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Tebah Sukkot Reader
The High Holidays and Reason’s Limits
An Orthodox challenge
Sukkot sparks architectural ingenuity
Don’t Throw Away That Etrog After Sukkot
A Maccabee Among Translators
Telshe Yeshiva students named in Ohio Tea Party voter challenge
Germany Initiating Pro-Circumcision Legislation
The Better Lulav and Esrog
SALT Friday

YU Torah Sukkot-to-Go
VBM Sukkot Journal
Reform, Restore, or Rescind: What to do with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
More than 5.5 Million Jews Worldwide Keep Kosher
Down on America’s next big etrog farm
State Dept. program highlights history of MS St. Louis
New Apple operating system lists Israel without a capital, Jerusalem without a country
Keep candles out of kindergarten Shabbat parties
SALT Thursday

Amish Sect Leader Guilty of Hate Crimes
Yom Kippur teaches eternity and fidelity
Happy Yom Kippur to You?
Yair Lapid and an anti-Zionist Hassid: The lesson I learned in 5772
In Scandinavia, kipah becomes a symbol of defiance for Malmo’s Jews
Yom Kippur: 64% fast, 46% pray
Living without solutions in Samaria
Cross country runner saves life, finishes race
SALT Tuesday

Smash Your Attitude, Not Your iPhone
New peer reviewed study on SSA change ($)
Jews “Can Wear Their Kippa With Pride,” Says France’s Interior Minister
Le Pen seeks ban on Jewish headwear
ZAKA chairman’s son joins IDF
Peace Means Justice for Jewish Refugees
SALT Monday

Prior news & links posts
Rules: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, 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 currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four 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.


  1. The authors of the First Things piece are a known quantity. For a freely accessible review of their work from a sympathetic evangelical source, see:

  2. Am I the only one who gets 404 errors on all the 5tjt websites?

  3. Avi –
    My anti-virus software blocks 5tjt articles.

  4. It’s interesting/funny/frightening that even the Le Pens of the world can’t simply state the dangers of Islam without some PC-equivocating. Of course, it helps if you don’t like Jews to begin. 🙂

  5. My understanding is that Charlie Hall has significant expertise in research papers. If that is so, I would be interested in his reaction to the study on SSA change.

  6. It’s interesting/funny/frightening that even the Le Pens of the world can’t simply state the dangers of Islam without some PC-equivocating. Of course, it helps if you don’t like Jews to begin.

    In his case I don’t think it is a matter of PC. Just a matter of dealing with two prejudices in one speech.

  7. There is an excellent report from the JPPI (written, incidentally, by a charedi rabbi), which was linked here a few weeks ago. It helps explain the background to the trends driving the moves to regulate Jewish practice in Europe:

  8. Sorry, I meant ‘restrict’ not ‘regulate’.

  9. Marine Le Pen is a woman (daughter of Jean-Marie). I don’t think she is viewed as an anti-Semite, unlike her father. See: from Jan 2011 which closes with:

    “Actually, Le Pen has already managed to forge ties with the Kahanists in France, members of the Jewish Defense League, who consider the leaders of the community ‘traitors who deserve to die.'”

  10. Given all the opinions about women, religious soldiers and Tzahal, as snapshot of the three in real life & death:,7340,L-4285423,00.html

  11. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — there is no such thing as kahanists in france. its obviously haaretz drivel, and / or prob an attempt to raise $ for her party from ppl haaretz considers kahanists.

  12. Gee, MMhY: google “Jewish Defense League France”. I guess those are all plants by Ha’aretz as well 🙂

  13. See also:

    Sarkozy has disappointed the French Jewish community in other ways, too: the French vote in favor of Palestinian membership in UNESCO, condemnations of Israeli settlements and when he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “liar.”

    That disappointment may partly explain an apparent shift in how some Jews view the National Front, France’s largest right-wing party. The anti-Muslim party with a history of anti-Semitism is led by Marine Le Pen.

    On March 27, the French branch of the Jewish Defense League publicly expressed support for the National Front for the first time.

    “An important National Front delegation visited the Grande Synagogue de la Victoire in Toulouse,” the branch’s website said. “Bickering” among Jewish institutions will “surely ensue.”

    Founded in the 1970s by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, JDL is considered a terrorist group in the U.S. but is legal in France. Amnon Cohen, JDL’s Paris spokesman, says it has dozens of activists.

