings, aiwac, on where the right balance is are important, but they cannot be the end of the conversation. Hopefully you can find a community of like-minded men and women who agree basically on how things should go. But the “right” compromise will be different for different communities.

    As for the “sampling of choices based on innate gender desires and needs,” as I’m sure you are aware that is not at all an obvious statement. Further, the situation in university where many women and men make different choices is very different from the situation in halacha, where many choices are made for _all_ women/men. If most nurses are women because women are innately more nurturing (though I can think of other reasons) great, but that’s different than “all women must be nurses” or “all nurses must be women.”

  77. Steve, I know what early shacharis is like. (As I said I have attended regularly at various points.) It may seem trivial to ask to be included in people’s half-nods as they rush to work, but knowing that you go somewhere with the same 20 people every day for months, and no one – including the rabbi or the gabbai – would know or care if you stopped showing up, can be disheartening.

    I am not saying these problems can’t ever be solved by asking a gabbai or by directly asking the perpetrators themselves. But they do add a layer of “you don’t belong here” feeling that men just don’t have.

  78. Another example: I have often had to ask someone to unlock the women’s section. Usually (though not always) someone lets me in in time to daven, but having to ask is unpleasant. It’s not earth shattering, just a little alienating, that’t all.

  79. Steve — There are 18 on the list that JOFA maintains at http://www.jofa.org/Resources/Partnership_Minyanim/ and some of those don’t even meet every Shabbat. Here’s a potentially parallel story, though (from Rudavsky’s Modern Jewish Religious Movements pp. 383-4):

    In 1912, a band of young men and women living on the lower East Side of Manhattan founded a cultural organization which aimed to foster Orthodoxy among American Jewish youth. Several years later, the group, known as Young Israel, established a model synagogue which attempted to make the traditional worship services, more decorous and aesthetic than those commonly conducted in East European synagogues. The founders of Young Israel maintained that a dignified and interesting religious worship would attract the American Jewish youth and keep them in the Orthodox fold. To further this goal, they introduced congregational singing and eliminated the sale of religious honors and other forms of commercialism from the services. The organization soon branched out to other parts of the New York metropolis and to other cities as well, and by 1922, the National Council of Young Israel was launched to coordinate the burgeoning movement.

    On your mechitza point, perhaps you misunderstand. Darkhei Noam has a mechitza at least as effective as that of the JC or LSS. The difference is that our bima is enclosed by two mechitzot – men – mechitza — bima – mechitza — women.

  80. Maybe in another 70 years, the International Council of Partnership Minyanim will be taken over by Charedim too 🙂

  81. “Joseph Kaplan-are you seriously maintaining that men only “claim” to be obligated to daven btzibur, even though the sources from the Talmud are adamant that only ten adult males can form a minyan, Tefilah Btzibur is at least an enhanced form of Tefilah, and at least according to some Rishonim, on YT, is a Mitzvah Min HaTorah?”

    No. What I am seriously suggesting is that men who say they participate in tefillah betzibur because they feel bound by a halachic obligation but would give it up because women have an increased role in ritual matters never truly felt bound by that obligation.

  82. “In some shuls, the issue of men davening in a coatroom area where a woman might otherwise daven can be easily addressed if you speak to a Gabbai, as opposed to engaging in the rhetoric of a victim and accusing men of depriving you of space to daven in a shul.”

    Steve, I’m sure that your shul is sensitive to women who come to daven on weekdays; I know my shul is, and I am personally aware of many other shuls which are as well. But I have heard too many horror stories from too many women (who have spoken to gabbaim and rabbis to no effect) about their experience in weekday minyanim to believe that this problem is as easily overcome as you would like to think.

  83. IH: I was going to say “intelligent liberal” but restrained myself. Halevai you could have done the same. 🙂

    I was serious, by the way. I remain convinced that all this nonsense will result in one of two things:

    1. Elimination of everything. For example, the haste in which the whole Maharat/Rabbah thing developed and is developing, despite pledges to the contrary, shows me that we’re dealing with somewhat obsessed people here, perhaps slightly irrationally so.

    2. Sheker. Let me explain: You’ve got to think “egalitarianism” (a value perhaps a couple of decades old anywhere, although such arguments don’t work with liberals) is pretty important to ride roughshod over traditions millennia old. But “halakhically” or not, there are certain- many- lines you cannot cross. But the *only*, or perhaps principle, reason these things are being done is to promote “egalitarianism”- anything else would not call for anything so drastic. So in pledging egalitarianism, many if not all of its promoters are lying in saying that one day it will be accomplished.

    Or they will simply cave at some point. Or issue increasingly tortured and irrelevant “tshuvot,” a la Conservatism, to justify anything.

    Just look at the inability of those on that side of the argument to, for example, say a single negative thing about homosexuality, or even homosexual “marriage.” It’s all part of a whole.

  84. shachar haamim

    I don’t really understand Rabbi Herzfeld and why he doesn’t understand why Torah study and batei knesset are different.

    It’s simple – I can have my daughter study Talmud in school; attend the army/hesder program for women at Lindenbaum; read a megilla at a women’s megilla reading; or even wear tefillin in private (or even behind a mechitza) and this will havce ZERO IMPACT on my relationship with my more traditional parents, my yeshivish siblings or my ultra-charedi uncles and cousins.
    But as soon as my shul goes to an “egalitarian” service such as Shira Chadasha – and in certain instances even were it to implement some of the more liberal (but more public) innovations that are already in place in Rabbi Herzfeld’s shul – they SIMPLY WON’T pray with me in shul. That’s what it really boils down to.
    Which is why Rav Henkin suggested in his piece on egalitarian minyanim that sociologically the minyan is no orthodox in practice and within a short time will not be orthodox in name – because these minyanim have “disconnected” themselves from the wider body of orthodox and traditional Jewry in a way that avdvanced Talmud study hasn’t.
    It’s nice that he wants to find “vertlach” to explain the distinctions, but it’s disingenious to try and suggest that he doesn’t understand the sociology behind it – it’s right in front of his nose. And if it isn’t then perhaps it just shows how out of touch with the larger orthodox and religious world, much of the cadre of the modern orthodox “professional” rabbinate really is.

  85. As R. Lamm has said regarding women Rabbis:

    At the same time, things have to be done gradually. To have a woman learn Gemara a generation or two ago like women learn Gemara today would have been too revolutionary. But with time, things change; time answers a lot of questions, erodes discomfort, and helps. So my answer, when I was asked by a reporter about what I think about women rabbis, was, basically: .“It’s going too fast.” I did not say it was wrong, I did not say it was right. It just has not paced itself properly. I was criticized, of course. People asked, “You mean that al pi din they.’re allowed to become rabbis?” My response: “I don’t know — are you sure they’re not allowed to?”

    From the ever growing attendance and qualitites of the people I daven with each week, I see Partnership Minyanim as the best answer thus far for the balance between modernity and halacha. It’s my nusach, but thankfully both in Jerusalem and NYC there is choice enough for everyone to find what fits them.

  86. http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/04/us-science-higgs-idINBRE86008K20120704

    “The Higgs theory explains how particles clumped together to form stars, planets and life itself.

    Without the Higgs particle, the universe would have remained a formless soup of particles shooting around at the speed of light, the theory goes.

    It is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes the fundamental make-up of the universe. The model is for physicists what the theory of evolution is for biologists.

    What scientists do not yet know from the latest findings is whether the particle they have discovered is the Higgs boson as described by the Standard Model. It could also be a variant of the Higgs idea or an entirely new subatomic particle that could force a rethink on the fundamental structure of matter.”

    Perhaps it is time for a 2nd guest post by Morris Engelson (ref: SUSY versus the Creator: An Update posted April 10, 2011)?

  87. It is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes the fundamental make-up of the universe.
    ==========================================
    and when I was in elementary school they thought the atom was the smallest indivisible particle.
    KT

  88. After going to Darchei Noam for a couple of weeks, I think it is clear that the trend will not end. It may not be mainstream, but will continue to exist. For many students in colleges, such as NYU, Columbia, Barnard, Penn, Brandeis and others, this minyan has become a place for them. Young women have been taking a much larger role in the leadership in colleges and guys are welcoming it.
    Coming from a regular Young Israel mInyan, it definitely took a while to get used to, but you can see that the people that go there, want to be there.
    I think that your argument is straying from the point of why people are going. I think young people go there because it has a college like feel to it. Lay-led, by both men and women, something they are used to from their college days.

  89. IH wrote in part:

    “There are 18 on the list that JOFA maintains at http://www.jofa.org/Resources/Partnership_Minyanim/ and some of those don’t even meet every Shabbat.”

    I saw the list-that IMO did not answer the question that I posed yesterday.

  90. Ken Scott wrote:

    “After going to Darchei Noam for a couple of weeks, I think it is clear that the trend will not end. It may not be mainstream, but will continue to exist. For many students in colleges, such as NYU, Columbia, Barnard, Penn, Brandeis and others, this minyan has become a place for them. Young women have been taking a much larger role in the leadership in colleges and guys are welcoming it.”

    Just curious-how do such groups celebrate the full range of life cycle events that are a hallmark of Jewish life? How many married couples daven there? From what you indicated, such groups are part of the LW MO intelligentsia that may populate “NYU, Columbia, Barnard, Penn, Brandeis and others”, but are they considered mainstream beyond such communities?

  91. Well I cant speak for everyone, I have seen a couple of familiar faces that are married now. But no kids yet. Dont see many lifecycle events among these people because most of them are single and I dont know if they are thinking that far in advance yet. Plus, there aufrufs, which I guess is the only lifecycle event coming up would be at their shul they grew up with.
    Other than YU, there are not many other colleges that many young Observant jewish students go to, and live at those colleges. Although I am sure you can name some I am blanking on.

  92. MiMedinat HaYam

    emma — “it seems that it’s now fairly widespread for fathers to get a misheberach that they should raise girls as well as boys “letorah, lechuppah, ulemaasim tovim.” (heard it in a chassidic shul!)”

    actually SA HaRav specifically provides for that. and that is followed by all chassidim, not just lubavitch.

    2. the consensus here is that partnership minyanim (no matter how many there really are) are not family affairs. so they do not have to worry about charedim taking them over in 70 years (unless they turn into charedi versions of haddasah — joke). the participant’s daughters are not interested, except possibly during their college careers, wehen they are more inquisitive / searching. advocacy for outreach on college campusses.

