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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘view’

Tamar Yonah Show – An Arab’s View of Terror [audio]

Monday, October 10th, 2016

The terror attack in Jerusalem on Sunday dissected and analyzed. INTR news director, Hana Julian, gives a summary of the attack and its background. Also, Shifra Hoffman joins us and talks about the lives of victims after the headlines pass. Last, an Arab from Jordan calls into the show and gives an Arab view point of the terror attacks that happen against Jews. An eye opening show!

Israel News Talk Radio

Newcomer Rabbinic Organization Launches Lower East Side Eruv Against Establishment View

Friday, September 30th, 2016

The Downtown Va’ad, an Orthodox rabbinic network established in 2013 as a “unifying platform for Orthodox rabbis to advance the welfare and flourishing of our now surging downtown Jewish community,” on Thursday announced the establishment of an eruv, a legal fiction allowing Jews to carry objects on Shabbat.

“As of today, all of Lower Manhattan has been joined to the larger Manhattan Eruv,” declared the group’s announcement, defying a generation of Orthodox scholars, most notably the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who was the halakhic authority for North America’s Orthodox community until his death in 1986. In the 1950s, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher proposed the establishment of an eruv in Manhattan, but the Lithuanian yeshiva deans, including Rabbis Aharon Kotler and Moshe Feinstein, objected to the idea. The major controversy that ensued was resolved by a statement from Agudas Horabonim (Rabbis’ Association) which quashed the Manhattan eruv for the next fifty years.

The Downtown Va’ad’s press release recalls the process that brought the new Manhattan eruv to life: “In 1999, a new eruv was constructed on the Upper West Side under the advisement and supervision of the Machon L’Hora’ah of Monsey. In 2003, this Eruv was extended to include the Upper East Side community, and then in 2007 — with the assistance of Yeshiva University (Stern College), local congregations, and several individuals and families — the eruv was expanded to include a portion of the downtown community. … Recently, the Manhattan eruv was further extended to include the entire southern portion of Manhattan, specifically the region below 14th Street. This project was initiated by the Downtown Va’ad in conjunction with the Manhattan Eruv leadership. … The extension was facilitated and supervised by the Machon L’Hora’ah and continues to be checked and maintained by them. All halakhic (legal) matters are deferred to the Machon.”

According to the press release, “this eruv development is simply the expansion of the pre-existing eruv; one that most Manhattan rabbis have publicly supported. We understand that the halakhic institution of eruv is complex and we honor and respect all rabbinic and communal perspectives on the matter. We encourage our constituencies to pursue guidance from its own rabbinic authorities and to continue the spirit of mutual respect and dignity that Jewish practice demands and engenders.”

The new initiative is likely to raise an objection from the traditional Orthodox leadership of the Lower East Side community, led by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s sons, Rabbis Dovid and Reuven Feinstein. These legal scholars follow their father’s view that in densely populated Manhattan it is impossible to ever erect a legitimate eruv. Hopefully, the Lower East Side community, which is one of the most benign Jewish communities in America, will weather this storm, especially in light of the fact that we’re entering the Days of Awe.

The simplest possible explanation regarding the halakhic dispute over the eruv goes as follows:

Jewish law recognizes three domains: private domain, where one may carry on Shabbat; public domain, where one may never carry on Shabbat; and an in-between domain nicknamed K’Armelit, meaning “like a widow,” who is not married and not a virgin. A Karmelit domain can be converted into private domain using a symbolic wall and doorway, usually represented by a fishing line attached to poles all around the converted area.

No one disputes that part. What is being contested is the definition of a public domain which cannot be considered a karmelit and therefore cannot ever be converted into a private domain, no matter how much fishing line you’ll tie around it.

The late Rabbi Feinstein followed the view cited in the Shlchan Arukh (OH 345:7), based on a Babylonian scholar cited by Rashi, that since the laws of Shabbat domains are delineated from the configuration of the Israelite’s camp in the wilderness, which was considered an irredeemable public domain, and since there were 600,000 males over the age of 20 in that camp, we should view any area populated by 600,000 people or more as public domain.

Many disagree with this view, because it isn’t mentioned explicitly in the Babylonian or Jerusalem Talmud, nor by Maimonides and other key medieval scholars. Also, does the rule mean there should be 600,000 people moving through the place or living there for it to qualify as public domain, and should they all be males older than 20?

