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Text-Message Halakhah
After 10 years, Nefesh B’Nefesh looks back, forward
R J Maroof: Eliminate Denominations
America: The Home of the Jews
Ask the rabbi: May a Jew teach Torah to a gentile?
Shaare Zedek: Women’s pictures covered by stickers
High Court: Diversify selection panels for city rabbis
Shas paper against haredi draft: We’ll leave Israel
SALT Friday

Response to Understanding the Tuition Crisis
The Evolution Of American Orthodoxy: An Interview with YU Librarian Zalman Alpert
Understanding the Tuition Crisis
Fighting The Tuition Crisis With Financially-Driven Parent Volunteer Programs
Fighting The Tuition Crisis With Financially-Driven Parent Volunteer Programs
When Yeshiva Day School Is No Longer A Viable Option
The Shul Gap
Pornography and Civil Rights
Non-Orthodox Rabbis Outraged Over Hospital Merger
Solomon Schechter Schools Will Always Be Part of the Conservative Jewish Movement
Orthodox rabbinical group urging German Jews to defy court ruling on circumcision
New Approach in Israeli Agunah Cases
The Male Rosa Parks?
US Haredi Group Facing Uphill Battle Making Up for Poor Secular Education
Birth Of A Leather-Kippah Jew
SALT Thursday

Olmert exonerated on corruption charges that prompted his resignation
The Case for Kosher Lab-Grown Meat
Rel.-Zionist Sages: Solve Enlistment Peacefully
Moscow Goes Kosher
Nathan Diament bestrides Orthodox, Washington worlds
Defending a (Kosher) Kill
Not Everyone Is Happy With the Kosher Co-op
Kolbrenner: Happy To Send Junior Into IDF
Berlin to introduce law to allow circumcision
UK’s Jewish leaders slam Church of England
Tzohar rabbis to offer circumcision
Study Shows Haredi and Secular Women Face Equal Risk of Eating Disorders
Embracing immigranthood in the Israeli ‘cholent pot’
SALT Wednesday

Olmert exonerated on corruption charges that prompted his resignation
The Marketplace for Synagogues
Younger US Jews are more attached to Israel — but less enamored of its leaders
London’s thriving ‘Limmud’ high school shows pluralism gaining ground among UK Jews
IDF can’t handle haredim
The Birth of Conservative Judaism
Where Are We Heading?
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate facing new wave of criticism and calls for change
The Tuition Crisis, Aliyah and Happiness
A Letter to the Hotel Industry
‘Gateway Sexual Activity’: Why Americans Need to Be Honest About Sex and Morality
A Web Site Practices ‘Coffee Kosherology’
Ultra-Orthodox feel they are in dialogue of deaf with secular Israel
SALT Tuesday

A Community’s Twist on Genetic Tests
R J Sacks: The Europeans’ skewed view of circumcision
Will Schechter Schools Leave Conservatives?
Is the Maccabees’ ancient mystery close to solution?
State closes incitement case against R. Shmuel Eliyahu
Rabbis voice support for universal service
Bezalel arts school set to launch haredi program
The Healing Power of Jew-Love
Are You There Judy Blume?
Popularized in America by Jews, pickles pack a punch
Hassidic rebbe calls for equality in Torah study
Rift Forms in Movement as Belief in Gay ‘Cure’ Is Renounced
A New, Ugly Wrinkle in the Tuition Crisis
SALT Monday

Prior news & links posts
Rules: link

About Gil Student

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

129 comments

  1. “Hassidic rebbe calls for equality in Torah study” (http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=276741)

    Is this “equality” intended as kefiyah datit (religious compulsion), or no?

  2. Charedi Jew aka Shaul Shapira

    “Is this “equality” intended as kefiyah datit (religious compulsion), or no?”

    No.
    Unless you mean R Wolbe’s version: God forces his creatures to keep his commandments.

    The attached picture is also terrible. They picked some NK type rally with what appears to be an American in the backround who came along for the ride.
    My diramate once held their sign for them on one of their tznius patrols. He did it for kicks.

  3. shaul shapira

    https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/05/new-periodical-hakirah-13/

    “Judaism and Homosexuality: An Alternate Rabbinic View by R. Chaim Rapoport – R. Rapoport points out the positive developments in the article in the prior issue on R. Shmuel Kamenetsky’s views on homosexuality but argues that other aspects are wrong because not everyone is capable of changing orientation. Also advises against marriage.”

    The whole article is worth reading. Too bad a link’s not availible yet.

  4. shaul shapira

    My previous comment related to:

    ▪ Rift Forms in Movement as Belief in Gay ‘Cure’ Is Renounced

  5. MiMedinat HaYam

    genetic testing — article fails to mention that opposition to genetic testing (in general) is based on that it leads to abortions … (its the NYTimes; what do you expect?)

    also, machon puah “generally” advises couples to marry, even with a “no” from dor yesharim. (contact them for details)

  6. It’s the Wall Street Journal, MMY.

  7. “article fails to mention that opposition to genetic testing (in general) is based on that it leads to abortions ”

    Huh? It states that opposition to learning one’s carrier status before marriage is based on the stigma that can result, which i think is true. The article is not about post-conception testing of a fetus, which is where abortion comes up, though it does mention that abortion is off limits, so premarital testing is really the only option. Further, I hear from friends in the medical field that many hassidim (don’t know satmar specifically) make liberal use of heterim to abort fetuses with severe defects. (which also cause stigma if not aborted, incidentally.) So i don’t really know what you are talking about. (in addition to theNYT.WSJ issue nachum points out.)

  8. MiMedinat HaYam

    many charedim (chassidim and yeshivish) do use various justifications for abortions. (was mentioned here a few times in abortion related debate. no comment here on it. though its pretty standard regarding OTD girls.) i was refering to the fact that there is a general (not necessarily jewish) opposition to prenatal (of which this is a type) testing, since it leads to abortions.

    alternative viewpoints, such as the machon puah position, was not presented, and the article only alluded, but did not fully explain the issue of not advising whether a negative should be followed up by further medical care.

    and stigma is not an excuse to abort (or is it? thats a new argument.)

    sorry, was WSJ, not NYT.

