Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

What is Lost as We Eliminate the Impossible: Jews and Public Schools by Gidon Rothstein

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Education, Jewish Culture, New Posts

Sherlock Holmes’ advice, “Eliminate the impossible; whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth,” made a deep impression on me.  It seemed so logical, so unequivocal, so indisputable1.  In the years since I first encountered the epigram, I have realized some major weaknesses in its presentation; for our purposes, here, some of those weaknesses [...]

Our Writers Respond: Women, Communal Leadership, and Balancing Halakhic Values by Nathaniel Helfgot

I would like to commend my colleagues and friends, Rabbis Brody, Klapper (here and here) and Rothstein (here and here) for their stimulating and substantive posts in the last few weeks, partially in reaction to my original post on two halakhic issues that have been raised regarding the issue of expanding women’s roles in communal [...]

Our Writers Respond: Chukim, Mishpatim, and Womanhood by Aryeh Klapper (Part 1)

Chukim and Mishpatim in Halakha and Hashkafa              A core concept in popular Orthodox thought is the distinction between חוקים and משפטים as presented by Rashi.  In this view, mitzvot are classified by whether they do or do not have a humanly intelligible purpose.  This position is hashkafically alien to the Spanish philosophical tradition, and [...]

Our Writers Respond: The Component Issues of a Traditional Jewish Womanhood by Gidon Rothstein

You know that moment in a conversation where you begin to suspect that the two of you see the world so differently, it might not even be possible to have an intelligible exchange? I do, very well; I once, years ago, deeply offended a congregant and friend when, in the middle of a discussion of [...]

The Legacy of Polemics: Microphones on Shabbat, Metzitzah, and the Rabbah Ordination by Shlomo Brody

March 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Halakha, Jewish Culture, New Posts

  I personally have no gripes with polemics playing a role in socio-legal discourse within the Jewish community.  I think it is inevitable, given the sociological reality of Jewish history, and occasionally it is appropriate, given larger religious goals. 1 I do believe, however, that one has to be very careful with the terminology used, and [...]

Women, Communal Leadership, and Modern Orthodoxy by Nathaniel Helfgot

February 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Halakha, Jewish Culture, New Posts

I. During the last half century the movement towards greater public, educational, economic, and political roles for women in general society has slowly  affected the reality of Jewish and more specifically, for our purposes, Orthodox society. This has created a sea change in the role of women in the Orthodox and especially Modern-Orthodox society. The [...]

Of Politeness and the Drawing of Lines

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Jewish Culture, New Posts

by Gidon Rothstein  Although this is not a venue for making political comments about issues of our day, the recent Chanukah holiday set me on a trajectory of thought that led me to questions I think are productive for all of us to ask, and I therefore wish to share them with you. To begin [...]

From Our Archives: Shubert Spero – Orthodoxy Vis a Vis The General Community: Does Participation Imply Recognition?

December 5, 2009 by  
Filed under From Our Archives, Jewish Culture

One of the most hotly debated questions in the 20th century within the Orthodox community related to the appropriateness of Orthodox rabbis joining rabbinic umbrella organizations comprised of rabbis from various denominations.  One of the primary arguments against participation was that any form of formal association implies recognition and acceptance of non-Orthodox groups.  In the [...]

For the Sin of Hillul Hashem…

September 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Holidays, Jewish Culture, Prayer

For the Sin of Hillul Hashem… by Erica Brown              Reflecting on Yom Kippur just days ago, it strikes me that the language of our al chet list can seem alien, foreign, stiff and archaic. We wonder what it means that we have removed a yoke from us or scoffed or hardened our hearts. We [...]

Glatt Yoshor: Orthodox Leaders Speak Out Against Illegal and Unethical Behavior

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Halakha, Jewish Culture

    A few weeks ago, the following letter was sent to the membership of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) by the executive leadership of the RCA, the Orthodox Union, and Yeshiva University.  I reproduce below, with permission from the RCA (and I believe for the first time to the wider public), the most central [...]

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