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French Jews win right to choose their own names
Second Jewish Infant Contracts Herpes From Controversial Circumcision Rite
Cherished by some as sacred ground, old European Jewish cemeteries now a burden to those who remain
France’s chief rabbi apologizes for plagiarism
Cologne revives Jewish heritage
IDF launches ‘kosher’ version of in-house magazine
Historic Damascus Synagogue Looted and Destroyed
The Jewish Civil War
L Kaplan: Was Elijah of Vilna a Genius? A Flawed New Book Argues Yes
R. Aviner: Wearing Techelet in our Time
Schlissel Challah – An Analysis
Intermarried rabbis? Please!
Not exactly a seat of honor
A Note from a Charedi Rabbi to The Women of the Wall
At Barclays Center, a Kosher for Passover Circus for 20,000 Jews
Free Hyrax!
Who is to blame for the Doheny Meat scandal?
Where the American and Israeli Torah Communities Differ
Israel’s Jewish population passes 6 million mark
SALT Friday

Mesorah: The Rav Speaks
Growing up frum: Observant teens navigate their way through famously liberal Bay Area
The Stunning Public Shift on Same-Gender Marriage
Rome’s Chief Rabbi In The Spotlight
BBC’s ‘History of Syria’ erases ancient Jewish community, distorts Six Day War
Rashi the Preacher
Marriage freedom for Reform rabbis
States Redefining Public Schooling
SALT Friday

Jews Threatened and Told To Remove ‘Jewish Hats’ in Copenhagen
Startup Day School Finds Established Home
Turkish newspaper extends a lifeline to Ladino
What Lay Behind Maimonides’ Door in Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue
‘Jews of Egypt’ Rides Bumpy Road to Premiere
Disputed Schneerson library to move to Moscow Jewish museum
As a Driven Leaf
Rabbis married to gentiles?
Forty five per cent of Britons ready to ban shechita
SALT Thursday

Israel’s Demographic Miracle
LA Kosher Meat Distributor Stripped of Certification
R Melamed: Dedicate Half to G-d
R Torczyner: Why I love Pesach
Kosher chefs offer tips for learning to love matza
At Men’s Only Seders, Challenges of Modern Jewish Man Are the Focus
Israel Vows To Draft Haredim, But Major Hurdles Remain
Tebah 2010 Pesah Reader (PDF)
Arami Oved Avi: Uncovering the Interpretation Hidden in the Mishnah (PDF)
Bitul Chometz – A Brief History
Sex offender becomes rebbe
Shut Down The Bible Department?
SALT Monday

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Ben Ehrenkranz

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 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.

178 comments

  1. There is a famous story in the Talmud that four men walk into the Pardes. […] They walked into an orchard, a garden for the mind, filled with God’s Torah! Yes, but they were not sufficiently prepared. This was not the right path for them, the right challenge to take. There were other paths for them to walk.

    Sounds like these people should not be going to an institution who’s Dean declares:

    We take pride in preparing our students to think critically and analytically and to become citizens of the world while being well-grounded in our Jewish cultural heritage—its law, religious practice, sacred texts, history and philosophy.

    Lander (or a CUNY commuter school) is probably a better path for those who can’t deal with YC’s Pardes of Jewish Studies. It’s a free market and I trust YU will make its decisions accordingly.

  2. “Israel’s Demographic Miracle”

    A very important thing for people to understand.

  3. Spengler should stress the point- which he does in fact mention- that this is all “if trends continue.” Still, it’s an inspiring and hopeful piece.

  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/nyregion/rabbi-herschel-schacter-who-carried-word-of-freedom-to-buchenwald-dies-at-95.html?hpw&pagewanted=all

    With tears streaming down his face, Rabbi Schacter picked the boy up. “What’s your name, my child?” he asked in Yiddish.

    “Lulek,” the child replied.

    “How old are you?” the rabbi asked.

    “What difference does it make?” Lulek, who was 7, said. “I’m older than you, anyway.”

    “Why do you think you’re older?” Rabbi Schacter asked, smiling.

    “Because you cry and laugh like a child,” Lulek replied. “I haven’t laughed in a long time, and I don’t even cry anymore. So which one of us is older?”

    […]

    And what of Lulek, the orphan Rabbi Schacter rescued from Buchenwald that day? Lulek, who eventually settled in Palestine, grew up to be Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau.

  5. Contrary to the statement in the demographic article, “Only the United States among the world’s industrial nations has a fertility rate around the replacement level of 2.1”

    There are actually some other developed countries with near-replacement level fertility. From the CIA World Factbook the following fertility rates are found:

    France 2.08
    New Zealand 2.06
    United States 2.06
    Ireland 2.01

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html

    The World Bank has similar statistics:

    France 2.0
    New Zealand 2.1
    Ireland 2.1
    United States 2.1

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN

  6. MiMedinat HaYam

    charlie — i tend to doubt the stats you cite. not only is western europe known for low fertility rates, ireland is particularly known for low fertility rates.

    also, the article measures female fertility, ignoring “male fertility” rates for arab / muslim areas (or at least state its not statistically significant, if its not.)

  7. It is indeed helpful to break it down by race; it’s likely the US would drop quite a bit without Hispanic and other immigrant birthrates (which are dropping as well, as they are in Latin America itself). I have no doubt that is the case in France; Ireland and New Zealand are probably outliers. (Mark Steyn, who also deals with this a lot, once cited Iceland as the only outlier; he pointed out that the biggest targets of Muslim hate are the two Western [although others are dropping as well] countries actually reproducing, the US and Israel.) In any event, all are below replacement.

    IH: There’s an interesting postscript to that obituary. Apparently, Richard Silverstein, a well-known extreme anti-Israel blogger, posted a bunch of Twitter rants condemning the Times for not mentioning that the subject of the obituary was the horrible person who (allegedly) said X, Y, and Z.

    Of course, the sources of the alleged quotes was not R’ Herschel Schacter but, yibadel l’chaim tovim aruchim, R’ Hershel Schachter. Whoops. 🙂 Haters gonna hate.

    http://www.israellycool.com/2013/03/27/sloppy-dick-strikes-yet-again/

  8. on shut down the bible dept.

    Moshe Shoshan – why do yo u think that intro to bible is not appropriate for most students at YU? after spending 5 hours per day learning gemera shouldn’t students be able to handle a intro survey course for college credit? should math majors be exempt from english lit?

    “This is no way condiscending toward those who hold more conservative positions on these issues. they do are legitimate..”
    would you give them equal weight? what makes an opinion legitimate today? does it need to be stated many centuries ago by a rishon or somewhere in rabbinic literature. can an opinion never stated by them but doesn’t violate the ikarim – be legitimate?

  9. Bible department:

    Gil – “I don’t think anyone is accusing specific professors of kefirah” – it usually goes like this..rebbbe rebbe (RMT or RHS) do you know what they are teaching us – kefirah- in YC bible?

    “Certainly some have been very aware for decades of the different views among Rishonim and Acharonim on the issue. Bible professors are not the only ones who have given these issues significant thought.”
    being aware doesn’t equate with any systematic or methodical approach or research of the subject. has anyone publish anything in this area? how do you know it has been given significant thought? do they have opposite opinions? if so, what is it based on – outside something written many centuries ago? do we ignore all current -“new” – evidence that crops up?

    “But thoughtful people sometimes end up on different sides.” is this about thoughtful people having different opinions (like dems vs. republicans) or is it based on knowledge and looking at the evidence and theories that are supported? are you trying to equate both sides as being on equal footing based on any evidence or are all positions found in rishonim or rabbinic literature have the same legitimacy regardless as evidence?

    “But R. Mordechai Breuer made it clear that some of the ideas floating around the MO academic community qualify as heresy”
    we are not talking advocating for biblical criticism/DH in intro to bible. so why smear the conversation in this indirect way. btw, is R’ shlomo fischer and R’ Sherlo in that category (after marc shapiro post)?

  10. ▪ Arami Oved Avi: Uncovering the Interpretation Hidden in the Mishnah (PDF)

    Does anyone know when the new Hakirah is coming out? Shouldn’t it be already?

  11. Ruvie: Once again, you are arguing against something no one is advocating. You are suggesting that since R. Shlomo Fischer and/or R. Yuval Cherlow may or may not hold a view, therefore it should be taught to all YU students as the only viable approach. I think that is wrong and, if that is the attitude of the YU Bible dept., it should be shut down. But I don’t think it is.

    I know because I have spoken with (some of the) senior YU roshei yeshiva about this subject. They have read plenty of books on this type of subject and surprised me with their insight. Why would they publish outside of their area of expertise? They aren’t academic Bible scholars.

    Moshe: I can’t think of much written on biblical issues. The only book that comes to mind is R. Mosheh Lichtenstein’s book on Moshe, which is essentially a polite, book-length protest against the approach of Machon Herzog. But the general approach is to ignore biblical criticism and all new approaches to Bible study. That isn’t for me but it was the Rav’s self-proclaimed attitude.

