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Is Judaism a Proselytizing Religion?
Why We Stay Away from the Interfaith Roundtable
OU Tuition Day of Action
R Sacks: Single parents need help
Politics in the Pulpit?
Soccer and the Holocaust
R Maroof: Torah, Science and Women’s Issues
Miriam Moskowitz’s memoir of McCarthyism
Decades-Old Blood Libel Case Roils Town
SALT Friday

This Rabbi Is Against Rabbis for Obama/Romney
Is ‘Free’ Judaism A Good Idea?
Dinner with the Libyan ‘revolutionary’ Jew who fought in the Arab Spring
Italian prime minister says he will stand by country’s Jews
Ask the Rabbi: How do dairy farms on Shabbat?
What Omri Casspi, the First Israeli NBA Player, Is Learning From Tamir Goodman, the Original Jewish Jordan
Going Talmudic on Lance Armstrong
Jewish groups pull out of interfaith dialogue over Protestants’ letter to Congress
Medieval Jewish banquet in small Italian town resurrects forgotten menus
Police Union President: HaLevi Beating Was Justified
The Discontinuity of Continuity
96-year-old Indian ‘is world’s oldest father’
SALT Thursday

NYC Requirement for Consent for Metzitzah B’peh Receives Temporary Stay
Nachlaot, where pedophiles roam free
Israel Hayom bringing needed pluralism to Israeli press
New Toronto Jewish campus sign of booming community growth
Jewish leader unveils model bill on regulating shechitah in EU
Haredi paper blasted over Peres interview
Rav Aviner On Smartphones & Kosher Phones
SALT Wednesday

Kolbrener: Literature Curriculum in the Twenty-First Century Jewish Day School
Kosher Hot Dog at the Super Bowl
Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Elections – No Time Soon
R Ariel: Religious Jews Should Lead Social Justice Effort
Brave Film Tells Story of Egypt and Its Jews
Protestant churches’ letter on Israel straining ties with Jews
Video shows N.Y. police officers beating man at Chabad center
Indian restaurant takes on Rabbinate
Why Women’s Ritual Participation is Not The Answer
Women’s Participation in Ritual: Time for a Paradigm Shift
Why young people are setting time aside for faith
SALT Tuesday

Anti Technology Rabbi Explains His Own iPhone Usage
Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Community Confronts child Sex Abuse With New Book
Hans Bethe and the Problem of “Jewish Genius”
The Izmir Project
Handel, Egypt and the Jews
Rabbis, NYU Imam and Chelsea Clinton share interfaith prize
Jews make up less than 0.2% of mankind
No, Bloomberg Isn’t Banning Circumcision
On Litvaks
Women Dominate Israeli Courts and Public Legal Sector
Teaching Respect to the Young Faithful
12 new ‘haredi campuses’ planned
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. Glatt vegetables?,7340,L-4290014,00.html

    “[Vegetarian] Ichikidana restaurant, located in the capital’s Mahane Yehuda Market, decided to waive the certification after Shmuel Zamelman, the market’s new kashrut supervisor, began forcing restaurants to buy their vegetables in specific stores.”

  2. Its interesting to note that in the first Kidspeak, Walden tells a story about a girl is sexually abused and the perp goes to jail.

    Of course his books are unique in that they give Chareidi children the ability to tell their own stories.

  3. In Re:
    Anti Technology Rabbi Explains His Own iPhone Usaga

    The Talmud states Kol Haposel Bemumo Pesel. That is one of the most, if not the most, insightful statements of chazal.

    The next time a mesader kedushin demands to check what kind of cell phones the eidi kedushin have, I would demmand to first see what kind of cell phone the mesader kedushin has.

  4. The other last bastion of male control is of course as Rabbinical Court judges.

    But not to worry, women are working to take those over too.

    Wow. Just wow.

