It’s Not Your Mother’s Knesset


What would have surprised Israel’s founding fathers more: the growth of an observant community many believed was destined to disappear in short order, or its intrusion into the very non-hallowed halls of government? The new Knesset has thirty-nine members who consider themselves Torah observant. The previous cabinet already had a majority of members who called themselves shomrei Shabbos. What is an old-time Tel Aviv secularist to think?

The surprises cut both ways. Just when we thought we had thoroughly digested Yair Lapid’s challenge to the Torah community, another member of Yesh Atid offers stirring inaugural address to Knesset. Dr. Ruth Calderon will make us rethink the role Torah study plays in bringing people closer to Yiddishkeit.

Cross-Currents readers did a good job picking apart Yair Lapid’s speech at Kiryat Ono. They flagged his historical inaccuracies and simplifications; they questioned whether he was sincere or pandering. Other readers, however, made a strong case for a very different reaction. However he meant his words, they claimed, they landed on a vulnerable place. Has not the charedi community become strong and secure enough that it cannot enjoy the luxury of giving only on its own terms? Should not it have to take its place as partners with the rest of Israel’s population in addressing all the problems faced by the Jewish state?

Ruth Calderon presents a narrower challenge. What do we think about secular Jews turning with enthusiasm to the study of Torah – but entirely on their own terms? Calderon used the opportunity of her first address to Knesset to speak of her love for Torah study. After describing her family background and her bona fides as a secular Zionist, she lets us in on a change in her life:

I was not acquainted with the Mishna, the Talmud, Kabbala or Hasidism. By the time I was a teenager, I already sensed that something was missing…. I missed depth; I lacked words for my vocabulary; a past, epics, heroes, places, drama, stories – were missing. The new Hebrew, created by educators from the country’s founding generation, realized their dream and became a courageous, practical, and suntanned soldier. But for me, this contained – I contained – a void. I did not know how to fill that void, but when I first encountered the Talmud and became completely enamored with it, its language, its humor, its profound thinking, its modes of discussion, and the practicality, humanity, and maturity that emerge from its lines, I sensed that I had found the love of my life, what I had been lacking.
Since then I have studied academically in batei midrash [Jewish study halls] and in the university, where I earned a doctorate in Talmudic Literature at the Hebrew University, and I have studied lishma, for the sake of the study itself. For many years I have studied daf yomi, the daily page of Talmud, and with a chavruta [study partner]; it has shaped who I am.

She goes on to present her vision for the rest of the country:

It is impossible to stride toward the future without knowing where we came from and who we are, without knowing, intimately and in every particular, the sublime as well as the outrageous and the ridiculous. The Torah is not the property of one movement or another. It is a gift that every one of us received, and we have all been granted the opportunity to meditate upon it a we create the realities of our lives. Nobody took the Talmud and rabbinic literature from us. We gave it away, with our own hands, when it seemed that another task was more important and urgent: building a state, raising an army, developing agriculture and industry, etc. The time has come to reappropriate what is ours, to delight in the cultural riches that wait for us, for our eyes, our imaginations, our creativity.

What do we think of this? Danger lurks in this statement, but so does enormous opportunity and promise. Chazal (Yerushalmi Chagiga 1:7) describe Hashem voicing a preference for Klal Yisrael guarding/observing/studying Torah, even if it abandons Him. The study of Torah will eventually bring Jews back to Him.

We can ask, however, whether some forms of study are so foreign to the nature of Torah that they cease to have any positive effect? If Torah is treated merely as part of the literary patrimony of the Jewish people, will it still touch the soul? Will it reach the soul of people who do not believe in the soul? Can Torah become so mangled when studied not just shelo lishmah, but based on antinomian assumptions about its nature, that it becomes destructive? On the other hand, do we prefer some of today’s Jewishly clueless young Israelis, or the earlier generations of those who spoke Yiddish, studied Tanach regularly – but saw themselves as anti-religious, not just neutral? When R. Yisroel Salanter militated for the translation of the gemara into the vernacular so that it would be studied in local universities, did he not fear that in the hands of heretics Torah would do more harm than good?

