Author: Avi Shafran

The American Jewish Buffet

“Secular Orthodox.” That’s how Avinoam Bar-Yosef, president of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, recently characterized many Israelis. What he meant was that, while an Israeli may not be observant of halachah, or even...

The Professor Stumbles

You just can’t, as they say, make this stuff up. A performer recently made news by implying that 1) Holocaust denier David Irving deserves reconsideration, and 2) that the earth is flat. The entertainer...

Western Walls

Many are celebrating the official setting aside and expansion of a part of the Kotel Maaravi for non-traditional public prayer. I’m not among them. My thoughts on the matter are in the Forward today....

Iranian Elephant

“Whatsa matter, you don’t like the other one?” That was what an old-time comedian claimed his mother-in-law said when she saw him wearing one of the two neckties she gave him on his birthday....

Illogical Leadership

“Because you were convincing me,” was the woman’s straightforward reply. Her questioner was my rebbe, Rav Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, then the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisrael in Baltimore. He had asked the lady,...

A Crying Shame

Readers of a certain age will likely recognize the name Edmund Muskie. He was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President back in 1972. There were several reasons why the candidacy of...

From the Mouths of Mexicans

I’ll call him Pedro; maybe it’s even his name. He seems to be a custodian of some sort for a shul – though I have no idea where it might be. He wears a...

Howling Hounds and Golden Calves

Whether or not they happen to own dogs, some politicians have an affinity for dog whistles, at least the political type. That term plays on the fact that dogs can hear frequencies inaudible to...

Blame Terrorists, Not Songs

Some politicians and pundits – including several writers in Haaretz – seem misguidedly intent on extending blame for Jewish terrorism across Orthodoxy, even to the charedi community and its Torah educational system. And several...

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