  5. Shalom Rosenfeld

    From the Forward:

    “Some varieties of salmon are fattier than others; we use [farmed] salmon for making lox … wild salmon … tends to be too lean for curing. Too little fat will cause the salt mixture to “burn” the surface of the salmon and stop the cure from penetrating.”

    Okay … who here is holding in Hilchos Melicha?

  6. The gemara does say “meliach ke roteach” Sure sounds like that is what is happening.

    (Remember, though, that the purpose of salting in each case is different. We salt meat to draw out the blood. Salmon is salted to cure it. Kahered meat may be a bit salty, but it is not cured, certainly not to the extent salmon or corned beef are.)

  7. Shalom Rosenfeld


    Exactly, but it goes beyond that.

    We do “melicha lekedeira.” Curing is “melicha laderech.” (And the best way to do that is first do melicha lekedeira, then rinse, then do melicha laderech.)

    There’s further discussion about how taste travels when salting food if the food is “shamein” vs “kachush” — fatty or lean. (Though the Ramah says minhag ashkenaz is often to make a blanket rule.)

  8. When a user has a valid heter to use a cell phone (assuming that a heter is called for), is he responsible for determining that his Jewish callers using cell phones also have heterim?

  9. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — israeli vegetables have issues other than just bugs. (t”um)

    besides, even here in america, some hechsherim are notorious for requiring certain items be bought from certain sources (including from relatives / mitpalellim of the rav hamachshir)

    mesader kiddushin — this proves another point of mine (and some shul rabbonim). many of these young people use as mesader kiddushin a RY they will prob never / rarely see in their future lives (except to send annual checks; besides the fact they prob rarely had interactions with the RY in yeshiva, short of hearing a shiur from him), instead of using the local shul rav, who nurtured them, and even led them to the (even charedi) yeshiva they then attended. and knows better about other real life issues (besides cell phones) than the RY.

  10. Shalom Rosenfeld

    “Rav Breish has a humorous teshuva regarding a conflict on who should be the mesader kiddushin. He wants his rosh yeshiva from eretz yisrael, she wants her rosh yeshiva from eretz yisrael. So what’s the job of mesader kiddushin, to say the birkas erusin! According to the Rambam it’s the chosson’s birkas mitzva, so he picks the shliach. But we pasken it’s a birkas shevach said on behalf of the entire gathered crowd, and who do they want? The local Orthodox rabbi they know and trust!”

    RH”S, in an mp3 on siddur kiddushin.

    (They say the Ponovizher Rov zt’l would decline siddur kiddushin — “I can give a shiur on Meseches Kesubos, I don’t know how to do weddings.”)

  11. MiMedinat HaYam

    actually, the messader kiddushin’s job is just to make sure all is legal. technically, the chattan is supposed to say all the 7 berachot.

    but its a good story.

    “she wants her RY”? is she from atlanta or the west side?

    israeli law profession — i believe the stats are similar in new york state.

    teaching respect — actually its teaching etiquette. i guess the parents arent teaching them in the 5towns (or elsewhere in the jewish community).

    rabbis imam and chelsea clinton — another plaque to hang on the wall. i can name you a handfukl of O rabbis who tried it, (and are still trying it) and neverthleless recived such awards, even though it never really works anyway. and an intermarried young woman.

  12. Shalom Rosenfeld

    MMHY — listen to the shiur. He’s discussing Birkas ERUSIN (mekadesh es amo yisrael al yedei chupa vekidushin), which is a machlokes rishonim whether it’s a birkas mitzva or shevach v’hodaah. The latter is a beautiful concept when you think about it — witnessing a wedding warrants a wow, thank you G-d! just like seeing the Grand Canyon or the Northern Lights (oseh maaseh bereishis), or seeing your baby girl for the first time (shehechiyanu). Yes the mesader’s job is to ensure it’s done right, but assuming multiple people can do that adequately, Rav Breisch ties that to the simple halachic function of who’s saying the bracha. (Though if you really want to be a stickler for historic accuracy, IIRC the enactment of the Gaonim was to have the town rabbi present — further argument for giving it to the local rabbi [though if he and she are from Baltimore and the wedding is in Lakewood, what would that mean…]

    “She wants her rosh yeshiva” were Rav Shachter’s words. He meant it humorously (you can hear the crowd laughing on the mp3); her seminary rabbi, whatever you want to call him.