    3. men in womens section — i was at shomrei torah in baltimore last month (granted, a unique and interesting situation) and there was a man sitting in the women section during weekday shacharit saying kaddish (?for his wife, who may have sat there?) besides a handful of women davening there. and i heard of no complaints.

  93. MiMedinat HaYam

    the algemeiner article clarifies that the brit is charedi, but not “mainstream” in the sense that he is an active up and comer. somewhat like yehudah meshi zahav.

    not that charedim like the olympics (but many of them like sports; they’re smart enough not to ask the rebbe.)

    a post on MO stance on olympics would be nice.

  94. IH-please tell us whether Darkhei Noam functions during the week, and what % of those attending are women.

  95. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “No. What I am seriously suggesting is that men who say they participate in tefillah betzibur because they feel bound by a halachic obligation but would give it up because women have an increased role in ritual matters never truly felt bound by that obligation.”

    Perhaps, the men in question should review the basic sources as to the definition of a minyan,and the different levels of obligation between men and women, as opposed to opining that they never felt obligated in the first place-which strikes me as quite similar to a Kohen “nullifying” his status as a Kohen so he could marry a giyores or grusha.

  96. Nachum and IH-it is a mistake to conflate Torah with either conservative or liberal cultural and/or political sensitivities. That being said, I would fully concur with Nachum’s post of 1:10 AM today.

  97. Interview with Efrayim Goldstein, olympic torchbearer:

    (Yes, he’s certainly Charedi).

  98. “interestingly, in Evangelical churches, where the congregants attend out of great religious fervor, women have recently been playing a much greater role (many very successful preachers) and it hasn’t hurt male participation at all.”

    Not all evangelical churches — the Southern Bapists will attempt to expel any congregation that allows women to preach. But the pentacostal churches welcomed female leadership with great enthusiasm over a century ago; one major pentacostal group founded by a woman, the Foursquare Church, has 60,000 congregations and eight million members.

    At the moment, while the “egalitarian” congregations mentioned earlier in this thread are still small and uncommon, many congregations that encourage advanced torah learning by women and have taken small steps to increase women’s ritual participation are booming.

    “things have to be done gradually.”

    Indeed. A woman was first ordained as a protestant minister in the US in the early 1850s. It was not until the early 20th century that pentacostal churches embraced female clergy, and not until the 1970s that most protestant churches embraced it. The Southern Baptists still don’t.

  99. Joseph Kaplan

    ” How many married couples daven there? ”

    I know that my unmarried daughters who live on the UWS complain that there are too many married couples and too few singles at Darchei Noam.

    “Perhaps, the men in question should review the basic sources as to the definition of a minyan,and the different levels of obligation between men and women, as opposed to opining that they never felt obligated in the first place.”

    I try one last time. People have argued here that if Orthodox shuls become too “egalitarian” (using the term loosely), men will drop out. It’s that claim that I’m responding to. And I don’t think that will happen because the men in Orthodox shuls, to a large degree, take their religious rituals such as tefillah and tefillah betzibur seriously. Thus, those who would drop out because of egalitarianism would be a minority. Take you, for example. If all the shuls in KGH became, God forbid, more egalitarian than you would like, that wouldn’t stop you from going to shul, would it?

  100. MMhY, shows you what I know, thanks.
    Where is the “here” that the consensus is that daughters are not interested in partnership minyanim like their moms? I agree that is true of womens tefillah but I think it is too early to say re partnership. If anything it is more popular among 20isomethings than others, due in part to the fact that they haven’t moved to the boring suburbs yet. This may be an israel/us difference.

  101. I sometimes get the feeling that Charedim are much more easygoing about participation in outside culture outside of Israel. (A Jewish state, apparently, making tameh everything it touches. Artscroll can laud Jewish heroes of the US Army and pretend that there are no religious Jews in the IDF.) I think this is mostly due to the definition of “Charedi” in the US. In the UK, though, Charedim can be much more extreme than American ones, and yet seem to be *more* open to the culture. Perhaps this is a reflection of British culture in some way.

  102. On R. Wein’s column, I don’t mean to be churlish, but he needs to address the decision makers in his community to change their ways. What is the purpose of addressing this column to the audience of The Jerusalem Post?

    I also note that his penultimate paragraph in the column is itself an example of what R. Wein states he disdains: “unaccustomed to being a distinct minority in the Jewish world itself, and having been forced to be on the defensive by the attacks of the secularists”.

  103. Catching up on some H-Judaic reviews accumulating in my inbox, I thought https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=32741 would be of interest to others.

    “In a way, Bibliographia Karaitica conclusively puts the last nail in the coffin of a 150-year-old controversy over the question of whether Karaite studies is or is not Jewish studies, a dispute whose arguments seem to have finally died away within scholarly circles.”

  104. Here’s a newsflash: Karaites don’t wear tefillin. That’s for all the people telling me to adjust mine.

    Interesting that R’ Wein assumes that passport photos sans kippa means they were “forced” to do so. He’s being anachronistic: Ideas about headcovering weren’t the same even just a couple of decades ago.

  105. “I am not in favor of exposing all faults of European Jewry and I am also willing to accommodate the many exaggerations about the truly positive aspects of that pre-World War II society.”

    this is one of the reasons i object when someone calls berel wein a historian or his works history.

    NACHUM:

    i had similar thought about the kippah comment in his article

  106. “17 Tammuz and the US Constitution”

    a great article, worth the long read. the only thing i don’t understand is his point toward the end about the parade on 18 tammuz as evidence that ashkenazim had adopted sephardi ritual. why would it have been assur for them to participate in the parade had they followed ashkenazi rather than sephardi minhag on the the issurim of bein hametzarim? the “parade” was a political event, not a celebratory event?
    also his point about ashkenazim adopting sephardi minhag was certainly true for synagogue matters, but what indication is there that was true for non-synagogue matters? (unless one considers all public matters as “synagogue” matters, which may have been the case considering the nature of the jewish community in the 18th c.)

  107. Interesting that R’ Weinreb and Scherman no longer appear on the speakers list for the MO siyum hashas.http://www.siyumhashas12.com/
    KT

  108. Lenkowsky’s suggestion that Haredim (by which she is mostly referring to Chassidim) may embrace ‘upward mobility’ is delusional at best.

    She writes, “In the past, a combination of self-help efforts (Jewish-oriented philanthropy remains substantial among the Orthodox) and outreach from the rest of the Jewish community, aimed at encouraging upward mobility, enabled similarly needy groups to prosper. While economic times may have changed, and living on government support has become more tempting, nothing suggests that the Haredim could not follow the same upward path.”

    I wonder how kindly Satmar would take to a suggestion by the rest of the Jewish community that they give their kids a decent education. The leadership of these communities know exactly where their choices lead them, and there’s not much anyone else can do about it.

  109. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joel Rich: What a surprise!

  110. I thought that Rabbi Scherman’s presence at the siyum was too good to be true. He did give a wonderful talk at Ohab Zedek on W 95th Street some years ago.

  111. Sorry, that should be ‘he’. I took Leslie to be a woman (is this a UK thing?), but a quick search on Google images reveals otherwise.

  112. My understanding is that not all the speakers were fully informed of the sponsoring organizations. Hence some withdrawals when they learned.

  113. r’ gil – “My understanding is that not all the speakers were fully informed of the sponsoring organizations.”
    likely cover to make an excuse but would you say there was also pressure from the right? the only co-sponsor that may have made a difference was mechon hadar – is it worse than 92streety or jcc? which became a late co-sponsor. otherwise, which sponsors are you referring to? seems more likely pressure from the right for non achdut vs an inclusionary view. sad excuse for an out.

  114. JOFA, Yeshivat Maharat and possibly YCT

  115. Interesting that YUHS for Girls is on the sponsors list but no other YU related entities that I could see.
    KT

  116. YCT was there all along with r’ linzer speaking – hard to believe that was it. still sad but more surprising on r’ weinreb. still seems like more pressure from the right than anything else.

  117. Yeshivat Maharat is a deal-breaker for many. I congratulate Rabbi Weinreb for having the courage to back out. I think he did the right thing.

  118. i guess you do not share reb harry’s viewpoint at all.

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/07/moving-backwards.html

  119. Isn’t the first time

  120. Lawrence Kaplan

    It’s sad, but not unexpected, that YCT and YU could not get together on this.

  121. My information is that had YCT gone to YU with the idea before it was set rather than first publicizing it and only then asking YU to co-sponsor things might have been different.

    Rabbi Sherman’s decision is, sadly, entirely expected. Rabbi Weinrib’s decision, even more sadly, is unexpected. One would have hoped for more from him. “Courage” is certainly not a word I would use in this context.

  122. R’JK,
    I suppose the question of whether it’s sad turns on how YCT/Maharat is viewed. I’m guessing one who views MO as a “big tent” of the “let 100 flowers bloom” nature, might see it as sad; one who sees a struggle for the future direction of MO might see it as an inevitable element of a larger struggle.
    KT

  123. a struggle for the future direction of MO might see it as an inevitable element of a larger struggle

    Yoma 9b comes to mind given the calendar.

  124. Lawrence Kaplan

    Joseph: Thanks for the info. But it seems to me that your first paragraph weakens the conclusions of your second paragraph. If your informant(s) is (are) correct, then it seems that the blame for the failure of YU to participate should be clearly placed at the feet of YCT (and its head?). And since that failure resulted in the siyyum’s now being an almost exclusively LWMO affair, then it is unfair to expect Rabbi Weinrib at this point not to withdraw. It looks like the old HS basketball story once again. Ve-Hameivin yavin.

  125. Brothers Kaplan — I’m sure we’ll hear at least 3 credible back stories, if not more. There is nothing to be gained from playing that game other than even more divisiveness.

  126. They did have 7 years to prepare; maybe they’ll get it right in 2019.

  127. R’IH,
    Yoma 9b is a pretty long daf so I won’t presuppose I know exactly which part you were pointing out.
    KT

  128. Is it just me or is it a touch strange that the most important discussion regarding the relationship of the Charedi community to the state of Israel to take place in decades (i.e. over the Plesner report and associated coalitional tug-of-war) seems to have passed us by without comment? Can this really be less worthy of discussion than the issue of which siyum a given rabbi happens to be attending?