  12. Gil – “You are suggesting that since R. Shlomo Fischer and/or R. Yuval Cherlow may or may not hold a view, therefore it should be taught to all YU students as the only viable approach’

    not at all. actually, i was curious if you thought they fell into that category that r’ breur mentioned. the bible department – to my knowledge doesn’t teach this esp. not in intro to bible. they are not the topic of the article.

    i am not sure but do not think that YU’s RY have input into the bible courses taught in YC (i assume the same in philosophy). of course, if they taught total kefirah then i am sure there would be uproar.

    my comment on your post was a simple observation that your claim that its about differing views and RY are well read in this area (and therefore intelligent people can disagree) and it would seem from your post they disagree based on intellect and evidence as oppose to just theological (and regardless of the evidence and theories).

    gut moed

  13. ” not only is western europe known for low fertility rates, ireland is particularly known for low fertility rates.”

    You’ve been reading too much right wing propaganda. Most of Western Europe is below replacement rate, but immigration should allow it to have a stable population for the forseeable future. The real demographic collapse will be in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Look at the links and see the low fertility rates. And to add to the catastrophe, most of Eastern Europe has been experiencing large amounts of emigration since the EU expanded.

    ” ireland is particularly known for low fertility rates.”

    I have no idea where you get that “knowledge”; until about 25 years ago Ireland had one of the highest fertility rates in the western world:

    https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&idim=country:IRL&dl=en&hl=en&q=ireland%20fertility%20rate

    “It is indeed helpful to break it down by race; it’s likely the US would drop quite a bit without Hispanic and other immigrant birthrates (which are dropping as well, as they are in Latin America itself).”

    Correct. Mexican immigrants have for quite some time had the highest birthrates in the US. However, net immigration from Mexico is now essentially zero thanks to the poor economy and the recent draconian enforcement of immigration laws. If the nativists ever get control of the government and restrict immigration the way that the US did in the 1920s, the country is finished.

    “the biggest targets of Muslim hate are the two Western [although others are dropping as well] countries actually reproducing, the US and Israel”

    I haven’t seen a lot of Muslim hate directed towards Ireland and New Zealand.

  14. Ruvie: and it would seem from your post they disagree based on intellect and evidence as oppose to just theological

    Not necessarily. When they object, it is due primarily to theology. Otherwise, they might just disagree but not object.

  15. Rabbi Breuer thought, IIRC, that it is heresy to think that there were different authors of the Torah, even if you say that they were writing by ruach hakodesh. R. Cherlow and R. Fischer disagree.

  16. Gil — Since the thread continues, perhaps you can educate me in the ways of YU. What administrative role do the RYs you keep mentioning play in the running of the undergraduate Yeshiva College?

  17. r’Gil,
    It would be interesting to hear how R’ Richard Joel would answer the question
    CKVS

  18. Front page in the hardcopy Jewish Week:

    “My name is David Cheifetz and I am a victim of childhood sex abuse in a Jewish institution.

    There. I have said it. After more than 30 years I have shared the dark secret that has haunted my soul.

    I was 13 years old, attending sleep-away camp at Camp Dora Golding, an all-boys Orthodox camp that some of you still send your sons to. I was befriended by a 28-year-old member of the rabbinic staff. Over the course of a week he sexually abused me repeatedly. When the activity was exposed, I was summoned to the camp director’s office and forced to confront the assailant. Then I was summarily sent home, as if it were I who had committed the crime. The camp never even told my parents why I was being sent home. They were just advised to pick me up at the Greyhound terminal at New York’s Port Authority.”

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york-news/sharing-secret-thats-haunted-my-soul

  19. “but immigration should allow it to have a stable population for the forseeable future.”

    Sure. And it will fundamentally transform Western European states in Muslim ones. If you see that as a positive, I don’t know what to say.

    “If the nativists ever get control of the government and restrict immigration the way that the US did in the 1920s, the country is finished.”

    Halevai they should. I know the very thought makes leftists shudder, but a country controlling immigration is a fundamental of international law- indeed, it’s one of the things that defines a country. I don’t recall the US doing so poorly all the years they controlled immigration more tightly. The idea is certainly not worthy of the scare words (“draconian,” “nativists”) you casually toss around.

    “I haven’t seen a lot of Muslim hate directed towards Ireland and New Zealand.”

    Look if you think that by nitpicking you can disprove Goldman’s overall solid point, go right ahead. But clearly Muslims don’t care about those countries because they’re, well, insignificant.

  20. Torah study is a yoke because we lack the authority to change its laws. Shinuy, change, is unacceptable. Chiddush, innovation, creative interpretation, is the very heart of halachah. It is the engine of halachic continuity throughout the ages. But these chiddushim must be within the discipline, internal to the system of halachah and not originating from the outside. They must soberly represent the humble and fearful surrender to the Torah we have learned from the Sages. They must respect the past and continue the mesorah whose responsibility of transmission rests on our shoulders.

    This influential speech was a watershed event in recent rabbinic history. With it, the Rav offered a brief but remarkable philosophy of creativity in Torah study and a guide for halachic change and conservation. We would do well to incorporate the Rav’s Torah philosophy into our own worldviews and allow his sage guidance to steer our way through the difficult situations we face.
    ======================================================
    Halevai life were so simple. I suspect just about everyone who identifies as orthodox would salute this flag, the issue is who gets to decide what is shinuy and what is chiddush.
    CKVS

  21. R. Weil, sadly, has taken away the wrong message from the Rav’s banishment of R. Rackman over the Agunah issue (which remains an open wound).

    In the March 11th New Yorker there is an interesting profile of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in which her misgivings regarding Roe V. Wade are discussed.

    In Ginsburg’s view, Roe preempted the steady pace of abortion-rights victories in the states and energized the opponents.

    Similarly, with 20/20 hindsight, that speech may have paved the way for today’s LW/Open Orthodoxy.

  22. Clearly, it so emboldened R. Rackman that two and a half decades later he did something about it.

  23. A blink of the eye in Orthodox Jewish sociology, as you well know. History will be the judge in any case.

  24. How timely:

    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/untying-the-knot-rethinking-the-israeli-rabbinate-s-laws-on-marriage.premium-1.512463

    “The first part of Shifman’s book deals with an artificial distinction between halakha and morality, based on the idea that God’s commandments should be the sole basis for understanding what is good and what is evil, and any consideration external to halakha constitutes a surrender to the liberal fashions of our times. The clinging to a specific religious precept, even if it may be illogical or in direct contradiction to one’s conscience, is considered by the believer to be a courageous effort to abide by the word of God and creates the desired experience of “authenticity.” But Shifman shows that such a perception itself quite a new phenomenon and its primary framer in Israel was none other than the late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz (and in the United States, Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik ). He reminds readers that without an independent sense of morality, which is not connected to halakha per se, lofty concepts of the sages like lifnim meshurat hadin (beyond the letter of the law ), derekh eretz (common courtesy ) and darkei shalom ([toward] a peaceful way ) become meaningless.”

  25. Gil, is there a reason a word was changed in the Commentary headline? Just curious.

  26. To avoid being blocked by Internet Rimon. We’ve had issues in the past.

  27. MiMedinat HaYam

    IH — there was a post here on hirhruim a couple weeks ago showing exactly the opposite on stats on cyprus, etc marriages. most are NOT for nonhalachic reasons, and most of the non halachic ones were in the US.

    though shifman’s arguments deserve a discussion of its own, and i dont think now is the time for it. (national discussion, not necessarily torahmusings discussion, but perhaps we can open the discussion. at a later time.)

  28. IH-Shifman’s argumenmts would make sense if he surveyed the Responsa literature and proved that Talmidei Chachamim throughout the ages were totally unwilling to be deal with issues of Mamzerus or had totally or in the majority Paskened Lchumra in such cases. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with such issues would be able to demonstrate that there is no evidence for such a proposition.

  29. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b — that might be an argument regarding mamzerut. the issue is forbidden marriages and sanctioning them (eshet ish and non jewish issues, etc. let alone cohanim and yibum issues), esp in a wholesale vs individual manner, all part of the “national (and international) discussion”

  30. Just to be clear, I posted Persico’s review of Shifman not because I agree (at first glance, I don’t), but because I think it is important to understand other serious points of view. It didn’t make me change my mind — on the basis of that article alone — but, it did succeed in making me aware of inter-relationships I hadn’t previously considered as seriously as perhaps I should.

    I also thought the linkage in the passage I quoted to be provocative in a helpful manner: this issue of morality and halacha is a recurring theme here.

  31. I don’t recall the US doing so poorly all the years they controlled immigration more tightly.

    I remember the Jews of Europe doing poorly during that period. So poorly that by the end of the period, there nearly weren’t any more Jews in Europe.

    The US could have used their talents too.

  32. Shifman (and/or IH), meet Genesis 22.

  33. Gil: Thanks, I thought it was something like that.

    Shlomo: I don’t have to be reminded of that, thanks. It’s also irrelevant to this discussion.

  34. Ruvie,
    The reality is that a decent proportion of the students at YC are too ignorant of Tanakh/Biblical Hebrew and or intellectually immature for such a class. where I think a different curriculum would be of more value in increasing their knowledge and appreciation of Tanakh and making them more open to new ideas.
    For some student the current intro is very valuable.

    As for frummer approaches. From an academic perspective they have little value. but there is more to life than academia. You cant write someone off theologically becasue they take a literalist reading of the eight ikkar.

