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For Bukharian Teens, Shelter From The Storm
Women in Israel: As the IDF becomes more religious, the rights of female soldiers suffer
For Ashkenazi Orthodoxy, a new heart in the east?
Aramaic Christians Seek To Revive Ancient Language
Jewish communities grapple with baby boomer retirement boom
Rabbi, Called Jewish Indiana Jones, Is Sentenced in Torah Plot
NYC, rabbis clash over circumcision ritual
Attack on Israel Must End Interfaith Sham
Orthodox synagogues sing to different tune
Growing and Struggling in Latin America
SALT Friday

OU Kosher Publishes New Manual for Food Service Industry
A Tale of Two Philanthropists
Conservatives Walking Intermarriage Tightrope
Ethical Stem-Cell Researcher Wins Nobel Prize for Medicine
Study: 1 in 6 U.S. Jews seeking Jewish expression outside of synagogue (halevai it was higher)
Google Cultural Institute preserves Jewish content in first exhibits
OU Joins Other Religious Groups In Court Brief Supporting Right Of Congregations To Rent NYC Public School Spaces
SALT Thursday

Prof. Joshua Berman Returns for a Follow-Up Interview on Biblical Law
Torah, she wrote
Germany Debates Proposal To Protect Circumcision
Simchat Torah flags go feminist
Study: One-Third Of Adults Under 30 Have No Religious Affiliation
London council set to remove ‘anti-Semitic’ mural showing Jewish bankers
Religious Freedom at the Ballot Box
Introducing world’s largest sukkah
Can Muslim Doctors Refuse to Treat the Opposite Sex?
Concentration and Politics Hinder Israel Newspapers
Politics at Ben Gurion May Eliminate Politics in Class
UK Courts Rules Charedi Father Cannot Determine Course of His Children’s Education
SALT Wednesday

Prior news & links posts
Rules: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor 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 has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He 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.

44 comments

  1. For ease of reference, the Pew study referenced in the linked “Study: One-Third Of Adults Under 30 Have No Religious Affiliation” is http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx

  2. On p. 13 of the full report there is an insightful chart of Trends in Religious Affiliation, 2007-2012. On p. 79 is the breakdown. These are the 2 references for the string “Jew” in the report. Very interesting data point tangential to the conclusions of the report itself.

  3. Interesting juxtaposition of freedom of religion at the ballot box and can muslim doctors refuse to treat members of the opposite sex.

  4. MiMedinat HaYam

    muslim doctors — hitchkock made a film on this idea in 1944 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifeboat_(film)

    BGU — “But Bar Ilan is a right-leaning religious university” only if compared to calling israel apartheid (BGU). otherwise, its mainstream, with leftist leanings.

  5. Nu nu, Abraham Lincoln was one of the very few religiously unaffiliated presidents (probably because of where he was raised) and yet was one of the most religious. Apparently his religious belief was heavily based on the Book of Job, but to each his own.

    That safrut article is odd- writing a ketubah? Anyone can write a ketubah. You can have a *printed* ketubah. Megillat Esther is pretty uncontroversial too, as women are mechuyavot in that. Are they mechuyavot in mezuzah? Would that make a difference? What about Parshat Zachor- would that open the door to Sifrei Torah? Can they make tefillin for other women?

  6. Due to the chagim, I have been remiss in writing & posting the following short summary which is a followon, of sorts, to: https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/06/koren-steinsaltz-talmud/

    Some thoughts having now completed Daf Yomi for Masechet B’rachot, referencing both the new Koren and the Artscroll.

    Style:

    – I found the Koren presentation of the translation chunked into paragraphs rather than phrases to be far more helpful than the Artscrol interpolated translation. That way, I was able to easily read the Hebrew/Aramaic as a stated thought, followed by the English translation and notes.

    – For those of us brought up with modern Israeli pronunciation, the Koren transliteration (when needed) is easier to parse.

    Graphics:

    – While some of the graphics didn’t add much value, many did in unexpected ways. As an urban dweller, the botany graphics in B’rachot were particularly helpful to understanding the text in ways I hadn’t caught before and as more general education.

    Historical Context and Scholarship:

    – I really enjoyed the Language notes explaining the derivation of borrow words. The pointing out and explanation of key phrases used throughout the Talmud is also an educational aid.