  13. Thanks for highlighting my article “Why Women’s Ritual Participation is Not The Answer”.

    The correct link for my article is here:

    The link posted on your site is not working.

  14. the objective should be to educate our communities to an understanding that ritual participation is not the sin qua none of Divine Service (from r’jm)

    “First, they should be granted access to ritual possibilities because it is their right.”(r’sf)

    me-interesting juxtaposition inho


  15. MiMedinat HaYam

    shalom r — the geonim couldnt comprehend such foolishness as lakewood being the only permissible location for a baltimore ( = charedi) wedding.

    she wants her RY — i comment on that humorously too, but sociologically.

    if its a birkat shevach or a birkat mitzvah, then how can the main participant delegate it to someone else? rhetorical question, dont have to answer. (or perhaps both the chattan and kallah should say it, but thats opening another can of worms.)

  16. Shalom Rosenfeld

    If it’s birkas mitzva then the chosson should say it, but just as with mikra bikurim, so as to not embarrass those who don’t know it, blanket rule we have the rabbi say it instead.

    Birkas shevach — it’s upon the experience of seeing a Jewish wedding! It would be like a shul trip to the Grand Canyon, the rabbi would make a big “oseh maaseh bereishis” and everyone would say amen, shomea k’oneh.

  17. I agree with David Weinberg that the market should be allowed to work. The newspaper industry is going through vast changes and if a rightist, or a leftist, wants to subsidize a free alternative — so be it.

    But, he also overstates the case for Israel Hayom being a quality newspaper. It isn’t, any more than the Daily News or the NY Post are because they have had quality columnists.

    Thus far, quality broadsheets have held their own against free competition in the UK and the US. The Israeli public will sleep in the bed they make.

    P.S. I loved his tarring of Olmert (not convicted) with Deri (convicted) and not mentioning Lieberman (any day now, as the old commercial goes) at all.

  18. Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Prof. Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.

    Would that also apply to those who insist on Yiddish and are barely able to express themselves in the legal language of their country?

  19. I found the nachlaot article unhelpful. you don’t go to jail for “pedophilia,” which is an inclination, but for various abusive actions, which are crimes. it is this conflation that causes one to be suspicious of all males. nachlaot is a uniquely horrible ccase, but even there i suspect that your kid is more likely to be abused by someone they know than by a stranger in the bushes. So you need to watch whom they know and how, not strangers in the park.
    Rather than advocating for a general sex offender registry with myriad negative, unforeseen consequences, she should be looking into what if anything can be done re: known abusers.

  20. I wonder if part of the issue is the denial and anger that the ultra-Orthodox community is not as innocent or protected as people were led to believe. And unlike excuses that can be made to blame older victims of abuse, no rational person can blame a child victim.

    It’s easier to lash out, than to confront the underlying issue that religious segregation does not deliver on its promise.

  21. there is a new blog started by a student(s) of RAL transcribing – in english- conversations between RAL and his students on various topics. very interesting and very open on his approach to dealing with chinukh and OTD children – although to my eyes nothing new but also interesting anecdotes.:

  22. The story as reported in the article is a bit vague, but if and when it breaks fully, it’s going to blow the roof off:

  23. This is going too far:

    Relatedly, in a conversation several weeks back, it occurred to me to ask: is it forbidden for a Meshichist Chabad minyan on the men’s side of the Kotel mechitza to publicly sing Yechi (which many consider to be borderline Avodah Zara)?

    Anyone know the answer?

