Author: Avi Shafran

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A Crying Shame

Readers of a certain age will likely recognize the name Edmund Muskie. He was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President back in 1972. There were several reasons...

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From the Mouths of Mexicans

I’ll call him Pedro; maybe it’s even his name. He seems to be a custodian of some sort for a shul – though I have no idea where it might...

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Howling Hounds and Golden Calves

Whether or not they happen to own dogs, some politicians have an affinity for dog whistles, at least the political type. That term plays on the fact that dogs can...

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Blame Terrorists, Not Songs

Some politicians and pundits – including several writers in Haaretz – seem misguidedly intent on extending blame for Jewish terrorism across Orthodoxy, even to the charedi community and its Torah...

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Prominence ≠ Importance

When President Obama called the recent U.S. military announcement that all combat roles will now be open to women a “historic step forward,” the image that came to mind was...

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Happy Meals, Jewish Style

There’s something – and something Jewish, as it happens – to be said for willfully denying ourselves foods, at least at times. An article I wrote for the excellent site...

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Trumping Terrorism

When the Obama White House and Dick Cheney agree on something, it’s worthy of note. What united the two – along with a conga line of Democratic and Republican presidential...

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“Marriage Redefined”

Newly posted online is a video of an Agudah convention session titled: “Marriage Redefined: Should I Care?” I was one of the presenters, and if you have interest in the...

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Merits, Not Munitions

The reporter’s question: “Should the chareidim serve in [Israel’s] military, or at least serve in some other capacity such as recognized public service commensurate with military service?” The query was...

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Through Others’ Eyes

There were ample arrows in my quiver for shooting down the question, or at least for deflecting it. But our Shabbos night seudah guest, a young Jewish woman with limited...

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Of Labels and Fables

In European Union countries, the words “Product of the West Bank (Israeli settlement)” will now replace “Product of Israel” on labels of foodstuffs, cosmetics and other consumer goods produced by...

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Denominational Déjà Vu

In 2001, I predicted that the Conservative movement would soon enough “halachically” approve what halacha forbids in no uncertain terms. [It did so 5 years later.] I perceive precisely the same Conservative approach to halacha in what bills itself today as “Open Orthodoxy.”

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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...