  35. Nachum
    When leading pundits as well as a certain Orthodx rabbi scapegoat immigrants and declare that the new immigrants to “share American values” then strong strong ideological response is necessary.
    This is just part of a right hisotry of racist and itherwise prejudiced anti- immigration rhetoric. No one is saying that the US should have open borders and you know that.
    as for actual public policy, from what I understand immigration under Obama is actually lower than it was under Bush

  36. Gil,
    Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein does not teach in YU, nor would he fit in with the YU rashei yeshiva. I dont see the relavance of his work here.

  37. I didn’t realize your question was specifically about which YU roshei yeshiva have written about biblical criticism. Is that really a rosh yeshiva’s area of research?

    Perhaps Rav Schachter’s haskamah to R. Yonatan Kolatch’s Masters of the Word counts for awareness of the views of Rishonim.

  38. MiMedinat HaYam wrote:

    “the issue is forbidden marriages and sanctioning them (eshet ish and non jewish issues, etc. let alone cohanim and yibum issues), esp in a wholesale vs individual manner, all part of the “national (and international) discussion”

    IOW, the posted link was just academic babble for tearing down the entirety of the halachos re Kohanim, intermarriage, marriage ,divorce, and the like

  39. MOSHE SHOSHAN:

    i understand your response to ruvie (although i basically agree with him). but the the answer to the problem you raise doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether or not the bib intro class is appropriate. rather, perhaps YU should require a couple of semesters of tanach bekius. (alternatively, how about YU enforce some requirements on the yeshivos that participate in its israel program. we all know those transcripts are complete bulloney [a yeshiva lie? heaven forbid.] YU should at least clamp down on those claiming tanach credits)

  40. or perhaps YU can encourage serious tanach study in yeshiva high schools with a program on par with its AP jewish history? or encourage schools to administer bechina yerushalmit for tanach (does it still exist?)

  41. abba’s rantings – unfortunately YU doesn’t impose much for acceptance these days (which as created its own set of problems for the university for they need to fill all the spots they can).

    Moshe S. – i wonder what that alternative program/class would look like. any thoughts? btw, the hear that at stern the problem doesn’t exist. more knowledge or maturity? or something else?

  42. “alternatively, how about YU enforce some requirements on the yeshivos that participate in its israel program. we all know those transcripts are complete bulloney [a yeshiva lie? heaven forbid.] YU should at least clamp down on those claiming tanach credits)”

    When there was plenty of demand for YU did not accept “bulloney” transcripts for fake YU credits. I believe they essentially allowed 3 or 6 similar to what one could get for YU learning.
    Of course, back then YU had a residency requirement as well-no business school.

  43. “unfortunately YU doesn’t impose much for acceptance these days (which as created its own set of problems for the university for they need to fill all the spots they can)”

    Just like the vast majority of schools where the admissions department are really just marketing departments to procure tuition payers.

  44. YU has a Bible requirement, which includes but is not limited to Intro.

  45. Moshe Shoshan wrote in part:

    “When leading pundits as well as a certain Orthodx rabbi scapegoat immigrants and declare that the new immigrants to “share American values” then strong strong ideological response is necessary.”

    Part of the discussion should IMO include the sociological fact of multiculuralism as an increasing given in the US. Obviously, retaining one’s religious and/or ethnic identity is a positive, but an American citizen must be aware of the uniquely great events, documents and people that were the “game changers” and the connecting glue that created this great country-the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the events leading to and the Civil War, the role of the US in WW1, WW2,and the cold war against Communism-regardless of whether views such a narrative as being created by and populated solely by dead white males.

  46. “but an American citizen must be aware of the uniquely great events, documents and people that were the “game changers” and the connecting glue that created this great country-the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the events leading to and the Civil War, the role of the US in WW1, WW2,and the cold war against Communism-regardless of whether views such a narrative as being created by and populated solely by dead white males.”

    whether or not accepting the narrative as taught in American schools in the 50s or 60s is required to be a “good” American is an open question but it is clearly not required to accept such a narrative to be a believing Orthodox Jew.

  47. On School Vouchers, see: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/03/26/the-swedish-voucher-system-an-appraisal/

    “On December 3, 2012, Forbes Magazine recommended for the U.S. that: “…we can learn something about when choice works by looking at Sweden’s move to vouchers.” On March 11 and 12, 2013, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences did just that by convening a two day conference to learn what vouchers had accomplished in the last two decades. Interest in the subject had been piqued by several developments including the dramatic growth in private school enrollments and a fairly precipitous decline in Swedish performance on international tests. Results in reading, science, and mathematics had fallen at all grade levels from 1995 to the present in the international studies.

    In addition there was evidence of increased stratification and segregation of students by socio-economic status and ethnicity over the same period. Finally, there were concerns about the reportedly substantial profits being amassed by the independent schools from public funds.”

  48. MiMedinat HaYam

    did the conference consider the increasing number of children who refuse to integrate into swedish (read western) society? besides their lack of parental motivation, etc.

    was the objection that students were no longer going to lutheran (or protestant) schools? or that (gasp!) the substantial profits being amassed.

  49. moshe shoshan

    “Part of the discussion should IMO include the sociological fact of multiculuralism as an increasing given in the US. Obviously, retaining one’s religious and/or ethnic identity is a positive, but an American citizen must be aware of the uniquely great events, documents and people that were the “game changers” and the connecting glue that created this great country-the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the events leading to and the Civil War, the role of the US in WW1, WW2,and the cold war against Communism-regardless of whether views such a narrative as being created by and populated solely by dead white males.”

    agreed. But but what does that have to do with scapegoating immigrants as Rush and Prozansky do?
    Are you willing to condemn this sort of talk?
    Are you willing to condemn (respectfully) RHS racist rhetoric?

  50. Particularly interesting for those who read B. Eruvin 19a last week in Daf Yomi:

    http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/gate-to-hell-found-in-turkey-130329.htm

    “Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.”

  51. moshe shoshan

    I heard interview with Uri Orbach of bayit yehudi and Parush of Yahadut hatorah.
    Ohrbach made it clear that Bayit yehudi was pushing a far more moderate and gradfual plan than Lapid and that such a plan is the only one which has a chance of getting through the coalition.

    Porush made it clear that his party had no counter offers and that nothing was negotiable. All he did was complain over and over agin about one issue, the proposed elimination of real estate tax exemptions for kollel students, saying that “you taking milk out of the mouth of babies!” If thats all he has to say about the whole shivyon bnetel issue, I dont htink that it reasonable for them to expect the rest of Israel to take them seriously.

    If they cant say, “there is an issue here which we have to work out together” They have no right to spew hatred for not being allowed inthe coalition.

  52. Speaking of not being taken seriously:
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/not-exactly-a-seat-of-honor/

    “I’m a committed, faithful Orthodox woman, married to a former pulpit rabbi, who would like to be treated with dignity whenever I enter an Orthodox synagogue. That hardly seems like a controversial expectation.”

  53. IH:

    article in timesofisrael was good.
    article on vouchers was just plain stupid.

  54. IH-Many Orthodox synagogues, at least in the US, and in yeshivishe/Charedi communities, as well as in MO communities, utilize mechitzos that allow women to see the men’s section, while not allowing men to see the women’s section. One wonders why such are not in use in Israel.

  55. Moshe Shoshan

    Steve,
    can I take it that your answer is no?

  56. steve:

    “Many Orthodox synagogues, at least in the US, and in yeshivishe/Charedi communities, as well as in MO communities, utilize mechitzos that allow women to see the men’s section”

    where i live, almost as a rule they do not. women are either relegated to a few chairs in corner behind a curtain or sit in the second floor and listen through a whole in the floor. even the local MO shul did away with it’s down-the-middle mechitza and sent the women to the back.

  57. even the local MO shul did away with it’s down-the-middle mechitza and sent the women to the back.

    What was the rationale for the change?

  58. IH:

    it happened in the context of general changes to the shul’s layout.
    i don’t know what the rationale was for this specific change, but i don’t think there was any nefarious misogynistic plot directed against women with the intent of pushing them to the margins. but on the other hand i guess no one cared too much about what was happening. benign neglect?

    either way steve needs to remove his blinders. i’m not saying there aren’t some shuls that go out of their way to make women feel they are an integral part of davening, e.g., HIR. others are acceptable, sometimes intentionally and other times by chance. but there are many, many shuls in his own city that defy his description.

  59. moshe shoshan

    IH
    bottom line is that more men come to shul than women, it often doesnt make sense to give them equal space.

  60. All this emphasis on shul is misguided. In the big picture, shul isn’t particularly important to Judaism and focusing on it is due mainly to the influence of Christianity and non-Orthodox movements.

    Should women be treated well? Yes. Should shuls be more welcoming to them? Yes. Should shuls be on the top of women’s agenda? No.

    Which is why so many Orthodox women rarely come to shul. Judaism is a 24-7 religion.

  61. moshe shoshan

    Gil,

    Some how you only hear that when people are talking about women. Do you tell your boys (if you have) “shul isn’t particularly important to Judaism” or do you do everything to impress upon them the importance of tefila betzibur? You can’t have it both ways. Shul is VERY important to Judaism. Chazal emphasize that over and over again. The claim that this is a forgien idea is pure malarky. Shuls were the centers of Prayer, Talmud Torah and community before there were churches or Mosques.
    What women’s relationship should be to this institution is another question. About that we can discuss and argue.