  24. IH: Yisrael HaYom holds up pretty well. Even among free dailies, there’s a hierarchy. Compare it to the Israel Post and the difference is clear. Of course it’s thin and not high-brow (it’s not low-brow either). That’s what it is. But it’s a pretty solid source of news and opinion.

    As to the US and UK, I don’t think it’s the broadsheets that are competing against the free papers. (The same is true of Israel.) But it doesn’t look like the NY Times is doing so well in general.

    Olmert was, in fact, convicted. And there’s no harm in pointing out hypocrisy from those who rail against the (never convicted) Bibi and Lieberman and think the return of Olmert and Deri would be grand.

    The Yiddish speakers, note, are not migrants and not trying to kill anyone.

    I’m increasingly suspicious of the Nahalaot thing. I have no doubt there was widespread abuse and that some of the guilty are walking free. (I see them on the streets of Nahalot every now and then.) But having seen the reaction of some of the locals, there’s a distinct whiff of mob justice, rumors, and urban legends at work. Combined with the real problem that the kids were sort of coached (again, they *were* abused, but this taints the case), it leads to a mess of the whole thing.

    Finally, as to the Kotel: She should try davening on the Har HaBayit. Then she’d start wishing she was back down below. 🙂

  25. IH wrote:

    “Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Prof. Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.

    Would that also apply to those who insist on Yiddish and are barely able to express themselves in the legal language of their country?

    My observation on the bus rides that we always took in Yerushalayim was that charedi passengers, male and female, spoke in Hebrew.

  26. The film is biased and much of it is a lie. Most Egyptian Jews hate Egypt, not Israel, and rightly so. Yet, the film is a step in the right direction. But Egyptians are probably by far the most anti-Semitic people in the world right now, so I think it is too little too late.

  27. Lawrence Kaplan

    Nachum: I think people should be allowed to pray at both sites. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  28. I agree, especially if the prayer is halakhic (as it usually is) and non-provocative. But then, I think the whole Kotel should be shut down.

    (As the dear spouse said when we visited last night, the womens’ section seems to be getting smaller and smaller.)

  29. MiMedinat HaYam

    blanket rule — then have the most senior rav say it (just like sfirat ha’omer (or olmert.)) however you define senior rav.

    like birkat bikkurim — i qualified my stmt by saying technically.

    yiddish speaking — my mother’s aunt never spoke (or knew) a word of hebrew (or yiddish; hungarian women never learned / spoke yiddish in hungary) for the forty years she lived in TA / BB. only hungarian. (her charedi children and grandchildren speak fluent hebrew at home and in the street, their preffered language. ?sfat eim?) (obviously, she knew minimal hebrew, like most americans know some spanish or polish to talk to the …)

  30. I have also noticed the shrinking womens section. Sometimes it is just for chagim, I think, though the general trend is still to shrink…

  31. In light of the conflation of the Har ha’Bayit issue and the Kotel issue, perhaps we should ask the Russians to mediate the latter as well 🙂

  32. “At the ceremony, the Jordanian ambassador made reference to the situation in Jerusalem, saying that his country was seeking to continue to ensure equality of freedom of worship in the city for all nations and religions.”

    What a load of…well, fifteen Jews arrested on Chol HaMoed…the guy’s got chutzpah.

    The whole stink over the “area” of the bridge is because they’d prefer the temporary bridge simply collapse, thus ensuring that no Jews pollute “their” holy mount.

    Meanwhile, the southern wall is in danger of collapsing, all due to primitive Arab construction.

  33. I loved his tarring of Olmert (not convicted) with Deri (convicted)

    the diffence between Deri and Olmert is that on is a Dos and a Frank and the others is member of the secular ashkenazic elite, who lead the hitnatkut.

  34. Rabbi Student, it appears that the hyperlinks from here to SALT (Surf A Little Torah) on the Gush VBM are broken.

  35. emma,

    By us, the women’s section actually expands during the Chagim :).

