Musings

The Orthodox Union Gets It Right On Women Rabbis

by R. Gil Student The Orthodox Union (OU) released a statement last week announcing that it will implement the findings of a rabbinic panel it convened to study the issue of women rabbis (clergy). For a number of years, a school run by rabbis calling themselves “Open Orthodox” has been ordaining women as clergy and sometimes placing them after graduation ...

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How Much Providence?

by R. Gil Student Religious people see God acting in their lives, directing their destiny. How much of that is wishful thinking and how much is legitimate theology? The religious air we breathe assumes that God controls everything, no matter how large or small. Judaism’s teachings on that subject seem contradictory, at times saying that God controls all and at ...

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When Values Collide: Women’s Rabbinic Ordination

by R. Gil Student In October 2015, the Rabbinical Council of America issued a resolution (that I sponsored) that its members may not ordain women into the Orthodox rabbinate nor hire a woman rabbi, regardless of title. This past Thursday, after a long process of communal comment and rabbinic inquiry, the Orthodox Union (OU) issued a statement effectively adopting the ...

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Equalizing and Nullifying Weddings

by R. Gil Student At the recent JOFA conference, a session was given on inequality in the wedding process (link). Rabba Yaffa Epstein [1]I use the term Rabba as a courtesy. Especially when dealing with non-Orthodox clergy, I try to call people by the name and title they prefer. pointed out that the wedding ceremony is inherently unequal — the ...

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How to Deal with Troubling Commentaries

by R. Gil Student God is connected to everyone who reaches out to Him, as the Midrash (Eliyahu Rabbah, 9) teaches, “I call heaven and earth to witness that whether Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or maidservant, everything is according to their actions that the divine spirit rests on them.” Every place the Torah and Talmud discuss holiness and chosenness, ...

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Riding Home From the Inaugural Ball

by R. Gil Student The news reported that Jared and Ivanka Kushner received rabbinic permission to ride in a car back from the inaugural ball on Friday night. Many people have questioned this decision. We do not know the name of the rabbi who gave this permission nor the specific circumstances of the individuals, but we can discuss the possibilities. ...

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The Living Wage and the Working Poor

A Living Wage is the minimum income necessary for an employee working 40-hours a week to meet the employee’s needs on that single income. Some have argued in favor of a legally mandated Living Wage as an anti-poverty measure. Others have argued against it because they believe it will reduce the total number of jobs. Additionally, the obligation of charity should not be ...

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The Bencher App

by R. Gil Student What good is an app for benching, reciting the blessings after a meal, when we cannot use it on Shabbos? That was the reaction I heard from many people when NCSY announced its new, free Bencher App. This attitude neglects a few things. First, people bench during the week also, not just on Shabbos. Second, sometimes ...

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Is the Bible the Future of Politics

by R. Gil Student This article originally appeared in The Jewish Press Politics needs new ideas. The recent presidential election taught us many lessons about celebrity and scandal, inaction and consequences, the limits of media and polls, and much more. Perhaps more than anything, the election expressed the public’s widespread dissatisfaction with the political leaders of the past decade who ...

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Is Anger Good?

by R. Gil Student I. Anger Is Bad Anger is a destructive force. It does not just cloud judgment, which would imply reliance on instinct. Anger overwhelms judgment, taking you in directions to which your rational mind and your other, less powerful, emotions would object if they could. A life full of anger is a life full of pain and ...

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