The opposing view, which the new rabbinic group seems to uphold, is based on an explicit Talmudic citation (Shabbat 6a), defining public domain as a main road, 20 feet wide, going through a city from one end to the other, connecting to other cities in either direction. Imagine the cities of antiquity as an aspirin pill, with the line going through the middle. That’s the road, and the fact that it is connected to the wilderness on either end makes it a Mavo Mefulash, a passageway that’s open on both ends. Since Manhattan does not have such a road leading to the wilderness, goes this view, it can be turned into one big private domain via the eruv. Alternatively, if one were to consider the bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan a problem in that context, then each local community, such as the Lower East Side, can erect its own eruv — meaning one cannot carry into neighboring communities on Shabbat, but one is permitted to carry in one’s own neighborhood – see the accompanying image above.

One is reminded of the story of two study partners who have been poring over the Talmud together for years, and one of them invites the other to his son’s wedding and wants to honor him with one of the blessings to the couple under the canopy. His partner says he is, indeed, honored, but, alas, he isn’t Jewish.

– What do you mean you’re not Jewish? We’ve been learning together all these years…

– I’m interested in it intellectually, but it doesn’t make me a Jew.

– Wait a minute, I see you on the street on Shabbat in your suit and tie — you know a goy gets the death penalty for observing Shabbat! (It’s actually the law, look it up)

– I take care of that by always carrying something in my pocket.

– Yes, but we have an eruv!

– Huh! You call this an eruv?

JNi.Media

In Plane View

Friday, May 6th, 2016

I am what you call a wandering Bubby. Every other month or so I find myself on an airplane visiting my children’s children. They are still young enough to enjoy the extra attention and praise that I shower on them and that I hope will be another brick in the foundation of their self-esteem. I totally believe that a positive outlook and liking of oneself is crucial in building emotionally-healthy individuals who are able to like and be kind to others. My job as a bubby is to bestow unconditional love – no strings attached. I often tell them they are perfect just the way they are! (Well it is true!)

I know that all the children of Holocaust survivors who were deprived of basking in the warm embrace of a bubby and zaiyde are stunned by just how much we missed out on, our eyes opened now that many of us are grandparents. I told myself that if I lived to see grandchildren and was in good enough health to be part of their lives while they were young and before they outgrew me (busy with friends and after-school activities) that I would do so.

Hence, I find myself on an airplane every few weeks to submerge myself in diaper changing, early-morning feedings (any time before 8:30 a.m. is early) and park excursions (a good workout when you have several toddlers running off in different directions, and are trying to push two swings at the same time while running to the monkey bars to stop a swinging mini-super hero from falling head first onto the ground).

Being a plane person (but not a plain person by any means) I have some ideas as to how airlines can make a flight more user-friendly for its passengers. Of course delays or cancellations due to weather or mechanical problems are not situations airlines can control – but there are several that they can.

I find that an aggravating aspect of plane travel is boarding the plane and actually getting to your seat in a timely manner, and with no bruised heels. I believe there is a more logical and efficient way to board regular passengers. Once families with young children and people who require pre-boarding due to age, health or mobility issues are boarded, it would make sense to board the rest of the passengers in a certain sequence that I think would be more efficient and less of a hassle – especially because many people have carry-on luggage.

I know that many passengers stand in the aisle anxious to get to their seats but they can’t because they have to wait until the passengers ahead of them put their luggage in the overhead bins or seated passengers have to get up from their aisle/middle seat to let the window passenger get to his seat.

This is what I propose: All the passengers with window seats in the last 10 rows or so go on first. When those passengers have put their carry-ons in the overhead compartments and sat down, the next group of window-seaters board until all passengers in window seats are settled in. Then the middle-seat passengers in the back rows should board, followed by the next group closer to the front etc. until all middle-seat passengers are seated. After them, the back rows’ aisle-seat passengers should be called up to board, then the mid-plane aisle passengers and lastly, the front rows aisle-seat passengers.

I can’t say for sure if my idea would work, but to me it makes sense to fill the plane back to front with the window passengers getting to their seats first, followed by the middle-seaters. This would avoid aisle congestion and possibly save some passengers from being hit by luggage as it’s being raised to be put into an overhead bin.

Cheryl Kupfer

The Paranoid View Of History Infects Oberlin

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

“Anti-Semitism,” wrote Stephen Eric Bronner, author of the engaging book A Rumor About The Jews, “is the stupid answer to a serious question: How does history operate behind our backs?”

