Author: Avi Shafran

Merits, Not Munitions

The reporter’s question: “Should the chareidim serve in [Israel’s] military, or at least serve in some other capacity such as recognized public service commensurate with military service?” The query was posed to me in...

Through Others’ Eyes

There were ample arrows in my quiver for shooting down the question, or at least for deflecting it. But our Shabbos night seudah guest, a young Jewish woman with limited Jewish background visiting the...

Of Labels and Fables

In European Union countries, the words “Product of the West Bank (Israeli settlement)” will now replace “Product of Israel” on labels of foodstuffs, cosmetics and other consumer goods produced by Jewish-owned enterprises in Yehudah...

Denominational Déjà Vu

In 2001, I predicted that the Conservative movement would soon enough “halachically” approve what halacha forbids in no uncertain terms. [It did so 5 years later.] I perceive precisely the same Conservative approach to halacha in what bills itself today as “Open Orthodoxy.”

Agudah Convention Session on a Difficult Topic

The closing session of Agudath Israel of America’s recent 93rd national convention was dedicated to the subject of young people who have chosen to leave the Jewish observance in which they were raised. Three...

Black Power

Australian political advisor Robert Hoge was born with a severe facial deformity and describes himself as “the ugliest person you’ve never met.” When he was born, his parents burst into tears. Mr. Hoge did...

What We Build and What We Are

As the 93rd takes place, the 78th comes to mind. Agudath Israel of America’s national conventions, that is. The 93rd gathering is featuring a constellation of topics and speakers, include the presence of Gedolim,...

Misguided Mounters

“As if the situation here was not sensitive enough,” groused an incredulous MK Yoel Hasson (Hamachaneh HaTzioni). He was referring to Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s comment that her “dream is to see...

Spaghetti and Jewish Unity

Last week afforded me an opportunity to sit with a group of Jews spanning the gamut of American Jewry – resolute secularists, members of non-Orthodox congregations and Orthodox Jews – to discuss Jewish unity...

Barack is Leaving the Building

Although Barack Obama’s last day in office won’t come until January 20, 2017, the spectacle of the various presidential debates reminds us all that we won’t have him to kick around too much longer....

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