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Lord Sacks: religion can help sustain welfare state
Prenatal whole genome sequencing technology raises Jewish ethical questions
Canadian Islamic group charges Jewish school uses racist textbook
Spain speeds up naturalization for Sephardic Jews
Odeh, Modeh, and Yehudah: the concept of thanksgiving in the Jewish tradition
SALT Friday

YU Torah on Thanksgiving
Torah Judaism Is Alive In Germany
Israel wins case to retain Austrian Jewish archive
Kolbrener: Poetry Can Wait, the Siren Is Blaring
E Brown: Rabbi for a day
Legalizing Our Zionism
R Shafran: Hearing the Hurricane
After Sandy, locals stretch beyond their neighborhoods to help those in need
Google’s in-house philosopher: Technologists need a “moral operating system”
Women bishops: Did feminism undermine the campaign?
R Slifkin: Drawing Strength from Blood Libels
SALT Thursday

Jewish Action – Winter 2012 issue (my articles)
R S Goldin: When your home is in danger, you come home
Hard-Hit Schools Getting Help
R A Yitzhak: Attempt to draft haredim brought war
Another Big Meal? Jewish Cooks Juggle Back-to-Back Festive Dinners Over Thanksgiving Weekend
Herman Wouk vs. Philip Roth
Is Birthright More Than Freebie Trip?
Weeks after Sandy, enormity of human and economic costs are becoming clearer
Orthodox schools network casts a wider net
SALT Wednesday

US Jews Fighting Wrong Battle
R E Ben-Dahan: I’ll Lead Fight for Family Values
Atheist of the Book
Yeshiva Students TAP New State Aid
Refuting messianic sects
R C Kanievsky: Bnei Brak won’t be hit by missiles
A Plantinga: Why Darwinist Materialism is Wrong
Tyndale gets court win against abortion mandate
SALT Tuesday

Largest U.S. Organizations Team Up Calling On Jews To Support Israel Through Torah Study
Should Anti-Semitism Be Hyphenated?
At EU, Faithful Christians Need Not Apply?
RIP Hostess Brands
U. Cal. Officials Reject Israel Divestment Bill
Jewish organizations urged to accept gays
Haredi group’s weapons: Tar, laxatives
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.

64 comments

  1. The Tikvah Center’s annual Gruss lecture was a couple of weeks ago. This year’s speaker was Prof. Christine Hayes of Yale who delivered a thought provoking talk on “Divine Law: A Tale of Two Concepts (And Three Responses)” now available on YouTube. The first 30 mins are a bit dry, but she warms up in the 2nd 30 mins and really excels at the Q&A. Worth a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5gdHl8cR7U

  2. Which Young Israel is the picture of?
    KT

  3. Abba's Rantings

    R. JOEL:

    i though it was a stock photo from the YU beis midrash?

  4. “but “antitrust” doesn’t involve the notion of “trust.” ”
    of course it does… just not in the sense the author is thinking of.

  5. MiMedinat HaYam

    at EU, faithfull christians need not apply, but anti israel (read anti semitic) bashing continues.

  6. “Jewish organizations urged to accept gays”

    Yeah, we have to listen to whatever the non-Orthodox Federation bigwigs dictate to us. Put accepting women Rabbis and removing mechitzos on the list too, while you’re at it.

    I think those (overwhelmingly) pathetically ignorant Jews should first learn at least aleph-beis before trying to tell us, who know something about our holy faith, what to do. We don’t need their advice to import the bankrupt and failed policies of their heterodox groupings into our Torah Judaism.

  7. Mordechai – I don’t know if you have looked at this blog before, you may be in for a suprise as to responses you get to your posted comment (I agree with your comment, BTW).

  8. “This year’s speaker was Prof. Christine Hayes of Yale who delivered a thought provoking talk on “Divine Law: A Tale of Two Concepts (And Three Responses)” now available on YouTub”
    If one wants to understand how academic study of Bible operates on entirely different assumptions than what is learnt in a Yeshiva see
    Prof Hayes lectores on the Bible from Yale opencourseware
    http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145
    or
    Prof Cohens
    http://www.academicearth.org/courses/the-hebrew-scriptures-in-judaism-and-christianity
    RY J Weider in YUTorah org refers to the entirely different assumptions in Bible courses at Yeshiva than what is taught in academe.