    – The Artscroll is wedded to the Vilna text, sticking with what is well known to be the product of censorship; whereas the Koren takes a more academic approach. This is obvious in regard to, e.g. Akum vs. Goyim; but, plays out in more subtle forms elsewhere. For example: this Koren note on 48a in regard to סַלְסְלֶהָ וּתְרוֹמְמֶךָּ: “In variant readings of this Gemara, including in the manuscripts before the ge’onim, the verse quoted by Shimon ben Shataĥ was: “Extol her and she will exalt you, and your seat will be amongst princes,” which is more appropriate for the case at hand, since he was seated between the king and queen. This verse does not appear in Scripture, and its source is the book of Ben Sira. Although this work was not canonized by the Sages, neither was it rejected outright, and its salient verses are cited.” Artscroll is completely silent on this.

    – The Koren seems less reticent about showing the relationship between some text and the outside culture that influenced it. For example, the identification of Markulis as the Roman god Mercury on 57B, further noting that Mercury is the Roman version of the Greek god Hermes and explaining that “Among the various roles attributed to him was patron of the roads and journeys. Therefore, idols of him were often placed at the entrance to roadways, usually incomplete, symbolic images.” By contrast see circumspect Note 61 in the Artscroll.

    Halacha

    For those interested in halachot codified in the Yad or SA derived from the Bavli to track (including those we don’t necessarily follow today), the Halacha notes are a useful assist as they provide a summary as well as the Mareh Makom.

  7. LongTimeReader

    I’m surprised to hear that assessment. After high expectations – their advertisements looked great – using the Koren was a surprising disappointment for me (you get what you pay for?). The graphics were almost always unhelpful (a picture of a lion? a hallway?) and the notes were usually not that much better. The biographies of the tanaim / amoraim were nice, but it’s a luxury that enhance the learning peripherally, but don’t really add to the substance. Using it gave me a new found appreciation for how strong a product Art Scroll puts out, despite the occasional frustrations.

  8. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Sofer — AFAIU it’s not an issue of yatza/motzee. Ukshartam->uchsasvtam. Only those obligated in wearing tefilin can write a mezuzah. And kal vachomer tefilin or a sefer Torah.

    Megilas Esther is a safek in the Pri Megadim — do we say there’s a din “ksiva” for all sta’m, in which case women are also pasul (and just as one opinion in the Gemara says “Tzipora took a flint” means “Tzipora had a man take a flint”, so “Esther wrote the megilah” means “she had it written”); or do we say that because megilas Esther has less kedusha than a mezuzah, a woman can write one.

  9. R’LTR,
    I have to disagree on the notes- I almost always find that the R’ Steinsaltz notes provide a good, short summary of the key issues. The Artscroll notes are often more useful for telling you sources to go and look up. I find the “hachayim” notes and the girsaot especially helpful.
    KT

  10. ▪ Concentration and Politics Hinder Israel Newspapers

    Or maybe people just aren’t interested in reading Ma’ariv anymore.

    “Media experts here speak of an ominous trend: a once-diverse news bazaar that is becoming more concentrated and prone to political influence. In particular, they say, the economics of the print media have been skewed by the arrival five years ago of Israel Hayom… viewed as pro-Netanyahu, now claims the widest distribution of any Hebrew newspaper on weekdays. Public television and radio have also come under tighter state control.”

    Are they implying that Bibi is playing Putin or something? What is exactly this ‘state control’ anyhow?

    “Tzipi Livni, the former leader of the opposition, came to the media’s defense in a recent column for Maariv.”

    That about sums it up. An irrelevant poltician advocating on behalf of an irrelevant newspaper against big bad Bibi.

    And let’s not forget that Livni’s party tried to ouitlaw Yisrael Ha’yom. In the name of democracy, of course.

    http://www.themarker.com/advertising/1.573578

  11. “BGU — “But Bar Ilan is a right-leaning religious university” only if compared to calling israel apartheid (BGU). otherwise, its mainstream, with leftist leanings.”

    I do not think that this is accurate, but I will differ to Dr. Alster on this matter.

  12. Thanks, Moshe, though I’m not so involved in BIU anymore. My experience there is that it’s pretty balanced – on the right it goes as far as it can (say Hillel Weiss in Jewish Lit), on the left there are plenty of faculty members, but probably no Israel-bashers (at least not publicly). In the Bible department I can think of lecturers firmly on both sides. However, I think the question here is not about the university in general, but about the Political Science department in particular. There I really have no idea.