  9. http://www.timesofisrael.com/poll-shows-younger-jews-are-more-attached-to-israel/

    “Younger US Jews are more attached to Israel — but less enamored of its leaders”

  10. “The Tuition Crisis, Aliyah and Happiness”

    a good, but i take issue with:

    “Studies have shown that Israelis are generally happier than citizens of most other countries, including the United States”

    i think the numbers speak for themselves. how many americans live in israel and how many israelis outside of israel? and what exactly is the rate of aliyah success for american olim?

    finally, i find that most often successful america olim a) come with money (or are supported by family); b) commute back and forth to america for work; c) bring their american jobs (and salaries) with them. if you don’t fit into these categories and you’re not in high tech or a few select other fields, it’s a real struggle.

  11. The numbers do speak for themselves. A higher percentage of Israelis score higher on the happiness index than Americans.

  12. AVI:

    i don’t give much weight to happiness surveys.
    on the other hand, how many israelis live in america and europe?

  13. Less than live in Israel. Over 49% of the worlds Jews would rather live in Israel them somewhere else.

  14. Less than live in Israel. More Jews live in Israel than any other country in the world. Close to 70% of those are immegrants.
    I think there are more antizionist charedim living in Israel than there are Israelis living in chutz’laretz
    I think there are more anti Zionist charwdim

  15. abba's rantings

    AVI:

    1) you have the numbers reversed. 70% are native-born. although i’m not sure what the difference is either way.
    2) i don’t understand your point about haredim
    3) i don’t understand your point that 49% of the world’s jews live in israel.

    let me ask you a question that obviously neither of us have the data to answer. but what does your gut tell you would happen if the US eased green card restrictions? would the (already high) number of israelis in the US remain stable or increase further?

  16. ” would the (already high) number of israelis in the US remain stable or increase further?”

    What already high? about 230,000 out of 7 million Israelis live abroad, and about 7 million out of 300 million Americans live abroad. In fact numerous websites state (without data) that Israel has a much higher ratio of Immigrants to Emigration than other high immigrant countries such as the United States.

    Would there be more? Sure, but that’s always the case. When you make things easier, people try it out even if they don’t need to.

    The point is, Israel is gaining more and more immigrants, and there are more people in Israel who claim to be against the state than there are people leaving it. If it was so bad, they would be talking with their feat, not their mouths.

  17. MiMedinat HaYam

    joel r — its a good compromise — more $$$ for charedi RY to keep (they’ll distribute very little of it; the curreent $ is with absolutely NO reporting, legally). they’ll hire some “chappers”, and be able to cry to the world about the “evil” medinah.

  18. Well, well, well…

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/major-drop-recorded-in-number-of-secular-draft-dodgers-1.450280

    “The rate at which potential secular and religious Zionist conscripts have been exempted from military service has declined substantially, and the number of actual draft evaders among them has been reduced to negligible levels.

    On the other hand, official Israel Defense Forces statistics reveal that more than half of Jewish Israeli men who were exempted from the draft last year were ultra-Orthodox men engaged in religious studies.”

  19. I just wanted to make this rant about the dumb comments on Rabbi Taub’s article.

    “It’s funny I am perfectly capable of switching off when it is inappropriate. I wonder why these men of God as so unable to do the same?”

    Because you aren’t. You just don’t consider any time inappropriate. Rabbi Taub is right. If you seriously want to prevent premarital sex, you need to enforce yichud. Anything less, and the inclination will overcome at some point.

  20. Regarding the OU lobbyist’s ongoing interest on the subject of contraception, I happened to notice this story from a N. Ireland newspaper: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/100000-lives-could-be-saved-with-better-contraception-16183400.html

  21. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Rabbi Rosen:

    “Whenever anything threatens the Kosher Meat trade the Rabbis … cry “foul” because they will lose a major source of income. That also explains why those few rabbis who became vegetarians, like the Kamenitzer Maggid, or supported vegetarianism in principle, like Rav Kook, were excoriated and virtually written out of Haredi history.”

    ******************************

    Was vegetarianism the *siba* for their rejection by the Haredi world, or a *siman* of broader personality conflicts?

  22. Why are you deleting my comments?

  23. You are deleting them without a trace

  24. My comment wasn’t nasty and considering all the nastiness that passes through these pages, why would my statement be censored?

  25. My comment wasn’t nasty and considering all the nastiness that passes through these pages, why would my statement be censored?

  26. When a self-proclaimed Hareidi Man tells us about how others see the Siyum Hashas a something other than it claims to be, I see an attack. I’d rather be machmir.

    I’m no fan of YCT or this siyum. But that kind of hit-and-run attack is mean-spirited. If you want to write a thoughtful critique, by all means do so.

  27. I am a tolerant Hareidi, Hareidi Hadosh. I’m no fan of YCT either nor a fan of censorship. This is reprehensible. My point was to make people aware of what some hareidim are up to.

  28. Dr Kolbrener’s article (together with his other recent work) can be succinctly (if rather uncharitably) summarised by saying that in a fit of youthful enthusiasm he joined an extreme religious group (Israeli Charedim), and then as he’s grown older he’s realised what everyone else realises about them, but now he’s too invested in his lifestyle to do anything more than whinge about it.

  29. I thought Hareidiman’s point was obviously about the censorship. I didn’t see it as at all implying that the categorization as “occult” was correct- lehefech, the obvious falsity of the categorization is what makes it seem clear that there is censorship going on.

  30. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: Emma’s impression was mine as well. Hareidiman was CRITIQUEING the Hareidim for censorship and blocking access.

    You also censored my obviously humorous comment.

    I think you misread this one and owe Harediman an apology.

