New Periodical: RJJ Journal LXV

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New issue of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society LXV (Spring 2013/Pesach 5773):

  • Pens, Pads, and PCs–Writing on Shabbat for Medical Care by R. Dr. Raphael Hulkower – Excellent article on the subject, with a lot of very good points and sources. He missed a few recent sources in his survey (e.g. R. Eliezer Melamed’s discussion in his Peninei Halakhah and R. Eliyahu Koren’s discussion in his Me’orei Eish Ha-Shalem and the journal Ha-Ma’ayan) but that hardly matters. More importantly, he is missing what I am missing as well, which is why I haven’t published on the subject: the input of an expert in screen technology. Still an excellent article but without that input, not the final word on the subject (I tend to criticize more the articles that excite me most. Bad habit).
  • Compelled to Inoculate: May Parents Refuse Vaccinations for Their Children? by R. Dr. Aaron Glatt, Dr. Fred Rosner, R. Yitzchok Breitowitz and R. Zev Shostak – Yes, parents are obligated. Fascinating history. Seems to be written by a power-house committee as part of a fellowship program in Jewish bioethics. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more such articles. Although on the halakhic aspects, I found R. Asher Bush’s Hakirah article more comprehensive.
  • Jewish Perspectives on Burial in a Mausoleum by R. Jason Weiner – Reasons to oppose burial in a mausoleum but concludes that it is not as bad as cremation. There may be room for a posek to allow it as the least bad alternative.
  • Determining Priorities and Triage in Medical Care by R. Moshe Walter – Who gets saved first in an emergency situation. Excellent discussion but one that has been covered many times already.
  • Casual Saturday? Dressing Down for Shabbat by Dr. Wallace Greene – Not a complicated topic but one that needs to be emphasized. You have to “dress up” for Shabbos, as defined by local standards. That includes Friday night and Shabbos afternoon.
  • Letters – R. Dovid Cohen disagreeing with an earlier letter by R. Binyamin Cohen (no relation). Aaron Gold tells how R. Moshe Feinstein told him that you may not take a ring inscribed with a verse into the bathroom.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student 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.


  1. 1. local standards – dress up – interplay with non-jewish local standards needs further clarification; also complex is how does halacha interact as local standards are in flux

    2-any triage article should struggle to deal with the cognitive dissonance between the horiyot priorities and actual practice

    3-pads et al -imho we are still in the alta vista (i.e. pre-google) era of halacha in this area – i’ve mentioned elsewhere that the pace of technological change and halachic change is an interesting area for study.


  2. Re 3: I disagree. I think electronic gadgets have already passed the “umbrella point” in which the view forbidding their use has become entrenched.

  3. we’ll see whether they follow turning on lights on yom tov or time clocks?

  4. Looks very interesting. I will have to buy a copy. When I looked into submitting an article I was somewhat amused that a Journal with the words ‘contemporary society’ was not available online and required submissions to be mailed by snail mail. I don’t know if things have changed….

  5. R’ Noam,
    see my point 1 above – which “society are we talking about 🙂

  6. You can submit by e-mail if you contact the editor directly to find out his e-mail address.

  7. A close friend of mine once commented that he heard from a very prominent Charedi Rav and Posek that the two most pressing areas in Halacha were not related either to feminism or end of life issues, but rather business ethics and halachos related to the breakup of families, divorce, and sexual misconduct.
    I would like to see both the RJJ Journal and Hakira devote at least one article per issue to Halacha LMaaseh in one aspect of these areas of SA EH and CM . One can look in vein in any one of the freebies that have weekly “halacha columns” and the Yated for discussions on any of the above in any detail, as opposed to the myriad columns on SA OC ,YD and Minhagim.

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