  13. Reuven Spolter

    Re “World’s Largest Sukkah”
    We actually went to the one in Ashdod. Sadly, it needed significantly more sechach to have been a kosher sukkah. But the thought was a good one, I guess. More to the point, the Sukkah was kind of surreal. I thought that it was going to be an exhibit of Sukkot from different countries, but ended up being a kind of museum with cheesy actors pretending to represent a specific country. For example, the “America” booth was staffed by an Israeli dressed like a rapper from Brooklyn, for reasons no one could fathom. The whole thing was so strange.

  14. From the little I remember of the BIU PoliSci dept. and their work, they tend to be centrist on average, with maybe a slight leaning to the left. Aside from Menahem Klein, you won’t find very many hard leftists in Bar-Ilan. It’s the last academic bastion of relative sanity in Israel, and I say that not with glee but sorrow.

  15. For those who would trot out prominent examples from the BIU PoliSci dept in either direction, remember that it has a very large faculty. It is not just its most visible professors. The issue is not one or two people but the average political leanings.

  16. Who`s who in American Jewry 1926 is available at: http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/freimann/content/titleinfo/3777276

    A few Rabbis I noted on a quick foray:

    Eliezer Silver (image 570)
    Bernard Revel (image 496)
    David de Sola Pool (image 481)
    Joseph Lookstein (image 403)
    Morris Margolies (image 416)
    Mordecai Kaplan (image 309)
    Samuel Baskin (image 37)

    Interestingly, the 3rd person in the KJ/JC/SAJ moves, Rabbi Jung, does not seem to be listed.

  17. IH wrote in part:

    “On p. 13 of the full report there is an insightful chart of Trends in Religious Affiliation, 2007-2012. On p. 79 is the breakdown. These are the 2 references for the string “Jew” in the report. Very interesting data point tangential to the conclusions of the report itself”

    The comment at Page 13 struck me as irrelevant, especially given the findings and conclusions of the survey. The breakdown at Page 79 is sigificant only when compared to the non-Jewish respondents. Once again, extrapolating from demographics , as in the recent survey re the NY Jewish community, adds a lot of information about the area depicted in the survey, but not an awful lot about the neighborhoods institutions and populations that form the actual community.

  18. abba's rantings

    “OU Joins Other Religious Groups In Court Brief Supporting Right Of Congregations To Rent NYC Public School Spaces”

    i understand when jews join with christian groups to fight for a common need or moral value. but is there a (halachic) problem when it is a fight for propagating actual christian worship?

    is it halachically wise to join with christians in advocating for is there a halakhic problem with this

  19. in the article about female soldiers and the issues with an increasingly religous army, it mentions an episode where a male religous soldier walks out when a female touches a gun. What is the basis for this?

  20. R’DK,
    Beged Ish?
    KT

  21. i understand when jews join with christian groups to fight for a common need or moral value. but is there a (halachic) problem when it is a fight for propagating actual christian worship?

    is it halachically wise to join with christians in advocating for is there a halakhic problem with this

    Who says it is halakhically problematic?

    First of all, acc. to the view that shituf is permitted for non-Jews, there is no issue.

    Even acc. to the other view, in this case they are likely going to have their services anyway — it will just be harder or more expensive to rent from someone else. This means it is not trei avrei de nahara, and while Tosafos in Shabbos 3a says there is still lifnei iver derabbanan of le afrushei me issurei, the Shach says that does not apply to non-Jews.

    While I agree a shayloh should be asked, it is not at all obvious that this is forbidden.

    (Not to mention the positive aspect of having places available for minyanim to rent on Shabbos. One of the big shuls in Passaic for years rented its space from a local school, until eventually they built their own building.)

  22. As a long term resident of KGH, I found Steve Lipman’s article a must read. The Bukharian community, IMO, has no shortage of shuls, rabbonim , and kiruv-all of which are patterned on the Ashkenazi Charedi model. The speakers at their well publicized gatherings are all Charedi, and their literature views KGH as if it was just developed by the Charedi world-a palpably incorrect statement. The article pointed out that at least one group recognized the issues facing the teens of that community and the need for options in a proper teen friendly and non judgmental setting.

