Author: Avi Shafran

Stop and Think

Politicians would serve themselves well to always keep in mind Rabi Yehudah Hanasi’s admonition: “An eye sees, an ear hears, and all your deeds are written in a book” (Avos 2:1). Most public servants...

Pathologized Problems

It seems that a good part of my youth was spent in a mental asylum without walls. At least that’s how some mental health professionals might characterize it. Among the boys in my neighborhood...

A Misleading Morph

I’ll never forget coming across the phrase “the Holocaust” – complete with the definite article and capitalized second word – in, of all things, a translation of the Mishnah. More unnerving still was that...

Pleasing Orthodox Political Palates

For some of us, double-edged swords don’t come more dangerous than the prospect of a Jewish president. The accomplishment would be heartening in a way, and would say much about America. But the reality...

The Guard Protecting the Shul

Security for Jewish institutions – shuls, schools, community centers and organizations – has understandably been at the forefront of many minds and agendas in recent months. Agudath Israel of America, where I serve as...

Incendiary Devices

“BLACKS NEED TO RESPECT JEWISH AUTHORITY,” reads the stark, all-caps message on Telegram, an instant messaging service. The word “JEWISH” is reverse-color emphasized. The message came from a fake account, like similar racist sentiments...

Through Jewish Eyes

Maybe you know the old Yiddish joke? Back in pre-war Minsk, Shmerel and Berel are having a conversation. During a pause, Shmerel suddenly remembers a bit of bad news he has to relate. “Did...

Abhorrent Action at a Distance

Direct physical attacks on Jews have, and for good reason, unfortunately, dominated the news in recent weeks. But there have been other kinds of attacks on innocent people who are perceived to be Jewish....

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