  36. IH,

    As others here have pointed out, but you have ignored, Olmert was convicted.

  37. Tzvi — for the avoidance of doubt, I am no fan of Olmert.

  38. the guy’s got chutzpah

    Yeah, that was my reaction too (1948 – 1967, if nothing else).

  39. Current, IH: I could be wrong, but I think Jordan still runs the Har HaBayit Waqf.

  40. Rabbi Wolkenfeld’s piece is interesting only if none of us have ever heard of “Rabbis for Romney.” If I may be biased, if they exist, you’ll probably see a lot more actual Judaism in their claims.

    Re: Free Judaism. Of a piece with what I see among some younger contemporaries of mine, who feel that all movies, music, etc. should be completely free.

  41. Re “Free Judaism”, I think that there has to be a middle ground between “there is no such thing as a free lunch” and some programs of an introductory nature that are free. Like it or not, communities and institutions run on both Tzedaka and Chesed, which implies that the necessity for paying some fee for services rendered, as well as the expenditure of time as “sweat equity” to ensure that services, programs and facilities are running in a proper manner.

  42. Steve — I don’t know if you realize this, but the complaint about Chabad giving free services is a problem mostly for the non-Orthodox. To become a bar mitzva in most Reform or Reconstructionist shuls, the family (as I understand it) needs to enroll their child in for-fee religious classes for at least a year and they have to be paid members. Whereas, again, as I understand it, Chabad often makes available a free bar mitzva “ceremony” with no up-front requirements.


    The article/discussion about free newspapers is an interesting juxtoposition. In both cases, the arguments touch on the same two issues: 1) what is colloquially known as the “free heroin” problem in the business world; 2) economic sustainability of the system (the balance between the attraction of new subscribers and the cost of the service to keep subscribers.

  43. [BTW, when I heard this Chabad issue over a dinner conversation, my response was to ask what their movement’s development organizations were doing to attract the money their own members were giving to Chabad to subsidize the free services they were complaining about].

  44. IH wrote:

    “Steve — I don’t know if you realize this, but the complaint about Chabad giving free services is a problem mostly for the non-Orthodox.”

    Like it or not, Chabad competes with ( and has been accused of poaching) with respect to its competitors for a long time-regardless of whether the competitor is a strugging MO shul, community Kollel or heterodox house of worship. Yet, one cannot deny that there is a great degree of mentslichkeit and heimischness in all of the free services provided by Chabad-the Sukkah that I ate at in Bryant Park this Chol HaMoed, its Shabbos meals, etc. Like it or not, on most college campuses where Chabad competes with Hillel, regardless of Chabad’s messianist hashkafa, Chabad offers services such as a Shabbos meal, etc, which are often a student’s only connection to Yiddishkeit and in many other cases serve as a port of entry into a serious exploration of Jewish identity. One of our friends’ daughters spent Simchas Torah at Harvard-I saw what was produced by both Chabad and Hillel and was impressed by Chabad’s publications and underwhelmed by Hillel’s. It was obvious to me that Chabad at Harvard had sucessfully found Harvard faculty members who were willing to lend their good names to serve on the Board ( A Dershowitz, R Wisse, etc).

  45. Indeed. They are a model of what in the business world is called “disruptive innovation”. From wikipedia:

    A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in the new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.

  46. abba's rantings

    “Ask the Rabbi: How do dairy farms on Shabbat?”

    brings back memories. i learned in a kibbutz-associated yeshivah and one day we visited the dairy cows for a shiur on the history of cow milking and halacha in modern israel.

    anyway, i don’t understand why someone would buy tnuva’s mehadrin milk if tnuva is still milking on shabbos the non-mehadrin stuff. (perhaps ideally they wouldn’t but no other choice?)

