web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Interviewing The Interviewer: A Conversation with Jewish Press Staff Reporter Elliot Resnick

Elliot Resnick

Elliot Resnick

Share Button

Another question that didn’t appear in The Jewish Press is in the interview with the ever-controversial Dr. Marc Shapiro. He’s known for critiquing the haredi world but this question ironically has him criticizing the Modern Orthodox community for not being terribly interested in learning, or ideas in general. “For many people,” he told me, “ ‘Modern Orthodox’ means having kosher food at a Mets game.”

What was it like interviewing Rabbi Jonathan Sacks? Many would consider him the most famous person you’ve interviewed.

The truth is I wish I had had more time with him. I interviewed him a week before Rosh Hashanah and he could only spare fifteen minutes. You’d be surprised how much you can pack into fifteen minutes, though – especially when you’re interviewing someone who stays on point without going off on a million tangents.

The most important question I asked him, I thought, was why he attended the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate in Westminster Abbey. A lot of people were talking about that and I thought it important that his answer be on record. I searched extensively on the Internet before that interview and couldn’t find a single article, or even blog post, that presented Rabbi Sacks’s stance on the issue.

What did he say?

He told me that every single British chief rabbi for the past 150 years has attended state functions in Christian places of worship. That would include people like Rabbi Nosson Adler [1803-1890], who was a big talmid chacham. One of the rabbis, incidentally, who competed with Rabbi Adler to become England’s chief rabbi was Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.

In any event, Rabbi Sacks said attending the wedding in Westminster Abbey was a civic as opposed to a religious act, and was permitted due to darchei shalom and eivah.

What would you say to someone who asks, “Why should I buy this book when I’ve already read Resnick’s interviews in The Jewish Press?”

I think people would be surprised at how much they’ve forgotten. In preparing these interviews for publication, I found myself being fascinated by the material. Now remember – I did these interviews! I recorded them, typed them up, edited, and proofread them. But some of these interviews are six years old, and I had forgotten what was in them. I found myself getting a tremendous education and a real dose of inspiration just from rereading these interviews.

In his approbation for my book, Rabbi Berel Wein wrote, “This book will inform, even inspire.” I was very happy he wrote that because I honestly felt the same way in rereading these interviews. So many of the interview subjects stand for a cause and hearing them talk about their passions was invigorating. The ideas they express, the stories they tell, the information they proffer – all of them stimulate the mind.

You’ve mentioned many personalities that appear in your book. Any other notable ones you haven’t mentioned that you think people will find interesting?

Certainly. Rabbi Nosson Scherman from ArtScroll; Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who actually called one of my critical questions “pure nonsense”; Steven Emerson, the terrorism expert; Libby Kahane, Rabbi Meir Kahane’s wife; Marvin Silbermintz, a frum Jew who used to write jokes for Jay Leno; Zev Golan, who talks about Lehi’s revolutionary leader, Israel Eldad; Rabbis Julius Berman and Aaron Rakeffet who tell wonderful stories about Rav Soloveitchik; Rabbi Gil Student, who authors one of the Internet’s most popular Torah blogs; Ambassador Yehuda Avner, who wrote that wildly popular book about Israel’s prime ministers, which is actually is in the process of becoming a movie; and Hershey Friedman, the man who took over Rubashkin’s meat plant.

There are plenty of others I think people will enjoy too.

You said Rabbi Steinsaltz called one of your questions ‘pure nonsense.’ Which one was that?

I asked him about the objection, leveled by some, that he treats the avos and imahos in his books as human beings with flaws rather than saints. I was just voicing an argument made by others and was interested in his response. Rabbi Steinsaltz, however, apparently thought I agreed with this objection and said it’s pure nonsense and that many classical mefarshim look at the avos and imahos as he does.

Share Button

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Interviewing The Interviewer: A Conversation with Jewish Press Staff Reporter Elliot Resnick”

  1. You're an equally fascinating subject, Elliot. Enjoyed reading about the person on the other side of the table and am convinced that one day you too will be labeled a "mover and a shaker."

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.
NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices
Latest Indepth Stories
Students in Israel get computers to assist in their schoolwork.

Day schools can have boys and girls participate in the same online class but they don’t meet or interact in “real time.”

Richard Falk, FORMER  United Nations Human Rights Council’s Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories.

Jews so hostile to their own people they’ve spun out into the orbit of rabid anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic radicalism.

Breaking the Fw:Fw:Fw Chain

Rav Pam said we must realize that God has no pleasure from such negative speech.

NIF support for BDS groups, writes Black, also included acting as a “go between for other donors….

Brandeis, which had to have known about her record of criticism of Islam, pulled the honor after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group and a number of faculty members and students.

Wherever I was invited around the world, I always met with people and let them know that I wanted to hear great stories.

R. Hadaya strongly argues in favor of establishing a festive day in commemoration of the establishment of the state of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority has jailed more than 350 Arabs for “security” reasons in just 2014.

Since Torah is the great equalizer, the great reconciler of divergent but valid opinions, this is also the place where common ground is reached.

Some American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by groups waging war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Bob Grant

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Camelot-112213

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.

Oscar “Ossie” Schectman, who scored the first basket in the history of the league that evolved into the National Basketball Association, died last week at age 94.

It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? And yet it seems like the conversation was never really interrupted, as I’ve enjoyed, in the three and a half months since this column last appeared, many an interesting exchange, via e-mail and phone, with some very intelligent readers.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/interviewing-the-interviewer-a-conversation-with-jewish-press-staff-reporter-elliot-resnick/2013/01/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: