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Can a ‘Lefty’ Rabbi Save Yeshivat Chovevei Torah?

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, who will succeed Rabbi Avi Weiss as head of YCT, is most definitely on the left side of the Orthodox spectrum. Nevertheless he can keep YCT from sliding too far to the left and cross the line of Orthodoxy. YCT founder Rabbi Avi Weiss candidly admitted that he has parted ways with his Rebbe on the approach to these issues. And he has incorporated it into the philosophy of his Yeshiva.

My Big Fat Jewish Wedding

[vimeo 7441722 w=250 h=187] צאנז 111 from bhol on Vimeo. Not being a Chasid of his (or Chasid of any kind) I don’t really know much...

Merging the Orthodox Streams

Imagine a Moetzes that included a broader spectrum of rabbinic leaders. And a population of educated Jews that can make a decent living in all fields – including the field of Torah study.

Why Modern Orthodoxy?

The truth is that Orthodox Jews are all lumped together as having the same attitudes in life. So that for example a Chasidic Jew in Williamsburg will be treated the same way a Modern Orthodox Jew in Teaneck. They are both seen as Orthodox and their worldviews are more or less seen to be the same: decidedly anti-modern. But this viewpoint doesn't reflect the reality.

As the Pendulum Swings – Ever Rightward

Fact is there is of course nothing wrong with raising standards of religious observance. As long as it is voluntary. But when schools start making new demands along those lines, they completely ignore individual choice. Being Machmir should be an individual choice and not forced upon anyone. These strictrures have nothing to do with basic Halacha. They have to do with image.

Jewish Terrorists!?

These people are no better than the arsonists of who set fires during the '68 riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King . Then Mayor Richard J. Daley gave police the green light to police to shoot to kill anyone seen attempting arson. People who throw firebombs into cars are murderers. There is no justification for targeting innocent people. These terrorists ought to be treated accordingly. That no one died yet from that act is a miracle.

35 Hours

How in heaven's name does a pedophile who is convicted and registered sex offender get a job delivering milk late at night to a summer-camp full of children? Don't they do background checks?

Informed Consent

Despite the fact that major Poskim spanning several generations declare that the lack of Metzitza B’Peh does not invalidate Bris Milah – some even requiring alternative safer methods - the fact remains that there is a strongly held view mostly among Chasidim that Metzitza B’Peh is an absolute requirement of Bris Milah.

The ‘Nine Questions’

I generally do not respond to patronizing comments on my blog. However, the questions raised by a recent commenter are common ones and deserve answers.

The Wrong Stuff of the Right

I recently saw a picture of the first Agudah convention taken almost 100 years ago. There were people in all manner of dress: light suits, dark suits, vests… some had hats, some caps, some just plain Kipot. Many clean shaven, few with peyos… All were there and all were the equivalent of the Charedi world we have today. This was the Agudah of Yesteryear.

Police?…Or Shomrim?

The public the Shomrim serve trusts them more than the police. They ought to be disabused of that notion. Shomrim should be an auxiliary to the police, not the other way around.

Of Truth and Belief

As currently defined, an Orthoprax Jew tends to follow Halacha, but may question the existence of God or whether the Torah was given to us at Sinai .

Iconic Sinners

How does one reconcile greatness with evil? Is it possible that one can be a great contributor to society and have a dark side? And how are we to look at such a person? Does abusing someone sexually - even only one or two times to one person - negate all the good he has done?

A Modesty Request in Williamsburg – Or Is it?

A couple of years ago as I was walking down Williamsburg’s famous shopping district of Lee Street, I recall seeing a sign in one of the stores that had a message written in both Yiddish (Hebrew characters) and English. The English sign said “Closed”. The Yiddish sign said “Offen” – which is Yiddish for “Open”.

Political Correctness Run Amok

What seems to be happening here goes far beyond understanding and tolerance. It goes far beyond treating our fellow man with love and compassion - regardless of the human condition that causes man to sin against God. Is there alive a man today that has not sinned? But the agenda of some gay rights activists is not about respecting human dignity. It is about celebrating homosexuality!

The Siyum – Postscript

The highlight of the evening was a brief but inspiring video of the history of Daf Yomi from its inception at the first Agudah convention via until the present. Over all, The Siyum was a job well done I thought. At least here in Chicago.

Charedi Intolerance of Modern Orthodox

A few years ago, Rabbi Michael Broyde wrote an analysis of the Halacha requiring married women to cover their hair. Although he in no way said that a married woman may uncover her hair he suggested that it is possible to say that there were Halachic sources that may have permitted it in certain social circumstances.

An Analysis of the Presidential Candidates

I have come to the conclusion that where it matters the most to me – the security of the State of Israel and the overall welfare of the Jewish people, there is virtually no difference between them. Both President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney would be “good for the Jews.”

Homosexuality and Going OTD

We all sin. But not all of us sin the same way. By being so repulsed by people who have same sex attractions, we end up turning these people away - leaving them with a feeling of abandonment and being hated by their fellow Jews. Jews who are otherwise decent people. When decent society rejects you... how are you supposed to feel?!

Who Has The Moral High Ground?

We too have our Joe Paternos. Only they are not football coaches. They are rabbis who have been just as guilty in cover-ups as Paterno was. In at least one case, a Rosh Yeshiva tolerated sex abuse by one of his Rebbeim for many years and did nothing about it. He knew it was going on and yet allowed that teacher to continue teaching and continue abusing his students. He is still around – as is his Yeshiva.

The Moment of Silence Revisited

Americans are a people who care about their fellow man. When they see a group being slighted, they will stand up and say so… and ‘call out’ those who have done so. This is what Bob Costas has done. My hat is certainly off to him.

Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, ZTL – Baruch Dayan Emes

I have said this before. The previous generation of Gedolim, of which Rav Elyashiv was a member, were in a class by themselves. They had continued a tradition of Gadlus that existed in pre-Holocaust times. They were ‘old school’ in the best sense of the word. With Rav Elyashiv’s passing that generation is almost gone.

Eytan Kobre’s Anti-Religious Rant

If the draft is going to be equally applied, religious sensitivities must be guaranteed to all. This means that the infrastructure must be created and enforced so that Charedim will be able to practice Judaism as they best understand it. The bottom line for me is that no Charedi mother should ever be faced by a Chiloni or Religious Zionist mother asking the question, “Why did my son have to die in battle while your son was safe in a Yeshiva?”

Making a Horse Look Like an Elephant

I believe that Partnership Minyanim are sourced in a culture that is foreign to Judaism - the radical feminist ideal of equating the sexes in all areas of life. In Orthodoxy that idea is doomed to failure. The mere fact that women can never be counted towards constituting a Minyan means that equality can never be fully achieved in the sense that feminism requires it. Even if there are a hundred women and 9 men, there is no Minyan.

Stolen Waters are Sweet

Bright young minds will have questions. The most logical place to see answers is from your parents or teachers. But when questions are explicitly or implicitly forbidden, these very same young people will seek answers elsewhere. The easiest place to find them is the internet. Ban, no matter how strong they are, no matter how enforced they are will not prevent a young person from somehow finding access. And that’s when the slippery slope begins.

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