We must keep in mind that Calderon is not what we picture some of the old-timers. She not only believes in HKBH, she ended her speech with a tefilah to Him. (Our understanding of the old-timers may also be inaccurate. Readers who have never seen the newsreel should watch Ben-Gurion at the moment of the announcement of statehood pull a yarmulke out of his pocket, place it on his head, and recite a beracha of Shehechiyanu.)

I don’t claim to have the answers, although my leanings are to see the gains as outweighing the risks. I have seen so many people studying Torah in institutions with treif understandings of Torah nonetheless fall in love with learning and move on to more traditional approaches and full observance. I have seen the benefit in relating to non-observant Jewish brothers and sisters through at least having a common vocabulary of Torah words and ideas. That common platform allows the relationship to go on to other places in the course of time.

Reacting to Yair Lapid’s oratory, my good friend Jonathan Rosenblum wrote in the current Mishpacha, “Those who sent me Lapid’s clip wanted to know whether anyone had taken up the challenge of articulating a vision of a state in which Torah Jews constitute a substantial part of the population…I had to confess that I did not personally know anyone who had responded or who would even have the authority to respond….In short, Lapid is totally irrelevant. For our own mission of becoming a majority, we require a Torah vision of the future of a state now home to half of the worlds’s Jews.”

As we try to think of what that vision ought to look at, we will also have to factor in an Israeli population that is clamoring for reconnection with Torah – albeit on its own terms. We must not make the mistake of believing that what was, is, and that yesterday’s battles are the ones we should be fighting today. If we do not or cannot do the hard work to put together a Torah-based vision for the future, we will have failed to do what HKBH asks – demands – of us: that we demonstrate to all people and in all situations that our Torah is a Toras Chaim.

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2 years 8 months ago

Today i took a walk in Gan Havradim, wondering if soon the day will come when the secular will point a finger and say, “What chutzpah! WE built that garden and here this hareidi comes and takes a walk here? Raus!”
The irony is that my family was here generations before the Tzionim got here. The Old Yishuv significantly predates the New, but suddenly we found ourselves cast as strangers in our own land. Something like what the Arabs say, and it’s no coincidence that we tried to make something of a common cause in order to continue living here in… Read more »

2 years 8 months ago

I wonder if anyone ever made a calculation about VAT and state benefits. What i’m getting at, of course, is whether chareidim do actually take more from the gvt than they pay in taxes. After all, many of the services gvt offers (university, public schooling, culture stuff etc.) is not directed toward them at all. What i do know is that the little the gvt gives is not enough to live off. Majority of chareidi women work and most men work, too, by late 20s or early 30s. Low standard of living relative to rest of society. Surely readers know… Read more »

2 years 8 months ago

“She not only believes in HKBH, she ended her speech with a tefilah to Him.”
I really wonder. This is what’s called a very low level of belief and quite possibly one that Rambam would call apikorsos/minus, where she says yes, God exists but NO, He can’t tell me what to do and i’m not scared of the consequences…
I wonder – who’s bigger in her eyes, God or her? Does she even care? All i’m getting is that she likes learning, it makes her feel good, but nothing about it making her act good, which is what Torah is all about.… Read more »

Shmuel F.
2 years 8 months ago


If anyone’s ever learned Mesechta Mikvaos, or a related Gemara in Makkos, we learn that if a certain amount of drawn water (mayim sheuvin), ie. gimmel lugin, falls into a mikvah which contains less than the DeRabbonim amount required for valid tevilah, ie. 40 se’ah, then the mikvah is posul (invalid) and has to be emptied out until less than gimmel lugin remains. The gedolim of the previous dor, whom were following the Torah from the gedolim of the generation before theirs, whom were likewise following the Torah from the earlier generation’s gedolim, held that the “State of Israel”… Read more »

L. Oberstein
2 years 8 months ago

This is another example of intelligent discussion.Despite the occasional digs and denigration of the other side’s arguments,most people express valid arguments. Few of the people who believe that Daas Torah is somehow normative in Jewish History, when it is a recent invention, even listen to the other side. Numeous people have told me in all sincerity that having this discussion is wrong.We turn to the Gedolim, follow their ruling ,end of story. No matter what arguments we may bring, their mind is not open to another way of thinking. Such certainty gives one security.
One of my sons pointed out that… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

The deployment of the word “draconian” seems non-sequitur and incendiary in this discussion. Many modern countries have compulsory universal conscription. The IDF draft isn’t “draconian” vis-a-vis the tens of thousands of Israelis it touches every year. Would it be different for charedi Israelis? Why?

IMO there’s dubious value in rapidly imposing a draft obligation upon a subculture that’s never faced it and claims to not want it. And it has nothing to do with old Draco, but rather the issue of social comity and respect.

Instead of trying to control what others (eg. charedim) do, the Knesset also has the option of… Read more »

was upset - now disgusted
2 years 9 months ago

Shmuel F., If I catch your drift you are saying that any Torah leader who is not in tandem with the anti-Israel position of the Brisker Rav and the Satmar Rav, is the equivalent of the Nachash and Korach.

Your comment doesn’t deserve a response, even though you are so frum as to put B”H at the top of each of your posts.

Shmuel F.
2 years 9 months ago


It was a terrible tragedy for mankind when Chava relied upon the representation
of the Nachash. Korach was also a ben Torah – at least until kovod got the best of him.

Netanel Livni
2 years 9 months ago

>MK Lipman is welcome to try to do what he thinks is right. To paraphrase, doesn’t he realize that when he is not counted for a minyan, they are trying to save him from himself?

I am sure they think they are right. But they don’t live in the same world as I do if they think that this kind of sinas chinam will convince anyone of the correctness of their path. That kind of fanatacism is what has turned 90% of Am Yisrael to the Torah.

>don’t you realize that the Charedi Torah world is saving you from your… Read more »

no longer confused - now upset
2 years 9 months ago

So the Brisker Rav and the Satmar Rav were the only ones worthy of guiding us about matters of the state of Israel? How did he figure that out? Did they tell him so? And now there is nobody to talk to? How did he figure that out? Did they come to him in a dream?

The main point is that we are against the State, but how to be against it, well that’s just academic?

If that is what he meant, he doesn’t really want to be part of this conversation. He just popped in to inform us that there are… Read more »

Binyomin Eckstein
2 years 9 months ago

MK Lipman is welcome to try to do what he thinks is right. To paraphrase, doesn’t he realize that when he is not counted for a minyan, they are trying to save him from himself? Sad, very sad, how he fails to realize it.

You are also welcome to your prognostications on how things will work out. To paraphrase, don’t you realize that the Charedi Torah world is saving you from your path to historical-positivism, neo-Reform, non-observance and heresy? Sad, very sad, how you fail to realize it.

Rubs you the wrong way, the above, doesn’t it? If not, more power to… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

To Confused:

You asked what Shmuel F. was saying.

I believe this is what he means:

Jonathan Rosenblum said: “For our own mission of becoming a majority, we require a Torah vision of the future of a state now home to half the world’s Jews.”

Shmuel F. was saying the opposite, that we do not require a vision.

He is also saying that, given that the Brisker Rav and the Satmar Rav are no more, our perspective and agenda are to remain frozen in time, irrespective of there being new realities.

This is because we do not know whether they would have changed their minds… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

Can someone please translate what Shmuel F.(February 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm) wrote? He seems to be talking in code.

L. Oberstein
2 years 9 months ago

The new Knesset,despite the new members and the one third who are observant may not be so different after all. I fear that Netanyahu is doing everything he can to preserve the status quo and not change the old politics. Lapid and Bennet have been holding out for real change and the political classs is content to divide up portfolios. No matter what they say in the campaign Netanyahu and Livni don’t really want to tackle “sharing the burden”. They will team up to exclude Lapid and keep things as they are. Yesh Atid reminds me of the Tea Party.They… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

seen online——-

new Beit Medrash in the Knesset

What do you think of this?

MK Rabbi Shai Peron (Yesh Atid) and MK Dr. Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid), along with MKs Yoni Chetboun (HaBayit HaYehudi) and MK Elazar Stern (HaTnua), are planning on establishing a Beit Medrash program in the Knesset.

The purpose of the program will be for MKs and Knesset employees to learn some Torah once a week, on Tuesdays, and to have discussions about Judaism.

Every week a different MK will take a turn leading the discussion, teaching a talmudic topic.

According to Kipa, the haredi parties have not yet decided whether to participate… Read more »

Shmuel F.
2 years 9 months ago


I’d need to hear opinions of gedolim like the Brisker Rav, ztl., or the Satmar Rebbe – Rabeinu Yoel, ztl, to provide an opinion of my own. Actually, they’ve already given theirs. But I am in no position to restate these. I would note that in Brisk they would not push a Yid to be mayor because it was held not to be what the Torah required in that situation. That situation would seem to apply to the State of Israel, as well.

2 years 9 months ago

>Precisely 0 (zero) people have placed any of them in charge of the Charedi Torah world nor expressed any sort of confidence in their ability to “save” it. Hundreds of thousands have expressed confidence in the leadership of RAYLS and the Belzer Rebbe to that end.

He is not pretending to be an emissary of the chareidi torah world. He is trying to do what he feels is the right thing. He happens to also think that the right and ethical path of demanding that chareidim act as responsible citizens will save the Torah world from the inherent decadence… Read more »

Gershon Seif
2 years 9 months ago

I’ve been reading the latest Klal Perspectives about the Teshuva movement in recent years. Many articles stated that due to the decline of the Conservative movement, many American Jews no longer have a personal Jewish identity. As a result of that, the amount of people becoming frum has dramatically declined.

Think about that for a minute. Those people who were exposed to Gemara, Tanach and halacha in a manner that might make the Olam HaTorah cringe, were being primed to come close to those very cringers, because of that very learning! And yet now, with hindsight, we understand the value… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

As an addendum to what I wrote above, an example of a Godol from the Religious Zioinst camp who does think about what a Torah vision for modern-day Israel should look like is Rav Yakov Ariel, whose most recent work is haHalacha b’zmaneinu, written for popular audiences and which came out in a revised edition a few weeks ago. (Don’t bother looking for it in the US.)

His teshuva seforim as well contain visionary essays on societal issues.

As has been noted by others, it was a tragedy for Klal Yisroel that his nomination for Chief Rabbi was blocked by haredi power… Read more »

Shades of Gray
2 years 9 months ago

“When R. Yisroel Salanter militated for the translation of the gemara into the vernacular so that it would be studied in local universities, did he not fear that in the hands of heretics Torah would do more harm than good?”

R. Yisroel Salanter is also quoted as having wanted to actually try to build Batei Midrashim in Reform Temples(R. Berel Wein, “And Further Reconsiderations”): “From a purely tactical sense, we must admit that even the justified nineteenth-century bans issued against Reform have in no way seriously damaged the movement and the issuance of those bans probably further radicalized Reform. … Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

It is not at all my intention to approach this subject in any kind of disrespectful or heretical manner, so I hope that what I am about to say is not taken the wrong way. The way I look at it, is to draw an analogy with watching a movie or reading a novel. The more one fully engrosses oneself in either pursuit, the more they will gain from the experience. Suspension of disbelief is absolutely essential for such experiences.

That is how I look at Torah study as well. Fortunate are those who already deeply believe… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

The quote you brought from Jonathan Rosenblum was quite fascinating.

“For our own mission of becoming a majority, we require a Torah vision of the future of a state now home to half the world’s Jews.”

Perhaps what Rabbi Rosenblum meant to say when calling for a “Torah vision” was that he was calling for the articulation of such a vision from the haredi camp.