  23. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b — but they had no problem coming to YIKGH to fundraise (where they delicately overlooked the pblms described in the JW article, yet kept it active to encourage donation$.) but must note that all their leaders are charedi musmachim. i guess YU / NCSY / etc never appealed to them.

    also intersting, their model is similar to something charedim are trying in flatbush, but apparently, not ernough $ is coming in (cause they somewhat encourage MO behavior, or at least what they consider to be MO behavior, as a practical short term solution)

  24. The article you cite, Elon, illustrates the danger of ignorance that comes from lack of dialogue.

    If we’re not willing to teach them Talmud, how can we blame them for their perception of what it says? And if we’re not allowed to read their texts, how can we be so sure oue perceptions of their texts are any more accurate than their perceptions of ours?

  25. Interesting Beliefs column in today’s NYT on the Role of Faith in Social Science Scholarship:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/us/mark-regnerus-and-the-role-of-faith-in-academics.html

  26. Well, then, IH, it’s only fair to ask of the sexual orientation and experiences of those writing in favor of the homosexual cause. No? We can begin with Kinsey himself.

    It can also be pointed out that belief in various left-wing causes (including the perverse championing of homosexuality) can be just as faith-based, if not more so, than religion itself.

    Your bit about “dialogue” is nonsensical. As for the first half, they’re perfectly capable of examining the sources themselves. As for the second, who cares? You’re really reaching here.

  27. It’s a new year, Nachum. Reach for understanding, which is the antidote to hate. Here’s one to start:

    http://offthepathandontotheroad.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-big-anniversary.html

    Then read his latest:

    http://offthepathandontotheroad.blogspot.com/2012/10/one-moment-in-time.html

  28. What exactly is this supposed to do for me? I don’t know enough gay people already? I’m not bombarded by similar homonormative messages from all over already?

  29. By the way, it must feel really good to sit on your morally superior perch and label anyone you disagree with a “hater.” Has it ever occurred to you that your over-use of that term marks you as the hater?

  30. Stop at the next mirror.

  31. “If we’re not willing to teach them Talmud, how can we blame them for their perception of what it says?”

    They can start by reading this:
    http://talmud.faithweb.com/

    “And if we’re not allowed to read their texts, how can we be so sure oue perceptions of their texts are any more accurate than their perceptions of ours”

    Agree with Nachum. Who cares?

    “Stop at the next mirror.”

    IH in the mirror is ‘HI’
    Now what?

  32. Who cares?

    Anyone who complains about misrepresentation one would expect.

  33. IH-

    Not sure what you mean. I don’t care if they think Jews have horns. I care if they kill me in a crusade or Jihad. If they think we’re misrepresenting them, they’re welcome to say where and how. We in turn may or may not care. So long as we’re not hurting them, what exactly is their prob if we allegedly misrepresent?

  34. Shaul — did you read the article Elon posted to which I responded?

  35. I disagree, IH. The issue is intent. Most Catholics and Palestinians and Jordanians who want to learn Talmud are not interested in Judaism. They are not interested in exactly what is Kotev or which objects you have to announce and which you can keep. They are interested in using the Talmud to justify their statements that it changed Judaism and demands we take Israel from them. They are interested in finding statements that would not sound politically correct to a modern ear, and they will use those to the advantage. Such statements exist in the Talmud, and they are not hard to find. Teaching it would only aggravate the problem. The perceptions are preconceived, and the Talmud would probably easily validate most of them.

    Conversely, a Jew would only learn the NT for anti-Missionary work, in which case he can, but they would not want to teach, or because he is interested in Christianity, in which case they would be all too happy to teach and it would be dangerous to learn.

  36. Elon — If that is what you believe, then what was your point in posting the link?

  37. This guy is one of the Vatican emissaries to Israel. His views on Jews and their books are important. But teaching him Talmud would only encourage him.

  38. IH-I agree with Elon’s assessment of the article, which proves that supercessionist rhetoric is alive and well despite Vatican II , Dabru Emes and the voices of the choir of advocates of ecumenical theological dialogue. I also agree with Nachum that posting a link to a blog hardly constitutes a response to an article that indicates that solely because of his conclusions re same sex unions, that his views were not only not acceptable, but also became a basis for labeling the same as homophobic, a code word which has been deprived of any meaning in the same manner as hate, racist and mysognistic, by those who believe that there shall be no dissent from the PC in public, cultural and intellectual discourse.

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