  31. Hareidi Man was saying that a Christian web filter categorized the Siyum Hashas in a specific way. How is that critiquing Hareidim for censorship?

  32. It’s unbelievable how articles about the Cologne court ban on circumsion draws anti-circumsion commentators and self-hating Jews to the comments section. What is it about circumsion now, rather than say 30 years, that suddenly people find bris miloh so abhorent? I believe it could be the continually growing anti-religious sentiment among Western countries’ populations. Is it also anti-Israel and antisemitism? From some of the comments on JPost, I would say so. Any thoughts?

  33. Gil — given your recent series of videos, perhaps you can shed light on thio. K9 is a commercial general service, not a Jewish one. How do they mediate this type of issue: i.e. one set of people say its objectional as X, and another say it’s perfectly fine.

    Incidentally, Harediman’s report can be verified at http://www1.k9webprotection.com/support/check-site-rating which reports:
    this page is currently categorized as Alternative Spirituality/Occult
    Last Time Rated/Reviewed: July 06, 2012 16:36:58 GMT

    it provides a form for appealing, but, as above, how do they mediate?

  34. Rafael Araujo,

    Part of it is a huge increase in the “rights” discourse – rights of children, of (lehavdil) animals and a great increase in what are defined as human rights in general.

    Another part of it is a vicious blowback against identity politics and multi-culturalism. I’m not a fan of the latter myself, but the reaction has been far too extreme for me to swallow.

  35. Hareidi Man was saying that a Christian web filter categorized the Siyum Hashas in a specific way. How is that critiquing Hareidim for censorship?

    Isn’t filtering of this kind based on user feedback. I don’t know what hysteresis is used in their algorithm, but it is likely this was a concerted attempt by some set of K9 users to blacklist the site.

  36. It could be on the server of an alternative religious website. No need to posit a conspiracy.

  37. I like this quote from the lab-meat article:

    “A new concept of religious correctness is that ‘Masorah,’ the way we have always done things, trumps innovation”

  38. Gil, you may be correct that Hareidiman was wrong in identifying this as censorship. (Even so, it highlights how filters that are supposed to be for protection against sex and assorted vices can easily segue into censorship too.)
    However, you are incorrect that he was trying to do something other than identify censorship (eg, attack yct). Why not leave his original comment and just respond as you have to all of us?

  39. It could be on the server of an alternative religious website

    That’s possible, but it is not the case. It’s on the server of a commercial web hosting service.

    Domain Name: SIYUMHASHAS12.COM
    Registrar: FASTDOMAIN, INC.
    Whois Server: whois.fastdomain.com
    Referral URL: http://www.fastdomain.com
    Name Server: NS1.HOSTMONSTER.COM
    Name Server: NS2.HOSTMONSTER.COM

  40. Either way, the information is now “out there” and will be shortly rectified. I prefer to be cautious about gratuitous attacks and have deleted quite a few about this Siyum Hashas that perhaps you didn’t see. That is why I was quick to hit the delete button.

  41. The category was changed. Here is the immediate response I received from K9:

    One of Blue Coat’s Web Content Analysts attempted to categorize the content submitted, however the analyst was unable to assign a categorization based on the content available to them at the time of the review. Typically this is because there was insufficient data to make an informed decision or the subject matter or language of the content is better handled by one the analyst’s associates.

    Your request has been forwarded to another analyst who can better evaluate the Web content. As a result you will receive another message letting you know once a review has been completed. If you wish, you can contact us at [email protected] to discuss this issue in detail.
    —–
    Within minutes, I received this:

    Thanks for submitting http://siyumhashas12.com/ to the Blue Coat WebFilter team for review. We appreciate the opportunity to provide the results of our analysis with you.

    Based on your recommendation and after careful evaluation of the Web content submitted, a Web Content Analyst has recategorized this URL as Religion.

    This rating change could take a few days to be reflected in your K9 application. For further explanation or to see this change immediately, click here.

  42. Well done, Gil. But this implies that anyone who has an interest can game the system. I would have expected more hysteresis in K9’s algorithm.

  43. At least I can chalk up one good deed for the day

  44. theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com is blocked by K9 as a Violence/Hate/Racism website. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  45. Nosson Scherman has gone missing from the speaker’s list at The NYC Siyum.

  46. It’s not just rights of children. Many of these people seem to have terrible psychological problems relating to some unproven inadequacy from circumcision. Whenever any science journal publishes anything on the subject of medical circumcision, they are there to attack the study, and say how biased it is, and bemoan the terrible state of science in the country. There is definitely some deep-seated issues with their heritage that they need to work through.

    It’s no surprise that they are all gloating about the ban and writing nasty things about us.

  47. Gil, I do appreciate your sensitivity re: the siyyum, even if it turned into what I think it hyper-sensitivity here (seeing an attack where there was none). At this point what has to be said has been. Thanks.

  48. MiMedinat HaYam

    two articles to compare and contrast:

    http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/the-evolution-of-american-orthodoxy-an-interview-with-yeshiva-university-librarian-zalman-alpert/2012/07/11/

    http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/birth-of-a-leather-kippah-jew/2012/07/11/

    first was a regular commenter to this site (i guess, our in-house expert on (non controversial) lubavitch customs.)

    second should have known what he was (trying to) getting into.

  49. “Nosson Scherman has gone missing from the speaker’s list at The NYC Siyum.”

    Waking up now? Boy, Hillary Clinton and her vast right-wing conspiracy has nothing on you. Don’t tell me… you’re a 9/11 truther as well.

    Elon:

    “It’s not just rights of children. Many of these people seem to have terrible psychological problems relating to some unproven inadequacy from circumcision. Whenever any science journal publishes anything on the subject of medical circumcision, they are there to attack the study, and say how biased it is, and bemoan the terrible state of science in the country. There is definitely some deep-seated issues with their heritage that they need to work through.

    It’s no surprise that they are all gloating about the ban and writing nasty things about us.”