Left unsaid by Rosenblum is that this is precisely what most differentiates Religious Zionist rabbinnic scholarship and that of the haredi world. (That is, the proactive search for how to apply Torah values and halacha to every aspect… Read more »

L. Oberstein
2 years 9 months ago

The following story on the Jerusalem Post Web Site is very instructive.

The move is likely a ploy by the ultra-Orthodox party to pressure the Bayit Yehudi party and its leader Naftali Bennett into scaling back its rhetoric on the issue of haredi enlistment.
A UTJ official told the Post that the party was considering supporting a raft of measures such as a settlement freeze, the evacuation of unauthorized settlement outposts and the reopening of peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Such a move, he said, would allow the prime minister to form a coalition with left leaning parties including The Tzipi Livni Party… Read more »

Binyomin Eckstein
2 years 9 months ago

The fact that it is axiomatic for you that R Steinman and the Belzer Rebbe are right and that disagreeing with them and their policies is patronizing is part of the problem.


This is not about disagreement. The only difference between MK Dov Lipman claiming the mantle of “savior” of the Torah world and implementing laws to bring about his vision of how to “save” it, and MK Shulamit Aloni or MK Achmed Tibi doing the exact same thing, is a difference of degree, certainly not of substance. Precisely 0 (zero) people have placed any of them in… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

>>“Should the Lapid/Bennett axis bring about draconian legislation to “save” the Torah world, the end will be that the Charedim will refuse to count all knitted-kippah wearers for a minyan. They will tear the country asunder. I know, some relish that outcome.”

If charedim choose to further isolate themselves from Am Yisroel, how many people outside of charediism will bemoan that choice?

And will such isolation also mark the end of charedi demands for cash handouts from the people and system they despise?

Re: MK Calderon, I expect the charedi sector to face real difficulty handling the phenomenon she embodies: a… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

The term “Secular Jew” used for a resident of Israel who is not Mitzah Observant is an anomaly. This breed can not be duplicated anywhere else in the world. A secular Jew understands Ivrit, has knowledge of Chagim, Minhagim and Jewish Talmudic verses. He may be proficient in Nach and highly knowledgable of Jewish History. His pride in his Jewishness & desire to transmit this admiration and respect of Jewish culture to his children is paramount. This lifestyle can be duplicated only in Israel while it disappears & disintergrates when living outside of the land.
… Read more »

Dovid Eliezrie
2 years 9 months ago

Israelis whose identity in the past was rooted almost solely in secular nationalism are beginning to realize the need for more spiritual depth. Instead of ignoring thousands of years of tradition and scholarship they are beginning to engage in it.

This is not a threat, but an opportunity to build a common identity with Torah as its core value. Is there a chance that some will distort classical Jewish ideals, no question. But as my friend Rabbi Adlerstien asserts the gain is much greater than the risk.

We need to build bridges based on learning with these who are… Read more »

Charlie Hall
2 years 9 months ago

“a state in which Torah Jews constitute a substantial part of the population…I had to confess that I did not personally know anyone who had responded”

One of the major reasons I personally identify as a supporter of religious Zionism rather than as a Charedi is that many of the leading religious Zionist rabbis do address issues like this. One can criticize some of their responses, but it is unfair to criticize without providing alternatives.

“Sad. Very sad.”

Worse than sad. FAR worse.

“Rabbi Piron”

Is Rabbi Shai Piron related to Rabbi Mordechai Piron, the former Chief Rabbi of the IDF?

“I know, some… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

Agree with R’ Adlerstien that the gains outweigh the risks. Moreover, in the long term I do not see how anything negative can come from more Jews learning Torah and bringing it into their lives- this is a step in the right direction. This is the road towards observance, or at least strengthening of Jewish identity.

More Torah study by more members of the Jewish People should assist in building achdus, strengthinening Jewish identity thereby reducing intermarriage etc, I saw the Kikar Shabbat statement lambasting Torah for the masses and I just don’t understand that. Hashem… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

>The patronizing attitude drips from every syllable. Yes, the Torah world must be saved from the likes of Rav Shteinman and the Belzer Rebbe, with MK Dov Lipman playing the role of the long-yearned for Messiah.