  62. Of course I tell my boys the same thing.

    Sure, Chazal emphasize tefillah be-tzibbur. They emphasize just about everything! Shuls are socially very important and religiously somewhat important. Shabbos and kashrus are much more important.

    I don’t care too much what goes on in shul as long as the community continues to function properly.

    I don’t often comment on how misguided I consider the women’s focus on shuls because no one wants to hear a man say that. But I believe it to be true.

    I also think it’s terrible when people bid money for kibbudim in shul.

  63. Gil – many times you have stated – “shul isn’t particularly important to Judaism…” but you ignore the fact that it is not just a place to daven but also talmud torah, chesed and community events revolve around one’s shul (for many/most in orthodoxy esp. america).

    its not limited to simply a place to daven in a tzibbur – no different than the next place down the block – actually its the opposite in most of america.

    please show some convincing evidence of your assertion about shuls: “focusing on it is due mainly to the influence of Christianity and non-Orthodox movements.”
    as oppose to the structure of the jewish community in america is different than its european predecessor which led to the focus of shuls vs a kehila dominated structure with a buthcher or jew tax where a shul was just another building owned by the community and the rav was the rav for the city.

    “Which is why so many Orthodox women rarely come to shul. Judaism is a 24-7 religion.” what is the “WHY” here? 24/7 religion applies to men as well but they are obligated and welcomed….women aren’t.

  64. 8:25 was ruvie

  65. Moshe shoshan:

    “bottom line is that more men come to shul than women, it often doesnt make sense to give them equal space.”

    Who said it’s About equal space? It’s about equality of space.

  66. Ruvie: many times you have stated – “shul isn’t particularly important to Judaism…”

    Really? When?

    but you ignore the fact that it is not just a place to daven but also talmud torah, chesed and community events revolve around one’s shul

    You are saying that shul is a Jewish community center. That’s fine but then don’t pretend it is about roles in davening.

  67. All this focus about equal places in shul. Wouldn’t it be great if we were talking about families and enabling them to survive, perhaps even thrive?

  68. Gil:

    ״I also think it’s terrible when people bid money for kibbudim in shul.״

    Agreed, but with the reservation that for many Shuls it’s an important revenue stream necessary to keep the shul functioning. The best we could hope is that at least bidding should be conducted in an expedited and dignified manner. Unfortunately that generally doesn’t happen. (I personally would be willing to pay a bit extra for seats if it meant no bidding, but I know that wont happen)

  69. Gil:

    ״Wouldn’t it be great if we were talking about families and enabling them to survive, perhaps even thrive?״

    Huh? Who isn’t surviving? And What is thriving?

  70. The author summed it up well:

    No woman should have to feel diminished because of thoughtless spatial planning.

    I imagine that most people involved in making decisions that lead to these sorts of circumstances are not intentionally hostile toward women but are rather unaware of the consequences of their actions. I believe these are, in the main, sins of omission rather than of commission. My intention here is to draw attention to the issue in the hope that, by sensitizing more people to the unintended consequences of careless synagogue design, things can change for the better.

  71. Perhaps R’LK can provide examples of the Gra’s genius that would resonate quickly with lay readers (I’d go for his remarks on music and/or secular wisdom-if not genius, certainly unexpected)
    KT

  72. Gil – “You are saying that shul is a Jewish community center.’
    No – to me that implies also a gym and/or swimming pool – a la the jewish center(manhattan) which is rare (or no place to daven like a jcc). its mainly a place to daven but also the members are connected via the shul which also encompasses other activities but mainly built to function as a place to daven (as oppose to a community center which isn’t.

    show some evidence of your assertion of the usual orthodox canard/rhetoric of “outside influences” (usually meaning non jewish and/or non orthodox in order to demean the action/place as not kosher).

  73. moshe shoshan

    a mechitza down the middle means dividing the shul in half.

  74. moshe shoshan

    Gil
    You are wellcome to your opinion but it does not change history or the reality of the way Orthodox Judaism is widely practiced. You cant criticze women for not taking your viewpoint on this.

  75. Perhaps R’ Rosenblum’s piece should have been titled
    “Where the American and Israeli Torah Communities are the same”
    rather than “Where the American and Israeli Torah Communities Differ” with the subheading “Where’s Mine?”

    as in

    From ‘Excelsior’ to ‘Where Is Mine?’

    By CLYDE HABERMAN

    For a couple of centuries, New York State’s official motto has been “Excelsior,” which presumably has nothing to do with an inordinate early American fondness for wood shavings. It is usually translated from the Latin as “Ever Upward.” A lovely sentiment. Would that it were always true.

    The Day

    Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.
    .
    At times a more appropriate Latin motto would seem to be, “Ubi Est Mea?” This is an idea borrowed — i.e., stolen — from the great Chicago columnist Mike Royko, who proposed it decades ago for his city. It means, “Where’s Mine?”

    KT

  76. a mechitza down the middle means dividing the shul in half.

    Given the spatial permutations explicated by B. Eruvin, I’m sure there are permutations in which one can have a mechitza down the middle that does not divide the shul in half.

    For example, you can have a mechitza down the middle that then ends halfway with a men’s section tucked behind it, which would give the Ezrat Nashim 1/4 of the total seats, but spatially located in a more equitable manner.

    Is there a chova for men to be able to see the Bima and Aron Kodesh, that is not incumbent on women?

  77. MOSHE SHOSHAN:

    “a mechitza down the middle means dividing the shul in half.”

    who says it has go down the middle?

  78. The Mechitza issue being discussed has a correlation to R. Mayer Lichtenstein’s Musaf Shabbat article:

    כך, בעוד הרב מציג את ההפרדה בין גברים לנשים בבית הכנסת כנתון יסוד המגדיר את המוסד, ואת המוטיבציה לשבת במעורב הוא מתאר כרצון לאמץ דפוסים חיצוניים והשפעה של הסביבה הגויית (שם, עמ’ 171), מאמרה המדובר של פרופ’ ורד נועם על מקום הנשים בבית הכנסת מציג את הדילמה בצורה שונה לחלוטין.לדבריה הדרת הנשים מבית הכנסת מציבה שאלה על אודות ההתאמה בין אורחות החיים שלנו לבין עמידתנו לפני ה’. בלשון אחרת, בעוד הרב מגן על האוטונומיה של סדרי בית הכנסת מול מפגש עם סדרי דת הרוב הנוצרי, הדילמה העכשווית מנוסחת כדילמה פנימית באשר לפניה העכשוויות של היהדות.

  79. Meantime: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4363969,00.html

    “Women of Wall informed they are no longer allowed to say prayer mourning death of relative at holy site – in addition to prohibition to wear prayer shawl, read Torah. Organization leader: Reciting of Kaddish by women is acceptable all over Jewish world.”

    Brilliant move!

  80. moshe, down the middle may not always be feasible but there is a wide gulf between that and the disrespect the author is describing. i used to go to the same morning minyan regularly for years. (ok, maybe i missed one or two days a week). the shames who turned on the main lights almost never turned on the lights in the women’s section until i arrived. as if every day it was a surprise that someone would actually be there, and there was no reason to prepare the space for me. all these stories are petty, but they add up…

  81. shachar haamim

    “Many yeshiva students stay in Israel after marriage, adding to the Israeli economy, while receiving only limited government benefits as non-citizens.”

    I think that this is a misrepresentation by Mr. Rosenblum. He knows full well that the kollel wife most of the time “makes aliyah” so she and the kids can benefit from all sorts of goodies (healthcare, etc.) while the husband remains a foreign citizen resident on a spousal visa or on a student visa so as to avoid the army issue. Most of these american kollel families take as much from the economy as they give. let’s be honset.

    “Moreover, the proposal to leave the subsidies intact for foreign students — who, in any event, do not do national service — for so-called “Zionist” yeshivot, like Shalavim and Keren B’Yavneh, smacks of an outright attack on Mir and other chareidi yeshivos catering to foreign bochurim.”

    This is also a nice bit of propaganda. There’s no reason why the government should not be entitled foreign students in universities or hesder yeshivot (which are in effect subject to the IDF) and not other types of yeshivot. Why SHOULD Mir be any different than 4 chassidishe bochurim who come to learn for a winter z’man at dushinsky’s shteible? why?

  82. interesting to read a self-described “chareidi rabbi” write:

    “And then I see our soldiers there and I think of the liberation of this awesome place in 1967, and I have the same gush of gratitude.”

  83. (last two anonymi were me)

  84. On the entitlements issue, note also: “About a third of the survivors (some 60,000) have turned to the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims this past year to receive assistance. According to the foundation, 89% of the survivors in Israel live on less than NIS 5,000 ($1,370) a month, while 68% live off just NIS 3,000 ($822) a month.”

  85. Shachar – and don’t forget state subsidised education for the kids too. Plus, even when an American avreich does work in Israel, it is frequently with an ‘American’ business that the Israeli government sees little revenue from. Not to mention the arnona discount – there’s even a highly-regarded posek in the Mir who strongly recommends understating your income so as to extract as much money from the ‘Tzionim’ as possible – after all (and this is a quote) ‘they’re only going to build swimming pools with it’.

