Response: Modern Orthodoxy from a Teenager’s Perspective

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Editor’s Note: The following is in response to this article by Eitan Gross.

Dear Eitan Gross,

I am writing to you in respect to your recent article on Modern Orthodoxy in the Times of Israel. I must congratulate you on a job well done. Your piece is very interesting. I hope you have not had so many responses that you won’t find time to read mine.

What is more, I probably don’t disagree with a single thing therein, pro tanto. I would just like to address what I consider the fundamentals of it all.

How is your argumentation positioned? Is it in context or in isolation? I mean to ask: are your criticizing this and that aspect of Modern Orthodoxy, in and of itself, or in contradistinction to other forms of Orthodoxy that are out there. By way of metaphor, one can criticize poverty under capitalism on its own, or in relation to other systems. The latter is foolish; any other system, such as feudalism or communism, produces more poverty. But, there is of course some poverty in a capitalist system. One could criticize it in isolation. (more…)

On Being Grateful

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How often do we utter the phrase “Can you do me a favor”? Some of us do so more than others, and on some days we do so more than on other days. When a person does us a favor we say “Thank you” and feel a sense of gratitude toward the person who is helping us out. This is the way we feel; whether the person helped us by lending us a pen or donating a kidney, the feeling of gratitude is present (with an obvious difference in the level of gratitude).

       If we can feel gratitude for something as small and trivial as someone allowing us to use their pen, then why do we not feel gratitude and take for granted the life that we were given along with the other great gifts that come with it? When you walk down the street, when was the last time that you thought about how great it is to be alive, how colorful the world is, and all its different smells and tastes? I can tell you that I do not have a great answer for this myself and it’s a problem. We go through life thinking about how great our lives would be if we only had a better sense of humor or drove a nicer car, and focus on the things that we don’t have while ignoring the things we do have until we don’t have them anymore.

     Instead of looking at our neighbor and wishing that we can have what he has, how about if we take the time to appreciate what we have, instead? What if we were to appreciate our parents being alive and living under the same roof, or the friends and family that you have, that you can walk and see, are pain free, and the list goes on. There are so many things to be thankful for, why look at the things that we perceive are lacking and preventing us from being happy? Instead, take time to thank the Almighty for the unique gifts he gave each of us to deal with our unique tests that we are given in this world.

      Instead of only crying out when we need something (although HKBH wants us to turn to him in our time of need), let us take the time to appreciate being able to see, smell, and spend time with our family and friends, and when we speak to HKBH say “Thank you” for the presents he gave us.

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I Am A Chareidi Jew. And I Am LIVID.

This is unspeakable and BEYOND HORRIFIC!!!!!

I will not be able to stress this enough. These disgraceful animals are not representative of the Ultra-Orthodox and Chasidic Jewish communities.

If anyone knows this BRAVE חיילת, PLEASE let her know that the orthodox Jewish people of America and Israel stand behind her!!

We know our apologies do not wipe the spittle from her face but we hope she hears and believes us when we say: Thank you for your service. Thank you for standing your ground. Thank you for protecting our land!

מי שבירך לצה”ל

We hope you can find a way to forgive our despicable “brethren”and their inexcusable actions.

I am at a loss for words.

A Thinking and Sorrowful Yid


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The Power of NO

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We live in a Modern, Western, and Liberal society (especially those of us who live in America, though these ideas are pervasive throughout the entire world). A world in which Yes is a byword. Where we give an unlimited and unbounded Yes to human rights, LGBTQ rights, healthcare, Nazi free speech, black power, police power, the list goes on and on. A world where we acknowledge every problem and attempt to make all people feel comfortable in whatever situation they may be in. Be it social, economic or political. A world where everyone is a winner; even those who could not cross the finish line. (more…)

Shidduchim and Female Weight Series (part 1)

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The following article is the first part of a seven-part series on shidduchim. The author can be contacted through the site. Use the follow button (on sidebar) to receive alerts when the next part is posted.

