Category: Religion

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Liberation Theology

In the summer of 1776, Benjamin Franklin proposed that the Great Seal of the United States should depict Moshe Rabbeinu at the Yam Suf, his staff lifted high and the...

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Routing Rote

“Please don’t bring your toys into my kitchen, young lady!” the busy mother warned her loaded-up little daughter. The child’s response: “Well, it’s MY kitchen too!” Her parents had a...

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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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The Evidence in the Barrel

Back in a previous lifetime, when I was a mesivta rebbe, I once heard a menahel exhort our talmidim to not get carried away on Purim. As an illustration, he...

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Golden Silence

The mother was understandably concerned. Her first-grader was a sociable, talkative little girl, and so her teacher’s phone call was certainly disturbing. This is a true story and took place...

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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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Is it permissible to drink water on Shabbos? Yes, the question is facetious. But not pointless. Because the parshiyos of this time of year, which deal with the construction of...

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The American Jewish Buffet

“Secular Orthodox.” That’s how Avinoam Bar-Yosef, president of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, recently characterized many Israelis. What he meant was that, while an Israeli may not be observant...

A member of "Women of the Wall" group (2nd R) wears a prayer shawl and Tefillin, leather straps and boxes containing sacred parchments, that Orthodox law says only men should don, during a monthly prayer session at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City May 10, 2013. An Israeli police spokesman said on Friday that five ultra-Orthodox Jewish men were detained during a protest against the group. Last month the Jerusalem District Court said that the women should not be arrested for wearing prayer shawls at the site. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (JERUSALEM - Tags: RELIGION) - RTXZH7M

Western Walls

Many are celebrating the official setting aside and expansion of a part of the Kotel Maaravi for non-traditional public prayer. I’m not among them. My thoughts on the matter are...

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Illogical Leadership

“Because you were convincing me,” was the woman’s straightforward reply. Her questioner was my rebbe, Rav Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, then the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisrael in Baltimore. He...

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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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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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An Open Letter to my Chaveirim

I am dismayed by the actions of a few of our fellow RIETS musmachim. Our chaveirim founded Open Orthodoxy and are ordaining women, defending the questioning of Torah MiSinai and mocking rabbinic traditionalists. What in the world is going on?

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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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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...