  9. Mycroft- can you elaborate?

  10. Is it just me, or does it really look like one person wrote the note and another person signed it?

  11. SADLY ENOUGH (at least for me), Nagel rejects theism. “I confess to an ungrounded assumption of my own, in not finding it possible to regard the design alternative [i.e., theism] as a real option. I lack the sensus divinitatis that enables—indeed, compels so many people to see in the world the expression of divine purpose.” But it isn’t just that Nagel is more or less neutral about theism but lacks that sensus divinitatis. In The Last Word, which appeared in 1997, he offered a candid account of his philosophical inclinations:

    I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers…. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

    Here we have discomfort and distress at the thought that there might be such a being as God; but this discomfort seems more emotional than philosophical or rational.
    =======================================
    Has no one has asked Nagel exactly what he fears.
    KT

  12. I have not yet read the TNR piece, but there have been some interesting followup exchanged on the NYBooks piece in which Nagel reviewed Plantinga: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/dec/06/what-can-be-proved-about-god/ that ends with this from Nagel:

    Galen Strawson offers what I believe to be the most powerful argument against the existence of God, the argument from evil. The theistic responses to that argument of which I am aware seem unpersuasive, and I find it hard to understand how belief in an all-good and all-powerful deity can survive in the face of it. Even if a theist supposes that the problem has a solution that we humans are unable to grasp, that would mean that God, who created us with the capacity to discover the laws of nature and to find the world scientifically intelligible, has made us incapable of finding the world morally intelligible. These are powerful reasons for doubt, and they have certainly destroyed the faith of some believers. Still, I would resist Strawson’s conclusion that they rise to the level of proof.

  13. r’IH,
    Thanks for the link – the interesting question is why does Nagel find the responses unpersuasive but his alternative explanation (in the article) more persuasive, and why do those who do find them persuasive, do so. Perhaps it’s the SD (which sounds very Soloveitchikian)?

    BTW it still doesn’t answer why he’s afraid.

    KT

  14. BTW it still doesn’t answer why he’s afraid.

    Perhaps it is: “that would mean that God, who created us with the capacity to discover the laws of nature and to find the world scientifically intelligible, has made us incapable of finding the world morally intelligible.”

    Which is indeed something of which to be afraid.

  15. London rabbinic scandal blows up; accused rabbi forced to resign from Kedassia:
    http://www.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=47056

    (He was presented with the ultimatum of either resigning of having a kol korei publicised against him by leading London rabbonim).

    Letter of resignation here:
    http://ifyoutickleus.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/i-have-decided-in-my-interest-to.html

  16. R’ Joel — btw, that is why I think we must accept that halacha finds a way to evolve with society in moral matters. And, agav, it is also a nice tie-in to some of the points about the Rabbinic conception of Divine law in Prof. Hayes’ lecture referenced above.

  17. R’IH,
    Its in queue to be listened to and reviewed 🙂
    KT

  18. don’t know if this has been published in english

    http://www.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=47040&cat=1

  19. MiMedinat HaYam

    anon242pm: these mezuzah stories usually reference an incident connected to a mezuzah (and / or a missing / wrong letter / word). no such claim here.

    TAP state aid — what did you expect when the law was passed? also, aren’t yeshivot at those levels free? either way, increased tuition is ALWAYS (even in secular schools) a function of increased aid. which is why i dont hold too much hope for govt assistance to yeshiva tuition (though i’ll grant that yeshiva rebbeim who are not “in”, get paid lousy.)

    speaking of “get” — the problem is that batei din (in israel, as documented by the article’s subject, and in america) refuse to do follow up, even in cases they know follow up is necessary.

    either way, he’s a twist on r shmuly’s family values.