For a wide range of ideological extremists, anti-Semitism is still the stupid answer for why what goes wrong with the world does go wrong. It is a philosophical worldview and interpretation of history that creates conspiracies as a way of explaining the unfolding of historical events; it is a pessimistic and frantic outlook, characterized in 1964 by historian Richard Hofstadter as “the paranoid style” of politics that shifts responsibility from the self to sinister, omnipotent others – typically and historically, the Jews.

Long the thought product of cranks and fringe groups, what Hofstadter described as the paranoid style of politics has lately entered the mainstream of what would be considered serious and respectable academic enterprise.

Witness, for instance, the Facebook posts of Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Oberlin College, who wildly claimed that Jewish bankers control the world economy and have financed every war since Napoleon; that Israelis and Zionists were not only behind the 9/11 attacks in New York but also orchestrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris; and that Israeli fingerprints could be found in the downing over Ukraine of Malaysian Air Flight 17 and also in the rise of ISIS.

What troubles observers of this type of intellectual incoherence emanating from academia is that, unlike its intellectually flabby predecessors from right-wing hate groups or left-wing cranks, this political analysis comes complete with the academic respectability of Oberlin, a trend that Professor Hofstadter had himself originally found noteworthy.

“In fact,” he wrote, “the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.”

For Karega, the archetypal malevolent Jew is found in the person of Jacob Rothschild, whose photograph she posted in December 2014, along with text, allegedly from him, stating that “We own nearly every central bank in the world. We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government” – oft-repeated tropes about Jewish domination of media and banking that suggest to Karega and like-minded conspiracists that Jewish wealth and influence enable Jews, and by extension Zionists and Israelis, to get away with various predations and political manipulations.

She raises the specter of the Jewish banker in a later Facebook post when she blames Israel, “the same people behind the massacre in Gaza,” of shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. “With this false flag,” Karega rants, “the Rothschild-led banksters [sic], exposed and hated and out of economic options to stave off the coming global deflationary depression, are implementing the World War III option.”

In a March 2015 Facebook post, Karega provided what she apparently thought was a helpful link to a crazed speech by Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, in which, to no one’s great surprise, the enlightened minister ascribed the blame for the 9/11 attacks not to the homicidal Muslim terrorists who clearly perpetrated them but to Israel and greedy Jews who realized financial and political gains from the felling of the Twin Towers.

“Farrakhan is truth-telling in this video,” Karega wrote in her post, and “we need more of us willing to venture into these areas.”

Farrakhan, it will be remembered, characterized Judaism as a “gutter religion,” deemed Hitler “a great man,” and, lest there be any doubt where his sympathizes lie regarding Israel, decided that the “plight” of American blacks puts them “in the same position” as the Palestinians. So his view that Israel’s fingerprints are all over the 9/11 attacks, and that Jews in fact benefited from the terrorism, is not in variance from his twisted beliefs – nor, apparently, those of Karega.

“Now you know I’m going to be lambasted and called anti-Semitic,” he said in a 2012 Chicago speech. “They’ll say Farrakhan was up to his old canards; he said Jews control Hollywood. Well, they said it themselves! Jews control the media. They said it themselves! Jews and some gentiles control the banking industry, international banks. They do! In Washington right next to the Holocaust Museum is the Federal Reserve where they print the money. Is that an accident?”

Once Professor Karega’s demented posts were made public, Oberlin’s president, already reeling from a spate of other anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish incidents on his campus, reacted fecklessly, giving the disingenuous response that the college “respects the right of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views,” and that “the statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega . . .are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.”

That may well be true, and universities do not necessarily have to take responsibility for the outrageous views expressed publicly by its faculty; but neither do academic leaders have to refrain from denouncing the same views a faculty member is perfectly able to utter under the protection of academic free speech, just as they regularly do in those rare instances when slurs are made by faculty aimed at blacks, gays, Muslims, Hispanics, or other perceived victim groups for who such speech is deemed “hurtful,” “oppressive,” or “hateful.”

The university campus is not the public square, where any idea – no matter how deranged, improbable, inaccurate, libelous, historically unfounded, or damaging – can be spoken and heard, unchallenged, without government interference. While universities should, and do, protect the notion of unbridled expression and the ability to express any opinion as part of “scholarly inquiry,” it has never been the function of academic free speech to protect or promote irresponsible, inaccurate, or deranged speech that is clearly outside the parameters of responsible scholarship, research, and factuality.

