Author: Avi Shafran

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Black Power

Australian political advisor Robert Hoge was born with a severe facial deformity and describes himself as “the ugliest person you’ve never met.” When he was born, his parents burst into...

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What We Build and What We Are

As the 93rd takes place, the 78th comes to mind. Agudath Israel of America’s national conventions, that is. The 93rd gathering is featuring a constellation of topics and speakers, include...

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Misguided Mounters

“As if the situation here was not sensitive enough,” groused an incredulous MK Yoel Hasson (Hamachaneh HaTzioni). He was referring to Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s comment that her...

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Spaghetti and Jewish Unity

Last week afforded me an opportunity to sit with a group of Jews spanning the gamut of American Jewry – resolute secularists, members of non-Orthodox congregations and Orthodox Jews –...

Barack is Leaving the Building

Although Barack Obama’s last day in office won’t come until January 20, 2017, the spectacle of the various presidential debates reminds us all that we won’t have him to kick...

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Abetting Evil on the Temple Mount

An article of mine about the limits of empathy, the historical revisionism of The New York Times and the endangering of Jewish lives by activists intent on establishing a Jewish...

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Buried Treasure in Tokyo

At a news conference last week, Satoshi Omura, a Japanese researcher and one of three scientists who had just won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, made a comment...

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Where “Objective” is Defective

I’m not among those who grow apoplectic at the New York Times’ reportage from Israel. There are, to be sure, occasions when, in misguided attempts to achieve what passes these...

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Two-Way Traffic on the Haredi Highway

Have you ever wondered why, in light of the slew of “I survived Orthodoxy but saw the secular light!” essays and books, there no counter-flood of similar writing by some...

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Enjoy!

Each year, sitting in the sukkah on the first night of Sukkos, with my wife and whoever among our children and grandchildren we are fortunate to have with us for...

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Eliyahu’s Double Plea

The Rambam’s logic, as always, is unassailable. Miracles, he informs us (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, 8:1), simply cannot be bases of belief. What appears to us as miraculous, he explains, could...

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The King and Us

One of the findings of a recent Pew Research Center report about Orthodox Jews was that for the vast majority of them – are you sitting down? – “religion is...

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Govrov Selichos, 1939

This time of year in 1939, in a Polish town called Ruzhan, a 14-year-old boy had his plans rudely interrupted. The boy, who, fifteen years later, would become my father,...

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Opinions Gone Wild

I’m greatly pained by much of the reaction in the Orthodox community to what has come to be called the Iran Deal. To be sure, there are elements of the...

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Atticus and the Yomim Nora’im

The American 1960 classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” was in the news this summer, the result of the publication of an earlier version of it, a sequel in reality, that...

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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...

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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...