  20. Israel Fathers Rights Advocacy Council

    Thank you and kol hakavod for publishing Rav Ben Dahan’s very important statements.

  21. This is my Author

    Really nice article on Herman Wouk, but why did the reviewer mix in Phillip Roth?

  22. The Jewish Action attempt to jump on the can-women-have-it-all bandwagon is extremely frustrating. Shani Bechhoffer is too polite when she says:
    “Part of me wishes we weren’t still having these same conversations about women balancing work and home, as if it is our problem and it comes down to women’s choices. This is about families. Dual income is not always optional. And we know that children need their fathers as well as their mothers, and men need balance in their lives too.”
    As long as this conversation is only about women and mothers it fails.

    That said, some amusing moments, such as “I’ve given advice to my newlywed son about which restaurant to go to with his wife while pressing on a woman’s stomach.” – wouldn’t want to be that patient…

  23. R’ Emma,
    Funny, I was pontificating to a young man this morning concerning his future after Yeshiva and I said “You can’t have it all so you better quickly figure out what’s important to you” (or something like that)
    KT

  24. BTW (Warning there are some less than completely Tzanua inferences and some bare female arms in this link to a commercial) if you want to know where the problem really started (actually in a way it was a few years earlier but that’s a whole nother thing)

    KT

  25. r joel, i wish i could work ’til (only) 5 o clock…

  26. Emma-I read all of the pieces in the JA profile. What is wrong in merely stating that you can’t have it all, or in people juggling their professional and personal lives?

  27. steve, i will try to explain once. There is nothing wrong with what they wrote, for the most part (though i could do without certain implications, which are mostly quibbles). But there is something wrong with what they did not write, and with the premises that lead to the omission.
    It’s hard for a lawyer mom to rush home for bed time, then go back to work until 5 am. It may even be interesting to read about “how she does it.” What about all the lawyer dads? If they are also rushing home, that’s hard, but if they are not making bed time isn’t that just as bad, or perhaps worse? Both parents working outside the home is going to become more and more normal (as if it isn’t already). Talking about these “balance” issues as if they belong only to women is silly.
    Also if it’s hard for “Career women” to find time for their husbands, why is that so much easier for career men who work 14 hour days? i have been married to a man with a demanding job while being myself a student, unemployed, and working my own demanding job. While the last is the hardest re: finding time to talk to each other, it was only marginally better when i was home all day but he was working until 9.
    This is a case where telling only half the story is part of the problem, not the solution.

  28. Emma -whoever implied that “balance” issues only were relevant to women? One can find many Rabbanim etc,kin both the Charedi and MO worlds who write and talk about this issue quite frequently with respect to both men and women. The issue focused on women who choose to have professional careers and who work on balancing the same with their family lives, which is a recent phenomenon. Only died in the wool feminists who see women and men as having no differences except for physically bearing and giving birth to children ( IOW what some call “essentialists”) would deny that this trend has become more widespread than it was and that different women ( and families) choose different means of coping with the same.

  29. Emma wrote in part:

    “The Jewish Action attempt to jump on the can-women-have-it-all bandwagon is extremely frustrating”

    Guess who uttered these words:

    “you can’t always get what you want, you can’t get what you want,your can’t always get what you want, but you can try sometimes, you find that you get what you need.”

  30. Wow. Pop culture from 1969 to 1980 in the past 6 comments. Who’d have thought…

    On the Stones song: “The three verses (along with the varied theme in the fourth verse) address the major topics of the 1960s: love, politics, and drugs. Each verse captures the essence of the initial optimism and eventual disillusion, followed by the resigned pragmatism in the chorus.”

  31. I’d be more impressed if Rabbi Goldin decided to “come home” permanently. Talk is cheap.

  32. “that would mean that God, who created us with the capacity to discover the laws of nature and to find the world scientifically intelligible, has made us incapable of finding the world morally intelligible”

    Or maybe we find this world morally intelligible but often find God’s ways inscrutable. I’d say our own spiritual giants had a lot to say on the subject.

