Obfuscation & Apologetics?

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16 Responses

  1. Greg says:

    Very good job on the writing, but I disagree with calling the secular world godforsaken. Don’t some halachic authorities in fact rave about certain philosophers and sometimes use that thinking to help prove Judaism, or at least the existence of God?
    I do agree though that the Yeshiva world needs to do a lot in order to help out students to integrate into the general world around them. Very good job and very well written and thought out.

  2. Shlomit says:

    Truthfully I don’t see how the interaction with the congressman had any reflection on the challenges of modern orthodoxy. I don’t believe that any modern orthodox rabbi or institution would encourage “obfuscation or apologetics”. The discomfort with halachic observance in a modern day context is the inevitable consequence of any job, whether one believes in the value of interaction with the secular world or not. The fear of being seen as different or “bizarre” is a natural emotion that has colored much of our history and cannot be avoided by exposing ourselves to the secular world in an even more intimate fashion.

    On the discussion of Feldman’s article (although I am not commenting on his view only Gilah’s interpretation of it):
    I agree that Modern Orthodoxy produces an “inescapable reality of the clash of cultures”, but I also believe that Modern Orthodoxy revels in it. Torah U’Maada demands that we hang between the two worlds in a cloud of paradox and frustration. That is the challenge and responsibility that every Modern Orthodox Jew takes on. There is no way to synthesize the two worlds completely, nor should there be. It is up to each and every Jew to develop that balance within our own lives. Instead of attempting to overcome the conflict between the two worlds we must give people the room to grow and explore within the framework of halacha.

    And although I do share Gilah’s frustration at the lack of direction as how to embody the principles of Torah U’Maada in the world we live in, I don’t think it is a lesson that can be taught in the classroom – rather, it too is a right of passage that each individual must overcome on his or her own terms. All that our institutions can provide is a foundation in Torah and Halacha (which unfortunately is not always a given and is an issue that must be addressed, although the primacy of halacha should not be emphasized in order to interact with the world around us, rather, to guide us in our avodat Hashem) and give us the tools and leaders to turn to as we undergo the tumultuous attempts to navigate the challenges of life. Yet, to believe that a grounding in halacha will allow us to be “fully prepared for a foray into that godforsaken secular society” is to oversimplify the role human emotion. Halacha cannot govern our desires, only our actions, and intellectual commitment alone will not be enough to combat our natural human drives. Halachic study must be coupled with a passionate dedication to the value of Torah U’Maada, but even then there are no guarantees.

    Furthermore Gilah writes that “no doubt this stems from the fact that we have our own schools, camps and youth groups, as such, there is seldom an opportunity for profound interaction with anyone outside of our closed community”. But to throw children into a world of conflicting values before they have properly developed their Torah foundation is foolish and risky. So the insularity of our community does not necessarily reflect insecurity, but an understanding of the developing mind. Gilah argues that “this insularity, however, beyond breeding within us a deep disdain towards any outsider, is the very root of our existential troubles as alluded to by Feldman. While we may read newspapers, buy designer clothes, and casually cooperate with non-Jewish co-workers, we really are not a part of the society that surrounds us.” Yet I wonder why the value of interaction with the secular world has been replaced with the value of complete integration into the secular world?