    Cohen says the National Front “isn’t perfect but isn’t dangerous. We’ll work with those willing to fight the Islamic threat.”

    Since assuming the leadership of the National Front last year, Le Pen has distanced herself from the anti-Semitic rhetoric of her father and predecessor, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has called the Holocaust a “detail in history” and been convicted several times in France for Holocaust denial. He also said the German occupation of France was “not particularly inhumane.”

    Marine Le Pen, by contrast, has reached out to French Jews and Israelis, describing them as “natural allies.” Even before that, in 2007, the National Front received nealy 5 percent of the Jewish vote.

  14. AVAST is blocking access to 5TJT site.

    Please post your essay here.


  15. The article linked as New peer reviewed study on SSA change ($) is actually just an opinion piece. It is available online via NYPL.ORG to anyone with an NYPL library card who has registered.

    The punchline is:

    He [Spitzer] has now recanted his study. “I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy,” he concluded in a published letter to the editor of the Archives, further apologizing to anyone who had “wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy” because they believed him. It was, declared the editors of the New York Times, the “welcome end of a pseudotheory.” Our recent study and his are the only two peer-reviewed studies of orientation change published in mainstream scientific journals in the last two decades. Should we follow Spitzer with a recantation of our work?

    We don’t think so. […]

    See the sympathetic evangelical review of their study (linked in the first comment above) for a reality check on what they actually researched and published.

  16. IH: If you read the article then you know the authors are very open about the limitations of their study and cautious about their claims, I don’t see any room for your cynicism. Yes, it’s an Op-Ed piece–about their peer-reviewed study.

  17. Gil — No cynicism was intended, but the study is over 5 years old and was limited to 98 participants from 16 Exodus ministries around the U.S.

    The study was of religiously-mediated change, not of professional interventions. They did not find unequivocal change from totally homosexual to totally heterosexual. Although they found that on average participants were not damageddid not experience incraesed distress or harm, that does not mean specific individuals were not harmed.

    What’s the chiddush?

  18. By the by, if anyone is being cynical it is the authors in pathetically attempting to wrap themselves in Galileo’s legacy:

    But change sometimes occurs. It has long been rumored that after the papal session in which he delivered his forced recantation of his hypothesis that the earth moves about the sun, Galileo muttered, “And yet it moves.” There are people who say, “And yet I have changed,” including participants in Spitzer’s and our studies. We ought to listen.

  19. What’s the chiddush?

    It’s a peer-reviewed study showing some people have susbtantially changed sexual orientation and that suicide was not an issue in the treatment. That is huge.

  20. You’re reading what you want to believe, but so be it.

  21. For those interested, the PR annoucing the peer-review publication is: (n.b. the penutimate paragraph).

  22. Interesting poll from ynet-Gesher about YK observance in Israel:,7340,L-4285512,00.html

  23. [I didn’t see it was already linked so the URL was superfluous]

  24. IH: You’re reading what you want to believe, but so be it

    I agree that one of us is

  25. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH and Gil: Perhaps you both are! Gemar Tov.

  26. Whoah, stop the presses. Was Mr. Mullet found guilty of forcing terrible hair cuts on people? Really?
    And it’s not even Purim yet!

  27. In Prof. Kaplan’s vein, some wise words from Yair Lapid:,7340,L-4285779,00.html

    G’mar Chatima Tova

  28. MiMedinat HaYam

    having read only these comments and the pres release, why is there no comparison between reparative therapy and other therapies such as sex addiction therapy? A: there is too big a “market” for sex addiction therapy, vs politically incorrect reparative.) and no mention made of (non religious and non youth appropriate)heterosexual “encouragement” therapy.

    and a comparison of depressed homosexual vs depressed reparative “grads”? (suicide rates of homosexuals is pretty high.) also, diff types of homosexuals; i.e., those who feel good about their homosexuality, vs the vast majority who dont. numbers who prefer both (supposedly twice as much as “full time” homosexuals.)

    the question of defining success is also relevant.

  29. MiMedinat HaYam

    amish case — lets see — custody issues, shunning ( = seruv), non injurious assault (shaving off beArd is technically an assault, but not a physical injury), encouragement by uninvolved religious leader.

    sounds like a certain issue discussed here.

  30. I wish the editors of the “Torah To Go” series would include some “Lomdishe” articles in addition to the lighter reading/essays and divrei Torah. This would enhance YUs stature among the world of yeshiva bochrim from more charedi yeshivos

  31. R’ Shmuel,
    I would think the intended audience (IIUC primarily baalei batim in the MO community) is well served by the current articles. RIETS has other publications that are more of the genre you mention.