Richard L. Cravatts

‘You Murder the Children’: Rav Soloveitchik on Abortion

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

When one thinks of Modern Orthodoxy, Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l soon comes to mind for his leadership thereof. In our time, however, Modern Orthodoxy has become a vague term with problematic tendencies. As Rabbi Steven Pruzansky–who has numerous shiurim on Yeshiva University’s Torah website–recently wrote, “Too often, one finds in the Modern Orthodox world grievances of one sort or another against this or that aspect of Torah, as if Jews get to sit in judgment of God and His Torah.”

No issue might better crystallize the dissonance between Rav Soloveitchik’s Modern Orthodoxy and today’s than abortion. Let us consider the great man’s views.

During a shiur on Parashat Bo in 1975, Rav Soloveitchik stated that “to me it is something vulgar, this clamor of the liberals that abortion be permitted,” adding:

“I consider the society of today as insane…I read from the press that in Eretz Yisrael they permit abortions now! Sapir [probably Pinchas Sapir] comes to the US and asks that 60,000 boys and girls should leave the US and settle in Eretz Yisrael. When a child is born, it’s also immigration to Eretz Yisrael, and yet you murder the children.”

Rav Soloveitchik then predicted:

“And if you kill the fetus, a time will come when even infants will be killed…The mother will get frightened after the baby will be born…and the doctor will say her life depends upon the murder of the baby. And you have a word, mental hygiene, whatever you want you can subsume under mental hygiene…And there is now a tendency for rabbis in the US to march along with society, otherwise they’ll be looked upon as reactionaries.”

Similar remarks appear in Reflections of the Rav:

“If the dominant principle governing the logos [“thinking capacity”] is that abortion is morally permissible because only a mother has a right to decide whether she wishes to be a mother, then infants may similarly have their lives terminated after birth. What if the child interferes with the promising brilliant career of the mother?”

These words might be jarring for those who view Rav Soloveitchik as the mild-mannered author of philosophically oriented books like The Lonely Man of Faith. Equally if not more jarring might be Rav Soloveitchik’s statements on sexual morality, which I discussed a few months ago.

Specific to abortion, one might counter that Rav Soloveitchik permitted an unborn child with Tay-Sachs disease to be aborted through the sixth month, but this proves just the opposite, namely: 1) What does this narrow, tragic case indicate about Rav Soloveitchik’s general view of abortion? 2) What does it indicate about Rav Soloveitchik’s view of abortion after the sixth month even in the case of Tay-Sachs? And vis-à-vis those who claim a woman’s absolute right to “terminate a pregnancy” at any point, I doubt such an attempt to (mis)represent Rav Soloveitchik as a “moderate” on abortion would be received agreeably. In this regard, one of Rav Soloveitchik’s sons-in-law, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, shlita, has observed in the context of abortion:

“Even if we were to accept that indeed it is the woman’s own body, we totally reject the conception that she then can do with it as she pleases. This is a completely anti-halakhic perception [emphasis added]. It rests on a secular assumption that, as it were, ‘My Nile is my own; I made it for myself’ (Yechezkel 29:3), as if we are the source of our own existence and therefore the masters of our own being. This is assuredly not the case.”

Rav Lichtenstein summarizes the worldview of that anti-halakhic perception as follows:

“The essence of modern secular culture is the notion of human sovereignty; individual man is master over himself, and collective man is master over his collective… From a religious point of view, of course, eilu va-eilu divrei avoda zara—both approaches are idolatrous. Here one establishes individual man as an idol, and the one idolizes, in humanistic terms, humanity as a whole. The basis of any religious perception of human existence is the sense that man is not a master: neither a master over the world around him, nor a master over himself.”

Yes, Rav Soloveitchik earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Berlin (as likewise Rav Lichtenstein earned a Ph.D. in English literature from Harvard). Yes, Rav Soloveitchik enjoyed classical music (especially Bach). And first and foremost, Rav Soloveitchik was a Torah Jew for whom Halachah was not some intellectual game or cultural style, rather an all-encompassing conviction with profound social implications. Thus his denunciations of abortion, which derived from the same worldview as these remarks in 1953:

Menachem Ben-Mordechai

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-banner-raised-high/you-murder-the-children-rav-soloveitchik-on-abortion/2013/09/23/

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