The fact that it is axiomatic for you that R Steinman and the Belzer Rebbe are right and that disagreeing with them and their policies is patronizing is part of the problem. Arguments from authority (Daas torirah) hold no sway outside of Chareidi circles and until Chareidi society is able to see the validity of the arguments made against its policies, it will… Read more »

Yehoshua Friedman
2 years 9 months ago

I think that what we are seeing here is the beginning of a new consensus in Israel spearheaded to some extent by American aliya acquiring the confidence to speak its mind in Israel. Lipman, an oleh from the US, and Bennett, son of American olim, are thinking out of the box and joining together with Israelis who do the same. Nobody wants to destroy anything. They all want to build. The problem is the lack of experience — 47 new members out of 120. They are all going to have to learn the territory from the inside in a way… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

>>>Yes, the Torah world must be saved from the likes of Rav Shteinman

let us not forget that r shteinman , the Gadol Hador , had to fear for his life, due to temporary support of a solution to the shivyon hanetel problem—since the askonim and street thugs know better what is good for the Gdolim to advocate….

2 years 9 months ago

>>>Should the Lapid/Bennett axis bring about draconian legislation to “save” the Torah world, the end will be that the Charedim will refuse to count all knitted-kippah wearers for a minyan.

—but at least , they will be dealing honestly with DL… one assumes that is how they feel about them— their money is kosher, but other than that, more dangerous than hilonim…. a little knowledge is a dangerous thing– as RYA worries about Frau Calderon….

2 years 9 months ago

what can we expect really when the charedi zeigeist is that the wrong color shirt , the wrong fabric of head covering , joining an army of a philosophy objected to 100 yr ago ,etc etc is enough to put one beyond the Pale. how could we ask such a cowering ,beaten-down in its own mind community to think of any larger dream [other than mashiach—a useful excuse to say ‘lo alecha hamelacha lehatchil, ella letzapot lebiyato’]. why should charedim have to see anti-semites and Porutzim [to whom they gladly will dance Mah Yofis , if it will… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

I grab any opportunity to listen to well-articulated and enuciated IVRIT and Ruth was stunning in her presentation.

Reuven, MK Porush’s address to the American conference was publicized particularly his words of Yeshiva bochurim enlisting in the IDF after culminating years of learning. That has always been the shitah of Gedolim from the Chazon Ish through Rav Shach, yet implementation has always been scarse, light and quite non-existant. My question; Has he given the identical speech to his Charedi kehilla as he has to the American delegates**?
The Charedi hold on Religion in Israel has been suffocating… Read more »

David F.
2 years 9 months ago

How about we view this in perspective before reacting. Dr. Calderon gave a speech; one out of hundreds that are made in the Knesset each year. President Obama also makes many speeches. Very few speeches made by politicians bear real fruit. Perhaps this one will be different and suddenly we’ll witness a sea change in Israel where secular Israelis will take up the study of traditional Jewish texts and appreciate them on at least some level. When that happens, we can discuss whether it’s good or bad for the Jews. Until such time, however, I’m not certain we have to… Read more »

Ben Waxman
2 years 9 months ago

A few years ago Rav Ovadia was asked to address some conference of business leaders. He told them that if they give more tzedaka, they will succeed in business. Nothing about what the Torah thinks in regards to worker-employer relations, union rights, government role in business, fair taxation; in short no grand vision. It was almost heart rendering that someone so highly regarded used that opportunity in such a way.

Binyomin Eckstein
2 years 9 months ago

They don’t understand how we are saving the torah world?
Sad. Very sad.

The patronizing attitude drips from every syllable. Yes, the Torah world must be saved from the likes of Rav Shteinman and the Belzer Rebbe, with MK Dov Lipman playing the role of the long-yearned for Messiah.

Should the Lapid/Bennett axis bring about draconian legislation to “save” the Torah world, the end will be that the Charedim will refuse to count all knitted-kippah wearers for a minyan. They will tear the country asunder. I know, some relish that outcome.

