Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy – Parshas B’ha’alosecha 5776

Comprehensive book about the Open Orthodox movement just published

Harav Chaim Zelig Fasman, zt”l

Leading rabbi challenges Sweden: End bans on milah, shechita

Op-Ed: With partners like these…

Why So Many Young Jewish Couples are Divorcing

Why Your Son Doesn’t Talk to You

What happened when an Orthodox Jewish congregation went to a gay bar to mourn Orlando – Unbelievable (and not in a good way).

Why So-Called Orthodox LGBT ‘Allies’ Are Doing It All Wrong

British haredi teens fund raise for lifeboat crew who saved them (I intended but forgot to post this last week.)

Rav Soloveitchik on the Avoda of Yom Kippur (Another saved link that I cannot believe I neglected to post earlier!) 

Philanthropist Dr. Irving Moskowitz, z”l

Rabbi Crosses Communal Line to Work with Controversial Muslim Group

Road Safety In Chareidi Schools

As Ramapo Crisis Wanes, Trouble Brews in Nearby District

‘Mayors unwilling to absorb haredi communities are racist’

‘Biblical sheep’ heading to Israel with help of El Al, Canadian couple

Yeshivos Hold General Studies Fair – Very surprised to see this.

Exclusive;In Powerful New Brief, Rubashkin Rebuts Gov’t Reply – I was sharply criticized for featuring links on the Rubashkin issue a few months ago. These links are not featured here in an effort to defend unlawful actions, but rather to address the excessive sentence as well as allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

From The Archives: 

An Interview with Rabbi Dr. Moshe D. Tendler

An Interview with Rabbi Hershel Schachter

An Interview with Rabbi Zevulun Charlop

An Interview with Rabbi Hershel Reichman

Interview with Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman

I must acknowledge the extraordinary help of my dear friend, Rabbi Shmuel Landesman, in providing me with so many of the most interesting and important links on a weekly basis.

Last week’s installment of Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy can be viewed here.

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16 Responses

  1. Reader says:

    What happened when an Orthodox Jewish congregation went to a gay bar to mourn Orlando ”

    Welcome to the new “Open Orthodox” toeivah “Bar mitzvah”.

  2. Chochom b'mah nishtaneh says:

    So typical of the OO to look at the most radical liberal position.

    This was apparently not an attack on LGBT.  the shooter himself was gay.  This was an attack by an ISIS supporter.  That is what he was yelling and what is supported by the audio of the attack.

    But Hersfeld decide that he should go to a gay bar, and conveniently, his mispallelim, knew exactly where to go.

    My his was an attack on America.  That he did not make a show of support for, only what he felt met his agenda.  Typical of OO, to avoid the truth and follow the agenda that makes them happy.  Or to use an old term, gay.

    • Reb Yid says:

      This was apparently not an attack on LGBT.  the shooter himself was gay.  This was an attack by an ISIS supporter.

      Let’s imagine (rachmana laitzlan) a horrible situation where someone, after casing a few joints, attacked a shul with worshippers aside.  Now imagine a blogger saying, “It wasn’t an attack on Jews–he was Jewish himself”.

      You and many others would no doubt pounce on this blogger, and for good reason.


      • Steve Brizel says:

        Yet the facts are that the assailant himself described the attack as caused by his loyalty to ISIS.

      • Chochom b'mah nishtaneh says:

        Yet another disengenuous comment.

        1) Why don’t honestly say what your comment would in such an incident.

        2) if was an attack on LGBT, why did that not come out in his rantings?

        3) If the person in your incident was anti religious, vdal, then frum people would be correct in saying it was anti religious.  If otherwise, it would be clear that he had some other agenda.  No one said about the person who murdered Leiby Kletzky that he was an anti Semite.

      • Reb Yid says:

        Of course anyone who goes into an obvious Jewish place full of Jews to commit atrocities against this group is committing a crime against Jews.  I would certainly be with you in condemning any blogger who suggests otherwise.  Whatever such an offender does or does not say, the actions here speak much louder than words.