  86. As a reminder: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/ultra-orthodox-could-lose-mass-state-funding-without-spot-in-netanyahu-coalition-1.507520

    “In the past four years, Haredi-administered school dormitories alone received NIS 60 million in state funding, he said, NIS 40 million of which is not formally budgeted but secured by the lobbying efforts of Haredi-party Knesset members. […]

    Then there is the Education Ministry’s Jewish culture budget, which Ilan said is designed to provide state funds to organizations affiliated with Haredi parties, including Shas’ El Hama’ayan and United Torah Judaism’s Torah V’Yahadut La’am (“Torah and Judaism for the People”), as well as those that encourage religious observance by the secular Jews. Under the last government, the budget has ballooned from NIS 20 million to NIS 60 million a year, Ilan said.

    An even bigger chunk of state funding goes to Haredi education. The school systems associated with Shas and United Torah Judaism each received between NIS 100 million and NIS 150 million in last four years. Yeshivas in general received billions of shekels, including about NIS 800 in monthly scholarships for every married yeshiva student and NIS 500 scholarships for unmarried students.

    […]

    The government may also require Haredi couples receiving subsidized services, such as day care, housing benefits and reduced municipal taxes, to collectively work a minimum number of hours.”

    Nice (non)work if you can get it…

  87. To be honest it feels more like JR is trying to convince himself to buy into the Israeli Charedi rhetoric than anything else. Yaldei Teheran? New Jew? Does anyone non-Charedi below the age of sixty even know what he is talking about?

    The Artscrollization of Israeli Charedism is simply not going to wash, especially after recent events in RBS and the absolute refusal of mainstream Charedi rabbonim (beyond the maverick Belzer rebbe) to condemn the lunatics.

    Besides for a few symbolic mini-tefilla rallies, it’s going to be hard to get diaspora Charedim to get worked up about refoms that they mostly believe are long overdue.

  88. These articles, btw, sound Tea Party’ish: “Get the government out of my Medicare!”.

  89. Apropos of all the conspiracy theories that fuel much of the Charedi velt these days. An interesting new poll has come out about how American Democrats and Republicans differ
    on conspiracy theory beliefs : http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_National_ConspiracyTheories_040213.pdf

    “PPP surveyed 1,247 registered American voters from March 27th to 30th. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/-2.8%.”

  90. It is a shame, though, that they didn’t ask the logical followup to:

    “The poll finds 28% of voters believe that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order. 34% of Republicans and 35% of independents believe in the New World Order threat compared to just 15% of Democrats.”

  91. IH, stop that. You know it’s against internet etiquette.

    “also talmud torah, chesed and community”

    None of which need a mechitza.

  92. By my count, btw,

    men were more likely to believe:
    – global warming a hoax
    – UFO crashed at roswell
    – NWO
    – obama is antichrist
    – aliens exist
    – cia spread crack in inner cities
    – flouride is nefarious
    – jfk conspiracy
    – pharma invents diseases

    women were more likely to believe:
    – bin laden alive
    – saddam involved in 9/11
    – bush misled on iraq wmds

    almost across the board, however, women had a higher percentage of “not sure” than men. (for example 20% of both women and men believe vaccines cause autism, but among the rest of women 42% say they dont and 38% are not sure. 50% of men say they don’t and 30$ are not sure.)

    i find that result more interesting than the predictably partisan ones. would also be interesting to look at trends with age. scanning briefly, many of these ideas seem more popular w the 18-29 crowd. (blame the internet?) query whether this is an age effect (and they will change minds as they grow up) or a cohort effect (and these ideas will be popular among 28-39 year olds in 10 years).

  93. ““also talmud torah, chesed and community”

    None of which need a mechitza.”

    depends whom you ask, unfortunately. which is part of the point of the original post i think – even if you think a lecture needs a mechitza, why make it one that crams the women into a corner instead of, e.g., two sides of an aisle…

  94. Hirhurim- whats wrong with bidding for kibbudim that you should describe it as ‘terrible?’ this has been a minhag in many communities for a thousand years! I don’t think calling it ‘terrible’ is in any way justified. Maybe it’s not your style, and that’s fine, but you should probably refrain from insulting the practice of many generations of pious and learned jews.

  95. R’ Yehuda,
    I wouldn’t have said terrible, just very cognitively dissonant in the context of a society which rails against materialism and conspicuous consumption.
    KT

  96. yehuda:

    it’s a bizayon for the kavod of mikdash me’at, tircha detzibur, chilul hashem, marchik rechokim. should i go on? (it’s also related to a classical anti-semitic cannard, although i couldn’t care about that.)

  97. yehuda:

    ok i’ll go on. there is an element of lifnei iver (putting it generously) for all the bidder who’ll never pay up (aside from those that have to be chased down for months, and in some cases only pay up finally the following year otherwise they can’t buy seats again). and i don’t know how to reduce this to a 2-word catchphrase as with the others, but it lets people who don’t really deserve kibbudim (to say the least) to get them

  98. nachum – “‘also talmud torah, chesed and community’
    None of which need a mechitza.”

    Point of the comment was the importance and focal point of shuls in america is not limited to finding an minyamin but includes many other important religious activities.
    sometimes the way women are treated where they daven is also reflected in other parts of the shul and is not as welcoming as it should be. many times talmud torah is also effected if not the SIR lecture post davening when women are not invited into the men’s section and many cannot hear the speaker clearly to other times – in my mo shul- where the daf yomi presenter (an agudah person) refuses to teach or allow women into the class. sometimes slights are unintentional and sometimes they are not(they are not a priority since the numbers are much less) – i assume the women many times feel like they are an after thought.

    Very few shuls go out of the way to give equal access – LSS, HIR and JC are exceptions. lets not forget many mo shuls (in my hood at least except lSS) were built when women were not allowed to even be members – hence the balcony was the most accepted practice– YI-ws,OZ, KJ are examples

  99. YIWS was built as a non-Orthodox synagogue (hint: the organ pipes in the Ezrat Nashim — although I haven’t been up there since I was a kid).

    It turns out the spec for the original Organ can be found at http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/html/TempleIsrael.html

  100. iH – my error. YIWS was originally a reform synagogue. In recent years there have been proposals for putting a mechatza in the men’ s section to make it more accessible for women. All were rejected by its rabbi at the time.

  101. The JC also has an interesting history in regard to its Mechitza. See: pp. 99-101 in Gurock & Schacter’s A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community.

  102. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Is there a chova for men to be able to see the Bima and Aron Kodesh, that is not incumbent on women?”

    actually, there is — women, like men (SA / MB) have an obligation to see the sefer torah (letters) at hagba.

    OTOH, historically, women (almost) never came to shul. in europe as well as edot hamizrach.

    when i mentioned to my father years ago that i saw a woman saying kaddish in an out of town ezrat nashim, he told me in hungary, women always often came to shul to say kaddish, even though they almost never came any other time.

    jewish center (as per WSIS precedent, and prob cause of competetive reasons) has a particular history of swimming pool, gym, per R herbert Goldstein opinion.

  103. MiMedinat HaYam

    should be “women often came to shul to say kaddish” not “always” typo

  104. Conversely, look at the second picture in Vered Noam’s article (link below) which shows an “equal” synagogue. Less than 20% of the floor space is used for seating. Either this hypothetical synagogue has virtually no members, or it is incredibly wasteful with its budget. Once again we see the “left wing” sacrificing religious commitment to achieve women’s equality, just as the “right wing” sacrifices women’s equality to achieve religious commitment. If anyone could start a movement that avoided this zero sum game, I would join it.

    http://musaf-shabbat.com/2013/01/13/%D7%9E%D7%A2%D6%B5%D7%91%D7%A8-%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%97%D7%99%D7%A6%D7%94-%D7%94%D7%A4%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%93-%D7%A0%D7%A2%D7%9D/

  105. what does an inefficient hypothetical synagogue have to do with “sacrificing religious commitment to achieve women’s equality”?

    (also i don’t get the model, but perhaps it is explained somewhere in the article or elsehwere…)

  106. RAL on drafting yeshiva students, hareidei priorities, riff on sports and baseball, and a comment of RHS and milk.

    http://pagesoffaith.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/on-the-drafting-of-yeshivah-students/

  107. RAL on non-orthodox prayer groups at the kotel…I apologize if this was posted before.

    http://pagesoffaith.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/5-non-orthodox-prayer-groups-at-the-kotel/

  108. emma: If we look at the spectrum of Jewish denominations, from charedi to MO to Reform, in general we see a pretty uniform inverse relation between the degree of effort invested and depth of attachment to Jewish practice, and the status of women. (And let us in the MO world not delude ourselves into think that we, on average, are equal to the charedim in terms of commitment.) Is this relationship unavoidable? I hope not. But when I see models of synagogues popularized by people who clearly have not thought seriously about the prospect of the synagogue actually being used, I know I have to look elsewhere for the solution to my dilemma.

    By the way, one of the synagogues I am happy to attend when traveling has a mechitza down the middle. Nearly all the sanctuary area consists of seats. Unfortunately the vast majority of them are typically empty, which I guess also says something.

  109. From the Rav Aviner teshuva (not a new one, so I don’t know why it’s here, but in any case)

    “The first was by the Chasidic Rebbe of Radzyner, and was adopted by the Breslav Chasidim as well. The second identification was by Ha-Rav Yitzchak Herzog, who later became the Chief Rabbi of Israel. So this is now the third time Techelet has been “re-discovered”.