  47. IH-Look at it this way-To paraphrase a great advertisement-some things in life are priceless and can be free.

    Chabad offers an element of heimischekeit, mentlishkeit and idealistic enthusiasm about Yiddishkeit which the establishment shuls-Orthodox and heterodox don’t. The Charedi model of a Chabad house is the community kollel. Perhaps, both models offer the above elements that are unfortunately missing from both big shul MO and heterodox houses of worship.

    I tend to doubt that Chabad will replace big shul MO becase MO, like the Charedi world, consists of constituencies that have been together with their kids going to the same schools, camps, year in Israel programs. Chabad functions best on college campuses , the hinterlands of American Jewry and in providing a sense of Jewish pride that inspired both the Charedi and MO worlds. I think that when you read about kiruv/chizuk, Talmud shiurim and mincha minyanim at prominent law firms and financial institutions, that all started with Chabad asking people to put on Tefilin , eat in a sukkah and shake Arbah Minim. Like it or or not, Chabad made and makes people feel proud of being Jewish in a very positive way. As long as the heterodox movements view Jewish identity as being nothing more than the Democratic Party platform,as Dr Jack Wertheimer points out, they will continue to lose members and not atract the next generation.

  48. I saw the following humerous lines in this week’s English Mishpacha Magazine, quoting “badchanim”, and I paraphrase:

    Parents are stopping to name their children after Rav Elyashiv zt”l since the babies who carry his name wake up at 2 am and start crying.

  49. I try not to buy Tenuva milk because its Badatz. I dont like funding the people who cre3ate such chillul hashems here in beit shemesh.

    Tara milk is under Aguda, not my style butI have no problem doing business with them.

  50. Jordan actually continuously complained to the UN about ISRAEL’s treatment of Jerusalem during the ’50s. This is par for the course.

  51. “OU Tuition Day of Action”

    is this a joke? a rally at the trenton war memorial? and a gala dinner with a $180/person price tag?

    “Decades-Old Blood Libel Case Roils Town”

    the secondary story in this article that deserves more attention is the disappearance of small-town jewish communities across the country even as those in major centers are booming.

  52. MiMedinat HaYam

    american blood libel — and the NY state police still claims they cant find their records. no one wants to follow up, just a bunch of authors (and now, the young lady, now 88).

    for the record, it was an orthodox community in massena, in the sense that they were not R or C.

    tuition day of action — are they looking for some scraps like “mandated” reimbursement, or real tuition vouchers independent of family income a la public schools (hence non discriminatory)? (of course, the state has no money. they never do, so its not a real response.)

    its not an issue for charedim, since real vouchers require real education, which charedim are willing to forgo. as long as they get their yeshiva credits and yeshiva grants. (MO yeshivot dont go for that.)

    elon — jordan complained then about “west” jerusalem.

    now, the waqf reports to the plo (not hamas, interstingly. makes no difference.) but they run their $ through jordanian banks (prob want to keep their finances from prying eyes.). jordan has no control over the waqf anymore. nor do they desire any such control. jordan has their own issues, which can blow up any moment.

  53. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba — there is no real public space in trenton except that. other such events are held there.

    there were a good number of shuls in trenton in old times, an example of your later comment. though their former members wont go to a $50 dinner, as much as they’ll go to a $180 dinner (assuming they’re still O).

  54. For my perspective on the subject of Rabbi Brody’s excellent article, see “Reflections on Conversion and Proselytizing in Judaism and Christianity,” Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations 3 (2008): R1-R8, available at
    and reprinted in my Persecution, Polemic, and Dialogue: Essays in Jewish-Christian Relations,pp.367-377.

  55. abba's rantings


    i wasn’t questioning the venue of the rally, but rather the purpose and anticipated effect. other than an opportunity for the OU to issue a press release that it is doing something regarding tuition, it will have no other effect.
    and $180/person for a public dinner to highlight a financial problem?
    and interesting that cory booker will be speaking at one of the events. he is big proponent of school choice, but not the model that the OU wants. i’m willing to bet that he would balk at throwing real support behind governemnt funding for segregationist and exclusivist schools that are academically successful and cater to families in the 95% percentile of housefold income. he isn’t a fundementalist christian who believes in school choice on ideological grounds; for him it’s part of his program to reform his city’s failing schools.

