New Issue of Jewish Action

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16 Responses

  1. L. Oberstein says:

    Many years ago I asked a colleague why Jewish Action had symposia on controversial topics and Jewish Observer did not.He jokingly answered”Jewish Observer would discuss both sides of an issue if there were two sides to an issue.” Jewish Observer is out of business because it was boring. It had to toe a party line that would not offend any faction of the Agudah,especially the right wingers , who took offense at any suggestion that was counter to their version of reality. I hope that Jewish Action will continue to grow. However, the biggest “chidush” to me is Mishpacha Magazine. A yearly subscription is close to $ 200 and its circulation continues to grow. I know people of limited means who would not spend so much money easily who gladly subscribe to Mishpacha. In an age when print media is in rapid decline, Mishpacha and Hamodia are glaring exceptions.

  2. DF says:

    I’m also not an Artscroll basher, having davened daily from one of their siddurim for more than 20 years running now. But I think you overdo it when you claim its flaws pale in comparison to the good it’s done. I’m not so sure, and for precisely the reason you begun your article with. Artscroll presents a world in which it’s view of Torah is presented as the only view. It is not shy in asserting stridently that its viewpoint is “authentic”, as though all others are not. Artscroll is certainly entitled to publish in line with its editors’ hashkafos, aquired in the great yeshiva of Telshe, but there is a way to do so without disparaging others. The Phillip Birnbaum siddur – I dont think Artscroll’s translation is “light years” ahead of theirs – had a more scholarly approach than the Artscroll simplistic one, yet you never got the impression that it’s editors thought it was “my way or the highway”.

    [YA – I’m not sure why the word “authentic” implies that other views are not. Can’t there be more than one authentic approach? Am only I allowed to say that there are, but not Nosson Scherman? I know him, and he believes it no less than I do.]

  3. Garnel Ironheart says:

    > In my mind, an appreciation of diversity remains one of the most sorely needed elements in contemporary Torah-true Judaism. Too many people are aware of the complexity of both life itself and the Torah’s response to it to be serviced by one-size-fits all approaches.

    Does that mean Cross Currents will be recruiting Modern Orthodox and Religious Zionist rabbonim to become regular contributors?

    [YA – It always has, and will continue BE”H to do so.]

  4. Nathan says:

    L. Oberstein (message # 1) said:

    “It [Jewish Observer] had to toe a party line
    that would not offend any faction of the Agudah,
    especially the right-wingers, who took offense
    at any suggestion that was counter to
    their version of reality.”

    I could be wrong about this, but according to my small understanding,
    it seems to me that part of the extreme right-wing version of reality
    is that back in Europe, everyone was a very great tzaddik who never
    never committed sins and learned all of Shas hundreds of times.

    This view of history can be refuted by studying mussar books
    that detail the sins of the generations that they were written in.

  5. Saul Lieberman says:

    Given your appreciation of the Koren translation, I am surprised that you think it would only be appropriate for those “whose Hebrew skills are still weak, and must daven using a translation.” More likely, it could be appropriate for anyone who cannot otherwise perceive that “so much of our liturgy is really poetic.”

  6. mycroft says:

    ” The Phillip Birnbaum siddur – I dont think Artscroll’s translation is “light years” ahead of theirs – had a more scholarly approach than the Artscroll simplistic one, yet you never got the impression that it’s editors thought it was “my way or the highway”.”

    Phillip Birnbaum is one who unfortunately is forgotten about-but for probably a quarter of a century or so his Siddurim were the standard ones used.
    On a personal level I had the pleasure of meeting him and talking to him many times near the end of his life. I found him to be a pleasant, knowledgeable person.

  7. Nathan says:

    THE METSUDAH SIDDUR helped me to learn the vocabulary of the siddur
    with a speed that amazed my friends.

    I recommend that Baalei Teshuvah and anyone who wants to
    improve their understanding of the siddur should study
    both the ArtScroll Siddur and the Metsudah Siddur.

    I also find the Metsudah Tehillim and the Metsudah Chumash
    with Rashi to be extremely helpful, yet many people do not
    know about these helpful resources.

  8. Bob Miller says:

    Birnbaum’s translations got to the point directly, simply and (therefore) elegantly. They said “use me” not “look at me”.

  9. Nachum Lamm says:

    “The Koren Siddur, however, excels in one area”

    Only one? I think it excels in quite a few areas, some making it better than Artscroll and some simply making it a good siddur on its own, Artscroll or no.

  10. Daniel Shain says:

    The profiles of the baalei batim who have excelled in learning are very inspirational but also depressing in making me feel totally inadequate. However, I wonder whether most of us mortal men can really wake up at 3am as described in one of the articles, and still function at work and in dealing with our families.

  11. Moishe Potemkin says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein’s advocacy of diversity is welcome, and I have no doubt that it is sincere. However, I cannot help but remember his qualification of the standards for Cross-Currents contributors, to wit: “We do, however, draw the line at the left.”

    The lack of diversity that he decries is precisely the delegitimization of those further to the left of whomever is exhibiting the intolerance. I fear that unless he’s willing to go a little further, he’s endorsing the very same attitude that he appropriately finds to be problematic.

    [YA – I can’t tell you that are wrong. Most of us feel that we have to draw the line somewhere. I will be content with an expanded embrace of the area within two standard deviations of the norm, if one could quantify hashkafa. We have too much toxic infighting and denigrating of people who are very close on a continuum. I will see Reform, Conservative, Humanistic, secular Jews as my brothers and sisters, but I can’t possibly embrace their views on the divinity of Torah or the nature of halacha. Similarly but more subtley, I do believe that the far left (and it is only the far left I would and do exclude) is simply off the continuum of traditional Orthodoxy. I’m not going to wage a street battle over it, but I do believe – and I have written why, without mentioning names – that the approach to halacha on the far left is so far removed from a theoretical “mainstream” that it has no place in a journal that bnei Torah are reading.

    Bottom line: I hope you will agree that a bit more diversity is better than none at all.]

  12. Jacob Suslovich says:

    I have compared the Koran translation quoted in the article with that of the Artscroll Siddur. I apparently lack any poetic sensibility since I find the Koran translation only slighly more lyrical than that of Artscroll. But the Artscroll translation keeps much closer to the Hebrew orignal, both in terms of the syntax of the sentence and the grammar of the words. If I want to clarify my often fuzzy understanding of the Hebrew, I can do so much more easily with the Artscroll translation than with the Koran translation. Yet despite hewing more closely to the Hebrew original, the Artscroll translation is quite readable. On balance it is in my opinion the superior work.

  13. Nachum Lamm says:

    Jacob: It’s “Koren.” The Koran is something else. 🙂

    In any event, as is often pointed out, the literal translation is not always the best. To be sure, it helps to have a literal translation, so as to know what a word actually means (that’s why we have Everett Fox’s Chumash, so we know that “mizbeach” means “slaughter-site”), but more loose translations are sometimes best in some contexts.

  14. Jacob Suslovich says:

    to Nachum Lamm.

    I apologize for the misspelling. As to the substance of your comment, there is always a tradefoff between a readable translation and a literal one. In my opinion the very slight edge that the Koren siddur has in readability does not offset its much greater deviation from folowing the Hebrew more exactly.

  15. Nachum Lamm says:

    Hey, different strokes. I hope everybody “wins” here. The more seforim the better, I always say.

  16. Jewish Observer says:

    “Only one? I think it excels in quite a few areas”

    – it”s just an expression, like saying “he is right about one thing” when in fact he (whomever he is) is probably right about thousands of things

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