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Once the eating was over, the host would briefly discuss the week’s Torah portion. Professor Zlotnick would then shift the agenda to politics – not politics in a generic sense, but more specifically the past week’s events as they related to the well-being of the Jewish people, particularly in Israel.
Professor Zlotnick followed the news closely. He saw news through an ideological prism – Jewish survival depended on political strength. He reserved special ire for secular Jewish liberals for what he considered their self-destructive illusions.
Similarly, he objected to relativism in religious standards, complaining about the leftward drift in Conservative Judaism, at whose seminary he taught, especially its decision to ordain women rabbis.
Though most members of the shiur seemed at least tacitly to agree with his politics, he was not unchallenged. One retired professor and bibliophile strongly stood his New Deal ground. When the amiability of the previous two hours seemed threatened, shiur participants could be counted on to wisely drown out debate by spontaneously singing the introductory verses to the benching (Grace after Meals), thereby bringing the meal to a close.
Now that the shiur belongs to the ages, I pursue my Talmud study most Saturday afternoons by attending the Daf Yomi class at the Riverdale Jewish Center. Since a lot of text must be covered each day in order to fulfill this group’s seven-year cycle of completing the Talmud, I feel a sense of nostalgia for the graceful rigor with which Professor Zlotnick guided us in grappling with complicated concepts (quite a few of which were over my head), and for the camaraderie provided by those in the shiur who accompanied me on an unforgettable four-decade Shabbos journey.
About the Author: Ron Rubin is professor of political science at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. He is the author of several books including “The Unredeemed” and “Anything for a T-Shirt: Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon, the World's Greatest Footrace.”
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Is not Israel’s policy of “territory for peace” with Arab leaders criminally irresponsible?
Israel must develop it’s truthful message to be as clear & simple to comprehend as the Arab’s lies
2 basic aspects of Aristotelian thought remarkably like Jewish thought: “Involvement” & “Purpose”
It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored
Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.
The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.
The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”
It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.
The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.
What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?
Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.
We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
For two thousand years, Jews exiled from their homeland and lacking political sovereignty were easy targets for elitist rulers on the right and the pseudo-egalitarian mob on the left. When Emancipation came and Jews exited the ghettos, Jewish self-made pitfalls were no less horrific, as many embraced the trendy “isms” of secular society only to spiritually assimilate and disappear from history. Yet despite the persecutions, on the one hand, and the enticements of some host countries’ cultures, on the other, the Jewish nation lives.
Though the ranks of single-issue pro-Israel Jewish voters (they comprise perhaps one-fourth of the Jewish electorate) have contracted as a result of mounting assimilation, those voters have nonetheless learned a lot over the past sixteen years.
Given his swaggered walk and ineloquent delivery, George W. Bush is an easy one to underestimate. But pundits and politicians do so at their own peril, cases in point being Al Gore and John Kerry, two gentlemen who like to think of themselves as high cultivated and erudite.
Having spent earlier sabbaticals here in Israel, I knew the subject of aliyah loomed as a background issue but hardly expected the untold ways it would recast itself.
At the restaurant farewell dinner, Professor Dov Zlotnick asked the dozen or so students of his forty-year-running Saturday afternoon Talmud shiur to continue their learning despite his approaching retirement to Jerusalem.
Thanks to Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon, some 500,000 Americans will run in marathons this year. In my book Anything for a T-Shirt: Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon, the World’s Greatest Footrace (Syracuse University Press, 2004), I show how Lebow, a Holocaust survivor, changed the notion of this 26.2 mile race, which this year will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5, from a grueling, sweaty showcase for elite runners into a people’s competition.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-unforgettable-forty-year-shabbos-journey/2006/12/13/
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