Menachem Lipkin
2 years 9 months ago

As usual, Rabbi Adlerstein, you are thoughtful and thought provoking. This as opposed to the folks over at the Chareidi website “Kikar Shabbos” who see Ms. Calderon, Dov Lipman and Rabbi Piron as the dangerous vanguard of a “new Haskalah”.

Implicit in, what is generally considered, an innocuous phrase in your quote of JR is a sure sign that the Chareidi world is not up to this “challenge”. Many, if not most, Chareidim have come to refer to their brand of Judaism as “Torah Judaism” and themselves as “Torah Jews”. Implicit in this phrase is “ownership” of the Torah. Even… Read more »

Reb Yid
2 years 9 months ago

The YouTube video of Dr. Calderon’s speech is required viewing. Google it.

It is a very beautiful, moving shiur (even punctuated with a tiny bit of back and forth with a Shas MK), both for the content and for how it is delivered.

The reaction of the various MKs (ranging from secular to haredi, female to male, Shas, Bayit HaYehudi to Avodah) as the speech unfolded was uniform. Dr. Calderon held everyone’s attention and respect.

I would quibble with YA’s characterization of this as solely “secular”. Indeed, Calderon acknowledges a tremendous debt to Rabbi Dr. David Hartman, z”l, and his… Read more »

dr. bill
2 years 9 months ago

Excellent article. As I listened to her address and read your article two odd things came to mind.

First, contrast her point about the Greek versus Hebrew words for womb with the gematriah noted by Shas MK Vaknin. While many a traditional yeshivah student might gravitate to the makhloket rishonim about the halakhic implications of the sugyah, her (academic) reading of the text was insightful and more likely to appeal to a broader audience than gematriah (or even mysticism.)

Second, you quoted Jonathan Rosenblum saying: “…I had to confess that I did not personally know anyone who had responded or… Read more »

L. Oberstein
2 years 9 months ago

This is an exchange of emails between me and MK Dov Lipman. Is this really the way the Chareidi members of Knesset act? How can they win over the majority by such behavior?
My question:
Is there any truth to what someone just told me, that “they” refused to count you in a minyan at the Knesset?

Hias answer:
Yes, there is truth to it. The haredi political leaders are losing their minds over this and non of it is l’sheim shamayim – it is all because there will be no need for them once our plan works.
They don’t understand how… Read more »

Baruch Gitlin
2 years 9 months ago

The Orthodox community will undoubtedly pay attention to Ms. Calderon, and to the point of view she represents, and will undoubtedly respond, probably with a large variety of responses. I think it is important to realize that regardless of how the Orthodox communities respond, the phenominon that I think Ms. Calderon represents will continue, and will continue “on its own terms.” In the marketplace of ideas, there is clearly a market for the ideas she is expressing. I hope that Orthodox Jews, in considering this, will understand that if they disagree with Ms. Calderon, they should do so by way… Read more »

Reuven Tradburks
2 years 9 months ago

Yossi Klein Halevi addressed the conference of President’s of Major Jewish Organizations on Thursday evening here in Yerushalayim and issued a challenge to Jewish leadership. Pick your friends carefully. To non orthodox leadership, he challenged them to pick Ruth Calderone and her non affiliated Jewish renewal as their friends, and not the sectarian Women of the Wall – the Wall is a battle that will not be won.

And to the orthodox, he challenged them (or us) to not be constricted by our narrow orthodoxy to withhold support for this non affiliated Jewish engagement.

I would add – not only… Read more »

2 years 9 months ago

And this is where the Charedi vision of today is not yet ready for beyond its borders. Is it realistic to expect all Jews of the world to observe Judaism in exactly the Charedi way? There is enough struggle with the Sefardi boys who come to Charedi yeshivos, being pressured to take on the Ashkenazi minhagim and piskei halacha in place of their own practices – under the chuppa for example.

An us-vs-them philosophy to keep card-carrying Charedim in the fold is an internal decision. Refusing a country to expand a city hospital because it isn’t ideal according… Read more »