Author: Avi Shafran


Exhibit A: Us

It’s not his name but I’ll call him Yochanan, after R. Yochanan ben Zakkai, who, the Gemara tells us (Berachos 17a), was first to greet anyone, Jew or not, he...

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Clear Lens, Clear Image

I hadn’t planned to awaken at 3 a.m. on Wednesday night, even though it was the peak time for catching sight of meteors – commonly called “shooting stars” – born...

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Be Alarmed

Back in 2007, at just about this exact time of year, a priest in the Netherlands city of Tilburg was fined the equivalent of several thousand dollars for ringing his...


Tisha B’Av With Faigy Mayer, o”h

An essay I wrote about Faigy Mayer, o”h,’s death, the haste with which some blamed it on her chassidic community and the importance of addressing mental health in the Orthodox...


Say It Ain’t So, Mike

In 1990, attorney Mike Godwin introduced what became known as “Godwin’s Law,” the contention that if an electronic discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on for long enough, sooner...

Star Clusters

Spaced Out

“Are we alone?” asked the oversized headline of a full page ad in the New York Times last Tuesday. “Now is the time to find out,” it answered itself. The...


A Worthy, Timely Truth

It’s intriguing – to be truthful, depressing – that as we prepare to focus on our galus and its causes we in the Orthodox world are witnessing acrimony born of...


Devils and Details

Mere minutes after last Tuesday’s announcement of the nuclear deal struck with Iran – well before anyone could possibly have read its 159 dense pages of highly technical details –...


A Stone’s Throw

During the Islamic month of Ramadan, which is about to end, Muslims are to engage in introspection, fasting and spiritual improvement. Which, according to some, includes doing whatever they can...


The Peril of Pluralism in Israel

A piece I recently wrote about Minister Azoulay’s imprecise comments, and the larger issue of “religious pluralism” in Israel, is in Haaretz here .


A Magical Encounter

Walking home from Shacharis one morning last week, I had an interesting interaction with a little non-Jewish boy. Turning a corner, I found myself facing a middle-aged woman, clearly from...


Gay Marriage Decision Interview

I was interviewed by phone on a Jewish cable television program last week about the recent US Supreme Court gay marriage decision. The interview, along with one of a Conservative...


Sorry. More on Obama and Oren

I find it an odd enterprise to defend a book’s claims by recourse to… the book’s claims (and the congratulatory words of the author’s friend). So I will limit myself...