    Could be. As I understand it, the mutilation claims is that circumsion reduces sexual pleasure. Vastly different than female circumsion, which removes any pleasure and could lead to death due to great blood loss.

  50. In the interest of accuracy: There are different forms of female “circ” and and some remove zero tissue, other less than a foreskin. Further, while most diminish sexual pleasure they do not all remove it entirely. Claims of “vast difference” are overstated. The actual answer is that milder forms of female circ (eg, at least a “ritual nick”) should be allowed if male circ is allowed.

  51. Rafael,

    I think it also has to do with the arguments about how much pain the child feels when circumcised.

  52. emma – thanks for that. However, from what I understand, the majority of it is done in patriarchical African socities to limit female sexuality. Is the nicking done by more modern or westernized individuals or still want to retain this “custom”?

    Aiwac – that’s true as well. I believe the line of reasoning is such a barbaric and painful procedure should not be forced on a child who has no ability to consent, and that such decisions best be left to when a child is the age of majority and can make the choice on their own.

  53. “I believe the line of reasoning is such a barbaric and painful procedure should not be forced on a child who has no ability to consent, and that such decisions best be left to when a child is the age of majority and can make the choice on their own”

    Where’s Charlie Hall? We could use his medical expertise on this one.

  54. I don’t think its unreasonable to assume that the only individual males who get circumcised over the age of majority are Jews who didn’t have a bris earlier.

  55. Rafael, you’re forgetting Muslims.

  56. I meant to write “…the only individual males who get circumcised over the age of majority today in US/Canada….”

  57. Yes, but their practice is around bar mitzvoh, no?

  58. Rafael, true – but many convert after that age.

  59. Rafael: There are medical conditions that require adult circumcision. Muslims tend to do it young, about seven years old, although it could be anywhere from birth to twelve. (In yeshiva, we learned that they do it at thirteen, like Yishmael, but apparently this is a myth. I still remember a picture of a terrified kid pre-ritual in National Geographic- Albania, I think it was.)

    As an examination of this map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fgm_map.svg will show, female “circumcision” is not “African” but, specifically, East and to a lesser extent Central African Muslim. It seems to be unknown among animist and Christian Africans, as well as in the Maghreb and anywhere else in the Muslim and Arab world. I think I’m uncomfortable even with the “nick” because of what it is “covering” for. Eliminate it all, I say, but maybe there’s no other way to do so.

  60. Nachum,

    Not that I support it, but you do realize that the same people who object to female circumcision object to male circumcision and for much the same reasons, right? How could you explain the difference to someone who doesn’t follow halacha/isn’t Jewish?

  61. Again, I don’t know why you continue to censor me. I am trying to make a point that K9 could be manipulated. Why would UOJ go under Violence/Hate/Racism?
    Dr. Kaplan said that an apology is in order and you continue to censor

  62. The conceptual difference is that female cutting is largely about how women relate to men (heirarchically), wheras milah is about how men relate to God. But I am not sure that matters to the bodily integrity/consent argument.

  63. emma,

    Exactly. To win this fight we need to find a way to convince the non-hardliners who aren’t of the tribe.

  64. MiMedinat HaYam

    also, in females no one argues it as a religious obligation (in any of the cultures that practice it, in any of the ways they do). but rather a “cultural” duty.

  65. Not “no one” argues. Some sort of cutting is mentioned in a hadith, i believe, and there are various interpretations as to (a) what it is and (b) whether it is recommended or just mentioned.

  66. Nachum, it is not “unknown,” but rather “known to persist” (mostly in the less drastic forms) in Arabia and parts of Iraq and Jordan, at least according to the same wikipedia article you presumably got that map from. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation)

  67. What really bugs me is the blitheringly stupid canard “If God wanted infants circumcised, he would have created them that way”. Not only is this “pithy” statement 2000 years old, but the argument itself is beyond dumb. Once you bring God into the picture, then you have to admit He clearly wants Jews circumcised, as he says so. If you are an atheist, you shouldn’t be quoting God’s desires. Do people not think we would have speculated on a reason for it by now? And each person who says it acts like they are the first person to come up with the line. The arrogance!

    As for the ethics of circumcision, and not female genital cutting, practically the difference is circumcision is in the Torah.

  68. R. Araujo

    There are no muslims inthe US/Canada?

  69. Elon: You can also argue that millions of years of evolution have resulted in foreskins, so they must have some purpose. (On the other hand, of course, we still have appendixes.)

    Emma: You are right; I saw that link only after. (I got the map from the main Wikipedia page, not the second link.) It seems like every other country affected is Muslim; at the same time, it seems pretty low outside Africa.

    MMY: It doesn’t matter if it’s religious from an objective sense or not. If some African tribe member thinks it is, it becomes so.

    aiwac: Keeping in mind that there’s no satisfying some people, a fundamental difference is that the female version is *designed* to permanently maim the woman physically and impair (actually, remove entirely) certain vital functions and sensations. The removal of the foreskin is not and does not.

  70. “Nathan Diament bestrides Orthodox, Washington worlds”

    The JTA report linked to implies that Lubavitch was way ahead of the OU and Agudah in DC, going back to the 70’s, with Agudah following in the 80’s, and the OU with Diament in the 90’s.

    However, that is lacking in accuracy, since with regard to Lubavitch, they date their ‘DC presence’ from when they ‘reached out to legislators’ (e.g. PA based R. Abraham Shemtov visiting on occasion) , while with the the OU and Agudah, they don’t count from similar previous reaching out (e.g. the efforts of Rabbi Sherer in the 1960’s for non public schools), but only after the establishment of a f/t presence. According to an article on Lubavitch in DC (http://www.vosizneias.com/21323/2008/10/13/washington-rabbi-shemtov-reveals-oval-office-secrets/), Lubavitch f/t presence in DC only dates to 1994, years after the Agudah.