  56. MiMedinat HaYam

    agree regarding futility of OU (but gotta be careful criticizing the OU on this blog). they will settle for a few crumbs like something called mandated services (partial) reimbursement, and a photo op with local (?statewide?) politicians. just like the white house fiasco.

    regarding booker — he seems to be an interesting character. buddies with “reb shmuly” (he was his president of cambridge chabad) but even RC schools are exclusivist to a major degree, and booker (and others) know that. booker would only oppose throwing real money because it comes out of his pocket (and that of bill and melinda gates foundation, that obviuosly oppposes such funding, and are now (somehow) financing his schools, which by the way, by now have no jewish teachers, and i doubt any real number of whites.)

    my non discriminatory comment refers to discrimination against the 95%ile (and i challenge you on that figure, though i grant you the public perception) for requiring them to support public schools they never use (and often refused access to such mundane parts as the athletic facilities and / or auditoriums) and refusal to support their private educational facilities.

  57. I look forward to reading both R. Berger’s paper and R. Brody’s article. A negative quick keyword search leads me to wonder when the ethnographic research being done using DNA will find its way into the historical analysis being discussed.

    For example, the just published study by Einstein researchers, North African Jewish and non-Jewish populations form distinctive, orthogonal clusters appears to, again, demonstrate a case of Jewish male immigrants marrying local (non-Jewish) wives from which an endogamous community grows. To this lay person, that would indicate some form of repeat targeted proselytization (of females).

  58. abba's rantings


    1) typical catholic schools (not the elite private ones) are not at all exclusivist and they admit all (unfortunately even jews). moreover there are some in the inner city where the (vast?) majority are not catholic, as the mission of these catholic schools is the betterment of mankind, not to cater a tiny population subset.
    2) you pay taxes for plenty of government-sponsored programs that you will never benefit from and likewise you use plenty of government-sponsored services that others pay taxes for even thought they’ll never benefit from them. that’s the way it works in a civilized society.
    3) i’m not sure which part of the 95% stat you are challenging. acc. to wiki (forgive me) 150-200k is 94th percentile. i think it’s fair to say that on average this represents the typical average household income of 30s-40s year olds in places like teaneck, woodmere, etc. sure some are lower and probably a lot are blessed to be much higher, but anecdotally that would seem to me be the average (certainly in instances of a dual-income household). is there any published data on this?

  59. Nah, Jordan complained about the blockage of access to holy sites, which are in East Jerusalem, although they did not realize this, perhaps.

    But right now, they are trying to scapegoat Israel to distract from their homefront which is about to erupt.

  60. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba — 1. yes, they admit non cathoilcs, but there is (some level of) indocrination, discrimnination, and exclusivity.. (dont forget, vast majority of cathloics are not that observant of catholocism. this applies to the school administration, too.) and they are selective in who they take in (problem children are avoided, much as they are avoided in yeshivot, despite what the rav might tell you.)

    2. there is a specific tax in suburbia for public schools. its called property taxes, unlike in NYC. so your argument is weak.

    3. since you mention non jersey locations, there is a large number of less than 150K parents sending their children to yeshivot. and if you open the floodgates, the figure will go down.

    gotta go. will commenmt later after shabbat.

    shabbat shalom.

  61. abba's rantings


    1) anyone can attend those catholic schools. there is no exclusivity or discrimination based on race, gender, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion (or level of observance), etc. Not taking problem kids is a different issue.
    there may be indoctrination (i have no idea how much there actually is in these inner-city schools), but anyone may attend. this isn’t at all comparable to jewish schools.

    2) how does this weaken my argument?