  33. Steve, you don’t seem to know what “essentialism” is, nor do you know the stones too well, but anyway…I think my two comments explain what I (and dr bechhoffer, for whom I hope you won’t trot out your usual charges re feminism) found frustrating, and don’t want to spend thanksgiving retreading the same ground…

  34. aiwac — eschatology aside, what did you have in mind?

  35. Just came across George Washington’s original Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Pretty amazing in both its deeply religious conviction and the fact that nothing in it (at least the words) is objectionable from an Orthodox Jewish POV:

    Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness”:

    Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

    And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

  36. TAL:

    not sure why you are so surprised about the proclamation. in any case, it should be noted that contemporary jews answered washington’s call and not only observed that thanksgiving, but did so in a religious way.

  37. Vibrant Jewish life in Germany? Sickening. Where are our priorities? Invest in Israel! Invest in a future!

  38. Here’s my posted response to the Beast piece:

    I weep that my alma mater is able to produce and nurture students who can produce anti-Israel claptrap such as this- people to whom Alan Dershowitz’ brand of Zionism, of all things, is too much. מהרסייך ומחריבייך ממך יצאו

  39. Rav Student has linked to his review of Rabbi/Doctor David Shabtai’s book, “Defining the Moment-Understanding Brain Death in Halakhah”. What is missing in the review is that on page viii of the book Rav Student is thanked for providing “assistance and support”. This information may have been useful to the reader in deciding whether the review was fair and accurate, or perhaps biased in some way.

    In the same vein, for the second time in recent years, we have been presented with a treatise on the definition of death by authors who claim to be objective and whose only goal is to educate the audience. The first was Rabbi Bush’s RCA document. This book is the second. However, both a superficial and in depth reading of the book reveals what the author wants the reader to believe. Rabbi J. David Bleich is the most vocal critique of brain death and R/D Shabtai chose to include his Haskamah which states: “the author has succeeded in presenting positions he knows to be erroneous in the most plausible light possible…”. Unless R. Bleich is lying, clearly R/D Shabtai has a position and a point of view, since he knows at least some positions are erroneous. A quick review of chapter titles shows what the reader is being lead to believe: “Challenging ICSR as Determinant of Death”, “Opposing Brain Death”. There are no similar chapter headings trumpeting the problems with defining death by circulation.(this is most interesting because defining death by circulation is the position taken by the vast majority of those who oppose brain death. In the book, R. Shabtai is forced by logic to admit that this definition makes no sense in the modern day and age. He then makes the entirely unsupported statement that those who hold the circulation definition would likely move their support to Rabbi Bleich’s definition.)

    The author critically analyzes brain and respiratory death definitions, but lets Rabbi Bleich’s ‘vital motion’ definition off relatively unscathed. He ignores many obvious problems with the definition: One of the more obvious is that neither Rabbi Bleich nor Rabbi Shabtai have ever precisely defined ‘vital motion’ and have never given precise information as to how to test for its presence or absence. In an era when matza is measured to the centimeter and precision is an ever increasing manifestation of Orthodoxy, they seem oblivious to the fact that as presently constituted, this definition of death is useless as a matter of practical Halacha. (This is even more ironic given Rabbi Bleich’s position that life is of ultimate value, and therefore it would seem important to be very precise regarding when it is present and needs to be supported, and when it is not there and support is either not necessary or can be withdrawn.)

    Once again we have also been presented with a Halachic argument where the scientific information has been essentially lifted(with attribution) from the President’s Commission report. The last time the data in favor of brain death was completely ignored. This time it is dismissed with a paragraph or two that completely misrepresents what the data actually has to say on the topic. (Those who are interested are invited to read
    Eelco F.M. Wijdicks andEric A. Pfeifer
    Neuropathology of brain death in the modern transplant era
    Neurology April 8, 2008 70:1234-1237 and the accompanying editorial: Dissecting brain death: Time for a new look
    Neurology April 8, 2008 70:1230-1231 and compare it to how R/D Shabtai misrepresents the conclusions.)
    I hope that the reading and thinking public will consider all the information available, such as Rav Avraham Steinberg’s recently published book(both in English and in Hebrew), and read all the information critically. Just because someone states he is not taking a position doesn’t mean that they dont have a point of view, nor that the point of view has not influenced the writing and direction of the book.

