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Metzitza B’Peh: Infant Russian Roulette

16 Elul 5772 – September 3, 2012
I would be opposed to the government legislating against doing MbP. That it is considered so vital by so large a segment of Jewry combined by the low probability of a child ever contracting herpes moves me to oppose it. In this case I do feel that banning the procedure would be an unconstitutional impediment to freedom of religion. But that is not the law being proposed.

Keeping the Faith

15 Elul 5772 – September 2, 2012
An increasing number of Orthodox Jews are questioning their faith and educators don't know how to respond.

The Winds of Mysticism

13 Elul 5772 – August 31, 2012
The mysticism of Sephardim and Chasidus seems to be making in-roads. Especially with mainstream rabbinic figures supporting it. I sure hope this is only a passing fad.

One Judaism, Two Perspectives on Dressing Modesty

12 Elul 5772 – August 30, 2012
Modern Orthodox and Chassidic cultural norms may differ, but members of both communities have a respect for Halachah and desire to serve God.

Can a ‘Lefty’ Rabbi Save Yeshivat Chovevei Torah?

12 Elul 5772 – August 29, 2012
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

10 Elul 5772 – August 28, 2012
[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

9 Elul 5772 – August 27, 2012
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?

5 Elul 5772 – August 23, 2012
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

4 Elul 5772 – August 22, 2012
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!?

4 Elul 5772 – August 21, 2012
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

1 Elul 5772 – August 19, 2012
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

28 Av 5772 – August 16, 2012
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’

27 Av 5772 – August 15, 2012
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

26 Av 5772 – August 14, 2012
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?

25 Av 5772 – August 13, 2012
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

24 Av 5772 – August 12, 2012
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

20 Av 5772 – August 8, 2012
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?

19 Av 5772 – August 7, 2012
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

18 Av 5772 – August 6, 2012
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

15 Av 5772 – August 2, 2012
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.

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