  3. Alex says:

    While I certainly understand and empathize with Gilah’s general sentiment, I was somewhat confused by her analysis and conclusions.
    It seems to me, as a fundamental psychological truth, that confident interaction with others is dependent primarily on having a strong, clear, and confident sense of identity. If I know who I am, and am proud and content with who I am, other peoples’ impressions and judgemnts won’t bother me much. Gilah seems to have discovered this herself in finding that when she candidly and confidently explained her odd practices to the congressman, the more they accepted her for who she is.
    Requisite for such confidence in one’s identity is first and foremost a healthy sense of general self-esteem, and secondly, a firm grounding and commitment to that identity. In this light, our commmunity’s general insularity, especially for our youth, is invaluable. Our children must grow up in an environment which nurtures their identity as orthodox Jews. They must be surronded be people who confidently and happily espouse the orthodox Jewish values. Surely confronting them with other ways of life would be damaging to their still forming identities.
    But I think Gilah understood this. She herself says that the only solution to the problem is a ” rigorous, comprehensive and advanced Jewish education,” and that “only once our youth have developed a sincere confidence in their beliefs will they be able to engage in the secular world with confidence.” Gilah realizes that the only way to train our children to ineract comfortably and confidently with others is to provide them with a sufficiently strong identity. As such, her criticisms of our community’s insularity is rather confusing.
    Gilah’s condemnation of our “perfunctory sophistication of an adolescent,” with regards to ostracizing those who intermarry is disturbingly out of place. Every society, even the most open and permissive, must have some boundaries. Whether right or wrong, the majority of orthodox Jews view intermarriage as dangerous enough to the community’s existence to justify the exclusion of those who do it. This represents a primal response to what is seen and felt as an existential threat and attack on the core of the Jewish people and its survival, and it may very well be a good strategy. Will Gilah allow us to exclude anyone from our community on any grounds, or must we indiscriminately include everyone, regardless of the threat they might pose to our identity and survival?
    Also, gilah’s frustration with Tora u’Madda philosophy seems unfair. First of all, Torah u’Madda represents an ideal way of life; no one ever said it was easy. More importantly, as we have seen, interacting confidently with the world is not a function of your particualr identity, but of the confidence you have in yourself. Whether you’re a close minded cultist, or posess the broad minded and comprehensive world view espoused by Torah u’Madda, healthy interaction requires no more than a healthy sense of identity. No manual or guide can replace basic self-confidence.
    I should add that I do agree that much of the orthodox community is disturbingly close minded, if not outright racist, and that this is a result of defincies in our educational system and our leadership. This is a topic which should be adressed critically and constructively. And I think Gilah’s call for encouraging our youth to be independent and critically minded -in the context of a deep and thorough grounding in our tradition- is an excellent, albeit difficult start.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This Shabbat I attended services at a Chabad synagogue in south Florida. There, two things reminded me of Noah Feldman and the various responses offered from all corners of the Jewish world. The first thing was at the end of this week’s Torah portion, when the Jews are pretty much told that the land of “wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, oil, and honey”, namely the Promised Land, Eretz Israel, is not like other lands. Why is it unlike other lands? Eretz Israel is unlike other lands, (particularly Egypt) because it lacks dependability. The fact that there is no Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, or a Mekong or a Mississippi means that Eretz Israel is a land where Jews are forced to look to only one place for their water: the Heavens. The Torah explains that it is only when Jews forget to “look up,” when they begin looking down and around, towards other lands and other gods, and they forget the God who brought them out of Egypt, that they begin to suffer and are thrown out of Eretz Israel.

    Noah Feldman points to his education as a source of his expertise on Judaism, but if he was truly provided with an education that taught him to look toward the Heavens, that not only instructed him how to be a Jew but also instilled within him the desire, responsibility and meaning of being a Jew, there is no doubt his life (and of course his wife) would be quite different. It is much more important to know WHY to be a Jew than HOW. The Orthodox Jewish educational system, Noah’s parents, and his Orthodox community failed him, because at the end of the day, he decided Orthodoxy was less important (or entirely unimportant) than other things in his life.

    The second thing that reminded me of Feldman was in the afternoon, following the afternoon services, when Ethics of the Fathers is traditionally studied. Staring up at me were the words, “Every Jew has a place in the world to come” and I knew that Noah Feldman, for all the heartache he might be causing the Orthodox Jewish community currently, will be rewarded for his actions. By airing the “dirty laundry” of the Orthodox community, by pointing out the flaws in the educational system – more by his life choices than by his article – as well as pointing to the exclusivity that exists within Orthodox Judaism, I am confident that many leaders in the Orthodox world will begin to take action to improve it. Noah Feldman should be thanked and praised, for just as the issue of protecting our children from predators was given heightened awareness only after publicizing particular cases, the problems of the Orthodox educational system and community in regard to how it views and relates to the “outside/secular/non-Jewish world” now has an opportunity for improvement as well. I respect Mr. Feldman. If he was solely angry at the world he came from, I do not believe he would have written his piece. I believe Feldman wants to change the world, improve the world, and is not looking to just criticize for the sake of criticism, so thank you Noah.