    I will not be able to respond here to further comments. I think that in the near future there will be a publication that will elaborate on many of the points above. I will be happy to respond to questions: noamstadlan at gmail dot com.

  40. Emma-the notion that men and women perform and can perform the same functions in life except for the essentially different act of bearing and giving birth to children is a well known aspect of feminist thought. Me doth think that you protesteth too much.

  41. I write in response to Dr Stadlan’s sideswipe of R Shabtai’s book, and R Gil’s review thereof. While I maintain that anyone who writes a book or expresses a POV on any issue expects that he or she is by no means immune from criticism, I must deplore a comment that raises the spectre without an iota of proof that R Gil’s review was biased prior to his review, and then simply views his comment as beyond the realm of discussion.

    I further find it highly problematic that the author presented the commenter’s POV while proclaiming that he “will not be able to respond here to further comments” as if the same is some sort of Divinely Revealed Daas Torah or KSA, a sort of intellectual imperialism or “my way or the highway” on a critical and complex halachic issue, to which only the supporters of brain death are privileged to write about, despite the evidence of many different, differing and complex POVs on this subject to the contrary.

    One looks forward to ” a publication that will elaborate on many of the points above”, which will allow comments by both supporters and critics of the author’s POV.

    Dr Stadlan’s article indicates that the proponents of brain death simply are not interested in debating the issue of the halachic groundwork underlying BDS, but rather in coercing us all to accept the same as an intellectual and halachic fait accompli.

  42. Tangential to the discussion between Steve and Emma, on the train en route to Thanksgiving lunch I was catching up on Daf Yomi (thrown off by too much time following Amud Ashan) and came across an interesting passage in B. Shabbat 46b:

    מתיב רמי בר חמא מפירין נדרים בשבת [ונשאלין לנדרים שהן] לצורך השבת ואמאי לימא מי יימר דמיזדקק לה בעל התם כדרב פנחס משמיה דרבא דאמר רב פנחס משמיה דרבא כל הנודרת על דעת בעלה היא נודרת

    I’m still thinking this through, but given the context of recent posts about the role of women, it piqued my interest. If women’s personal vows are contingent upon a male (father, then husband) – why is a woman halachically allowed to make such a vow on her own initially given that it is not in her gift to deliver on it?

  43. IH-The foregoing statement in Shabbbos 46b cannot be understood without an indepth study and knowledge that the Torah permits a husband to nullify oathes made if the same in many other contexts so as to promote Shalom Bayis. I recall hearing once that RMF intervened with a couple where the husband ate gebrochts and the wife did not and nullified the wife’s practice on this basis.

  44. Steve — Nothing esoteric about the legal principle which is clear in Numbers 30. I just never thought about it before in the context of claims about women’s role in Judaism.

  45. lawrence kaplan

    Steve B: I do not understand your point. Dr. Stadlan did not “sideswipe” R. Dr. Shabtai’s book. He was openly critical of it.

    You misreresent Dr. Stadlan’s criticism of R. Gil’s review. His point was that full disclosure required that Gil inform the reader that he was thanked by R. Shabtai for “assistance and support.” Dr. Stadlan, contrary to what you claim, did NOT say that Gil’s review was biased. He DID say, correctly in my view, that had Gil disclosed the fact of his “assistance and support,” that would have alerted the reader to POSSIBLE bias on his part.

    Dr. Stadlan’s main criticism of R. Shabtai was NOT that he had a particular POV, but that he ostensibly was prsenting both positions re BSD equally and not taking sides, while in fact he was not neutral in his presention. Of course, R. Shabtai has every right not to be neutral and to express a POV. But Dr. Stadlan’s point was that R. Shabtai does not have the right to claim to be neutral and in fact not be neutral.

