Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Reading

Here's some great links to read:

Everyone's heard about the YU's "The Beacon" scandal story -- even the JPost reported on it. For a very thoughtful take on the story, even comparing it to the parashat hashavua, I recommend you read R' Pruzanky's take on it.
"How do we discuss sensitive, delicate, even prurient matters? In fourth grade, we just skipped over the story of Yehuda and Tamar; that’s one approach. It doesn’t work well. How can you transmit values when the subject matter, or the application of those values, are taboo, and unmentionable? Granted, despite the anonymous author’s best efforts, the average commercial on television is more risqué and suggestive than this short story; and granted, I can see why the “Yeshiva” side of the YU ledger was offended.

But there is, unfortunately, a seamy corner of the Jewish world that we would do well not pretending that it does not exist. It exists – it exists because the culture is that decadent, and because young people looking for love, attention and respect often seek it in the wrong places and in the wrong activities – and they wind up without love or respect, although they do capture the attention, temporarily at least, of the exploiters and predators."

R' Yitzchok Adlerstein over at Cross-Currents titles his post A Grand Theory of Halachic Everything. He reviews a fascinating article by Dr. Moshe Koppel, which I highly recommended, "Judaism as a First Language"
Judaism, in a way, is not that different from English—or any other language, for that matter. In fact, Judaism is a language of sorts; its internal dynamics, the manner in which it evolves, and the powers through which it is fashioned are all startlingly similar to those of the linguistic process. Now, one can treat this comparison as a mere intellectual exercise, an interesting metaphor at most, but I believe its potential implications are great and far-reaching. It can shed light on some of the problems that keep many contemporary Jews—myself included—up at night: If Judaism, as it is currently practiced in certain circles, has gone off the rails, how would we know? Is there some Archimedean point from which we could decide the matter? And, if this is indeed the case, is the founding of a Jewish state likely to get us back on track? The answers to these questions, I will attempt to show here, are all inextricably connected, and the key to finding them may perhaps lie in understanding Judaism as language.
And President Obama's Remarks at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism. (White House transcript)
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from her[President Obama's daughter, Malia] it’s that it never hurts to begin a speech by discussing the Torah portion. It doesn’t hurt.
That was cute.
In fact, I am proud to say that no U.S. administration has done more in support of Israel’s security than ours. None. Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. It is a fact.
And that is a fact, you may not let anyone tell you otherwise. It IS A FACT.
Last year, when raging fires threatened Haifa, we dispatched fire-fighting planes to help put out the blaze. (Applause.)
Well, it wasn't dispatched by the US Government -- the Israeli government paid for the super tanker...whatever.
Thank you, God bless you, God bless the United States of America.
Amen. Had this been said by an Israeli Prime Minister, the media would be in an uproar over the religious intolerance of Israel's growing anti-democratic character.



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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Judaism as a language is a really good article.


Obama and Israel security is a tricky question. The Military agreements do continue and do grow.. but as has been argued by the left in America regarding the current wars, the military does not solve all security issues.

ProfK said...

Why should pre-marital sex be any different from all the other things that go on in the frum veldt that no one wants to admit happens? This isn't a new action and it isn't limited to the YU/modeern Orthodox world either. Otherwise why would there be an old Yiddish word coming out of pre-war Europe for a child clearly conceived before the parents were officially married--the word is "zibele"--a 7-month after the wedding child.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi ProfK: I understood "zibele" just meant, "premature", not specifically related to premature after the wedding.

...And R' Bartenura detailed many Jewish weddings in Italy during 15th century, when the brides went to the chuppa, pregnant. (And this was before the "Haskala" and "Zionism" came along to ruin Judaism.)

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