    Before I give my own response, there are obviously only so many categories that an answer can fall in to. These range anywhere from the far right, being exactly the “insular” and “exclusive” society and culture that Orthodoxy either is or is perceived to be, to the far left, believing in “openness” and “inclusiveness” of those who choose not to follow Jewish Law (Halakha), and encouraging the friendship and relationship between Jews and non-Jews. (I would like to point out that both in the Chabad synagogue I attended in south Florida, as well as a Chabad synagogue I am familiar with in New Jersey, despite the act of intermarriage not being condoned those who are married to non-Jews are welcome in the synagogue. Additionally, Chabad-Lubavitch is an Orthodox sect, stemming from the Hassidic world and in this author’s opinion, as is proof from their establishments all over the world as well as their highly successful rate of kiruv, does a better job of being “Modern Orthodox” than a majority of the Modern Orthodox movement.)

    The response I enjoyed most so far, is from Rabbi Simon Jacobson. Jacobson, who just so happens to be one of the top students of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, as well as an accomplished author in his own right, chooses an entirely different approach. He disregards the entire “paradox” and explains that the whole idea of Judaism is to embrace the Secular world and turn it holy. According to Jacobson, there is only a perceived contradiction. This perception only hurts both the Orthodox and the Secular. The mantra of “Torah U’Madda” (Torah and Secular ideology) has been repeated so often that it has become in the mind of many “Secular thought AND Torah” instead of “Secular thought THROUGH Torah.” If I believed in Judaism and Orthodoxy as much as Jacobson clearly does, I would love his answer. Of course, if I disagreed with Orthodoxy as much as Feldman does, I might find myself in his camp. My own response comes from my degree of belief/involvement/experience both in the Secular world, as well as the Orthodox world, and comes from what I believe to be a baal teshuva mindset. Only a baal teshuva or a convert can truly say they struggle with both worlds, because as much as “Modern Orthodox” people think they live in the “real world” they don’t. Only a baal teshuva or a convert truly understands what it means to sit on the fence…and with that introduction here is my response:

    MODERN Orthodox Jews are living an illusion. They want to believe they exist in both the secular world and the Jewish world when in reality, they do not. True, they are more involved than those in the Hassidic world, but not by much. Besides for dress and the choice to enter the professional world for employment, there is very little that separates the Jew of Teaneck from the Jew of Boropark.

    Today, the Modern Orthodox send their children to Jewish schools, Jewish camps, and mainly have (White) Jewish friends. They have very little to do with the secular world and in fact, most of their friends are probably from synagogue or from within the Jewish community in which they live. It is rare to find Orthodox Jews eating in the homes of non-Jews and vice versa. Being an Orthodox Jew, living in the Orthodox Jewish world, is at the very least culturally exclusive of non-Jewish people.

    Judaism itself, like any monotheistic faith, is exclusive. If you don’t believe Jesus died for your sins or that Muhammad is Allah’s prophet, well…you’re out. In Orthodox Judaism, the entire faith is built to keep Jews separate from non-Jews, with laws that were often created by rabbinic authorities living in times of terrible discrimination towards Jews. Orthodox Jews have laws about kashruth, laws about wine (Yayin Nesekh), and even bread (Pat Akum). Orthodox Jews have shomer negiah which stipulates that men and women should refrain from touching one another – a hard thing to do in the Secular world. Shabbat (the Sabbath) keeps Jews extremely separate as well. When many non-Jews are out having fun on Friday or Saturday night, Orthodox Jews often could not go. Of course, the whole reason for these laws is to keep Jews separate and Feldman is right about one thing: the whole reason to keep Jews separate is to “stack the deck” and ensure they do not marry non-Jews, thus ensuring the continuity of the Jewish people. Without a Jewish husband and wife together imparting Jewish values to their children, Judaism cannot survive from generation to generation.

    What do I mean by “stacking the deck”? In the Hassidic world, there is NO interaction, plus the deck is stacked by constant Jewish “stuff” – Jewish school, learning Torah, songs (Niggunim and Zemiroth), the Jewish community, as well as the fear one faces if he/she were to step outside that world. That fear culminates in marrying a non-Jew (What would my mother say? What would my Rabbi say?). In the Modern Orthodox world, all these things exist as well, except because of the slightly increased interaction, the hope is that when a guy sees the “cute girl in the office” he will have enough knowledge and feeling about what it means to be a Jew, that he will say to himself, “Judaism is more important than my attraction to this girl.” The reason we have over a 50% intermarriage rate is because the Jewish community is doing a poor job of explaining and educating their children in what it means to be a Jew and why being a Jew is important, not even necessarily from a religious perspective, but from a historical perspective and a responsibility to those who came before us. Noah Feldman, for all of his education, was not provided with enough to outweigh his initial attraction. The Jew from Boropark never has this challenge because he won’t find himself in “the office” in the first place. In fact, he is taught to look away when a pretty girl walks by.