        And whatever you may feel about the LGBT community, it has suffered a very painful wound here.  Certainly we as Jews who have been singled out and victimized for our “otherness” must do far better than to suggest that this incident was not about being LGBT.


  3. Weaver says:

    “What happened when an Orthodox Jewish congregation went to a gay bar to mourn Orlando – Unbelievable (and not in a good way).”

    Misguided, yes, but not “Unbelievable”, which an absolutist, histrionic and gossipy term. There may even be an element of kiddush hashem to this story.

    • Yossi says:

      If you read all the comments of the article that Hertzfeld wrote about it, everyone there is super-enamored of what he did- it’s hard to even find one negative or cynical comment.

      Yet I find myself gagging as I read it- it’s so dramatic and so classically, stereotypically, and dramatically everything you would expect from people like him who seem to use every opportunity to put themselves in the media and to trip over themselves in the race to be he most tolerant and loving on the planet.

      To me it comes across as so trite and so cliched. If you were putting on a (poorly done) camp play and wanted to make a caricature of liberal Jews, you would have the Rabbi standing up in his Talis to protest Donald Trump at AIPAC (as Hertzfeld did) or going to a gay bar.

      Inwant to see Hertzfeld go to a Charedi person to offer solidarity when something happens in that community. Don’t think that’s going to happen; it doesn’t make a good article.

      One common thread when you read articles by all the popular Open Orthodox writers- the word “I”. Pay attention as you read Hertzfeld and the other three or four of them who write a lot and you will see how it’s all about them and what they decided to do and what they experienced. Give me a break.

      • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

        Herzfeld did not run to a Beis Medrash and sit and learn with his congregants after the massacres in Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav and in Har Nof.  What he did make sure to do is to compare the almanos in Har Nof to a Baptist Church.

        However, here he felt it was incumbent on him to go to a gay bar.  Even if you feel that you must reach out to the LGBT community after the massacre,(Because truthfully, it seems that this was an ISIS attack on America and unrelated to the LGBT issues, the terrorist himself was gay), but a Bar?? A Gay Bar???

        Just stop and think for a minute as to what the purpose of  a Gay Bar is and how that would be the least appropriate place for people asserting themselves to be Orthodox Jews to use as a venue to show that they mourn the loss of lives.

        But I guess the open “orthodox” movement feels a certain kinship in how they are trying to usurp Orthodox, similar to how the word “Gay’ was usurped.



      • dr. bill says:

        Your comment reminds me of a story my late father told about a Chassidic master he remembers from the 20’s in Poland (and whose name I have forgotten.)  Someone returning from Vienna described it as a den of iniquity in contrast to the Chassidic master who described only the kedushah he observed and experienced.

      • Yossi says:

        What’s your point? That the open Orthodox are finding the kedusha (funny but my autocorrect changed it to kedeisha) in gay bars? Or that we should?

        It’s a great chassidishe story with an important lesson but it’s besides the point here.

      • dr. bill says:

        first, what you observe is not just a function of what in fact is, but also reflects the observer’s viewpoint.  second, where you look impacts what you find.

      • R.B. says:

        Vienna is city, which has lots of different neighbourhoods, people, streets, etc. A gay bar is just that: a gay bar, which would mainly be a place to drink and look for hookups, like “straight” bars. Do you think that your chassidishe maaseh can extend to every situation, context be damned?

      • Yossi says:


        I understood your point- as Thoreau said “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”

        But while what you said is something that one can easily tell the observer as his “avoda”, it doesn’t change the fact that his observation may indeed be correct. Do you think his observation is correct here?

      • dr. bill says:

        no.  some people see communists under every bed and others see everything done by OO rabbis as having evil intent.  he went to a gay bar because that is what Pulse was.  I remember Rabbi Lau being similarly attacked after the murder at the jerusalem Gay Pride parade because he went where guys were.  i can understand the need of some to “compensate” for the opinions of others.


  4. Rav Soloveitchik on the Avoda of Yom Kippur (Another saved link that I cannot believe I neglected to post earlier!) 

    This is obviously an excerpt from a much longer lecture.

    Where can one find a video of the entire lecture and others like it online?


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