    3) not sure what you mean

  62. “To this lay person, that would indicate some form of repeat targeted proselytization (of females)”

    Doubtful. More likely illicit romance leading to the woman taking on the husband’s religion to be part of the broader community. Most Jewish conversions, then and now, were not “road to Damascus”-type changes of heart. IMHO, socialization and raising a family is far more important in these cases than proselytization.

  63. aiwac — I think you’re missing the point. The DNA (Y and MT) allows for tracing of common ancestors. Time and again, the research is showing a diaspora community of a male founder of a Leventine (i.e. presumptive Jewish) Haplogroup and a female founder of a local (i.e. presumptive non-Jewish)Haplogroup.

  64. I thank Prof. Berger for the link to his paper which brought back memories of how petrified Orthodoxy was of Jews for Jesus and, unmentioned, the Moonies. With 20/20 hindsight, one wonders how much of that was mass hysteria (perhaps due to the preceding hippy years experience).

    In regard to the issue of salvation which is central to Prof. Berger’s thinking on interfaith discussion, time has also made a mark. In American Grace Profs. Putnam and Campbell relate the following (2nd ed, pp. 539-540):

    Across this range of Christian denominations we see a disconnect between the leaders at the pulpits and the people in the pews. Most Christian clergy see salvation as exclusively Christian, while most Christians have a more – if not completely – inclusive view of who will be saved in the hereafter.

    The clergy-laity disconnect was made clear to us more vividly than is possible with a dry statistical report on who believes what. Early in our research for this book, one of us (Putnam) spoke about our work to a group of Lutheran theologians from the Missouri Synod, one of the evangelically inclined denominations within Lutheranism. They were shocked that such a high percentage of Americans believe that there are many ways to get to heaven. One theologian spoke up firmly that those who believe that are simply wrong. And judging from the murmurs of approval from the group, he was not alone in his opinion. In an attempt to reconcile this apparent heresy, another member of the audience proposed that, surely, Missouri Synod Lutherans do not take such a casual view toward salvation. What ensued was social science research in real time, as an on-the-spot analysis of the 2006 Faith Matters data stored on Putnam’s laptop revealed that 86 percent of Missouri Synod Lutherans said that a good person who is not of their faith could indeed go to heaven. Upon hearing this news, these theologians were stunned into silence. One wanly said that as teachers of the Word, they had failed.

    ironically, for Orthodox Jews, the reason for this — and other metrics that demonstrate the virtual elimination of religious antipathy to Jews among American Christians – is integration and intermarriage. Putnam and Campbell continue further down the page:

    The explanation for the fact that so many Americans appear to disregard the [exclusivist] theology of their religions rests in the religious bridging within their personal social networks. If you are highly religious, your Aunt Susan and your pal Al both produce a form of cognitive dissonance. You know you are supposed to believe that only people who believe as you do will enter heaven. However, Susan and Al are both salt of the earth, and so surely heaven has a place for them. Most Americans, it appears, resolve this discrepancy in favor of believing that Susan and Al can go to heaven after all.

  65. I think you are using “Ironically” incorrectly.

  66. IH,

    I conceded your point, but I still suspect proselytization had less to do with it than more down-to-earth issues. See here for a discussion of the phenomenon you mention, and which was apparently quite known in responsa:

  67. Elon — See definition #2:


    1. In an ironic manner.
    2. Used to denote a paradoxical, unexpected, or coincidental situation.

    aiwac — thanks for the link on the related topic of conversion, historical and today. I took a mini-course on the topic with Prof. Zvi Zohar a year ago.

  68. IH-I have read Putnam and Campbell’s works-while written in an articulate fashion, their knowledge of Orthodoxy is IMO negligible to the point of being useless in this discussion.

  69. Steve — help me out. What does Putnam & Campbell’s knowledge of Orthodox Judaism have to do with Christian attitudes of salvation?

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