    Bottom line, the life of the Modern Orthodox Jew is only a degree away from that of the Hassidic, but more faith is placed in a lacking and faulty educational system than in trying to isolate oneself entirely. It is almost as insular and exclusive and to think otherwise is just an illusion. The really sad part is, Modern Orthodox people are growing up believing that they not only have the skills to exist in the Orthodox world as well as the Secular world when in fact, they probably have neither. The Jew from Boropark lacks the ability to exist in the Secular world, but also chooses not to and doesn’t need to. The Conservative or Reform Jew has learned to be a “Man on the street and a Jew in the home.” But the Modern Orthodox Jew even lacks the skills needed to make friends and carry on relationships with people outside of his/her world. This is something only understood by a baal teshuva. So I call out to all of you Modern Orthodox Jews, WAKE UP! A majority of the non-Jews who you interact with are “co-workers” or at the very best, “place friends” and not “life friends.” When did you last have your boss over for dinner? When did you last eat at his house? When did you last “befriend” someone outside of work? WAKE UP! Your relationships with non-Jews are weak at best. The one exception that exists is the baal teshuva or the ger (convert).

    The convert or baal teshuva (one who became observant/Orthodox later in life but originally lived a Secular lifestyle) and retains his/her previous relationships understands what I mean. Those relationships were created and established in a context and under pretenses that lacked the barriers that Orthodox Judaism insists upon. Therefore they are more true, closer, and can even be familial. My family still hosts my non-Jewish and non-observant friends and family and they still host us. My parents sent me to non-Jewish camps and I am still in touch with the friends I made there, some of them being my closest and best friends. My parents also taught me to be critical of a lot of the crap and bigotry that comes out of the Orthodox world (something natural of any “group setting”). But in doing so, they put me at a huge risk. They tried to stack the deck as well so I wouldn’t marry a non-Jewish girl, sending me to Jewish schools and emphasizing the importance of being a Jew. Of course, my friendships with non-Jewish girls often tested my strength and self-control. One very special girl who I will never forget had me weighing my Judaism against my “friendship” with her constantly. I count myself lucky I had the strength to make a real decision about the whole issue, but I also count myself luckier that she was so awesome she recognized it too. If not for my parents, I could probably be in Noah Feldman’s shoes today….

    Look, Orthodoxy is a system, a package, an experience. I guess, if you want to be “Orthodox” it is important to never compromise, even a little bit: if you compromise in one area than you won’t receive the whole experience and what the whole package is. You can keep 612 mitzvoth (commandments) but it won’t be the experience that is Orthodox Judaism. You can keep Shabbat and kashruth and all kinds of other things, but then if you decide to sin in other areas, you aren’t getting what Judaism truly has to offer to nourish your soul. There is NO compromising in Orthodoxy and there is NO room for inclusion of outsiders – there just isn’t – and the sooner the Orthodox accept that and realize that Judaism is not interested in building relationships with the outside world, the happier Modern Orthodox Jews will be.

    Exclusion and insulation leads to perpetuation of the Jewish people. It always has and always will. True, when something from the outside world pierces in, it can often be beautiful and amazing. We see an exchange of ideas, customs, music, food, etc. all over the world between Jews and non-Jews. For example, the latest place the Jewish, or at the very least Israeli world have turned their attention to is what the Ethiopian Jews have to offer. Ethiopian food, culture, and music are sweeping through Israel. But it also took a HUGE amount of time and energy before Ethiopians were even considered Jewish. Some still don’t consider them Jewish and they are constantly discriminated against in Israeli society (is it any wonder why all the security guards at restaurants in Israel are Ethiopian?). These cultural exchanges have limits and they happen under circumstances that are NOT condoned by Orthodox Judaism and Rabbinic authorities. I for example love to cook. One of my favorite things to do is bring food that normally would not be experienced by Jews into the Jewish world. Many look at that as a service and wonderful but if they knew that I had learned my skills and experienced those flavors by being inside of non-kosher restaurants or elsewhere…well, they obviously would not approve. The exchange happens, but it is not condoned by any means, because authorities know how that exchange happens…again, the only time it is ok is when the person is a baal teshuva or a convert and he/she is coming from that world to begin with and choosing to leave it behind…