    Rabbi Herzog identified two candidates, first the murex trunculus and, secondly, the Janthin snail. Both reasons why he rejected his original choice (dye was wrong colour, snail did not look like the sea) have subsequently been completely answered. Rav Aviner is thus being completely misleading, and one suspects he has not bothered to look at the article on wikipedia let alone do serious research on the subject.

    For the kavod of the Rav, if nothing else, this teshuva should not be publicised.

  110. And the shlissel Challa “analysis” is hilarious:

    “While Alfassa is correct in his assertion that the custom is not found in the writings of the Rishonim or earlier, for some reason he fails to point out the Chassidic origin of Schlissel Challah. As a general rule, we do not find Chassidish customs in the Rishonim because the movement itself only began in 1740. We, however, do find mention of the custom to bake Challah in the shape of a key in many, many Chassidish Seforim. These Seforim were written by genuine Torah scholars, and it is difficult to propose that a Christian practice somehow entered into their literary oeuvre. The Klausenberger Rebbe, the Satmar Rebbe, the Belzer Rebbe, Rav Moshe Aryeh Freund, and numerous Chassidishe Rebbes and Poskim all punctiliously observed this custom.”

    QED!

    Anyway, the article clearly misses the main point of the article he attempts to refute. Whether or not baking a key into challah is a transposition of a “Christian” (I use inveted commas since educated Christians also do not believe in such things) it is an inane superstition of the sort that is fundamentally incompatible with serious monotheism.

  111. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323701904578280020491336026.html?KEYWORDS=riley
    . As one young adult told Hannah Seligson, the author of a new book “Mission Adulthood”: “What people in the past may have gotten from church, I get from the Internet and Facebook That is our religion.”

    also a promotion:
    Erica Brown, a prominent rabbi in Washington,

    KT

  112. By the way, one of the synagogues I am happy to attend when traveling has a mechitza down the middle. Nearly all the sanctuary area consists of seats. Unfortunately the vast majority of them are typically empty, which I guess also says something.

    You see a mirror and think it’s an observation deck.

  113. R’ Joel — sometimes it takes an outsider to see things as they are. I’m sure the requisite correction will be made, as it was in the NYT story that also called her a Rabbi.

  114. r’ih,
    a mix of hilchot nedarim and humpty dumpty (“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” )
    🙂
    KT

  115. “QED!”

    He shows that Alfassa’s sources provide no support for his thesis. So, if you don’t win, you move the goalposts “it is an inane superstition of the sort that is fundamentally incompatible with serious monotheism.”

    So, what is it? Is it the fact that it derives from Christian practice, or is it your claim, that its incompatible with “serious Monotheism”?

    Also, do you eat or look at the simanim on RH? To say that the use of symobolism in Judaism is contrary to “serious monotheism” is itself a flawed assumption and statement. I write this as somebody who does not bake or eat or care about a shlissel challah.

  116. In fact, if anything shlissel challah should be a concern not because of the noted claims of AZ/pagan practices but because of lead poisoning. See here: http://matzav.com/danger-of-eating-shlissel-challah-4

  117. I think shlissel chalah gets such negative reactions because it seems to generate more enthusiasm and concern over proper “performance” than many, you know, actual mitzvos. (Of course, that’s kind of like how a news story about kim kardashian or the president’s dog generates more clicks than one about any number of things that actually matter…)

  118. What do you mean proper performance? You bake it and shoin genugdt! Of course, I don’t indulge so it doesn’t really matter to me. I haven’t yet seen a sefer dedicated to hilchos shlissel challoh. Have you?

    The reason that it get negative reactions is that it represents for many what is wrong with the right-wing of Orthodoxy: focus on segulos, superstitions, the mystical, anti-rationalist. Its part of the same practices as red banglets, lead pouring, chai rotel, etc. a

  119. i mean “oh no i’m not going to have time to make shlissel challah/the store ran out of yeast/etc.” on facebook. perhaps performance was the right word in the sense of theatrics, in fact. the public angst/energy devoted to this practice this week, or more specifically to telling people you are doing it as if that matters, is off-putting. OTOH telling ppl you make shlissel chalah is kind of like telling them you went to free slurpee day on seven 11, except that everyone seems to understand that the latter is just a cute silly thing to do, whereas the former is treated as “serious.” also the fact that people get especially excited about a “Segulah for parnassah” seems materialistic – making this more offputting than segulos for health or shidduchim or whatever.

  120. I guess “folk religion” is in the eye of the beholder.

  121. on second thought most of my acquaintances who bake key challah probably think it has about as much religious significance as baking hamentashen. (ie, a nice custom related to the cycle of the year that does not actually impact anything in the celestial spheres.) the annoyance with such people is mostly guilt by association.

  122. emma – interesting…never heard of that…that’s like because I have never seen or read Facebook 🙂

    As for seguloh for parnassoh, and knowing what being unemployed or underemployed can do to people’s health, shalom bayis, and self-esteem, if you look at it that way its in the same category.

    Also, we seek an “easy” parnosoh through whatever since an easier parnosoh gives a person more time to focus on ruchnius.

    Again, I don’t do shlissel challoh, parashas hamon, etc. but I understand where the request is coming from and I don’t see as materialistic per se.

  123. “…the annoyance with such people is mostly guilt by association.”

    🙂

  124. Hoffa A.- “lead pouring” please explain what this is and who practices this.

  125. Hoffa:

    If you read the original article you will see it makes two claims:

    1) Shlissel Challah is a transposed Xtian practise
    2) It is not compatible with serious monotheism.

    Rabbi Hoffman “refutes” claim (1) with the “argument” that because it appears it numerous Chassidic sources and was practised by numerous chassidic Rabbis it can’t come from a Christian practice. This is so absurd on its face that I see no reason to even explain why. He doesn’t even deal with (2) except to imply that it is somehow offensive even to sugggest it; to observe so is not to move the goalposts.

    In sum, it is very likely that the practice originated with a superstitious Xtian peasant; it’s possible that it actually orginated with a superstitous Jewish peasant. Either way, it was subsequently given “significance” with reference to certain Neoplatonic concepts (“kabbalah”) that re-inforce, rather than undermine, its original superstious nature.. The Q of whether it comes from a Xtian practice is actually not very important. It would fall under the same category as New Years Eve or other customs of pagan origin that no longer have that siginificance. It only bothers people who, say, pay 10 bucks more to buy shirts with the buttons on the other side in order not to be like the goyim.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  126. Gabriel – with all due respect, your assumptions about his origins mirros Rabbi Hoffman’s assumptions about the pristine nature of chassidishe thought. Both are cultural assumptions about a practice.

    In any event, what Rabbi Hoffman did is 1) prove that Alfassa produced 0 sources that it had Xtian origins (it may, but that’s an assumption that you and Alfassa share) and 2)the only sources that speak of this practice are a number of Chassidishe seforim. Why won’t you admit that Alfassa has proved nothing to support his thesis?

    Again, I don’t like the shlissel challoh minhag nor do I practice it. I am generally anti-seguloh. The problem is that your arguments do your side of the ledger no good. It seems to me that Alfassa does not support your view and has been refuted on basis of lack of supporting evidence.

  127. To spell out the last bit, the allegation that shlissel challah was originally an Xtian practise is useful ad hominem because people tend to be into seguloth in direct proportion to how worried they are about things being goyish (Chassidim being the most extreme example), but it’s not the main issue and the Msorah.org article makes clear it isn’t the main issue.

  128. R’HA,
    From the article “Do we know why these segulahs work? No, no more than we can understand why certain things are decreed in shamayim. But the more you believe that this will help, the more it will help.””

    So really in a way we do know why it helps, because if you believe it helps it will (iiuc social science has shown this to be true in a number of studies)

    This is why I don’t talk to about the subject with friends who believe in it – why take a placebo away if it is making someone feel better? OTOH when it becomes an avodah zara like practice I guess one should take it away (not my job man?)
    KT

  129. MiMedinat HaYam

    hoffa – the editor later withdrew that advertorial in a subsequent issue (but i guess kept it on the web site.)

    regarding shlissel challah, its not just chassidish. my shul gabbai (from chaim berlin) does it for the kiddush (using key shaped challah dough mold; litvish / yeshivish, so doesnt have to be shaped the chassidic six braided way); also funny story. r pruzanskly (CBI teaneck) once spoke at rca convention on topic of segulot, etc. and mentioned how after criticizing such practices, the (MTJ musmach, not chassidish) author of the (then) popular annual book on pesach reminds his readers not to forget the shlissel challah after pesach.

  130. I think shlissel chalah gets such negative reactions because it seems to generate more enthusiasm and concern over proper “performance” than many, you know, actual mitzvos.

    Emma, that is an old, old story. The yetzer harah works against you on the important things, and leaves alone the trivial things.

    There is a story about the Shaagas Aryeh, that in his old age he accepted the rabbonus of a large city, Metz, France. The elders of the city told him there was a custom that a new Rav would make up a takkanah, it would be written into the minutes of the kehilla, and then to show their devotion to the Rav, all the members would carefully follow it. At first he demurred, but when pressed, he said, “Write the Asseres ha Dibros into the kehillas minutes. If the kehilla keeps that as carefully as they do the Rav’s takkanos, then that will be a big accomplishment.”