    Surprising that JTA made such an error. Did their reporter write it just after a farbrengen perhaps?

  71. great interview with zalman alpert. the only thing i question is his statement that many chasidim use the YU library because “many of them don’t want to go to the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) for theological and halachic reasons.”

    i don’t know whether they are more likely to use YU or JTS, but i’ve met *plenty* at the latter. they use it for various reasons, including a better rare book room, easier commute, etc. but a few told me that while jts is 100% treyf, it is preferable to the YU library because at YU they think they aren’t treyf. so it’s actually worse.

  72. NACHUM:

    “The removal of the foreskin is not and does not.”

    circumcision opponents actually claim the opposite. they say it does descrease wrt removal of foreskin

  73. Apropos charedi verbal aggressiveness?

    http://74.220.215.212/~mlsatlow/?p=435

    “For Babylonian rabbis, masculinity meant violence, power, aggression, war, and competition. These became the values of the academy. The ability to argue aggressively proved one’s masculinity within the academy, and was rewarded by winning the competition for moving up the academy’s hierarchical ladder.”

  74. “circumcision opponents actually claim the opposite. they say it does descrease wrt removal of foreskin”

    Yeah, but that’s just it. Its a reduction (male circumcision) vs. no sensation at all (female circumcision). That’s quite a difference, which opponents of bris milah make sure to ignore.

    “Some sort of cutting is mentioned in a hadith” – I also heard its a cultural, African Muslim practice. Are you saying its only found in Sunni Muslim societies but not in Shiite ones?

  75. RA:

    “Its a reduction (male circumcision) vs. no sensation at all (female circumcision)”

    does it matter?

  76. “You tell yourself you’ll send your children to the local Talmud Torah, but then you learn they no longer exist, at least not anywhere near you. You think you’ll hire a teacher from a local day school to tutor your kids a few afternoons a week – until you discover that not a few day schools have told their teachers not to tutor children who have transferred from day school to public school”

    This. Is. Absurd.

  77. AIWAC:

    “This. Is. Absurd.”

    absurd as in ridiculous or absurd as in you don’t believe it?
    i don’t know about florida, but something similar certainly happened with the hatikvah charter school in east brunswick. the afterschool judaic program proved unable to recruit from the local schools (apparently some teachers were even initially hired, but they subsequently quit under pressure). of course chabad was more than happy to step in. another nail in the MO coffin.

  78. “absurd as in ridiculous or absurd as in you don’t believe it?”

    As in ridiculous.

  79. IH, that honestly sounds like a parody out of “Footnote”- the overheard conversation at the Museum at the beginning.

    Rafael, much less in Shiite, although of course there are far less Shiite countries.

  80. Having spent many hours on the 5th Floor of the YU Library, it brought back some nice memories reading the interview with Zalman Alpert.

    But after having spent many more hours in the National Library in Jerusalem – I don’t miss the Heights one bit!

  81. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/israeli-sentenced-to-2-5-years-in-prison-in-u-s-for-dealing-kidneys-1.450543

    Nice smile; not so nice kippa.

    “Prison is an appropriate punishment for Levy Rosenbaum’s illegal capitalization on others’ desperation. Although Rosenbaum painted himself as a benevolent kidney matchmaker, the criminal profits went right into his pocket.”

  82. RJM – In my opinion, your piece is both naïve regarding today’s Sephardic metziut in Israel (e.g. Sephardic Rabbis in Livish attire) and condescending to non-halachic denominations that do not accept they are sinning tinnokot she’nishbu. I do, however, agree that the traditional Sephardic tolerance of all Jews irrespective of the degree to which they are or aren’t shomrei mitzvot is an approach that everyone should adopt.

    Incidentally, do you also agree with this latest set of assertions by Chief Rabbi Amar: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4254341,00.html

  83. Further to RJM, note Chief Rabbi Sacks’ analysis in his 1992 book One People:

    The problem, to restate it, is that inclusivism assaults the self-respect of the liberal Jew. It rests on a distinction between liberal Jews and liberal Judaism. To legitimate the former it must delegitimize the latter. To include dissenting individuals, it must exclude dissenting ideologies. Tradition can only interpret the covenantal community as a community of faith and practice. To include those who stand outside the boundaries of traditional faith and practice, it must see their stance as non-essential, the result of environmental influence and excusable error. […] Liberal Judaism asks Orthodoxy to respect its integrity. That is precisely what Orthodoxy, for the sake of Jewish unity, proposes not to do.

    The issue in Israel, of course, is one of delegated authority from the [secular] State which complicates the situation enormously.

  84. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. there is a diffrence between european concept of freedom of religion, and the us (constitution) concept of freedom of religion.

    european (and somewhat canadian, though i only know of quebec) concept provides for certain “approved” religions (usually RC, a few protestants, greek / russian ortdodox, foregt how they account for muslims, and jewish). thus, german had an issue with scientology (and austrit in the past. also, i believe there are orthodox jewish and reform jewish approved religions in certain german states, etc). israel, for example violated the fredom of religion issue in 1948 (or afterwards) by giving the anglican church (which was not recognized, even during british mandate times) a “book” (as it was called, to avoid altogether formally recognizing the anglocans) to officially record their marriages (and i assume births deaths confirmations or whatever) thus violating (another part of) the status quo agreement dating back to ottoman times (shortly after 1850, i believe). thus we see, some form of govt aid to religious schools, religious orgs, even govt salaries for clergy.

    applying the american concept of freedom of / from religion to europe (such as circumcisions) is thus problematic.

    2. also not mentioned is standard procedure in almost all us hospitals to do “circs” (within a day or two after birth) unless specifically told not to. its opt out, not opt in. males only.

    3. yu library rare book room – almost nobody is allowed in. i guess JTS is more liberal in this. when i asked to see something at YU’s, i was asked how do you know we have it? (its on the web site, and in the card catalog.)