  129. J.,

    Who was it who said that their own toothache hurts more than a million dead in China?

    Yeah.

  130. R’ Joel —

    מקדש ראשון מפני מה חרב? מפני שלשה דברים שהיו בו: עבודה זרה, וגלוי עריות, ושפיכות דמים… אבל מקדש שני, שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים מפני מה חרב? מפני שהיתה בו שנאת חנם. ללמדך ששקולה שנאת חנם כנגד שלש עבירות: עבודה זרה, גלוי עריות, ושפיכות דמים

  131. IH: Is that how you shut down substantive disagreements, by calling everything sinas chinam? I call cheap trick on you. I didn’t see any Reform rabbis on the speakers list. Is that also sinas chinam?

  132. R’IH,

    My original point was that if one believes strongly in a particular approach, they will advocate strongly for it and try to make sure it succeeds. I would not view that individual’s not supporting an alternative approach as sinat chinam.

    KT

  133. Why is IH quoting the gemorah in Yoma? According to Ruvie, Chazal are not to be trusted with the facts and events in jewish history.

  134. Lawrence Kaplan

    There is the factual issue as to whether YCT first publicized the event and then asked YU to participate. This should be possible to to determine. Dr. Hall? Assuming that that the events occured as described in my first sentence, there is the further question as to whether YU would have, indeed, particpated had YCT appproached it first. This would be a counterfactual conditional and consequently impossible to determine conclusively.

  135. Lawrence Kaplan

    R Araujo: Even if one does not believe events occured as described in the Gemra, the values expressed by Hazal on that Daf are very clear.

  136. I think it was obvious that R. Scherman had to withdraw once he learnt that HAdar and Maharat were cospoonsors. Even without this, when he learnt that women were going to be involved in the program, and having their finishing Shas celebrated, he wouldn’t have been able to be part of it. The positive element is that he did agree to speak knowing it was a YCT event.

  137. Rafael – you surely and obviously misunderstood my previous remarks – it was in english even though it is not my mother tongue – on events or particular conversations reported by chazal. i didn’t think you were a literalist – cheap shot on you part btw.
    after all, all agree that there was a churban of beit sheini. always found it odd that the maharsha would use the gemera in yoma 9b as a reference to explain kamtza bar kamtza story in gittin – personally it doesn’t work for me- it seems that the rabbis were the cause of the destruction from the story (see j. rubenstein in talmudic stories for an analysis)

  138. FWIW At the time Harry Maryles first posted about this (http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/06/other-siyum.html) Yeshivat Hadar, 92Y and the JCC were not listed as co-sponsors to the best of my memory. Yeshivat Maharat and Central (Yeshiva University High School for Girls) were.

    Charlie Hall ocmmented 4 days ago on that thread that “At least six Roshei Yeshivot at YU have been invited to speak and I hope that some will accept.”

  139. R’ Anonymous,
    It would be interesting to know whether your two points are independent or really one from the sponsors’ POV (i.e. did the cosponsors drive the program choice in this regard?)
    KT

  140. The June 28th version of the flyer with speakers and sponsors can be found at: http://www.yctorah.org/content/view/784/17/

  141. Is it just me or is it a touch strange that the most important discussion regarding the relationship of the Charedi community to the state of Israel to take place in decades (i.e. over the Plesner report and associated coalitional tug-of-war) seems to have passed us by without comment? Can this really be less worthy of discussion than the issue of which siyum a given rabbi happens to be attending?
    ==========================
    R’J
    Certainly is worthy of discussion – anything in particular you had in mind?
    KT

  142. Rafael – you surely and obviously misunderstood my previous remarks – it was in english even though it is not my mother tongue – on events or particular conversations reported by chazal. i didn’t think you were a literalist – cheap shot on you part btw.

    If you find it to be a cheap shot, so be it. In your comments, you are on record many times as giving academics the full benefit of the doubt and Chazal the shaft. You have a clear preference for what the version is that does not support Chazal’s version. Sorry, but nonliteralism does not meant that we are supposed to read every Chazal as a moshol/hidden message/whatever. Let’s take Kamtza and Bar Kamtza as an example. It seems clear that what Chazal recorded was a historical event that occured and that was a) either sealed the deal, meaning the Churban, or b) was symptomatic of the sinas chinam at that time and they used this actual historical event to illustrate what chinas sinam meant and how it took form at that time. Further, it is an event that shows that a small event that occurs in the physical world has serious ramifications in the spiritual one. Why would this story, with the details presented, be simply a moshol that never occurred? Why can’t we, today, in 2012, accept that it happened? Why is it so far-fetched?

  143. i thought it was interesting to see central as a co-sponsor not just because it’s a branch of YU, but because i didn’t realize central girls learn gemara. does anyone know in what manner they do so? the “boys” way or the “girls” way (i.e., isolated sugyos, generally with a particular practical or other pedagogical application)?

  144. Agree, Abba. Certainly when my wife attended in the ’70s, gemara was not taught, not even as an elective. Perhaps times have changed now that YU has graduated its first women PhD in Talmud.

  145. Joseph Kaplan wrote in part:

    “I try one last time. People have argued here that if Orthodox shuls become too “egalitarian” (using the term loosely), men will drop out. It’s that claim that I’m responding to. And I don’t think that will happen because the men in Orthodox shuls, to a large degree, take their religious rituals such as tefillah and tefillah betzibur seriously. Thus, those who would drop out because of egalitarianism would be a minority. Take you, for example. If all the shuls in KGH became, God forbid, more egalitarian than you would like, that wouldn’t stop you from going to shul, would it”

    No-those who view the same as contraindicated by Halacha would start their own shul. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that such a development occurred in response and/or in protest to such an occasion.

    FWIW, IH’s description of the “mechitzah” provoked the following observation. One of the CS’s descendants, R Shimon Sofer is quoted by R Asher Weiss in a shiur in Minchas Asher in this week’s Parsha that the term Mikdash Meat as applied to a shul, means that the architechture and function of the interior of the shul is patterned after the Beis HaMikdash. I think that one can question whether the Mechitzah at DN complies with that definition.

  146. IH,

    Unfortunately, there’s a difference between those who can learn and those who study academic Talmud (men and women). Sometimes they overlap, but many times they do not.

    Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the de facto women roshei yeshiva of Midrashot and the like.

  147. Joseph,

    “And I don’t think that will happen because the men in Orthodox shuls, to a large degree, take their religious rituals such as tefillah and tefillah betzibur seriously”

    So did men in Evangelical and other conservative churches. They ran off just the same. You need to look outside your little cubbyhole and see what happens by the neighbors.

  148. Rafael – obvious you read some but not all my comments otherwise you would have put into my mouth your words. most of time its contradictions within our rabbinic literature that gives one pause to the accuracy to the events and whether chazal was trying or care to write actual history. i am as/more skeptical about academic – they are more human than chazal after all – than chazal (bit its hard to write accurate history 700 yrs later unless you claim nevuah etc).
    it might hav ehappened but that isn’t the point of this story. simply open your gemera to gittin 55b and read the first line of the story which quotes a pasuk from mishlei which indicates the theme of the upcoming story – it really is that simple – אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם, מְפַחֵד תָּמִיד; וּמַקְשֶׁה לִבּוֹ, יִפּוֹל בְּרָעָה. –

  149. aiwac — I don’t disagree. Do you mean someone like a Dr, Deena Zimmerman who learned how to learn in high school?

    Steve — Do most American Modern Orthodox shul mechitzot conform to the standard you’ve set? The Jewish Center, for example, let alone Lincoln Square’s “in the round”.

  150. rafael – correction: you would have not put into my mouth.
    what do you do when as nachum posted earlier that titus did not die the way chazal describe – via a fly that went into his brain. Where do you draw the line? or is every story/midrash torah min hashamyim and must be believe and if not you are an apikorus.

  151. IH,

    Not familiar with her work. Could you recommend something of hers (a shiur or an article)?

  152. Dr. Zimmerman knows how to learn.

  153. R’ Aiwac,
    Your beef is with the academic study of talmud vs. the beit medrash study (i.e. the gender issue is a red herring?)? Do you believe that separate but equal beit medrash study or mixed is the way to go? If separate would you pick the best person or the best woman to lead your women’s beit medrash (diversity issues aside)
    KT

  154. “Your beef is with the academic study of talmud vs. the beit medrash study (i.e. the gender issue is a red herring?)?”

    I’m actually also a fan of people like R. Yehuda Brandres who combine the two. I just know from experience that many people who write academic talmud can’t really learn and those who learn are ignorant of the historical circumstances of the Talmud.

    “Do you believe that separate but equal beit medrash study or mixed is the way to go?”

    I used to be in favor of mixed, but now I favor ‘separate and equal’, for much the same reasons I explained in the debate on shul participation.

    “If separate would you pick the best person or the best woman to lead your women’s beit medrash (diversity issues aside)”

    How would you define ‘best man or woman’? I don’t have experience with Midrashot, for obvious reasons, so far be it from me to know or recommend what is ‘best’ for a female learning group. Perhaps someone who is more in the know can suggest criteria for the job?

  155. IH wrote in part:

    ” also note that his penultimate paragraph in the column is itself an example of what R. Wein states he disdains: “unaccustomed to being a distinct minority in the Jewish world itself, and having been forced to be on the defensive by the attacks of the secularists”

    I think that this and other comments relating to it are an unfair attack on R Wein. R Wein, when he was a rav in the US, was one of the few rabbonim, who could speak both at OU and Agudah sponsored events. R Wein still maintains such a perspective, even after made aliyah to Israel, where hashkafic polarization on many issues is far more present than in the US.

    That being said, R Wein, who does not profess to be a historian, has written books that will whet a reader’s appetite for reading “the real McCoy” about Jewish history if he or she is so inclined. I should also note that R Wein’s books are published separately from ArtScroll so that he can write without being subjected to undue editorial censorship and that R Wein, when contacted about errors and/or omissions in his works, will acknowledge the same in a very proper and civilized manner. FWIW, there is a great debate on tape between R Riskin and R Wein about the pluses of making aliyah that is a great listen for anyone interested in such issues.