    As for your claim that Dr. Stadlan’s saying he will not reply here implies that he deems his views to be some divinely revealed Daas Torah– Please, Steve, give me a break. Dr. Stadlan has has presented his views on BSD and has responded to criticisms of them many many times– as you know or should know full well. Moreover he said he will privately respond to questions. I assume that when he will in the future elaborate on his views he will respond to criticism as he ha done in the past. Perhaps right now he is too busy to engage in a public exchange of views at the fast pace required by “blog-time.” I must say that your ability to misrepresent views for which you have no sympathy may be a testimony to your ingenuity, but reflects rather poorly on your sense of fairness.

    Note I do NOT say I support Dr. Stadlan’s view. I do not feel qualified to express an expert opinion. But he should be criticized for what he said, not for what he did not say. Had you, for example said that, contrary to Dr. Stadlan, R. Shabtai, in fact, presented both views fairly and evenly or, conversely, that he never claimed to be neutral, that would be fine. But that is not what you said.

  46. I agree with Dr. Stadlan’s critique of my failure to mention my role in the book’s preparation. It was an error to omit that point (which I have never tried to hide).

  47. Steve, “died [sic] in the wool feminists who see women and men as having no differences except for physically bearing and giving birth to children” are NOT “what some call ‘essentialists.'” Further, there are at least some self-identified feminists who _are_ essentialists, of some sort. Google is your friend here.

    Other than that I don’t see you tackling the following at all:
    “Part of me wishes we weren’t still having these same conversations about women balancing work and home, as if it is our problem and it comes down to women’s choices. This is about families. Dual income is not always optional. And we know that children need their fathers as well as their mothers, and men need balance in their lives too.”

  48. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve: You should learn from Gil.

  49. Larry Kaplan wrote in part:

    “Steve B: I do not understand your point. Dr. Stadlan did not “sideswipe” R. Dr. Shabtai’s book. He was openly critical of it.

    “You misreresent Dr. Stadlan’s criticism of R. Gil’s review. His point was that full disclosure required that Gil inform the reader that he was thanked by R. Shabtai for “assistance and support.” Dr. Stadlan, contrary to what you claim, did NOT say that Gil’s review was biased. He DID say, correctly in my view, that had Gil disclosed the fact of his “assistance and support,” that would have alerted the reader to POSSIBLE bias on his part”

    Read R Gil’s comment. I don’t consider it a mea culpa, since it had no bearing on R Gil’s review of the book. However, Dr Stadlan’s comments struck me as a drive by/sideswipe on anyone who disagreed with brain death. I have also read Dr Stadlan’s comments here on brain death , which can be fairly characterized as full fledged support for the same, with the suggestion that any prior halachic definitions have no relevance especially since the adoption of the Harvard criteria.

    IH-the Talmud in Chagigah10a tells us that Nedarim are basically hinted at in the Chumash and totally explicated in the TSBP.

  50. Steve – I will be more direct. The referenced passage in Shabbat 46b struck me due to the recent posts and discussions claiming that women should not pursue mitzvot for which they are not given responsibility. Yet, here we are reminded that a woman is allowed to make a personal vow, despite that it is not in her gift to deliver on it should her responsible male intercede. And this is not just a Rabbinic allowance, but p’shuto shel mikra in Numbers 30.

    Perhaps the reason women are allowed to make personal vows (which, albeit, may then be overridden by their male protector) is similar to the reason given by many of the women who pursue engagement in synagogue rituals?

  51. Dr. Stadlan,

    Thank you for your integrity.

  52. My impression is that dual income households are in general not necessary in Israel, and few people ever stay at their day job until 9pm. You guys have it crazy in the NYC area.

  53. Reuven Spolter

    Shlomo, you’re impression about dual income in Israel is simply not correct. The overwhelming majority of couples that I know are two-income families. It’s hard enough trying to make it on two salaries, much less one. Moreover, the tax structure in this country is such that women practically must work (most of the tax deductions for children go only to women). Same for child care govt credits, etc etc.

  54. Reuven Spolter

    oops. Should have written “your impression…” darn grammar!