  85. MiMedinat HaYam

    new approach in israeli agunah cases — wasnt the first such lawsuit won by a man over a woman who refused to accept a get?

    anyway, wont work in the US, cause first amendment issues, difficult to quantify damages, no lawyer will take this on a contigency basis (unless pro bono), seems like a nuisance lawsuit (but this may nevertheless work).

  86. Nachum wrote:

    “IH, that honestly sounds like a parody out of “Footnote”- the overheard conversation at the Museum at the beginning”

    Yuyp. It sure sounds like the scene of the conversation at a party at the Museum.

  87. “the criminal profits went right into his pocket”

    Not arguing with you, just a language peeve: If they’re going to phrase it that way, where *else* should the profits have gone? 🙂

  88. RJM- The problem with your statement of “I would encourage Ashkenazic Jews to drop their labels and divisions and return to the faith of their ancestors as it was taught for thousands of years” is the very fact that heterodox denominations don’t have that faith. Nor, for that matter, do they have the situation that Sephardim have, which is living within a Jewish community. For a Sephardi who does not believe in the truth of Torah, the fact that their community is still the Jewish one gives them a reason to remain Jewish, or perhaps more accurately, to remain part of Klal Yisrael and Am Yisrael. For an Ashkenazi, integrated into the liberal (Western) world, that doesn’t work. Instead, a theology is necessary: something that says that, in spite of the untruth of part or all of torah, whether Torah SheBikhtav or TSBP, there is a justification for remaining Jewish and a way in which to do so. That necessitates a religious structure, which is where you have the denominations from. As far as most heterodox Jews are concerned, we are the ones being obstructionist, because we refuse to jettison faith for reason and belief for rationality (it’s an interesting historical speculation to wonder how many people in pre-Enlightenment Ashkenaz really believed in God and Torah as truth and how many simply did what everyone around them did).

    IH’s quotation points to R’ Sacks’ solution, which of course also draws on R’ Moshe Feinstein’s psak about heterodox marriages (which is that they are invalid). This actually worked fairly well in terms of community relations in the US, because it prevented the issue of mamzerut, and the Reform community very clearly noted this and did not protest it. The problem, of course, is that in Israel there is state recognition involved, and so what is irrelevant in the US becomes relevant in Israel.

  89. “which of course also draws on R’ Moshe Feinstein’s psak about heterodox marriages (which is that they are invalid).”
    Which essentially was a daas Yachid-not accepted I believe by among others the Rav, Rav Henkin, RAK, RYK,etc.

  90. Disgusting: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4254903,00.html

    See also the related “Superbus to compensate” story.

    —–

    where *else* should the profits have gone?

    A charitable cause as is sometimes the case.

  91. Re. “Shas paper against haredi draft: We’ll leave Israel”

    “Shafir warned that the haredim may resort to a “tax revolt””

    LOL! remind me again why the haredim rejected splitting ramat beit shemesh into 2 municupalities.

    “He also warned of a mass haredi exodus”

    where will shas’s haredmim go to? unlike their ashkenazi brethren, i doubt too many shas haredim have dual citizenship or claims on reestablishing one.

  92. “After 10 years, Nefesh B’Nefesh looks back, forward”

    The article fails to mention that NBN has brought 30,000 Olim to Israel in the past 10 years.

    Re: “Shas paper against haredi draft: We’ll leave Israel”

    I just saw this comment on another news article from 2010:

    HaRav Simcha Wasserman zt”l has written:

    “Those who have returned are those whom Eliyahu [HaNavi] has selected to lead the Jewish people to the redemption of Mashiach…There is a selection going on now. Some people are being brought back, and some people…are being thrown out. There are prophecies concerning this unfortunate fact. Those prophecies state that there will be members of the Jewish body who will be removed from it.” [“Reb Simcha Speaks, Artscroll, pp. 33-34] (comment Number 30)

    http://www.vosizneias.com/50406/2010/03/02/israel-economy-pushes-more-u-s-jews-to-move-to-israel

    I get this politicking, and these wild and crazy proclamations for the sake of votes… But when are these parties going to start speaking with the voice of Torah, instead of sticking words into the mouth of Torah?

    Is there ANY Torah sources that these politicians have for rejecting the call to draft from a Jewish army?

    It seems the words of HaRav Simcha Wasserman couldn’t be more accurate today.

  93. “▪ Text-Message Halakhah”

    I get these as a weekly email from R. Aviner and they are certainly fun to read.

    But the fact that we can’t read emails on Shabbat sort of requires that these be printed out to be read. I really don’t get the angle the article took for this topic.

  94. I’m thinking of writing a rebuttal to the Text Message article. I find great value in the text message pesakim.

  95. i think the text pesakim are great for on the go halacha le-maaseh needs. the alternative is people might decide for themselves if they want an immediate answer.
    and even with hashkafic issues some people only need (or even only want) yes/no responses.

  96. IH-

    “The problem, to restate it, is that inclusivism assaults the self-respect of the liberal Jew.”
    Only if he cares what the O says.
    “It rests on a distinction between liberal Jews and liberal Judaism.”
    Quite so.
    “To legitimate the former it must delegitimize the latter.”
    Delegimate what?

    “To include dissenting individuals, it must exclude dissenting ideologies.”
    Kind of like Reform Judaism excluding Jews for Jesus? (or do they?)
    “Tradition can only interpret the covenantal community as a community of faith and practice. To include those who stand outside the boundaries of traditional faith and practice, it must see their stance as non-essential, the result of environmental influence and excusable error.”
    I’d use a stronger word than ‘non-essential’, but then I’m not as polite as Chief Rabbi Sacks.
    “Liberal Judaism asks Orthodoxy to respect its integrity.”
    They also sometimes ask people to BDS part of the ‘amcha’. http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-head-of-reform-movement-favors-bds.htmlity,
    “That is precisely what Orthodoxy, for the sake of Jewish unity proposes not to do.”
    It’s also helpful for Jewish continuity. Care to link to Reform’s intermarriage rate?

