Author: Yaakov Menken

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Addressing Dishonesty

[UPDATED] There are some writers whom you imagine will disagree in an appropriate and logical fashion, without straw men and without inspiring people to mock words of our greatest teachers. And sometimes you will be disappointed.

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Lessons of a Viral Video

The Orthodox video that went viral last week dispels a lot of stereotypes about the Orthodox world and is frankly inspirational… but you won’t see that in any of the coverage.

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Speak the Truth, with Conviction

Our enemies speak lies with complete conviction, yet we are afraid to speak the truth with similar conviction. When confronted by strident anti-Semitism in new clothing, we must be brutal in only one respect: we must be brutally honest.

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Political Posturing at the Western Wall

Women of the Wall plans to show preference to some women over others in a way unsupported by any version of Judaism, doing a “Jewish” ritual supported by no version of Jewish ritual, in imitation of a ceremony that aims to restore Judaism’s doubly undemocratic Holy Temple. And it claims to be doing all this in the name of egalitarianism.

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Why Seminary Still Makes Sense

In a recent piece on Matzav.com, Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin discusses “Sending Girls to Seminaries and the Shidduch Crisis” and asks: “who are the American boys supposed to marry at 21 if...

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Conservative Jews Deserve More than PR

All agree that the Conservative Jewish movement is in rapid decline. But by hiring a PR agency, the United Synagogue is going in the wrong direction — surveys and branding will not fix the fundamental problem.

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Rabbi Gordimer and his Critics

I rise on a question of personal privilege on behalf of an esteemed colleague. An open debate of ideas is appropriate (as we have said all along), but unfounded mischaracterization of a writer’s motivations and dialogue with others is quite out of line.

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A Monument to Discord

The new Israeli agreement to create an “egalitarian” section at the Western Wall promises not merely a fissure, but fragmentation. It has already exposed the fault line of disagreement between the Reform movement and the Reform-funded Women of the Wall.

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Like the Face of a Dog

R’ Yisroel Salanter described modern politics quite accurately when he explained the Mishnah’s cryptic statement that “the face of the generation will be like the face of the dog.” Sadly, he described modern religion, too.

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Pharoah and the Jews: a Case Study in Anti-Semitism

It’s possible to read the story of the Exodus repeatedly, yet fail to notice that the same lies that Pharoah told about the Jews over 3300 years ago are the same ones circulated today. If you think BDS is something new, or that there is a problem of “occupation,” it’s time to acknowledge the reality of hatred.

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The Model is Working

Twenty years ago, no one thought it was “triumphalism” to refer to the exponential growth of the observant community. At that time, it was termed “unrealistic” — though then, as now, it was very real.

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Open Orthodoxy: An Amicable Divorce?

Integrity demands that “Open Orthodoxy” discard the “Orthodox” moniker. There are early signs that — thanks to the Agudah, RCA, CER and others — this may, at last, be taking place.