  156. Steve Brizel:

    “I think that this and other comments relating to it are an unfair attack on R Wein. R Wein, when he was a rav in the US, was one of the few rabbonim, who could . . .”

    this description of him maybe be true, but it has nothing to do with the critique (“unfair attack”?!) of his essay and his histories in general. he’s a good man, but this doesn’t render his publication impervious to critique

    “R Wein’s books are published separately from ArtScroll so that he can write without being subjected to undue editorial censorship”

    i think “undue” is the operative modifier here

    “will acknowledge the same in a very proper and civilized manner”

    again, no one claims he isn’t a mentch.

  157. IH:

    “Certainly when my wife attended in the ’70s, gemara was not taught”

    did girls learn gemara in any day schools in the 70s? (when i went to YoF in the 80-90s girls did learn gemara)

  158. Larry Lennhoff

    the architechture and function of the interior of the shul is patterned after the Beis HaMikdash. I think that one can question whether the Mechitzah at DN complies with that definition.
    You mean the DN didn’t first try men forward, then women forward, and then go to a balcony? Did most shuls do this?

  159. Lawrence Kaplan

    aiwac: Also Rav Yaakov Nagen, Rav Mayer Lichtenstein, Rav David Bigman, and the late Rav Shagar. BTW, see Rav Mayer Lichtenstein’s very interesting and generally quite positive review of Rav Shagar’s posthumously published book, Be-Torato Yehegeh in the latest issue of Netuim.

  160. Prof. Kaplan,

    Please tell me “BeTorato Yehgeh” is better than “Kelim Shvurim”?

  161. Lawrence Kaplan

    Yes. Much better. I think that Rav Shagar’s love affair with post-modernism in Kelim Shevurim led him astray. In Be-Torato Yehegeh it is also there, but there is much less of it,and it does not affect his main points.

  162. Abba — both Maimonides and Ramaz did for certain. I thought YoF too, but am not certain.

    aiwac — SCOTUS got “separate but equal” right — “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

  163. On YoF, I’m sure someone here knows Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig (née Eliach) who could answer for certain.

  164. “SCOTUS got “separate but equal” right — “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”

    OK, then differentiated, kinda like how Jews go to day and not public schools.

  165. IH-Noone ever claimed that all the architecture of most MO shuls corresponded to the Beis HaMikdash.

  166. BTW, I agree that there’s a problem in teacher and resource allocation to men’s and women’s institutions, but that’s a separate issue (no pun intended).

    I also wish men had more chances to choose other more well-rounded “women’s programs” that put more emphasis on Tanach, thought &c instead of only yeshivas. The truth is only a small percentage of men and women are equipped to really benefit from a gemara-only diet.

    We should be raising good frum baalei-batim alongside talmidei chachamim.

  167. My mom went to Flatbush from 78-82, and women learned Gemara then.

  168. MiMedinat HaYam

    larry l — actually, the CS’s sons opposed the michalovce order (1866) requiring physical changes to over 50% of (O) shuls in hungary at the time.

    and the bet mikdash had no bima (or mechitza, either; women who had a korban had to come in personally to do “tenufa”. their husbands couldnt bring the korban themselves, though many charedim will try that in the third bet mikdash. of course, the shechita will be no good, etc.)

    2. actuallt separate but equal is perfectly legal in sports programs, etc. (provided it really is equal.)

    people donate more to mens yeshivot, less so to girls schools. ditto more to post high school vs elementary schools. even, i believe, women donors. (perhaps a similar reason is why DN is located in a school auditorium, vs a more permanent home.)

  169. AIWAC:

    “I also wish men had more chances to choose other more well-rounded “women’s programs” that put more emphasis on Tanach, thought &c instead of only yeshivas. The truth is only a small percentage of men and women are equipped to really benefit from a gemara-only diet.”

    as i’m sure you’re aware, this trend starts in many schools way before that point. my 7-year-old is in his camp’s masmidim program (which rewards the kids with soda and other junk food. hurray.) these kids can barely teitch a basic pasuk of chumash and have no idea what they are mumbling when davening, yet in the masmidim track they are learning mishnayos. hurray.

  170. MiMedinat HaYam

    nyt article — “growing …” poor choice of words. why didnt the editor catch it?

    it says non compliance with the (charedi) draft will be a $25,000 penalty. that actually sounds like a good simple face saving compromise, that should please everyone for ten or so years, and block the “yehareg ve’al ya’avor” claims, and lead to sufficient fundraising drives that appropriate fundraisers can skim off of.

  171. What’s pshat in being against the personal responsibility elements? Would it be solved by setting a draft quota and reducing aggregate Yeshiva funding if not met?
    KT

  172. Abba-let me know when someone who is MO writes a series of books on Jewish history that will attract the average non intellectual into serious delving into Jewish history. So far, I haven’t seen anything close to R Wein’s works by a historian or student of history who is rooted in the MO world.

  173. I am glad that R Weinreb and R Scherman pulled out of the YCT sponsored Siyum, for whatever reasons they saw fit.

    I plan on attending the Siyum in the Meadowlands, simply because the Siyum DY is a celebration of committment to Talmud Torah, even on the admittedly truncated level of DY.The Tefilos are wonderful, and I suspect that we will hear some wonderful Divrei Torah in English as well. Contrary to the views voiced by some, the Siyum is not an Agudah dinner, but a celebration of a dedication to Talmud Torah on a communal and individual level.

    Arrranging a counter Siyum IMO is a mistake and lack of Hakaras HaTov for the fact that a program endorsed by Agudah for Talmud Torah BRabim has become widely popular both in the Charedi and MO worlds.

    Unfortunately, the sour grapes by some posters about the Siyum ignore the simple facts who organized and supports DY on a community wide level, and that the Siyum, contrary to the views of some, really is a tribute to the Baal Habayis who struggles to learn at a very early hour in the morning, late at night or in his commuting time.

    I can understand that some women would feel that the Siyum HaShas in the Meadowlands would feel excluded, except as enablers for their husbands. I would suggest that for women who learn, a far better day for a Siyum of whatever Torah they study, whether Talmud, Halacha or Tanach, would either the Yahrzeit of Sarah Schneier ZL or Nechama Leibowitz ZL. The Skiyum HaShas should not be turned into a political football for women who learn if a women’s siyum is scheduled on the same day as the world wide Siyum.

  174. Steve:

    “Abba-let me know when someone who is MO writes a series of books on Jewish history that will attract the average non intellectual into serious delving into Jewish history. So far, I haven’t seen anything close to R Wein’s works by a historian or student of history who is rooted in the MO world.”

    As is typical of you when responding to a comment . . .
    Forget it, there’s no point in this.

  175. “We don’t see our event as an alternative to the Agudah siyum [celebration],” says Rabbi Dov Linzer, dean and rosh yeshiva of the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. “We are encouraging people to go to the Agudah event. But ours will be an additional opportunity,” he said, noting that speakers at the event will include women scholars, underscoring the “pride we take in our diversity.”

    As reported in The Jewish Week.

  176. R Linzer’s comments aside, I stand by my previous comment that the YCT sponsored Siyum is a delioerate “shtoch” at those who developed, devote their time to saying the shiurim, and those who attend the shiurim and are inspired to learn by the same. One would have to stand on one’s head or engage in the logical equivalent of a pretzel not to see the YCT event as an alternative, when one looks in vein for any recognition by the advocates of high level Talmud study for women of the critical and pioneering roles of Sarah Scheneier ZL and Nechama Leibowitz ZL in high level Torah study for women. Unfortunately, when one reads the program, one detects lectures on a wide range of academic Jewish subjects, as opposed to a celebration of the completion of the DY. If the sponsors wer sincere in claiming that “diversity” and women scholars deserved a unique forum, then that IMO is even a stronger argument for a day of women’s only lectures on the Yahrtzeit of either of two of the most influential women in Jewish education in the 20th Century, as opposed to creating a deliberate alternative to the Siyum.

  177. From time to time there is a discussion here about the scientific process. This week’s news on the so-called “God Particle” are a wonderful example not just of the process, but also the personalities. This scientist’s humility is worth noting:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5h7T4ld1Ib-NGGSr2LOSuYPHe1afA?docId=N0024351341540602359A

  178. IH: In the interests of accuracy, the Supreme Court, which hates overturning precedent, never actually overturned “separate but equal,” which at least theoretically still legal in the US. It just said that, at least partially for psychological reasons (I kid you not), it is impossible to accomplish.

    Another point, for those discussing history of the churban: We have other sources, and it seems pretty clear that Chazal’s talk of “sinat chinam” is a bit figurative. On the one hand, there was lots of infighting, on a level much larger than a question of who was invited to a party; on the other hand, the churban seems pretty clearly attributable to a failed revolt (justified or not) against an overwhelming, ruthless great power.

    “Even without this, when he learnt that women were going to be involved in the program, and having their finishing Shas celebrated, he wouldn’t have been able to be part of it.”

    So he should station an Artscroll rep in every sefarim store to make sure women don’t buy it. No? Oh well. HaKesef Ya’aneh…I couldn’t help but shake the feeling, at that YU Talmud event I once heard him speak at, that the Schottensteins, who were sponsors, had made him a bit of a Corelionean offer. Certainly, as I learned there, that’s the reason R’ Lamm appears in every volume.

    Interesting that the publishers of the Talmud R’ Weinreb just edited are the “corporate sponsors” (i.e., the money) behind the siyum. Do so many degrees of separation “kasher” something?

    Steve, they could have held it on the same day. Instead, they *included a link* to the “main” siyum on their page. Come on.

    Interestingly, that link is hosted by the OU. (Not the first time the Agudah has used them.) The OU in Israel is also co-sponsoring (with the Jerusalem municipality) an English siyyum which looks to be mostly Charedi (video from New Jersey will be featured). The rest of the MO world here- YU, the Young Israel, etc.- is sponsoring a siyyum at the Great Synagogue.

    By the way, I make no larger point here, but I find it hilarious that events can list YCT (twice!), HIR, Maharat, etc. as sponsors when they’re all part of one feifdom. I remember a big MO conference where YU was listed as four different sponsors, come to think.