  131. MiMedinat HaYam

    tal b — interesting. the shaagas aryeh came to metz a few days before shavuot, and never davened in the “big” shul till shavuot. after the cohen make the bracha for his aliyah, the chazzan started “akdamot” (instead of before the bracha; when i heard this, i remembered SA specifically mentiins this as a minhag, which the shaagas aryeh apparently never heard of / neverteless dissapproved of.) he insisted it was wrong, and never davened in the “big” shul again. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryeh_Leib_ben_Asher_Gunzberg seems not old age, but dispute. whats new?)

  132. MMHY: That article says he was born in 1695 and became rabbi of Metz in 1765. That would make him 70 at the time. (He died twenty years later.) Sounds consistent with my rendition.

  133. MiMedinat HaYam

    tal b — yes, but he seemed to not respect local minhagim, which prob led to the “aseret hadibrot” comment you cite. metz was particularly known for special minhagim (somewhat like frankfurt). and particularly known for outstanding talmidei chachamim.

    rabbi wikipedia cites two other such issues.

    why / how are we getting into such issues?

    shabbat shalom

  134. why / how are we getting into such issues?

    Look at my response above to Emma re Schlissel Challah. The story contrasts the important things with the less important, and how people often emphasized the less important over the more.

  135. joel rich – you make a good point, but those problems are recent ones, and the minhag is an old one. many in communities where that is a particular problem, the minhag should be restrained, but i don’t think that justifies anyone disparaging an old minhag that has been endorsed by generations of poskim – maybe an honest discussion within a shul about whether the minhag is causing particular harm, but i think that to write as hirhurim did is unnacceptable.

    abba –
    it’s not a bizayon – if you could buy a korban at the mikdash itself, how is buying an aliyah in a beit knesset a bizayon?
    tircha d’tzibbur – only if it takes too long, it doesn’t have to take more than 5 minutes on shabbat, and on yom kippur, it takes longer, but it’s not like you’re going anywhere.
    chillul hashem – not sure how you mean that, but every posek of the last millenium who has talked about the issue hasn’t been concerned with that…
    i’m not sure how it’s marchik rechokim – for one, rechokim aren’t in the beit knesset anyways.
    your lifnei iver argument is just flat silly – by that line of reasoning, we shouldn’t loan money or sell on credit, or ever take pledges for tzedaka.
    as for ‘deserving’ the kibbudim – i don’t really think you’re the dayan emet for who deserves what – the fact is they are giving a lot of money to pay for things you use, the least you could do is let them have an aliyah in exchange.

    again, like i said to hirhurim i think maybe watching your words is in order, you’re casting aspersions not only on pious jews of this generation, but of many previous generations as well.

  136. The story contrasts the important things with the less important, and how people often emphasized the less important over the more.

    Tal – Indeed, given the punchline in your story is aseret ha’dibrot, I feel the need to point out that one could make the same point about priorities regarding various things that RW O males are medayek on as well. Perhaps it is more prudent not to judge others in this regard.

    In any case, it reminds me of one of my father’s favorite Jewish jokes (I think from Droyanov) of the poor Jew who hides his sole 1000 ruble note in his Torah on the page with Lo Tignov and finds it missing when he returns to retrieve it. He then finds a 500 Ruble note on the page with “V’Ahavta L’reacha Kamocha.

  137. And another female voice speaks up: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/scroll-up/

    “I complain regularly about the shul which we attend – unless you are sitting in the front row of the women’s gallery you cannot really see anything that’s going on. But instead of trying to change things, I just don’t go often to shul. I have enough on my plate without pushing to change things that will never be changed. Plus I enjoy my Shabbat morning lie-in, snuggled up with a good book.”

    And after her epiphany visiting Beth Tfiloh in Baltimore, Maryland, she ends with:

    “I wish there were more ways for women to feel involved at an Orthodox shul during the prayer services, but honestly, most of the time I am accepting of the status quo. There are bigger issues to be fighting for.”

  138. Indeed, given the punchline in your story is aseret ha’dibrot, I feel the need to point out that one could make the same point about priorities regarding various things that RW O males are medayek on as well. Perhaps it is more prudent not to judge others in this regard/

    IOW, you feel the need to criticize others, whereas for yourself and your fellow travelers, all is perfect. How profound and inspiring.

  139. The following is the first of two articles that readers may find interesting that were in the most recent issue of Commentary. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-outreach-revolution/

  140. The following linked article concerns a subject that we also recently discussed-the issue of Quinoa and its acceptability for use on Pesach. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-great-kosher-for-passover-war-of-2013/

  141. I thought that R Y Hoffman’s article re Schlissel Chalah was unconvincing. At the outset, as RHS points out from time to time, the Baaleui HaTosfos on the first daf of Maseces Gittin note that Osiyos Minhag Gehenom.

    That being the case,I think that the article as a response to the JP piece needed more analysis of other such minhagim, and the controversies associated with the same. Citing very late Chasidishe Seforim without discussing the relevant sources in the Talmud and Rishonim that disusss Chukos HaHaGoyim, Minhagei Shtus, as well as the well known Machlokes Rishonim about Kaparos possibly being Darchei Emori or even how Kabalas Shabbos became a mainstream minhag struck me as an attempt to justify the practice without really examing the issue in light of how Chazal and Rishonim view other such similar Minhagim.

  142. For those interested in the Charedi-DL/secular dividen in Israel, which escalates periodicially as in the current discussions re the legislation proposed by Lapid , supported by Bennett and opposed by UTJ and Shas, it helps to understand the origins of the same, as in the linked book,http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=CT7B-PuJgUdLlOs376QHcpYHQBKPoutMF877o2mzas9o-CAAQASCaTigDULme6MD9_____wFgycapi8Ck2A_IAQGqBB9P0ApqIM_okk_1Lr_M1uiyffLkbAJ6z6TTYMj6TsXAgAeL_ao1&sig=AOD64_3OTU0V1f-lderDDDSnmaglhYeWCw&adurl=http://www.amazon.com/dp/0465018548/%3Ftag%3Dgooghydr-20%26hvadid%3D29130956035%26hvpos%3D1t1%26hvexid%3D%26hvnetw%3Ds%26hvrand%3D1168123628922208461%26hvpone%3D78.59%26hvptwo%3D%26hvqmt%3De%26ref%3Dpd_sl_5y92izz1o2_e rather than view the same as a mere footnote in history.

  143. Steve — does you 10 year old book explain an incident such as: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/166804

    “Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman was slammed this week by hareidi parties after he suggested that yeshiva students, during their Passover break, should help clean Israel’s streets as an act of chesed (charity).

    One of the main points of criticism against Lipman was that he should not be telling others to clean streets unless he sets a personal example and does so himself. Ultimately it was revealed in a photo that Lipman had indeed done this last year.”

    as reported by Arutz 7?

  144. Interesting obit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/world/europe/edith-schaeffer-98-dies-defined-christian-values.html?hpw

    “In an interview, Professor Hankins described Mrs. Schaeffer as a bit of a paradox. ‘On one hand,’ he said, ‘she held a very traditional, biblical view about women’s subservient role. On the other, she was assertive, even competitive with her husband.’

    ‘She embodied marriage equality,’ he said. ‘She would never use the term, of course, but in some ways she was the model of a sort of evangelical feminism.’ ”

  145. I also was stunned by Rav Aviner’s response on techelit. Usually he is very careful.

  146. ” so many Orthodox women rarely come to shul.”

    Here in Riverdale, the women’s sections are pretty full at all the shuls every Shabat morning.

  147. Key word, “Shabbat.”

  148. moshe shoshan

    Steve, for the last time, Bayit Yehudi does not support Lapids plan. Its part of the big lie to demonize the dati leumi. I have already reported that uri urbach has stated that Lapid paln is wrong and unworkable. In stead of whining, let the chareidim give a counter offer. if they dont, they cant complain when a solution is imposed on them.

  149. Uncomfortable reading, but important to understand: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/opinion/interfaith-marriages-a-mixed-blessing.html?hp&_r=0

    “Secular Americans welcome the rise of interfaith unions as a sign of societal progress. The relatively high rates of intermarriage of American Muslims, for example, suggest that their assimilation might resemble that of American Jews of earlier generations.

    […]

    Religious leaders I interviewed — and not only Jewish ones — were broadly worried about interfaith marriage. “We have an appalling number of evangelical pastors who will not preach and teach on the issue of interfaith marriage, but who will perform marriages for anyone who comes in,” Russell D. Moore, a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, told me.

    Jihad Turk, of the Islamic Center of Southern California, blamed interfaith marriage in part for declines in mosque attendance. L. Whitney Clayton, a Mormon elder, lamented that intra-faith marriage was hard to promote to those who don’t attend services regularly.”

  150. IH asked:

    “Steve — does you 10 year old book explain an incident such as: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/166804

    “Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman was slammed this week by hareidi parties after he suggested that yeshiva students, during their Passover break, should help clean Israel’s streets as an act of chesed (charity).:”

    No-but it is an excellent primer on why the issues that led to the current coalition are a major part of Israeli political and cultural life. I do wonder-can R Lipman verify that yeshiva students in isarel are not involved in acts of chesed such that he felt it necessary to be involved in a chesed photo op?