    I guess it’s really the difference between “contributing” to a society and “sharing” in the society. Jews contribute, but they do not share in the larger society…

    Now on a case by case basis, things can be very different. As we know, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi (“the prince” – codifier of the Mishna) was very close with the Caesar’s son. But R’ Yehuda HaNasi was also someone with a serious grounding in his faith and an immense knowledge of his tradition. How many Modern Orthodox Jews, if they were to be truly honest with themselves, can say that if they ventured out into the “real world” for an extended period of time, they would survive as Jews? A majority of them have no real basis to survive without the tools and necessary restrictions that Orthodoxy mandates. Anyway, stop trying to figure out what to answer your shrimp-eating congressmen and stop being attracted to the secular world. You can be professional, you can work at something in the “real world” but at the end of the day, you’re an Orthodox person and you never will have a true relationship with anyone outside the Orthodox world until you decide to step outside of it…or unless they lived through it themselves and are understanding and respectful of it to a certain degree. If Noah Feldman is not too hurt and angered by the Orthodox world, he is probably still capable of carrying on a friendship with someone Orthodox. The only reason I have the relationships I do is because I was blessed with parents who were not always in the Orthodox world, chose to maintain their relationships, and because I have lived outside of it myself. Until one is prepared to do that, he/she will always remain “on the inside looking out.”

    I hope the Modern Orthodox community shapes up a bit and begins to instill in its children what it needs to in order to maintain a true Jewish identity…if it isn’t already too late.

  5. rejewvenator says:

    First of, yishar koach on a terrific piece – I commented on my own blog.

    I largely agree with you, except when it comes to you conclusions. I don’t think that the confidence in our identity will be developed by a rigorous Jewish education that enables us to master the nuances of halachah. I would actually argue the opposite! The more time we spend studying halachah in all of its nuance, the less confident we often feel as Modern Orthodox Jews. Whether we lose confidence because we see the distance between what’s written and what we practice (which often leads us to the right) or because of the distance and maybe even alienation between ourselves and our sources (which may push us to the left), it is difficult to to find confident halachic leadership that is firmly Modern Orthodox. Expecting it from the layman may well be too much.

    I think that Modern Orthodoxy has lowered its halachic expectations, but has failed to deliver on raising hashkafic expectations or expectations of increased engagement with the world. Yes, it’s true that those who engage in the world, whether through acts of charity, volunteerism and even the dreaded tikkun olam, or through intellectual engagement in philosophy, economics, and politics often do not maintain as high a standard of halachic practice. So what? That’s the nature of the beast. You can either spend your time and efforts on all-encompassing and all-consuming world of halacha, or you can spend your time and effort in other ways. As it is, many in the MO world don’t live a life in which they strive to improve or become more meticulous in their observance. They have largely found the way that they practice, and they remain there. That’s ok – so long as the ramp towards improvement and refinement of the neshama is still open. Volunteering at a soup kitchen is also a mitzvah. Knowing your non-Jewish neighbors’ names is simple derech eretz. Marching at a rally for the poor or disadvantaged is a kiddush hashem. Let’s push the focus away from cutting up broccoli and figs, away from measuring your matazah with a ruler, and away from goyish-themed weddings and poker chaburas. There’s a ton of work out there for some good Modernish yidden, some real Avodas Hashem to be done.

  6. Karl says:

    I appreciate the long post from Anonymous but there is one thing that bothers me. Let’s stop thanking Noah Feldman. It is ultimately bad not only for our souls but for his. I agree with the YU rabbi’s talk: he did chillul ha-Shem and shouldn’t be thanked for it. The act was intended to hurt our community. We can learn from it but let’s not thank him. It is too facile a reaction. L’havidil, we don’t thank the succession of tyrants who harmed the Jewish people even as we internalize the event and look to ourselves. We don’t thank the Romans for destroying the Beit ha-Mikdash even as we learn from it. This is not to say that Noah Feldman is as bad as they are. It is to point out that evil acts, and this was one, are to be condemned. Then learn from them. You don’t help a self-absorbed arrogant young person deal with his own issues by thanking him. Let’s lose the touchy-feely stuff and just deal with the issues. If you had been not in Florida but in London this past Shabbat and listened to the attacks on Orthodoxy and Torah that I heard from left-wing Jewish self-haters in the name of Noah Feldman (yes, the article has made its way over here), you wouldn’t be thanking him.