  179. I had not known about the deferment of the parade in support of the Constitution due to 17 Tamuz. But it was interesting to read, especially in light of the fact that the July 4 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence also occurred on 17 Tamuz. See http://www.hebcal.com (And yes, by then the Gregorian Calendar was already in use in the British Colonies).
    Since learning about this a number of years ago, I wondered if there were any historical sources referring to the fact that the DOI was signed on 17 Tamuz.

  180. While this is old information, there was an actual survey done about intermarriage and reform rabbis, and “about half” from someone’s off the cuff remark, when it’s known that humans aren’t very good at estimating, is a wierd source for an entire “breaking news” article.

    Here was a real survey done in 1997

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/12/us/rabbis-still-resist-interfaith-marriage-study-shows.html

  181. “Another point, for those discussing history of the churban: We have other sources, and it seems pretty clear that Chazal’s talk of “sinat chinam” is a bit figurative. On the one hand, there was lots of infighting, on a level much larger than a question of who was invited to a party; on the other hand, the churban seems pretty clearly attributable to a failed revolt (justified or not) against an overwhelming, ruthless great power.”

    Eh, it seems the whole zealots starving Jews so that they would follow their personal brand of halacha, and refusing to let other Jews worship at the temple led directly to the final fall of Jerusalem, and seems to me to fit the definition of “sinat chinam” perfectly.

  182. Nachum – I’ve never understood the passage in Yoma 9b to be about historicity. Rather, the point is in the equation:

    ללמדך ששקולה שנאת חנם כנגד שלש עבירות: עבודה זרה, גלוי עריות, ושפיכות דמים

    Of course, it is human nature to believe that ethical faults such as Sinat Chinam, Lashon ha’Ra and Ona’at D’varim apply to others, but not to oneself or one’s clan. See under: special pleading.

    I don’t see how the vituperative divisiveness within Orthodoxy can be dismissed as sinat chinam. Respectful disagreement is perfectly legitimate, for which the Talmud also sets a marker in Eiruvin 13b:

    מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן
    מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו
    ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי
    ולא עוד שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן

  183. …be dismissed as not sinat chinam…

  184. IH: Why only Orthodoxy? Shouldn’t we be teaching Reform and Reconstructionist views before our own, as well?

  185. Gil — the Talmud equation is set against שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים. Arguably there are non-Orthodox who fit in (i.e. those who are shomrei mitzvot) and Orthodox that don’t (those who do not bother with G’milut Chasidim). I used Orthodoxy as a shortcut that we can all agree on is generally representative of .עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים in reference to the textual evidence regarding Sinat Chinam.

  186. By the way, in commercial negotiation, I have always found that communicating to the other side that I understand their position is an essential part of closing a sustainable deal.

    And we can see in diplomatic negotiation how vital that is in our insistence the Palestinians explicitly acknowledge Israel as “the Jewish state” in any final agreement. The fact that they refuse to acknowledge the crux of our existence indicates the deal is not sustainable.

  187. and the replacement for R’ Lerner is? (BTW what is a working sabbatical?)
    KT

  188. IH: That’s in Yoma 9b, not Eruvin 13b.

  189. Nachum – I would agree on yoma 9b being figurative. It would seem that chazal was grappling with the philosophical issue of why the second churban galut so much longer than 70 years of the first where the people – of the second temple-were more religious, learned and didn’t do the big three (well maybe shefichut damin).
    I think kamtza bar kamtza blames the leadership more. Again, both places are trying to give answers as to why in different forms.

  190. Joseph Kaplan

    ” In the interests of accuracy, the Supreme Court, which hates overturning precedent, never actually overturned “separate but equal,” which at least theoretically still legal in the US.”

    Nachum: I found this hard to believe so I just reread Brown. And, “in the interests of accuracy,” my instincts were correct; your analysis of Brown is absolute nonsense. The Court held that in “in the field of public education [which was the issue before the Court], the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.” So, no, it is not “theoretically … legal” to have “separate but equal” in public education. My guess is that later decisions made this clear in other fields but I don’t have the time for further legal research today.

  191. Chief Rabbi criticised by prominent members of Anglo Jewry for his public stance on gay marriage:

    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/69523/chief-rabbi-lord-sacks-attacked-over-gay-marriage-opposition

    I’m with the JC on this one (http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/leader/69544/chief-rabbi%E2%80%99s-error); he made a mistake. This is not the US where we are a powerful force who can make a serious contribution to the national dialogue; all he has done is give people who were already negatively predisposed towards us another incentive to make our lives more difficult. Let’s stick to bris mila, shechita and Jewish schools.

    Although in fairness the CR knew this would happen and I am almost certain he only did it to appease the RW (including the LBD).

  192. Right. Whenever someone makes a conservative statement, it’s because of some nefarious motive and not because he, say, actually *believes* what he says.

    As to your comparison: He seems to be a pretty prominent and respected figure in the UK. I don’t see US rabbis with regular columns and radio bits. And if people are “already negatively predisposed”- I take it you mean the gays and the left- who cares? Let’s reinforce with those- the silent, normal majority- who we might win over to our side.

    If anything, this proves that it will never stop. Give them tolerance, they’ll demand acceptance, etc. etc.

    Joseph: Nu, that’s the way I was taught it. Maybe we’re parsing it in different ways, but the court’s decision seems to me (and others) a way to get around “separate but equal” instead of flatly overturning it.

  193. Nachum, you lost. There is no silent majority.

  194. Nachum – I never said he wasn’t opposed to gay marriage, rather that he would not have spoken up about it in the way he did without pressure from the LBD, which is clear both because I know the people involved and because of the way the press release was phrased.

    You may not be aware, but the political culture is very different over here. Faith-based interventions into political discourse strike people as simply odd at best, whilst the tolerance for Orthodox religious practice is on a far more precarious footing. Stating your position in a loud voice might make you feel better but will not convince anyone of anything. Your ‘silent, normal majority’ does not exist here.

    And this issue makes no objective difference to our lives – gay marriage is simply not up for discussion within the Orthodox community. And even if you do feel that we have a moral obligation to speak out, I would argue that on balance, our (by which I mean the UK) Orthodox community’s interests are better served by us not doing so. When we are fighting very hard to maintain our rights as a minority group, being seen as trying to restrict those of others doesn’t do us many favours.

  195. NACHUM:

    “I don’t see US rabbis with regular columns and radio bits”

    r. joseph potasnik regularly has a one-minute radio column on 1010 wins (as well as his own show on another station)

    “Let’s reinforce with those- the silent, normal majority- who we might win over to our side”

    no matter which position he adopts he will most likely anger one side or the other. i don’t know about contemporary anglo-jewish relations or the gay debate there, but perhaps the best course is simply not get involved at all and maintain cordiality on both sides.

  196. “Joseph: Nu, that’s the way I was taught it.”

    Okay; I blame your teachers for getting it completely wrong. My guess is they had an agenda. On second thought, probably not; only liberals have agendas.

  197. Oh dear: NCYI not NCSY (forgive me Steve B :-))

  198. exactly what role does YI play today in american jewish life?
    ironically that JW article uses the picture of a dying YI shul. (of course there are other YIs that are bursting at the seams.)

  199. Gil — “the Talmud equation is set against שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים. Arguably there are non-Orthodox who fit in (i.e. those who are shomrei mitzvot) and Orthodox that don’t (those who do not bother with G’milut Chasidim). I used Orthodoxy as a shortcut that we can all agree on is generally representative of .עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים in reference to the textual evidence regarding Sinat Chinam”

    Leaving aside the fact that you have refused to provide any basic definition (other than a ‘disclaimer’, of mechalel shabbes b’efarhesya) of what Orthodoxy is (and somehow consider Gay Activist Rabbi Steven Greenberg, ‘Orthodox’), do you mind explaining how your stamement here jives with
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/06/religious-inconsistency/comment-page-1/#comments
    IH on June 4, 2012 at 6:48 am
    “The truism stands that the Reform value Mitzvot ben Adam le’Chavero over Mitzvot ben Adam la’Makom and the Orthodox value Mitzvot ben Adam la’Makom over Mitzvot ben Adam le’Chavero. Is there a legitimate textually based argument for the Orthodox inconsistency?”

    Sorry for trolling, but I’m having a very hard time making heads or tails of where you stand.

  200. On the schnorrers, is Super Schnorrer, as he is known, still around? I recall reading a write-up about him recently but I’m not sure. He is quite an interesting guy, from what I recall.

  201. The perception of the YI brand has changed over the years. Besides the fact that much of their website seems to be “coming soon”, the only thing I could find that was close to a vision statement was the original founding language and then: Meeting the challenge of enhancing Torah observance and community needs continues to dominate the ongoing agenda of the National Council of Young Israel. Not really much of a “secret sauce”
    KT

  202. shaul shapira

    ▪ Satmar Rift Complicates Politics of Brooklyn Hasidim

    It complicates other stuff too. e.g. The kashrus of the muscovy duck. A Satmar Chassid in EY once told me that one side calls R Yoelish ‘the Divrei Yoel’ and the other side calls him the Vayoel Moshe. (He thought the whole fight was stupisd)

    The fact is that both sides have more than enough Chassidim to go around.

    ▪ The 7 habits of highly effective schnorrers

    Of course, the most exotic shnorrers tend to be… American.

    That holds true for a lot of non shnorrers as well. R Meir Kahane, Baruch Marzel, R Moshe Hirsch (who was Arafat’s sar le’inyanei yehudim) and of course- PM Netenyahu. (Just kidding about Bibi. He only happens to speak a better english than Obama.)

  203. Joseph Kaplan

    Re the “other” siyum hashas. I received some better information from an excellent source (who asked that his name not be used), about their attempt to make it more inclusive. He wrote (from personal knowledge): “Yonah Reiss was approached and asked that YU-Riets join in the program and planning (he was actually quite supportive of the idea himself), prior to any public release or discussion of any information about the program. Also Richard Joel was approached directly about this prior to any public mention of the program. Individual rebbes were also approached to speak prior to any public announcement. The committee held off publicizing the event until time had been given for a response. When no positive response was forthcoming the committtee went ahead and began publicizing the event.”

