Rabbi Avi Shafran’s dvar torah in the Forward quoting the maggid of Duluth

R. Avi Shafran posted a beautiful dvar Torah in the Forward right before Pesach.  I continue to be a  big fan of his writing and continue to be amazed at his role as the public face of the Agudah in America. Could you imagine a rav writing as the spokesman for the Agudah in Israel approvingly quoting a secular Jew who flirted with apostasy in the context of his dvar Torah: ” As a great poet sang, sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.”

More on Social Orthodoxy and Engaging the Disengaged

Rabbi Gidon Rothstein posted a thoughtful if at times strident rejoinder on Torah Musings. He picks up the gauntlet and defends God‘s honor in the face of His presumed irrelevance posited by Jay Lefkowitz. R. Rothstein’s response included many excellent points. One point that particularly resonated with me: Lefkowitz’s situation is a certain type of reflection of the success of Modern Orthodoxy in America. The shul and community are so welcoming that so many different people who in the past may have felt shunned or at least unwelcome now feel comfortable. Perhaps a little too comfortable! It reminds me of a line I once heard Rav Lichtenstein quote which now thanks to Google I am able to attribute to Lord Acton quoting the Duc de BroglieBeware of too much explaining, lest we end by too much excusing. Continue reading

Social Orthodoxy

Jay Lefkowitz’s piece  in Commentary has garnered a good deal of attention. It has significant implications for the educational decisions made at Modern Orthodox yeshivot.

Thoughtful responses include:

Marriane Novak’s in the Times of Israel

Joshua Fattal’s in Tablet

Although Lefkowitz appeals to Mordechai Kaplan he may have been better off appealing to a different heterodox Jewish leader- Continue reading

#NoahMovie Update

This piece by Brook Wilensky-Lanford in the most recent edition of the New Republic gets it right. She notes that it’s pretty close to impossible to offer a literal interpretation of the Bible. It reminds me of the Ibn Ezra’s introduction to his peirush on Chumash. But what I really found interesting in her article was the link to this statement by a group called  National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)- Christian Communicators Impacting the World. They persuaded Paramount Pictures to issue the following clarification on marketing materials for the movie: Continue reading