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Kaddish For Mr. Mlodnicki

18 Av 5767 – August 1, 2007
We just observed Tisha B’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple. With the Holocaust being so recent and such an enormity, I could not help but turn my attention to it as I contemplated the destruction that has befallen the Jewish people over the millennia. In particular, I thought about what happened to my father-in-law on that day many years ago, as well as the events leading up to it. Its message is timeless.

Feldman Article Raises Questions Of Journalistic Standards

Initially, Professor Noah Feldman’s “Orthodox Paradox,” an article appearing in the July 22 issue of The New York Times Magazine, may seem entertaining. But on further reading, a very disturbing message emerges – a message that calls into serious question the intent of the author and the judgment of The New York Times in publishing the piece.

It’s One A.M. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

This past Sunday evening I received a frantic call from a close friend, a 52-year-old father and grandfather who has spent the past 27 summers in the Monticello area. He pleaded with me to inform the frum public of what his eyes had seen – and his heart simply did not want to believe.

In Search Of The Perfect Shidduch

Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.

Noah Feldman And The Fear Of Being Different

Ayatollahs in business suits is what Noah Feldman would have the world believe we all are. If the Orthodox were going to leave him out of his alma mater’s reunion picture just because he married out, then Noah Feldman was going to out the Orthodox.

Vindication, Late But Sweet

Forgive the Monitor a little self-indulgence this week. In its May 14 issue, Newsweek magazine published a chapter from historian Michael Beschloss’s new book, Presidential Courage (Simon & Schuster). The excerpt centered on Harry Truman’s role in the establishment of Israel, and Beschloss had no compunction about highlighting Truman’s nasty anti-Semitic streak or that after leaving office Truman admitted to the late television impresario David Susskind that his wife, Bess, had never allowed a Jew into their Independence, Missouri home.

If It Looks Like A Duck… Why Suicide Bombers Can Never Be Freedom Fighters

We Jews know a terrorist when we see one. Surely we don't need the elegant refinements of international law to help us distinguish a suicide bomber from a freedom fighter. If it looks like a duck Nothing could possibly be easier to understand.

Six Thousand Miles (Part II)

Part I of this series introduced the 6,000-mile driving tour that my wife, Barbara, and I took in the van driven by my brother, Avi, and our sister-in-law, Martha, to the Canadian Rockies.

Shtetl Research

Last week I wrote about going to Nowy Zukowice, the town my grandfather came from.

Israel’s Destiny: From Sorrow To Joy

11 Av 5767 – July 25, 2007
his past Shabbat Chazon, the hesder yeshiva of Kiryat Arba traveled to Sderot as an act of identification with the local hesder yeshiva and the courageous residents of that besieged southern border town.

Faith In Abbas Will Lead To Another Dead End

In the long run, history may take a kinder view of George W. Bush’s presidency than that of the majority of the American people who now see him as a failure. But anyone in Washington who thinks that he can boost his poll ratings or score a foreign-policy triumph on the heels of the Arab-Israeli conflict to divert attention away from Iraq is just dreaming.

Israel’s Ain Breira Syndrome

Born a few years prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, I still feel the thrill of its emergence on the stage of nations.

Feiglin Wants To Lead

In New York last Wednesday for an emergency fundraising dinner, Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin – one of three candidates running in the Likud party’s August 14 primaries – expressed tentative hope regarding his prospects. While he would consider anything above 20 or 25 percent a success, Feiglin said “we are in this race to win … and this miracle can really happen if we work hard.”

All The News That’s Fit For Pinch

About The New York Times it has been possible for a number of years now to declare, comfortably and without risk of contradiction, that relying on the once-formidable newspaper as one’s sole, or even primary, source of information can be hazardous to one’s intellectual health.

Intimations Of Mortality, A Paradoxical Basis For Israel’s Survival

Jorge Luis Borges sometimes happily identified himself as a sort of Jew. Although without any apparent basis in Halachah, he obviously felt himself a deeply kindred spirit: "Many a time I think of myself as a Jew," he is quoted in Willis Barnstone's Borges At Eighty: Conversations (1982), "but I wonder whether I have the right to think so. It may be wishful thinking."

An Idiot’s Guide To Diplomacy

The simple fact that a state's foreign ministry's job is to use the tools of diplomacy to advance the state's national interest has escaped the attention of Israel's Foreign Ministry and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Finding The Old Shtetl

Since I started writing this column I have been inundated with questions from my readers about various shtetlach. Often the places mentioned are well-known cities and, possibly, places I have visited.

The Difference Between ‘Non-Jewish’ And ‘Un-Jewish’

Not long ago posters appeared in a number of synagogues in Brooklyn banning a recently published book that, according to the posters, contained misleading halachic rulings.

What Mourning Means: Reflections of the Rav on Tisha B’Av

4 Av 5767 – July 18, 2007
We have become so used to living in a world without the Beit HaMikdash that it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to begin the "Three Weeks" with the observances of shiva.

The Pope’s Got A Point

The pope has generated a bit of controversy. First, he permitted congregations to go back to the old custom of praying in Latin. (More about that later.) Then he announced that only the Catholic Church qualifies as a real church. Protestants, as far as the pope is concerned, simply don’t make the grade!

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