  204. So your brother’s extrapolation on July 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm was premature and jumped to the wrong conclusion:

    If your informant(s) is (are) correct, then it seems that the blame for the failure of YU to participate should be clearly placed at the feet of YCT (and its head?). And since that failure resulted in the siyyum’s now being an almost exclusively LWMO affair, then it is unfair to expect Rabbi Weinrib at this point not to withdraw. It looks like the old HS basketball story once again. Ve-Hameivin yavin.

    Inside basketball is not all its cracked up to be.

  205. Nachum Lamm wrote in part:

    “Steve, they could have held it on the same day. Instead, they *included a link* to the “main” siyum on their page. Come on.

    Interestingly, that link is hosted by the OU. (Not the first time the Agudah has used them.) The OU in Israel is also co-sponsoring (with the Jerusalem municipality) an English siyyum which looks to be mostly Charedi (video from New Jersey will be featured). The rest of the MO world here- YU, the Young Israel, etc.- is sponsoring a siyyum at the Great Synagogue

    I am opposed to the idea of “alternative” siyumim, regardless of who participates, inasmuch the same strike me as a Hashkafically oriented “shtoch” to the main Siyum. The YCT Siyum in particular, reminds me of what R M Besdin ZL used to say regularly about the differences between “it and about it.” The Siyum HaShas is one event where all participants, and especially those who do not subscribe to the Charedi agenda, should really just silence their hashkafic differences, and show that they value Talmud Torah on a daily basis as much as their brethren who learn DY.

  206. IH wrote:

    “And we can see in diplomatic negotiation how vital that is in our insistence the Palestinians explicitly acknowledge Israel as “the Jewish state” in any final agreement. The fact that they refuse to acknowledge the crux of our existence indicates the deal is not sustainable”

    Once again, we see the value of wishful thinking, to put it charitably, from the John Lennon School of International Diplomacy ( “Imagine”)

  207. Nachum Lamm wrote:

    ” couldn’t help but shake the feeling, at that YU Talmud event I once heard him speak at, that the Schottensteins, who were sponsors, had made him a bit of a Corelionean offer. Certainly, as I learned there, that’s the reason R’ Lamm appears in every volume”

    Actually, R Lamm’s name appears in the Stone Chumash as well-that is because the Stone Family was and are Baalei Tzedaka whose Tzedaka knows no hashkafic boundaries, as are many of the families who have dedicated volumes of the Schottenstein Shas. OTOH, it is well known that R Pamm ZL personally intervened on behalf of his former talmid R Lamm , when R Elya Svei ( who had called R Lamm a Sonei HaShem at an Agudah convention) threatened to boycott the Siyum if R Lamm was given a seat on the dais. AFAIK, R Pamm ZL saved the day by stating that he would not come to the Siyum if R Lamm was being treated in such a manner. FWIW, if you check YU Torah, you will see that R N Scherman has spoken in the main Beis Medrash on at least one occasion. I am sure that a simple phone call would result in other RY or Rabbanim who are part of the Charedi world would also speak therein. All it takes is a recognition that dialing down hashkafic differences might be in order and that MO has far more in common with the Charedi world than it does with the heterodox world than it is willing to admit.

  208. shaul shapira

    “Inside basketball is not all its cracked up to be”

    IH- I think it’s time to integrate the WNBA with the NBA. We’ve got to end this segregation. Nor should women be relegated to the back-court. There’s no reason women shouldn’t be allowed to go up for the same rebounds that men do.
    While they’re at it, a little affirmative action is also called for. Whites are terribly underrepresented last I checked.

    “R Pamm ZL saved the day by stating that he would not come to the Siyum if R Lamm was being treated in such a manner”

    R Steve- Do you have more info on that? I’ve been trying to get that story down straight for a while. Where did RNL end up being seated? And which siyum hashas and building?

    FWIW, the Siyum Hashas is (the?) one event that can actually be called ‘agudist’. It celebrates the Daf Yomi which was started by the Knessiah Gedolah in vienna and jumpstarted by the sfas emes. Not that I have an issue with other siyum hashas’n

  209. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH: My “premature” extrapolation began with “If.” In light ,however, of my brother’s new information, I wish to commend YCT on their attempt to elicit YU’s cooperation, and express my disappointment that YU did not respond to their overtures in a positive manner.

  210. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4252184,00.html

    “Several prominent Religious Zionism rabbis say demand for equal distribution of social burden is just; but must not be resolved by force”

  211. Joseph Kaplan

    “The YCT Siyum in particular, reminds me of what R M Besdin ZL used to say regularly about the differences between “it and about it.””

    R. Besdin z”l was a terrific teacher and a wonderful man; to have known him was a privilege. I really wish you wouldn’t use his good name when you are writing about political issues like this. It’s unfair to him and to many of those who loved him.

  212. Following a comment by Yitzchak in the Modern Time thread, I came across a cross-linked pair of posts in his own blog: http://bdld.info/2012/05/15/the-female-of-the-species/ (and the followup on The Feminine Imagination linked at the bottom under Update) that will be of broader interest, I think.

  213. In other siyum news, there will be a big Religious Zionist one in Jerusalem, in Binyanei HaUma. (Rabbis Riskin, Aviner, Yaakov Ariel, Druckman, Lichtenstein, Zalman Melamed, Haim Sabato, Shmuel Eliyahu, many others.) I guess at a certain point we have to start wondering about the definition of “alternative.” What makes this event any more “alternative” than the big Charedi one in Yad Eliyahu? (I now count four big ones in Israel alone.)

    “strike me as a Hashkafically oriented “shtoch” to the main Siyum”

    Steve, the main Siyum became, intrinsically, a shtoch on its own long ago. You don’t see that? I won’t argue that Agudah has a right to hold one, but they- not those making others- have long made it an Agudah rather than a learning one long ago. And you didn’t respond to my point about them linking to the main one.

    Shaul Shapira: I wouldn’t call Marzel an “American” exactly.

  214. “Okay; I blame your teachers for getting it completely wrong. My guess is they had an agenda. On second thought, probably not; only liberals have agendas.”

    Maybe I recollect incorrectly, but I’m almost certain psychology and psychologists (as opposed to, say the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment) were used. But yes indeed, at least when I was there, Cardozo had a rather conservative faculty, especially in the Con Law department.

    “Nachum, you lost. There is no silent majority.”

    I suppose that’s why gay marriage loses every. single. time. it comes up to an actual vote of the people.

    In any event, something like 98% or more of the population is not homosexual. That’s a nice majority to work with. 🙂

    J.:

    Sometimes, et laasot laHashem (in the real meaning). And im ein ish. This would be a classic example.

    “gay marriage is simply not up for discussion within the Orthodox community”

    It already is, in more ways than one.

    Abba: Yes, I know about the occasional rabbi. (Boteach too, I suppose.) And no offense to them, but it seems to me that “The Times” and BBC, and in a smaller country, put you a notch higher.

  215. Moshe Shoshan

    “R Linzer’s comments aside, I stand by my previous comment that the YCT sponsored Siyum is a delioerate “shtoch” at those who developed, devote their time to saying the shiurim, and those who attend the shiurim and are inspired to learn by the same.”

    There a lot of legitimate and important criticisms to be made about YCT and co. It is important that they be voiced to a broad audience. NAsty, baseless accusations against YCT only serve to obscure the real problems.

  216. Moshe Shoshan

    Baruch Marzel is the child of Americans. But he did not grow up like anglo kids today. He speaks a decent English, for an Israeli and but he is really not at all American

  217. According to Wikipedia, Marzel came to Israel as a baby.

  218. Nachum – I meant in our local Orthodox community. At least as far as I am aware.

    On a totally different topic, R. Yitzchok Adlerstein has a fascinating post on the tuition crisis, family sizes and class warfare on Cross Currents (we in the UK can be thankful for state-funded Jewish schools, even if we do have to put up with gay marriage):

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/07/06/a-new-ugly-wrinkle-in-the-tuition-crisis/

  219. “I suppose that’s why gay marriage loses every. single. time. it comes up to an actual vote of the people.”

    There was an interesting article on the vote at the Presbyterian convention on whether to change the definition of marriage from a man and a woman to two people. it lost by something like 330-310. But there were also young seminarians and other young people who attended and who voted but whose vote didn’t count. They voted about 80%-20% for the change.

  220. In any event, something like 98% or more of the population is not homosexual

    Nachum — So why are you so obsessed about the topic?

  221. re: R. Alderstein on tuition,
    “Should not those who toil longer hours be able to do so for the benefit of their own families first, and not have their money and labor seized by an enforced socialism so severe in its effect, that it makes Obamacare look like a Republican project?”

    It’s fascinating that “socialism” and “Obamacare” are rhetorically effective here bogeymen here.

  222. put another way, it’s not obvious what is more “socialist” about working-people-pay-extra than about R. Alderstein’s “if only we had a proper kehilla and could tax the rich” lament, which is what makes me identify the charge of socialism/obamacare as a rhetorical device. A writer adressing an audience with the preferences of America as a whole, on average, might not use “obamacare” pejoratively (and gratuitously) since a sizeable minority supports it. the fact that he perceives no such sizeable minority in the frum world is interesting.

  223. Y’know, there are real parallels here between the tuition problem in the States and the debates about the forced support by tax and welfare benefits of the largely non-working Charedi population in Israel.

    But of course, the solution is to tax even more people rather than tell Kollel people and community Rabbis to live within their means (incl. *gasp* having less children)…

  224. Moshe Shoshan

    ” Obamacare look like a Republican project?”

    IT *is* a Republican project. IT i closely based on the Massachusetts health care program implimented by non other than Mitt Romney.

  225. Re: R’ Adelstein on tuition
    Interesting insights on the present issue. Unfortunately, his view of the past – I question the accuracy of the good old days and how good they were- isn’t applicable today.

  226. Wow. I hadn’t noticed that before claiming that the alterna-siyum was a shtoch to the Agudah, Steve made the much more outrageous claim that it was a shtoch to anyone who learns daf yomi. (Even more interesting, considering that many participating in alterna-siyumim are daf yomi learners themselves.) That’s great!

    Joseph, the same Presbyterians who also narrowly voted down…well, you know? (I await in vain the day that left-leaning Orthodox Jews start to wonder why the two seem to go hand-in-hand so much. After all, we’ve been told since our red or pink diapers were changed, anti-Semitism is a right-wing thing.) In any event, leadership is hardly representative of membership; a dying “mainline” denomination is hardly representative of, well, anybody.

