Author: Avi Shafran

Masquerading As Feminism

On Purim, Jewish men, to varying degrees, imbibe strong drink, and Jewish women do their best to keep them safe and anchored in civilization. The holiday thus may not seem very female-centered. But it...

Ultra-Cation

It was gratifying to see that a recent essay of mine in the Forward stimulated thoughtful responses. I had made the case for jettisoning the time-honored (if, to me, less than honorable) term “ultra-Orthodox.”...

Much Ado About “Ultra”

The Forward recently published an article of mine about the term “Ultra-Orthodox.” You can read it here . A response to it, by Professor Samuel Heilman, is here . And, finally, a rejoinder is...

The Anarchy Option

My interest in the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Sochi was roughly equivalent to my interest in the recently concluded International Kennel Club dog show in Chicago. Which is to say, nil. But a...

Minyanim and Meta-Halacha

The article below appeared in Haaretz earlier this week, under the title “Partnership minyan is an innovation too far.” It is reproduced here with Haaretz’s permission. What educators call a “teaching moment” is presented...

The Devil’s In The Daydreams

One would be forgiven, especially were one an optimist, for imagining that recent reports of the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s donation of $400,000 to a Teheran Jewish hospital might signal something positive...

Unpublished Heroes

I think it’s time I came clean regarding my doubts about Judaism, about everything I was taught by my parents and rabbaim in yeshiva. How can we be sure that the Torah was really...

Tempest in a Tefillin-Bag?

Of the slew of recent articles celebrating the idea of girls wearing tefillin two were particularly notable. One, because of how revealing it is of its author’s attitude toward halacha; the second, because it...

Unravelling Tefillin-gate

(The subject of this article has been well covered by other writers in this space, and I apologize if posting it here is the equivalent of a fifth wheel on a cart. But I...

Wealth Management 101

A fantastic recent essay in the New York Times brought to mind a fantastic Talmudic narrative. The latter [in Tamid 32b] describes the would-be world-conqueror Alexander the Great approaching the gates of the Garden...

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