    I liked what you wrote but the cliche gratitude (it’s in the New York Jewish Week article and in the post here) are really off-base. Don’t play to Feldman’s ego.

  7. hmmmm says:

    I agree with Gilah that the majority of orthodox Jews do grow up “socializing almost exclusively with each other.” However, I feel the isolation of jews within our society is only one element of the problems they face when it comes time to interact with the secular world.

    I feel a person that is well educated in Judaism is less likely to have problems interacting in the secular environment since they would have already questioned many areas of their beliefs. As a result, when it comes time for an orthodox jew to step out of his “dalad amos” and time to interact with non-Jews, he will understand where the secular person comes from, he will not be willing to jeopardize his faith in any shape or form and he will be capable of answering any tough questions regarding his beliefs (including the prohibitions about touching a menstruating women)

    I believe education regarding religion is one of the largest problems for modern orthodox Jews. These days many orthodox Jews are raised within a religious household, following the torah way and merely repeating what their parents have always instructed, but were these people ever taught how to question their faith or truly learn about Judaism for themselves? Because many people from the orthodox communities have been brought up living along the side of religion without questioning their faith, I believe this explains why so many orthodox Jews are having a difficult time adapting into the secular environment.

    I think if we were to raise our children to be capable of thinking for themselves and understand Judaism on their own, would allow them to adapt into the secular environment with ease. Only once a person has questioned their faith and discovers their personal reasons for being religious should they begin interacting with seculars. For instance, once a person discovers their reasoning to becoming religious, only then can he truly answer questions from the secular environment.

    To close, I really enjoyed reading this article. However, I disagree with some of the views that Gilah states regarding the problems with Jews that separate themselves from the secular world. I believe there is a small problem but it’s not the sole problem that leads to orthodox jews being incapable of interacting with secular world. As a side point, I believe jews should interact with the secular world but for other reasons (ill discuss some other time)

    As for Noah Feldman, I don’t know enough about him to comment

    Anyways, I really enjoyed reading the article!

    I cant believe I made it with 5 minutes to spare 11:55 lol

  8. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate your comment. I guess I didn’t meant to thank Noah as much as I meant to thank God for bringing certain questions into the light. Noah’s article is certainly problematic, so I regret my tone. It does however, raise two important questions that none of the responses by any of the Orthodox world’s “major leaders” seem to be responding to, namely: 1) Should the Orthodox continue to treat intermarriage the way they have for so many years and if not, how should they? 2) Is there room for improvement in Jewish/non-Jewish relations and if so, what can be done? While everyone is busy bashing the article–and Feldman–major leaders (like R’ Lamm for example) of the Orthodox community haven’t addressed these questions.
    My hope is that real leaders will deal with these real questions…I continue to scan the papers of the Jewish world, for Orthodox leaders owe it to Orthodox Jews everywhere to at the very least, acknowledge these questions exist.

  9. abe says:

    There is no problem, other than a perceived slight by a well known guy from Harvard.

    We are doctors and lawyers – and learn Daf Yomi. We play basketball and tennis – and light Shabbat candles. We travel around the world on business – but order kosher meals.

    It works. It all works, because we want it to work. We are NOT apart because we are modern Orthodox Jews. We take off the Yarmulka and are part of our companies, our practices, America.

    But we don’t intermarry. It isn’t even an option. And if we do, we’re out, and have the decency to know it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    abe, you missed it completely – its not about WHAT you do but WHO you do it with. No one cares that you’re a doctor, play basketball, or travel around the world…who do you do it with? When was the last time you went snorkling with a bunch of non-Jews or found yourself in a seafood restaurant struggling with a menu? You make it sound so easy. Its not just about intermarriage buddy, its about everything in life.
    ps. As soon as you take off your yarmulka, you’ve made a decision that is not an Orthodox decision and you’ve compromised on who you are and who you present yourself to be.

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  1. August 7, 2007

    […] not disappoint. Despite a lackluster opening (complete with the word ‘masticating’), Kletenik hit a home run when she finally got down to the business of dealing with Noah Feldman. Here’s the very best paragraph I’ve read on this entire controversy: Modern Orthodox […]

  2. July 22, 2008

    fun things to do at a staff meeting

    I am thinking of doing a blog, how many times a week do you think I should post?

  3. February 19, 2013



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