  32. Joel
    Perhaps but the To Go series is widely disseminated and read by many. I see it in shul regularly while the other publications must be sought out

  33. Nearly two-thirds of Israelis observe kashrus, well beyond the 20% of the country’s near 6 million Jews who are Orthodox.

    Sure, but this does not necessarily mean Kasher from an Orthodox perspective: e.g. b’sari restaurant that is open on Shabbat and hence has no possibility of a teudah.

  34. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Funny that those who want to push the boundary on geirus leniencies are now claiming the legacy of Rav Kook.

  35. “IH on September 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    Nearly two-thirds of Israelis observe kashrus, well beyond the 20% of the country’s near 6 million Jews who are Orthodox.

    Sure, but this does not necessarily mean Kasher from an Orthodox perspective: e.g. b’sari restaurant that is open on Shabbat and hence has no possibility of a teudah.”

    It probabbly does actually. Without the poll details it’s hard to know. But while 20% of Israel is considered “Orthodox”, more than 50% is Orthodox + Traditional.

  36. Rabbi Yosef Rozovsky, the educational director, told me that the curriculum includes arithmetic, Hebrew, and history. Civics is not on the list. Nor is English, a requirement for many jobs and for higher education. “The moment a boy studies English, he is exposed to the wider world and naturally he leaves religion,” explained XXX headmaster, YYYYYYY.
    I tremble to write this, but is this an accurate reflection of a widely held belief? To me it sounds like our religion is so fragile that exposure to the outside world is a guarantee of apostacy? I suppose this could be part of the Or Lagoyim debate but I never realized it could be this stark.


  37. MiMedinat HaYam

    joel r — no. the student will start learning Torah Temimah below the line, then he’ll drink chalav stam, wear a non velvet kippah, … eventually go to YU (maybe just touro). he might become a PC techie and have to read english. maybe his wife will get such a job and ask him to translate occassionally.

    all above definitions of “naturally leaves religion” to these ppl.

    (Of course, in israel the “middle ground” is less existent, but …)

  38. Reading the discussion between R Gil and IH, I can only react by referring the reader to RYBS’s comment as to why we read the Parsha of Arayos as the Krias HaTorah of YK.

  39. Former Black hat

    GT and MMH I was wondering the same thing and had the same answer – in some circles in EY working for a living makes you irreligious. And unfortunately, that horrific kind of thinking is making its way to this country, and specifically the fastest growing ortho neighborhood in the USA located in NJ. They too have no secular studies (once in HS). If you want some you must send your kids to nearby, out of the neighborhood schools like Jackson. I was so upset when I heard about the lack of future for my nephews that I called the NJ Dept of Ed to find out if they are breaking any laws; alas, they aren’t.

    While the good part of Ey (mistapek b’muat; OK living in tiny apartments) are left overseas, the bad part (mooching, not working) come here. Great.

  40. Over Shabbat, I finally got a chance to read this review of Prof. Platinga’s book in the NYRB:

    It is worth a read for those interested in the intersection of evolution and theology.

  41. Sigh: Plantinga (not Platinga).

  42. Lawrence Kaplan

    IH: Thanks for making the review avalailable. I am greatly impressed that Tom Nagel, an atheist, can write such a fair and thoughtful review of Plantiga’s book which sets forth such a strong critique of naturalism and such a strong defence of (Christian) Theism. It would be worthwhile to compare Plantiga’s book with the latest book of CR Sacks, which also deals, like that of Plantiga, with science and religion.

  43. Prof. Kaplan: I’m working on such a comparison. Probably the week after Simchas Torah.

  44. Lawrence Kaplan

    Wow! Baruch she-kivanti. Hag sameach.

  45. “It is worth a read for those interested in the intersection of evolution and theology.”

    Interesting, but I don’t like it.

    As a person of faith, I view my faith as an outgrowth of what might be called other “basic” sources of information. Faith is a combination of my experiences, trust in my teachers, and gut feelings. It’s not a source of knowledge on it’s own. (All three of which, I should say are more often than not, very reliable.)

  46. Given the degree to which Obamacare has been discussed here, I have to point out this (surprising) piece authored by a conservative think tank — American Enterprise Institute — and appearing in the NYT:

  47. Which has been pretty thoroughly discredited, even by many of his colleagues.

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