Torah Musings is a window into the Orthodox Jewish intellectual’s world, providing sophisticated but popular textual studies, important news stories and associated commentary from the perspective of an Orthodox Judaism that is intellectually open and halakhically conservative.
ABOUT THE WEBSITE
Started as the Hirhurim blog in 2004, Torah Musings relaunched in August 2013 as an online periodical focusing on multiple areas of interest, including: Textual Studies – halakhah (Jewish law), hashkafah (Jewish thought), history and parshanut (biblical commentary) that is clear, interesting, valuable to experienced students but understandable to those with limited Jewish education; News Stories and Commentary – thoughtful responses based on Jewish texts and traditions to issues of the day; Dialogue – differing views within the Orthodox camp, discussing with post and counter-post or in the responses.
Torah Musings has three sections: 1) Journal, 2) Magazine, 3) The Blatt.
Journal is an edited section that is reviewed by the Torah Musings editorial committee. Contributions are lightly edited and reviewed for content.
Magazine is an unedited and unreviewed section containing similar content to Journal. Essays are added by decision of the website’s Publisher and may be revised, removed or promoted to Journal based on feedback from the Editorial Committee.
The Blatt contains links to online news stories and essays, and miscellaneous commentary.[Legacy is the section of content prior to the launch of Torah Musings on August 18, 2013.]
Note that Editorial Committee is only directly responsible for Journal essays and setting website policy. Magazine essays may be moved to Journal with the approval of the Editorial Committee. You can see an essay’s sections along with other categorizations at the top of a single-post view, underneath the title.
Reader contributions are an important part of the Torah Musings experience. Readers can join the discussion in two ways:
- Responses on Torah Musings are fully moderated. Readers should think carefully before submitting a response and adopt the style of a newspaper or magazine letter to the editor. Responses will be rejected if they fail to meet the responses guidelines or otherwise at the discretion of the editor. Please make sure to avoid ad hominem attacks and libelous statements. Read charitably, judge favorably and respond politely. If you write inappropriately, your response will be deleted even if it contributes to the discussion.
- Readers are encouraged to gather their thoughts on a subject and compose an essay arguing their case. Guidelines for essays and submission instructions are available on the Submit Content page of the Torah Musings website.
Responses on Torah Musings are fully moderated. Readers should think carefully before submitting a response and adopt the style of a newspaper or magazine letter to the editor. Responses will be rejected if they fail to adhere to the response guidelines. If you write inappropriately, your response will be deleted even if it contributes to the discussion.
- Judge people favorably, both when they are being discussed and when they are communicating with you. Try to find ways to read things positively.
- Confirm your information before posting, or couch your language with appropriate disclaimers.
- Do not knowingly publish false information. Distinguish between fact, suspicion and opinion.
- Do not post defamatory information, even if true and available elsewhere, without proper halakhic justification.
- Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations and agendas. When that is not possible, avoid topics where these conflicts may affect the subject.
- Never pretend to be someone else.
- Be honest and fair. Make sure you do not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
- Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and judge favorably. Remember that their family and yours may be reading your words.
- Be considerate of other people’s feelings, as well as their beliefs.
- Do not insult anyone, ever. The more you disagree, the more respectful you should be while disagreeing.
- Do not use profanity or sexually suggestive language.
- Do not violate people’s privacy or confidence.
- Keep discussions on topic.
- Do not spam. Spamming includes leaving repeated comments promoting a specific idea or web site, including making the same point multiple times.
- Do not troll. Trolling is the posting of inflammatory comments with intent to provoke or disrupt.
ABOUT THE PEOPLE
- Rabbi Gil Student, Torah Musings Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance 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.
- Rabbi Basil Herring
Rabbi Basil Herring PhD has headed a number of congregations, taught at various colleges, published a number of volumes and studies in contemporary Halachah, medieval Jewish philosophy and Bible, and best Rabbinic practices. A past Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America (the RCA), he is currently the editor of the soon to be published Revised RCA Siddur.
- Rabbi Moshe Schapiro
Rabbi Moshe Schapiro is a reference librarian at the Mendel Gottesman Library of Yeshiva University. He has served as rabbi of the Synagogue on the Palisades in Fort Lee, NJ and as an adjunct professor for Jewish Studies in the Isaac Breuer College at Yeshiva University.
- Efraim Vaynman
Efraim Vaynman is a rabbinical student at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary while concurrently pursuing an MA in Talmud at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Previously, Efraim studied in yeshivot Brisk and Beth Medrash Gevoha.
- Joel Rich, Audio Contributor
- Rabbi Gidon Rothstein
With questions and comments, write to [email protected].