    IH: Isn’t it obvious? That 2% make a heckuva lot of noise, and have a really outsized influence due to their deluded allies.

    Moshe: Well, “Republican” is a party, not an ideology.

    Emma: I guess when a movement has been responsible for well over a hundred million deaths, it gets a bad reputation. 🙂

    Speaking of similarities, I commented on C-C that perhaps the whole “universal Jewish education in the US” thing was, in fact, unworkable past a few generations (it’s only really existed for the last few decades, after all) from the start. Unlike socialist governments, the Jewish community can’t fool themselves into thinking it’s still working by simply taxing people.

  227. I’ll take that 🙂 as an indication that you couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a swipe at socialism, not that you think i am going to get into a socialism/capitalism = bad/good “argument.”

  228. “Speaking of similarities, I commented on C-C that perhaps the whole “universal Jewish education in the US” thing was, in fact, unworkable past a few generations (it’s only really existed for the last few decades, after all) from the start. Unlike socialist governments, the Jewish community can’t fool themselves into thinking it’s still working by simply taxing people”

    1) The same type of system that’s educating your kids here in Israel?

    2) What would you suggest instead in the US?

  229. Aiwac: Israel *can* tax, and of course does, to pay for education. Being a libertarian, I can’t say I’m on board with even that, but it’s a legitimate solution. And since Israel is somewhat rational in its budgeting (until a few weeks ago, perhaps) and is doing OK economically, it’s working. As to the US…who knows? I think one thing that’s killing it is that Jewish parents are essentially paying twice, once for a system they don’t use.

    Emma: Just a throwaway line, not that I don’t believe it.

    I especially love R’ Adlerstein’s comment “kashering” R’ Schachter. Here they’re already prepping him for an Artscroll biography, and he’s got many more years left, iy’h! Of course, in doing so, he redefines “right” and “left” and uses “rest of us” in a way that recalls Tonto.

  230. MOSHE SHOSHAN:

    “NAsty, baseless accusations against YCT only serve to obscure the real problems.”

    what do you think are the real problems?

    NACHUM:

    his entire siyyum comment is ridiculous in general, and all the more so because the agudah siyyum will probably sell out or near sell out (it sold out last time around). it’s not like the yct et al siyyum will detract from or compete with the agudah siyyum. (and besides competition is good in general, including for talmud torah in specific)

  231. EMMA:

    ” the fact that he perceives no such sizeable minority in the frum world is interesting.”

    i don’t understand the general ideological opposition of many frum people to obamacare considering that large swaths of the orthodox world rely completely on the government for medical care

    NACHUM:

    ” Jewish parents are essentially paying twice, once for a system they don’t use.”

    1) i don’t use medicaid, public transportation, my local library, 911, etc. should i get to deduct from my taxes the portions that go to support these?
    2) should childless people also get to opt out of supporting the public school system?
    3) even frum jews benefit directly from public schools. ask all the chasidim who send their special ed kids to public school. (to say nothing of the many millions of dollars that special ed/needs frum kids not in public schools benefit from)

  232. RUVIE:

    “Interesting insights on the present issue.”

    few chidushim in the article. only thing that is interesting is the forum in which the essay appears.

    “Unfortunately, his view of the past . . . isn’t applicable today.”

    not even in the least bit. anyone who uses the past to argue for a kehilla tax to support jewish education has no comprehension of how the jewish community was structured in the good old days.

    i also laughed at his near-lament that secular jews can no longer be counted on to prop up jewish education. how about some introspection? what does he expect when non-ortho jews are marginalized more than ever? or that the very schools he is worried about don’t accept non-orthodox children, or for that matter the right type of orthodox children? (which is also why the mantra of universal jewish education is laughable)

  233. “As to the US…who knows? I think one thing that’s killing it is that Jewish parents are essentially paying twice, once for a system they don’t use”

    Y’know, the libertarians I know propose concrete alternatives, not just glibly if not outright arrogantly arguing for wholesale dismantlement with nothing else in its place.

  234. Abba: I never said that anyone should be exempt. I’m just saying why it takes a bigger bite of American Jews’ income (as opposed to Israeli ones, for example).

    Aiwac: John Derbyshire’s alternative: “We take Mastercard.”

  235. ‘John Derbyshire’s alternative: “We take Mastercard.”’

    Yeah, try again. What do you propose for parents who can’t afford to pay for a tuition that effectively subsidizes others?

  236. RUVIE:

    “Unfortunately, his view of the past . . . isn’t applicable today.”

    i also think it isn’t applicable because the nature of jewish education has changed drastically. nothing even remotely close to the educational system we have today (and its attendant expense) has ever existed in the course of jewish history

  237. abba,

    What annoys me to no end is the blase attitude that Jews survived with much weaker educational systems “for 2,000 years”, they can do so today…

  238. Adlerstein writes about R. Schachter:

    “And when it comes to the really tough questions, he goes to R Elyashiv just like the rest of us.”

    He obviously doesn’t know much about R. Schachter if he thinks this.

    And speaking of the non-haredim in Israel, none of them go to R. Elyashiv. The RCA leading rabbonim also doesn’t go to him (they go to R. Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg and others).

    So when Adlerstein writes “like the rest of us”, he has a very small orbir of “us”.

  239. AIWAC:

    i think it’s a debatable point, but in any case that’s not what i said nor was it my point.

  240. And for that matter, Rabbi Adlerstein also doesn’t hold of R. Elyashiv, since I remember how he defended R. Nosson Kaminetzky and also R. Nosson Slifkin.

  241. And when it comes to sheitels does anyone in Agudah hold of R. Elyashiv, or do they only hold of him when it is convenient for them?

  242. I looked again, and I have to wonder, does R. Adlerstein just not get it, or is he being coy. He writes “Not sure why you see him as to the left of anyone we know”

    Doesn’t he know that R. Schachter is a Zionist and he supports college and YU in particular. That makes it more to the left of lots of people R. Adlerstein associates with. Does R. Adlerstein not understand this basic distinction between the charedim and the non-charedim? Being medadkek in mitzvos is not the dividing line. The people who live in Chevron are as medakdek, even more so, than anyone in bnei brak.

  243. MiMedinat HaYam

    “let me know when someone who is MO writes a series of books on Jewish history that will attract the average non intellectual into serious delving into Jewish history. ”

    such a book wouldnt $ell, as a practical matter. (though few books actually sell well) the artscroll business model is the only successful one today that sells, and even that is subsidized by their non profit arm (which they wouldnt dare use for a MO publication) or by other (major) $pon$or$. (r wein has a following, and even he has $pon$or$.)

    2. and to change the topic, we havent been succsful in carrying over that model to the day school / yeshiva tuition crisis. no sponsors (except for buildings). tuition is the major (other sources are nice, but largely irrelevant) funder of ongoing expenses. in almost every K-12 yeshiva.

  244. Nachum: Isn’t it obvious? That 2% make a heckuva lot of noise, and have a really outsized influence due to their deluded allies.

    So it’s like the obsession of the anti-Semites that only 2% of Americans are Jewish but Jews have a really outsized influence.

    > Being a libertarian, I can’t say I’m on board with even that, but it’s a legitimate solution. Being a libertarian, I can’t say I’m on board with even that, but it’s a legitimate solution.

    Nachum – In Israel there are two directly-funded public educational systems, no? What percentage of the taxpaying population benefits from the dis-economies of scale of the parallel mamlachti-dati system?

    There is also the issue of taxpayer funded Batei Knesset (with sifrei-torah etc.) that have been exclusively Orthodox until now and which change is presently being fought about (http://www.timesofisrael.com/orthodox-leaders-protest-state-recognition-of-conservative-reform-rabbis/).

  245. “such a book wouldnt $ell, as a practical matter.” Why not? Is it that the MO are not interested in Jewish history? And if a MO historian wrote it, why do you think the charedim wouldn’t read it? Lots of Charedim go to this blog, On the Main Line, Seforim and others, so why wouldn’t they read a book written by a MO historian?

  246. What about Lawrence Schiffman’s From Text to Tradition or Marc Shapiro’ bio of the Seridei Eish?

  247. GIL:

    for the most part MO historians write for the acacademy. footnotes, tenure and squabbling over minutiae are more important than educating amcha. (not that there is anything wrong with this on an individual level.)

  248. There seems to be quite a market for MO books, as Koren, among others, is demonstrating.

    aiwac, I wasn’t talking about now; I was talking about a theoretical libertarian future in which all state funding for schools is eliminated. Public, private, all of it. You want your kid to get an education, you pay for it. That’s the way it was in human history until relatively recently. If that’s blase, and if the attitude about the lack of Jewish education before is blase, well, maybe so. Maybe it’s unworkable. But it’s an ideal, or at least a bit of historical perspective, we should keep in mind, at least when facing the problems of today, so as to think out of a box.

    Anonymous: He is, of course, like many, pretending not to know that “right” and “left” mean “MO” and “charedi” and not “religiously scrupulous” and “not so.” (Or pretending not to realize that they’re not identical.) Which I agree is wrong.

    “So it’s like the obsession of the anti-Semites that only 2% of Americans are Jewish but Jews have a really outsized influence.”

    No argument there. 🙂 Except, of course, for the fact that Jews, qua Jews, are healthy, normal, moral people and homosexuals are not.

    “Nachum – In Israel there are two directly-funded public educational systems, no? What percentage of the taxpaying population benefits from the dis-economies of scale of the parallel mamlachti-dati system?”

    Not sure what your point is, but a very, very large part of the population benefits directly, as they send their kids there.

    “There is also the issue of taxpayer funded Batei Knesset (with sifrei-torah etc.) that have been exclusively Orthodox until now and which change is presently being fought about”

    It’s actually a common myth that batei knesset are taxpayer funded. As a board member of one, I can tell you that they are not. But, again, I can’t tell your point. If it were up to me, there’d be no funding. (Or people could check a box on their income tax to do so.)

  249. My understanding is that any community of some minimal size is given a taxpayer funded equipped beit knesset with an assigned Rabbanute Rabbi who may be assigned to several at the same time.

    Obviously, there are also private batei knesset such as yours (and all non-Orthodox ones).

