Support Migdal Ohr by purchasing letters in the Torah Scroll that will be written in honor of Rabbi Grossman’s 70th Birthday.
Posted on: November 13th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
In what may appear as one of the more interesting ironies to some, the Forward has chosen Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel (pictured here with Senator Joseph Lieberman) as one of the top 5 most influential Jews in America. (They did not say which position he holds on that short list.)
Posted on: November 12th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
Who is Alex Clare? He is a British pop singer with a top ten single entitled Too Close. He is the ex-boyfriend of Amy Winehouse. And he is an observant Jew. How - one might ask - does an Orthodox Jew hook up with someone like Amy Whitehouse, a mega popular Grammy award winning Jewish singer who was anything but observant? And who had a history of drug addiction and alcohol abuse that eventually caused her death?
Posted on: November 11th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
There’s a story on a website called Behadrey Haredim (in the rooms of Charedim). This Hebrew language - Israeli based website is now available in English. It tells of how Satmar Chasidim, at the behest of their Rebbe have pulled out all the stops to help fellow Jews in neighborhoods such as Far Rockaway and Bayswater that were suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Posted on: November 8th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
As I began reading an article in the Forward by Aurora Mendelsohn about whether a Jewish woman can have it all (meaning a career and an observant family) I received a call from my daughter about an article in the Chicago Tribune about one woman who does have it all.
Posted on: November 7th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
Once again I find myself congratulating the man I did not vote for. Barack Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term as President of the United States. As I said in my endorsement of his opponent, the President is a good and decent man. I don’t think he has been a bad President. He just hasn’t been a great President.
Posted on: November 6th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
It didn’t take very long for some holy rollers to pop up and tell us why God punished the East Coast with a devastating storm. Not only didn’t it take long, there seemed to be a rush to see who could come up with a reason first. I don’t know who actually won that race. But I do know that there are a lot of people who think they have a direct line to God and know exactly what He was trying to tell us. Well, I’m glad I now know. Or do I?
Posted on: November 5th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
One of the more troubling issues for me about the current right-wing push for all of their students to learn Torah full time for as long as possible (well into their marriage and long after having a number of children to support) is the way in which this is financed. I have long ago expressed my disagreement with this policy as it is currently applied. The idea of directing every single male in all of Jewry into a life of Torah study as the ideal (to the exclusion of any other productive endeavor) is anathema to the very idea of a Jewish nation.
Posted on: November 1st, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
I must say that I was a little bit amused by the above video featured on Aish.com. In about 3 minutes Mrs. Lori Palatnik proudly explains the difference between how Americans choose their leaders and how Orthodox Jews chose their leaders. Choosing a President in this great country of ours is a democratic process, but it is heavily influenced by money and power; ads and sloganeering; and smearing the opponent. Politics at its worst one might say. Certainly the best man available for the job may not be elected, or even running.
Posted on: October 31st, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
The idea of a well-shackled mind being in a superior position to battle going OTD is certainly understandable. But in practice, the mind can no longer stay well-shackled. The internet is not only here to stay. Its ubiquity is increasing by leaps and bounds via the smart phone. No ban in the world has the power to stop it. It is like spitting in the wind.
Posted on: October 30th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
“Certainly, there is an absolute condemnation of any sort of college from most Gedolim.” That is how the cover article in last week’s Ami Magazine was punctuated. That article was about the dangers to one’s spiritual health of attending college. Ironically the article itself was very fair about the issue. Various rabbis who are either directly or indirectly involved with colleges and universities that have significant Orthodox Jewish populations were interviewed. There was not a single comment indicative of any Issur on attending college.
Posted on: October 29th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
They want to have total isolation from the rest of the world? I think perhaps we should finally give it to them. It pains me to say so but based on what I am reading in their very own media, going off the deep end is not an exaggeration. It may even be an understatement! It is a wonder that they do not have a bigger OTD problem than they already do. I guess that their system works very well for them that way.
Posted on: October 28th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
I choose candidates based on who I think will be do the best job for the country, for Israel, and for the Jewish people. I do not vote by party. Although I have finally made my decision - for the first time I am not as sure as I usually am about which candidate will actually be the better President.
Posted on: October 25th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
Several prominent Religious Zionist rabbis in Israel have fallen victim to the OTD (Off the Derech) phenomenon. Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rav David Bigman, and Rav Yoram Tzohar each have a daughter that has departed from the observant ways of their parents. So for those parents who have OTD children, you are not alone. There are some very prominent people who join you. One may ask: How can I publicize something like this about such prominent leaders in Klal Yisroel, since it might be embarrassing to them? The answer is that they do not hide it. They willingly participated in a film that tells their story.
Posted on: October 24th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
There has been a lot of discussion about young people abandoning Mitzvah observance (going off the derech) over the past few years. A lot of that discussion took place here. Indeed it has been declared a crisis by some. The focus of this issue in the religious media has been primarily in the Charedi world. Many theories have emerged as to why children go OTD. Among them: being sexually abused and the negative reactions to it by family and community, dysfunctional family situations, faulty educational environments, teachers unprepared to deal with questions of faith, or being overly sheltered from the world so that rebellion occurs when they are exposed to it unprepared.
Posted on: October 23rd, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
In its most recent edition, Ami Magazine has accused Professor Samuel Heilman - a distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of hating Charedim. I am all too familiar with accusations like this as I am often accused of being a Charedi hater myself. But the truth is that neither I nor Professor Heilman are such a thing.
Posted on: October 22nd, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
Just when you think you have everything pretty much figured out in the Middle East, someone throws you a curve. At least that’s what happened to me last week. In what has to be the most surprising development thus far in the so called Arab Spring - Egypt’s new freely elected President, Mohammed Morsi, has sent a friendly letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres on the occasion of the exchange of ambassadors.
Posted on: October 21st, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
I never liked comedienne Sarah Silverman. I never thought she was all that funny. Her humor is mostly vulgar and designed to shock people into laughing. Most comedians will tell you that if the only way you can make people laugh is with vulgar jokes, then you’re not really much of a comedian. But I digress. What upsets me the most about her is her very open self-identification as a Jew. Normally when successful people tout their Judaism, it makes me proud. But when she does it – it is an embarrassment. In fact I wish she would just change her name… or go away altogether.
Posted on: October 18th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
OK. The title is a bit extreme. But at least I have your attention. Last May - one will recall – there was a giant Asifa – a gathering of tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews dealing with the dangers of the internet. Although it was billed as a way to properly use the internet, it was ultimately about trashing it and forbidding its use altogether accept for livelihood purposes. And even then - only with filters and only outside the house.
Posted on: October 17th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
I do not question Rabbi Zev Farber’s sincerity. I even applaud his resolve to right what he sees to be wrong in the way we practice Judaism today. But I do not agree with him at all on the way to do it. In a recent article on Morethodoxy, Rabbi Farber suggests that we change the paradigm with respect to a woman’s role in Judaism. His contention is that women are (at best) inadvertently ignored and mistreated vis-à-vis their public religious personae. Their current place in the synagogue is where this is mostly felt.
Posted on: October 16th, 2012Blogs → Emes Ve-Emunah
One of the biggest issues that has arisen as a result of the Slifkin controversy is the question of whether Chazal, the sages of the Talmud knew the actuality of nature. There are those who say that they did. They say that every statement recorded in the Gemarah with respect to science is an accurate reflection of nature itself. The science redacted in the Talmud is as valid as the Halacha - both being Mesorah.
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