Author: Avi Shafran

1

Modern Marriage

Ever since the Sabbath after Sukkot, when the communal synagogue reading of the Torah began anew, I haven’t been able to attend a Jewish wedding without thinking about the Netziv’s unsettling, if simple, observation....

12

Holy Places, Holy Lives

Two recent letters to the New York Jewish Week criticized opposition by Orthodox groups in America to the possible partitioning of Jerusalem. One called the Orthodox Union’s stance on the issue “a cynical effort...

4

Seething and Thinking

The Old Gray Lady isn’t cute when she’s angry. Quite the opposite, in fact. The New York Times editorial page’s longstanding antagonism to the Bush Administration is well documented. Still, the only dignified editorial...

8

The Nature of Nature

It is a strange and disorienting panorama that Rabbi E. E. Dessler, the celebrated Jewish thinker (1892-1953) asks us to ponder: a world where the dead routinely rise from their graves but no grain...

18

Sin and Subtext

“New study finds Orthodox women are sexually victimized as much as other American women” read the subheader of a New York Jewish Week article on October 26. The study found nothing of the sort....

22

No. We’re sorry. Not Jerusalem.

This morning I counted. There were at least ten times the Hebrew name of Jerusalem, or its synonym Zion, passed my lips. Before breakfast. There was “Jerusalem, praise G-d,” “May You shine a new...

42

A Lesson From Smokey

On their surface, the e-mails had nothing to do with the uncontrolled wildfires then devastating southern California. Yet the confluence of the messages and the maelstrom held a truth worth contemplating. The topic of...

18

Resurrection

That the unveiling of a new Reform prayer book didn’t elicit applause from the Orthodox world was hardly surprising. Despite media hailings of the movement’s new liturgical offering as a turn toward Jewish tradition,...

62

Much Ado About Shmittah

Those “Ultra-Orthodox” in Israel are at it again, inventing new stringencies, coercing other Jews, trying to make a dishonest buck and generally making life unlivable for everybody else. At least that is what seems...

10

Star Power

The symbol commonly known as the Magen David (“Shield of David”) or more colloquially as the “Jewish Star,” is the subject of an unusual responsum written by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in 1968 (Igrot Moshe,...

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