  151. I agree with the following comment of R Gil:

    “All this emphasis on shul is misguided. In the big picture, shul isn’t particularly important to Judaism and focusing on it is due mainly to the influence of Christianity and non-Orthodox movements.

    Should women be treated well? Yes. Should shuls be more welcoming to them? Yes. Should shuls be on the top of women’s agenda? No.

    Which is why so many Orthodox women rarely come to shul. Judaism is a 24-7 religion.”

    Much of what we assume as a given in our communal lives has nothing to do with the structure of a synagogue-just think of the local chesed based activities that have nothing to do with a shul in the average Orthodox community-many are run by women far more efficiently and effectively with far less publicity than the average Orthodox shul.

  152. Steve B. – “just think of the local chesed based activities that have nothing to do with a shul in the average Orthodox community…”

    most of the chesed in the mo community where i live is run through the local shuls (not steibels btw) with the rabbis being a major factor. in mo communities the shul is the factor in many areas outside of having a minyan a few times a day (if not more). the shul is the place that organized many participants for help in Sandy, after 9/11 our shul was instrumental for shemirah of the the victims, norpac/aipac…the list goes on and on (yes, limud torah most of all). most mo shuls the women are as active as the men except on religious committees (although i believe a woman’s voice should be mandatory there as well- for obvious reasons).

  153. Ruvie-You missed my point-Gmachs of all kinds are started, run and organized by women effectively and efficiently without nearly any public hoopla. The Gmachs range from Bikur Cholim to Hachnasas Kalah to having rooms available for Sheva Brachos and clothes for chasunas, just to cite a few. Every shul has volunteers who arrange for meals for Aveilim or for families where medical or other emergencies dictate that someone else prepare Shabbos meals. AFAIK, none of these arerun, dicated by or organized by shuls. The Sandy relief effort was spearheaded by a great organization ( Achiezer) that is not run out of a shul, but which utilizes the talents of the men and women who run it to faciliate help and enable other communities to render assistance. In my neighborhood, the rabbanim and shuls, as well as the shtieblach. merely served as the conduit for rallies for helping Achiezer. We think that shuls are the fulcum of organized learning, but there is no requirement that a shiur or a chavrusa be held in a shul.

  154. Steve B. – it seems you are unaware of how mo shuls function as well are run in the real world and are a focal point of their respective community. shuls are a volunteer organization with only 3-6 people being paid (plus maintenance staff) – bikur cholim, food for availim etc are all organized by the shul and its members – not separate organizations.

    ” but there is no requirement that a shiur or a chavrusa be held in a shul.” – that is the point – not the requirement but what actually happens in our communities. please read the previous post more carefully.

  155. Ruvie: You know that shuls have very different seating arrangements/ accommodations for non-prayer events, right?

  156. ‘Key word, “Shabbat.”’

    Ok, three O shuls in Riverdale get women davening with the minyan every morning. Most of the women are reciting Kaddish. The shuls are the ones where women can see over the mechitzah without a ladder.

  157. “In stead of whining, let the chareidim give a counter offer.”

    I thought that they had: Make no change whatsoever, ever.

  158. You know that shuls have very different seating arrangements/ accommodations for non-prayer events, right?

    From the article I linked:

    Item: I attended a lecture on Derech Eretz, the ideals of interpersonal kindness and conscientiousness, held in an Orthodox shul. Separate seating was set up for men and women. The men sat in the regular men’s section and the women were seated in rows of folding chairs that began behind the end of the men’s section. I arrived on time and paid the same price for admission to the lecture as men were charged, yet the very best seat I could get was further away from the speaker and less comfortable than the seating available for men, including those men who came late.

    […]

    Item: Though my husband and I were the first ones at a concert of Jewish music being held in an Orthodox shul, and despite the fact that I was charged the same ticket price as the men, I was told I must sit in the cramped women’s section behind tables two rows deep and to the left of the performer. Men had their choice of seats facing the performer and had plenty of room to dance. A man who came 45 minutes late was able to sit two rows from the performer.

  159. Since you know MO shuls better than I, tell me if it is standard to have separate seating during lectures and concerts.

  160. Do you think that is acceptable in any shul?

  161. (not the separation, but the type of separation as described)

  162. Gil- I think you missed the point about shuls being the focal point of the community especially mo (its not just davening) that was the original discussion. The lack of sensitivity in one area leads to the same in other areas of shul and community life.

    If you can’t acknowledge that this happens then there is no need to continue the discussion. The articles are pretty consistent – also not all shuls are alike – as Charlie Hall pointed out about HIR (which is the exception to the rule including seating and visibility of the action as well as sensitivity to the issue).

  163. Beit Shemesh Resident

    Steve Brizel:
    No-but it is an excellent primer on why the issues that led to the current coalition are a major part of Israeli political and cultural life. I do wonder-can R Lipman verify that yeshiva students in isarel are not involved in acts of chesed such that he felt it necessary to be involved in a chesed photo op?

    You are completely wrong about this being a “chesed photo op”. The picture of Dov Lipman cutting down the weeds, which were preventing drivers from seeing oncoming traffic, was taken a few years ago before he entered the political world. The iriya was negligent in taking care of this, and due to this danger, Dov posted on the local chat list that he was going to take clippers and go do it himself and asked for anyone else willing to volunteer and help. The photo was taken at that time, and posted last week by another BS resident (Chuck Davidson) to his Facebook page. It was then picked up by Arutz 7 news.

    Please stop buying into the vilification of Dov Lipman that you are perhaps seeing on various websites.

  164. “verify that yeshiva students in isarel are not involved in acts of chesed such that he felt it necessary to be involved in a chesed photo op?”

    Steve, are you making it up as you go along? The picture was taken last year without his knowledge; when he was challenged, he dug it up. That’s not a “chesed photo op” and you owe him an apology. This year, of course, he has a full-time job. 🙂

    As to your demand for “verification,” he was making an observation and suggestion. Why are you so defensive? Anyone who walks the streets here can see that lots of yeshiva boys take it easy during their break. The head of the search and rescue agency in the Golan Heights had to put out a special request that yeshiva students not take hikes at least on Yom HaShoah, as they have to rescue a few every year and it’s a chilul Hashem.

    More and more charedi leaders in Israel are waking up (and publicly admitting) to the fact that Bennett and Lapid are not, in fact, such bad guys after all. I await your awakening.

    Charlie, may I fisk?

    “Ok, three O shuls in Riverdale”

    How many are there total? Not many more, we all know.

    “get women davening with the minyan every morning.”

    OK, so we’ve gone from “pretty full” to “get women”. How many women? Proportional to how many less men there are during the week?

    “Most of the women are reciting Kaddish.”

    Ah! Again, how many? And how many of the men are?

    “The shuls are the ones where women can see over the mechitzah without a ladder.”

    Again, how many in Riverdale *can’t* you do so, and how large are they?

    Look, I think it would be great if every woman came to shul every morning, and I think sight lines are amazingly important. (It should go without saying that in many shuls, women can see more than men.) But lots of women realize it’s not going to happen. I’ve got feminist friends, women who layn at their egalitarian minyanim, who drop it when the first kid arrives. Turns out halakhah is smarter than we think.

  165. Above was me. Beit Shemesh Resident beat me to it.

    By the way, by “not going to happen” I mean women in shul during the week. Good sight lines can and do happen.

  166. moshe shoshan

    I can confirm the story about lipman.
    He worked for years the chareidi kanoim and the mayor who backs them when he had nothing to gain. The mayor blackmailed Reshit into firing Dov from his job as a rebbi there. I sont realyknow how he survived on income from his basket ball chug and from tutoring. It was only after the media “discovered” Chareidi thuggery in Beit Shemesh that Dov became a public figure. I don’t agree with everything he says and does, but his credentials as an ossek bztorchei zibbur bemunah are well established.

    Steve,
    can I take it from your silence that you have no problems with rabbis making racist statements?

  167. Nachum — the number of women who come to shul on weekdays is not material to the discussion regarding synagogue layout. In galus, many (most) morning minyanim are not held in the main sanctuary, but in the smaller Beit Midrash. Whereas, main sanctuaries are designed for Shabbat/Yom-Tov crowds. For shuls where the main sanctuary is used for weekday services, it is pretty trivial and inexpensive to provide a “separate, but equal” space to women using a moveable mechitza.

    Finally, lets flip around your assumption. If the shuls were more accommodating, are you so certain many more women would not show up during the week?

  168. Every shul has volunteers who arrange for meals for Aveilim or for families where medical or other emergencies dictate that someone else prepare Shabbos meals. AFAIK, none of these arerun, dicated by or organized by shuls.

    Right…

  169. IH: Don’t get me wrong! I agree with you, and would only hope that more accommodation would cause more women (those who can make it, which will probably always be less than the men) to come during the week.

  170. “Finally, lets flip around your assumption. If the shuls were more accommodating, are you so certain many more women would not show up during the week?”

    I actually don’t understand why women would be interested in coming to shul during the week (Kaddish aside). I find the rushed davening of weekday mornings completely uninspiring and one of those things I do for no other reason than they I have to do it

  171. Moshe Shoshan-see the recent Commie and Richard Joel’s comments at a recent presidential open house . I should also note that RHS is the echeduled guest of honor at an upcoming RIETS dinner.

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