  250. R’ YA- “The disappearance of the kehillah system, however, means that what should be happening according to halacha is not an option.”

    Does anyone know when this “system” started? To what level did the education stop and was there even any educational system? I assume it was only Hebrew/Jewish education. How literate was the population ? I assume no money was allocated to educate women under this system. Is the kehilla system the only approve halachik model?

  251. Where is the reference to R Schachter?
    KT

  252. RUVIE:

    that was my point above. the model today (which as i stated *never* existed or even came close) includes day care (for many), pre-school, k-12, 1-2 years in israel (and more yeshiva or kollel optional depending on the particular community). and we are talking all-day dual curriculum with all the bells and whistles. and camp. and special ed. and universal (i.e., just for othordox of course) for all boys and girls.

    appeals to resurrect the historical kehilla are ridiculous in this context for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the system we have today would likely have been just as financially unsustainable back then as it is today (if not more so).

  253. r. joel:

    it’s in RYA’s reponse in the comments. check it out.

  254. the other reason that the kehilla model is ridiculous is because the kehilla as it was set up would not address the contemporary tuition problem. aside from the problem that today’s kehilla would have to be a voluntary organization rather than the mandatory corporate structure of the past, there is also the problem that the kehilla of the past was exclusivist with restrictive membership. it was financially sustainable (to the extent that it was) because it wasn’t inclusive or universal.

  255. shaul shapira

    “And when it comes to sheitels does anyone in Agudah hold of R. Elyashiv, or do they only hold of him when it is convenient for them?”

    You’re running together two sparate issues. Many people (such as myself) see R Elyashiv as one of the greatest poskim alive today [1] without listening to his actual p’sakim. The main reason for that is that he’s a Posek in EY and we have poskim in America for our own sh’aylos. However many of these poskim in turn send their sh’aylos to him, and presumably accept his p’sakim. On the Sheitel issue, R Belsky (among others) disagreed and stuck to his guns that it’s a non-issue. If you’re interested, a quick check of RYSE’s kovetz t’eshuvos should give you an idea of which American rabbonim write to him. Their names are at the end of their letters and the beginning of his replies.

    [1] I’m not going to get into a fruitless discussion about why I think that; the point is that people such as myself exist.

  256. Abba’s ranting – don’t disagree. I have a lack of acknowledge of this so called idyllic past. I wonder what it really encompass and what percentage of then population it effected (cities only or rural or both). Afterall men or is it children went to work at a very young age.

  257. but a very, very large part of the population benefits directly, as they send their kids there [Mamlachti Dati schools]

    Wrong. Ref: http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/shnaton/templ_shnaton.html?num_tab=st08_19&CYear=2011

  258. Moshe Shoshan

    My understanding is that any community of some minimal size is given a taxpayer funded equipped beit knesset with an assigned Rabbanute Rabbi who may be assigned to several at the same time.

    IH- Yeah right. THe government funds some shul construction. I am not sure if the money is given out by any other means than patronage. They also pay for “neighborhood rabbis” who might also draw salary as the Rav of the Shul. Some of these community rabbis are fantastic and some dont do much, but their job is not to be a shul rabbi.

  259. Pretty much every shul I know in Jerusalem either has no rabbi or has a rabbi with a full-time job elsewhere. The rare exceptions get paid a salary by the shul. I suppose a city with one shul has a “chief rabbi,” but that’s something else entirely.

    IH: We can read numbers in different ways. 15-20% is a *lot* of kids.

  260. Nachum — do you get out of South Jerusalem much? Seriously.

  261. Moshe — they pay for more than construction. The government sets aside land, builds and equips the beit knesset. Zero capital cost.

    On the Rabbi, I explictly said they can be shared across multiple such shuls. In my sister’s mixed yishuv near Modi’in (about 500 families) the building was originally a caravan and is now a proper building and they have an assigned Rabbanute Rabbi who is there at least on Shabbat and Yemi Tovim).

    Do you have any data to the contrary?

  262. I don’t know who pays for operating costs in these batei knesset such as electricity (for lights and AC) and water, but I suspect the government does via the mo’etza. Again, if anyone has facts to the contrary, I am happy to review.

  263. I dunno. I’m in favor of complete disestablishment and separation of Religion and State. Bringing in the non-Orthodox movements into the machine is only going to make things worse.

  264. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “R. Besdin z”l was a terrific teacher and a wonderful man; to have known him was a privilege. I really wish you wouldn’t use his good name when you are writing about political issues like this. It’s unfair to him and to many of those who loved him”

    Those of us who were priviledged to be talmidim of one of the greatest Mchanchim and mentschen in YU, namely, R Besdin ZL know that he detested anything that in and out of the classroom that failed to meet the litmus test of “it and not about it”, whenever the issue was one even remotely connected to Limud HaTorah.

  265. Nachum wrote in part:

    “In other siyum news, there will be a big Religious Zionist one in Jerusalem, in Binyanei HaUma. (Rabbis Riskin, Aviner, Yaakov Ariel, Druckman, Lichtenstein, Zalman Melamed, Haim Sabato, Shmuel Eliyahu, many others.)”

    The question remains why all of the esteemed RY and rabbonim viewed the same as necessary other than saying RZ can learn Torah without a hechsher from the Charedi world. How that contributes to Achdus escapes me.

  266. Nachum wrote in part:

    “Steve, the main Siyum became, intrinsically, a shtoch on its own long ago. You don’t see that? I won’t argue that Agudah has a right to hold one, but they- not those making others- have long made it an Agudah rather than a learning one long ago. And you didn’t respond to my point about them linking to the main one.”

    I look at it this way-Agudah popularized and suppported the concept of DY, which IMO, gives them the right to plan and run the Siyum. If you value Talmud Torah and view that as superior to the hashkafic differences that we both have with some of the positions taken by Agudah, then one can seriously ask why have a RZ or YC sponsored Siyum, except as a demonstration that a Siyum can be held without the hechsher of the Agudah. What a poor hashkafic message to send right after the Nine Days and Tisha Bav!

  267. ” If you value Talmud Torah and view that as superior to the hashkafic differences that we both have with some of the positions taken by Agudah, then one can seriously ask why have a RZ or YC sponsored Siyum, except as a demonstration that a Siyum can be held without the hechsher of the Agudah. What a poor hashkafic message to send right after the Nine Days and Tisha Bav”
    Daf Yomi is an Agudah project-they have the right to and have used it as a power play. Thus, I have never had any objections to who they invite to attend or who they don’t invite to attend-it is their show of strength. Thus, I don’t care if they invite non Agudah Rabbi X to sit on the dais or not or that they will invite someone if they receive pressure from their givers.
    Personal full disclosure I went to Agudah HQ on William St for a few years before and after their fire around quarter of a century ago for their lunch time daf Yomi shiur-was welcomed there despite my not wearing a black hat-enjoyed Rabbi Bluth-despite his following Rav Moshes orders to read every Rashi-made the second amud speed quicker than a quick minyan davening speed. Fond memories of the time I spent there-despite having been a big waste of timefor me-I spent an hour at night preparing for the next daf and another hour reviewing the previous daf-in the days of Gemarrah and Jastrow-no Art Scroll- a couple mesechtot I had Steinsaltz Hebrew-inefficient use of time for me in retrospect. Time spent vs what I remained with.

  268. BTW I had stopped going to Agudah before the Rav was niftar and thus before the infamous JO “obituary” for the Rav.

  269. IH: I hope I get out of “South Jerusalem” a lot, considering that I don’t live there. You do know that South Jerusalem is one of the most secular parts of the city, right? I’m not sure of your point, though: 20% of kids in religious schools is a very high percentage. Do you have statistics that Mama”d schools take more money than regular ones? I guess that’s where you’re going.

    Your belief about electricity, etc. is similarly misinformed. Batei Knesset pay *all* of that. They even pay arnona, although there must be some discount (as there is in the US). The building is up, and then it’s in their hands. (Maybe *that’s* what you meant about “South Jerusalem”? It’s not as if it’s different elsewhere.)

    Steve, as R’ Leiman is fond of pointing out, actual halakhah is that you learn what you enjoy learning. If someone is more attracted to historical perspectives on the Bavli (or, horrors, to Tanach and Mishna), then I’m afraid you’re in no position to criticize them. Maybe their level of learning isn’t as praiseworthy as yours in some objective sense, but I’m curious as to how you’d know that.

    As to your comments on the siyum, I can only sigh. Very, very loudly. REALLY? Rav *Lichtenstein* isn’t good enough for you now, because he’s participating in a siyum which may very well be larger than the charedi one? Lord.

    As to the Agudah: Let’s clarify some things. First, as R’ Leiman and others have demonstrated, they didn’t invent the idea of Daf Yomi, which was first thought up in the 19th Century if not earlier. The current cycle was created by R’ Meir Shapiro and *announced* at the first Agudah convention, not created by the Agudah. That’s the European Agudah, which of course doesn’t exist anymore. The American siyum is run by the American Agudah. The big charedi siyum in Israel isn’t connected to Agudah at all. (I think Degel HaTorah may have a hand in it.) I have no idea how, apart from putting the date on its calendars, any Agudah organization can claim responsibility for the Daf Yomi. Do they fund it? What would there be to fund?

    That is *so* many degrees removed that I have no idea why you react so strongly (the Three Weeks? Really?) to other people making siyumim. As someone said here, it’s not as if any seats will be empty, and these all happen to be on different days. If someone who just finished Shas decided to make his own minyan and celebrate at home, would you object to that?

    Oh, why am I bothering? The greatest gedolim in Israel (who, nebach, mostly happen not to wear black hats) aren’t good enough, so who am I?

  270. Nachum – The European Agudah is alive, if not well. They even release a bi-annual Torah journal.

  271. Joseph Kaplan

    “Those of us who were priviledged to be talmidim of one of the greatest Mchanchim and mentschen in YU, namely, R Besdin ZL know that he detested anything that in and out of the classroom that failed to meet the litmus test of “it and not about it”, whenever the issue was one even remotely connected to Limud HaTorah.”

    I was so privileged and I think this is a false exaggeration of R. Besdin’s thinking. He was much wiser and much more nuanced than this misinterpretation of his philosophy.

  272. JOSEPH KAPLAN:

    maybe your brother can write another “revisionism of . . .” article!

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