Friday, December 29, 2006

Balance and Extremism in Judaism

The issue of extremism and moderation is being discussed in the comments section of a previous Mishmar post, and I would like to dedicate a post of my own to the subject. I would divide the topic into the following parts:
  • Cosmic Balance
  • Personal Avodah
  • Communal Decsions
  • Tolerance For Others
  • Bloggers and Extremism

See link.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On a Lighter Note: Facing the Ontological Realities of Lomdus

... If philosophical terminology aids, abets, assists or facilitates greater clarity and precision in comprehension, explanation, or, to use Artscrollese, elucidates the Talmud, then I say: go for the philosophical and legal jargon and skip the yeshivishe reid ! See here.

Frum Community and Children's Safety

There has been much discussion in recent years on the issue of sexual abuse and the frum community. The Orthodox Jewish community is a subset of the general population, and despite the community's strong points, it is not immune fron the ills of general society. See here.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Touch Goeth Both Ways

Beyond BT, links an article discussing the election of Jason Bedrick, a 23 year old Orthodox Jew and Lubavitcher Chassid elected to the New Hampshire State Legislator. This is quite an accomplishment for New Hampshire, which is home to fewer than 10 Orthodox Jewish families and has a population that is about one percent Jewish, according to a source quoted in the article.

The article is interesting because it sheds light, in general, on the interaction of an Orthodox Jewish person with the New Hampshire legislature, but also because it discusses how Mr. Bedrick deals with situations when he is offered a handshake from women.

See link.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Difference Between Segulos and Avoiding Cheeseburgers

Do we have an unbalanced approach towards segulos? See link.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Danger and Tragedy of Neturei Karta

Neturei Karta has been in the news again, this time, regarding their participation in the Teheran Holocaust denial conference. Earlier this fall, a CBS film showed Jews in charedi garb embracing the Iranian president when he visited New York. Understandably, this embarrassed Jews everywhere, and desecrated G-d's name. See link.

Extremism, Commitment Ceremonies, and Effective Rebuke

Since there is discussion on Mishmar and elsewhere about the zealotry of extremist elements in the charedi community, I wish to reflect on the concept of effective tochacha, or rebuke. The connection is obvious: acting violently, or in an anti-social way is done to protest acts of evil. However, upon reflection, such conduct is seriously flawed even on its own terms. See link.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Development Opportunities in Yeshivah Education

This post discusses various important issues in the yeshivah education of boys. See link.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Two Forms of Emunah II

In my previous post , I emphasized that Gedolie Yisrael, following a mesorah, choose an educational policy which they felt was best for the charedi community on a whole, as far as emphasizing emunah peshuta(simple, experiential faith). I also wrote that it is important to make clear that emunah al pi chakirah(faith supported by inquiry) was not totally rejected from Yahadus, even though it has weaknesses, and also that much depends on the particular person.

In "There is Only One Yeshiva College: A Memoir"(11/16/04/ Commentator) one leader of the Yeshivah University community discusses his formative years. See link