  55. Shlomo,

    I know many households in Israel where both spouses work – though this often includes part-time work. They seem to do a pretty good job of coordinating work and home time, FWIW. The exception would seem to be people who have to work abroad for some or all of the year.

    It’s also far easier to choose places in Israel where the “Jewish cost of living” is not prohibitive – ie, living in the Negev or in the North and not trendy and expensive Givat Shmuel or Jerusalem.

  56. Lawrence Kaplan

    Steve Brizel: Gil’s comment, to his credit, is clearly an honest and forthright mea culpa with respect to the point for which Dr. Stadlan criticized him. I do noti understand how it is that Gil, the object of criticism, can admit that on this point Dr. Stadlan was right, while you canot admit it. Actualy, I do understand it. You find it almost imposible to say anthing good about the points made by people with whom you disagree.

    Not surprisingly, you do not respond to any of my other points. I’ll let the readers be the judge.

  57. I am pleased to see CR Sacks quoting Robert Putnam “Not for a moment do I say that to be good you need to be religious. However, religiosity as measured by attendance at a house of worship turns out to be a better predictor of altruism and empathy than education, age, income, gender or race.”

    What must be added, though, is that Putnam’s research demonstrates the key factor is regular attendance at a house of worship; not religious belief – i.e. sociological praxis, not personal belief.

  58. Two income families is the norm in the Israel I live in, however, many women work pretty part-time. As for how hard people work, thats complicated, but in many cases Israeli’s work much harder than their colleagues in the States. But of course it depends on the sector.

  59. IH,

    מתוך שלא לשמה, נקווה שיבוא לשמה.

  60. “Two income families is the norm in the Israel I live in, however, many women work pretty part-time. As for how hard people work, thats complicated, but in many cases Israeli’s work much harder than their colleagues in the States. But of course it depends on the sector.”

    Like all places, in some cities 2 income families is the norm, and in other cities 1 family incomes are the norm.

  61. Lawrence Kaplan
    Read R Gil’s comment. I don’t consider it a mea culpa, since it had no bearing on R Gil’s review of the book. However, Dr Stadlan’s comments struck me as a drive by/sideswipe on anyone who disagreed with brain death. I have also read Dr Stadlan’s comments here on brain death , which can be fairly characterized as full fledged support for the same, with the suggestion that any prior halachic definitions have no relevance especially since the adoption of the Harvard criteria.

    One caveat – Dr. Stadlan does not need my defense, but It is not the adoption of the Harvard criteria that is the issue – but the changing nature of medical reality – when survival of the individual in a meaningful sense is no longer dependent on the presence of the heart or a felt heart beat – that is the problem. Harvard critieria reflect one possible solution consistent with medical reality, but not necessarily the only one. However, one does ask that a serious halachic position reflects understanding of the medical reality it is dealing with – then provide a practical definition of the terms used – and then deal with it consistently . This is sorely lacking in the book

    I have another problem with Dr. Shabetai’s book. Anyone coming to write a book about this topic comes in aware of the major issues and players – even if his research may change some of his ideas. It is clear and well known that the major positions to be mattir brain death are Rav Moshe Feinstein – based both on written and oral responses – and Rav YB Soloveichik -based on his oral reply to a practical question by rav walfish, in RYBS’s role as halachic decisor for the RCA. Both of these are hotly contested by those who oppose their positions – as it is quite clear that while rabbanim are allowed to have their own opinions, for the American RCA/YU community, it is rare that a position jointly espoused by RYBS and RMF is rejected,…

    Therefore, for an author to start off that he is only going to discuss written tshuvot and not oral response is not a neutral methodological decision in the abstract – but betrays from the beginning a bias that is quite clear throughout the book ( the attempts to deal with Rav Moshe’s written works are further proof..). IMHO, this book would not pass peer review of any reputable journal.

  62. MiMedinat HaYam

    prenatal sequencing (misnamed) article is tpoic for a whole other post, if someone wants to take that up. not a news and views.

    candaian school — are they trying to prevent sephardic girls from dating muslims? thats the only rationalization i see.

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