    “The issue in Israel, of course, is one of delegated authority from the [secular] State which complicates the situation enormously.”

    Enormously indeed. That’s one of the reasons R Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld was against the rabbanut in the first place. Whatever Weizman was offering wasn’t likely to be good. (I’m not necessarily identifying with this postion, just pointing out that you’re not the first one to realize this. See also Yeshayahu Liebowitz’s article in Tradition.)

  97. Wasn’t there a link to the article linking RMYS to the CR of England job? What an odd thing to censor.

  98. “shaul shapira on July 13, 2012 at 10:33 am”

    You admit to not understanding, and then ask questions and make comments that make no sense.

    Do you respect Jews who think differently than you or not? Is Ahavat Yisroel a Jewish concept that all must strive for, or only those who think, talk and act like you?

  99. MiMedinat HaYam

    while RMF’s position re: non orthodox marriages was not necessarily accepted by many other poskim, it is the standard today. otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to marry BT’s and others that have the compunction to marry with chuppa ve’kiddushin (like those sfardim mentioned, though i disagree that it applies only to sfardim. chilonim israelis, for example). its a practical (if halachically problematic) solution.

    shas leaders cannot leave israel they’re making too much $$$ to not stay.

  100. Shaul — please email my AOL address UWSIH. I’m happy to copy Gil on what I feel the need to say privately, or even to send it via Gil if you prefer.

  101. avi-
    I’m not quite sure what you found problematic. Let me try to provide a couple of real life examples.

    Example A
    CR David Wolpe-
    1) From everything I know about him (not a whole lot), I have no reason to believe that he isn’t sincere.
    2) He probably cares very much about his congregants.
    3) I wouldn’t be at all shocked if he stays up nights worrying about their welfare.
    4) I also believe his viewes are utterly heretical and,
    5) Ultimately suicidal to Judaism.
    6) I also believe in saying so and not pretending that I think there is anything legitimate about his form of “Judaism”

    Example B
    1)My father’s cousin used to send me his used but still useful undershirts.
    2) That cousin is now intermarried.
    3) I am grateful for his undershirts even as I mourn the fact that his kids won’t be Jewish.

    Does that satisfy you? Can you at least justify my religious feelings?

    IH-
    I can’t quite make out that adress. Here’s mine-
    [email protected]
    I probably won’t have much more to offer via e-mail than I do here.

  102. ▪ Text-Message Halakhah

    Probably my all time favorite from R Aviner (and I have alot)
    is this one:

    Text Message Responsa
    “Q: I haven’t seen [the equivalent of ] text message responsa (i.e. short Q&A) among the Ultra-Orthodox.
    A: You haven’t looked well enough. For example, there are many volumes of rulings from Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski which have even shorter answers than those of text messages.”

    I wish I could see the expression on his face when he writes these things.

  103. The people who should be protesting the loudest about the Shaare Zedek story are those who become incensed at complaints (from “radical feminists”) that halacha objectifies women. I find the silence rather telling.

  104. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — actually, the manufacturers of the products relabeled should protest. (in the US, the lanham (trademark protection) act would allow them to refuse to sell them anymore. since its an import situation (the pictures look like american products, though undoubtedly made in china) the importer / distributor should be told to refuse to sell them anymore.

    we’ll then see stories of charedim refusing to buy the better but non “tniut” products, and hurting themselves in the proceess. why, they’ll even call on american jews to stop buying these items.

  105. The Shas daily “Yom Leyom” (“Day to Day”) has suggested some original ways to protest the government’s plan to draft yeshiva students, including leaving the country altogether and filing charges againt Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

    In a piercing op-ed published Thursday, the newspaper’s editor, Rabbi Moshe Shafir, warned of “anarchy” or “chaos” in case the haredim will no longer be exempt from army service.
    =================================
    Leaving is certainly their right (although it’s an interesting halachic question to be sure) but The Hague???? (Did I hear someone say moseir?)

    I would agree it’s piercing but I couldn’t help but think about Titus/gittin 56b
    KT

  106. IH on July 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    “The people who should be protesting the loudest about the Shaare Zedek story are those who become incensed at complaints (from “radical feminists”) that halacha objectifies women. I find the silence rather telling.”

    I posted a reply to you but it appears to have vanished along with the pictures of those women. Hopefully this one will stick.
    Very briefly: Not looking at women has nothing to with her being an object and everything to do with her being a person.

  107. Not looking at women has nothing to with her being an object and everything to do with her being a person.

    I don’t know what that means. Are pictures of men also labeled over, or are they not persons?

  108. “I don’t know what that means. Are pictures of men also labeled over, or are they not persons”

    They’re persons that don’t generally cause other the other gender of persons to go ad libido. (Feel free to provide whatever Latin term actually makes sense here.)
    You remind of a comment I once saw in a YU Observer spoof. A girl from Stern comlained that the YU rabbonim had condemned the G part of LGBT but said nothing about about the L part. She thought that to be utterly sexist.

    BTW-Professor Naomi Graetz appears to have left a comment on R Gil’s second thread about her re wife beating. Whereas the comment arrived some 30+ hours after the last one, I’m not sure how many people actually saw it.
    https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/06/wife-beating-in-jewish-law-ii/

    …Gutshabbes[1]

    [1] Yeshivish word generally translated as ‘Shabbat Shalom’.

  109. Shaul — that women “cause other the other gender of persons to go ad libido” is the very meaning of objectify. Meaning, women are not persons in their own right, rather objects that cause some effect simply by being there.

  110. Lawrence Kaplan

    Shaul: You mean pictures of women on medical products evoke sexual reactions in Haredi men?

  111. “I would encourage Ashkenazic Jews to drop their labels and divisions and return to the faith of their ancestors as it was taught for thousands of years. This, and not the creation and validation of competing movements, is what will help us progress one step closer to our ultimate redemption as a people.”

    Thank you, Rabbi Maroof. So, we should ignore the last 200 years? And how do we “drop” major movements?

    Is he that naive?

  112. Prof. Kaplan,

    It has nothing to do with whether the pictures objectively arouse people. In the view of the radical tzni’ut mongers, Women are the Devil, end of story.

  113. “shaul shapira on July 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm”
    4) I also believe his viewes are utterly heretical and,
    5) Ultimately suicidal to Judaism.
    6) I also believe in saying so and not pretending that I think there is anything legitimate about his form of “Judaism”

    Example B
    1)My father’s cousin used to send me his used but still useful undershirts.
    2) That cousin is now intermarried.
    3) I am grateful for his undershirts even as I mourn the fact that his kids won’t be Jewish.”

    Then you should be making sure that you are treating all such people as heretics and that bans are made kicking all such people out of the congregation of Israel. However it does become a bit of a problem when there are more Jewish hertics than there are Jewish non-heretics.

    The point of the quote, and what you fail to be missing is that you can’t consider them Jewish and say they are tinok Shenishba without degrading them as people. It’s a bit of a problem.

  114. “Leaving is certainly their right (although it’s an interesting halachic question to be sure) but The Hague???? (Did I hear someone say moseir?)

    I would agree it’s piercing but I couldn’t help but think about Titus/gittin 56b
    KT”

    I’m more and more convinced that really, they don’t study Torah at all. 🙂

  115. Three weeks ago, I unsuccessfully attempted to crowd source:

    “This year I was really struck by Rivei’i in today’s Parsha (Num. 17:9-15) and was not satisfied by the mefarshim in Mikraot G’dolot, nor did I see any relevant Talmudic reference in Torah Te’mima.

    Anyone know of any articles that explore the theological issues inherent in the unwarned, uncontrolled and indiscriminate ‘ha’ketzef mi’lifnei adonai hei’cheil ha’negef’ and the unusual way in which it is stopped by Aharon?”

    As luck would have it, R. Ben Skydell was visiting Darkhei Noam and delivered a text study today including a provocative midrash from Bavli Sanhedrin 82b that was affirming of my earlier query. For those interested, it is on the 12th line starting with אמר לפניו רבש”ע על אלו יפלו כ”ד אלף מישראל.

  116. I seem to recall that the Netziv has an interesting take on the entire episode but I don’t have one handy to check.

  117. Thanks, Gil. Nothing stood out when I took a look (http://www.hebrewbooks.org/14025), but my eyes are pretty tired by now and I will need to take another look when refreshed.

  118. Lawrence Kaplan

    aiwac: And that is the problem.

  119. I find it hilarious that the article about women’s faces being covered over features an ad with a woman on it.

    As for the pictures themselves, I think it depends on what the picture was. If it was simply a picture of a woman demonstrating how to use a sling, the complaint is a silly overreaction. But if it was a picture of a woman in a bikini with a sling, I can see how the ad would offend the modest.

  120. DR Kaplan: LOL. Depends who, depends where. I made that clear in my original reply to IH (the one that got censored). I said I know nothing about what actually happened here, and that it was possible that in this case they were simply doing it out of fear of ‘bleacher’- creature types.

    IH- I don’t get it. Is it not possible that a person in their own right causes a certain reaction to another person in their own right?! Whatever you think about hilchos tznius (and halacha in general) can’t you at least acknowledge that maybe just maybe, there is a different underlying concern here other than objectifying people?

    Here’s one question Shu’t SMS from R Aviner:
    http://www.ravaviner.com/2012/02/shut-sms-148.html

    Shomer Negi’ah
    “Q: Is it permissible for me to help a girl while ice-skating? After all, it is only so she doesn’t fall.
    A: Yashar Koach to the evil inclination for his creativity in causing people to stumble in Halachah!”

    And here’s another:
    http://www.ravaviner.com/2012/06/shut-sms-167.html
    Honoring One’s Wife

    “Q: Which is preferable – eating Shabbat dinner with one’s wife and kids at home, or together with one’s Rabbi at the yeshiva and hearing Divrei Torah?

    A: There is no question: At home. You are obligated to make your wife happy and honor her. The Torah obligates you and you signed the Ketubah.

    Q: But Torah learning is equivalent to all of the other Mitzvot?

    A: Torah learning obligates you to fulfill what is written in the Torah. You are certainly not more righteous or more important than the Satmar Rebbe, Ha-Rav Yoel Teitelbaum. It once happened that that the Satmar Rebbe’s wife set up her Shabbat candles at home and not in the hall where they have the Rebbe’s Tisch. The Satmar Rebbe asked the Rebbetzin why she did this. She responded: Tonight, you are eating at home with just me. He said: Thousands of Chasidim and other important people are coming to the Tisch (there were usually 3000 participants)?! She said: I want you to eat with just me. He immediately gave in, happily”

    Question for you, IH: Does R Aviner objectify women? Sometimes? Depends on the textee?

  121. “Then you should be making sure that you are treating all such people as heretics and that bans are made kicking all such people out of the congregation of Israel.”
    I have no idea what you’re talking about? In any case, do you think I run the Congregation of Israel?

    “However it does become a bit of a problem when there are more Jewish hertics than there are Jewish non-heretics.”
    Yes, it’s tragic that rove klal yisrael doesn’t believe in the Torah.

    “The point of the quote, and what you fail to be missing is that you can’t consider them Jewish and say they are tinok Shenishba without degrading them as people. It’s a bit of a problem.”

    This is getting ridiculous. They are either Jewish or not. I don’t command any ability to make a Jew into a Non-Jew or vice versa.
    I have every right do deny that their batei din have any sanctity. The same right they have to declare me a fundamentalist.

  122. “I have no idea what you’re talking about? In any case, do you think I run the Congregation of Israel?”

    That didn’t stop anyone before.
    The laws of how to treat a heretic aren’t regulated to the san hedrin.

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