INTRODUCTION

I am a 23-year-old woman. I attended 3 Bais Yaakov schools. I also made friends from other schools and towns in sleep-away camp, so I hear about what goes on outside of Brooklyn as well. Therefore, when I say that I believe that this is a problem across the Jewish world, remember that I interact with people who don’t come from Brooklyn. All names have been changed for obvious privacy reasons. (more…)

Charlottesville Chaos and The Jews

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Should Jews Take Sides in the Charlottesville Chaos?

Since I was a very young boy, the number one thing that I have heard in regards to any political issue was always the question, “Is it good for the Jews?” The US has declared war against Iraq; fine, but “Is it good for the Jews?” Congress is trying to pass welfare reform; fine, but “is it good for the Jews?” So on and so forth. (more…)

Purim: From Small Light to Grand Illumination

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וַיָּבוֹא, הָמָן, וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ, מַה-לַּעֲשׂוֹת בָּאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ
בִּיקָרוֹ; וַיֹּאמֶר הָמָן, בְּלִבּוֹ, לְמִי יַחְפֹּץ הַמֶּלֶךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת יְקָר, יוֹתֵר מִמֶּנִּי.  וַיֹּאמֶר הָמָן, אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ:  אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ.  יָבִיאוּ לְבוּשׁ מַלְכוּת, אֲשֶׁר לָבַשׁ-בּוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ; וְסוּס, אֲשֶׁר רָכַב עָלָיו הַמֶּלֶךְ, וַאֲשֶׁר נִתַּן כֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת, בְּרֹאשׁוֹ. וְנָתוֹן הַלְּבוּשׁ וְהַסּוּס, עַל-יַד-אִישׁ מִשָּׂרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַפַּרְתְּמִים, וְהִלְבִּישׁוּ אֶת-הָאִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ; וְהִרְכִּיבֻהוּ עַל-הַסּוּס, בִּרְחוֹב הָעִיר, וְקָרְאוּ לְפָנָיו, כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ. וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָמָן, מַהֵר קַח אֶת-הַלְּבוּשׁ וְאֶת-הַסּוּס כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ, וַעֲשֵׂה-כֵן לְמָרְדֳּכַי הַיְּהוּדִי, הַיּוֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ:  אַל-תַּפֵּל דָּבָר, מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ
And the king said, “Who is in the court?” And Haman had come to the outside court of the king’s house, to petition the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

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Theologically Speaking

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For some reason there is a common occurrence found among people who enter into a debate or discussion. You will often find that at some point the conversation shifts from discussing the actual topic, to discussing people. This usually occurs when someone feels flustered or frustrated and “loses their cool”. They then begin to lash out at the individual who says something, instead of at what they actually said. Usually little children, and sadly politicians, will resort to this method of debate. But I have found that it has also snuck its way into our discussions about religion.

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Muslim Ban: A Jewish Outlook

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Imagine a peasant who was brought up in some far-out rural village in ancient Egypt, disconnected physically and mentally from the unrivaled grandeur of Egyptian civilization with its impressive edifices and royal splendor. If he were to be blindfolded and transported to the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza, would he have any inkling of what stood before him? Would he have any notion that towering above him was 481 feet of the tallest man-made structure in the world (a title it would keep for some four millennia), an incredible testament to human genius and labor–and imagination and willpower? Would the blindfolded man be able to believe that before him stood a remarkable structure comprised of some 2.3 million blocks of stone, for a total estimated mass of 5.9 million tonnes? No. (more…)

Gilgul — Reincarnation

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As part of a recent debate, we would like to poll the knowledge of Gilgulim in the Jewish community. Please respond truthfully. An article regarding this topic and addressing the polling results will be posted in a few weeks.

If anyone would like to submit an article on the topic please use the submit link on the homepage.

 

 

 

 

Remember Who Runs The Show

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The past few weeks have been kind of rough. I have spent much time worrying about what will be and how things will turn out in the end. Money is always a concern for most people. How much we have? How much we make? How much we are going to make? How much are we spending and on what? Can we buy the stuff that we want? (more…)

Donald Trump and Israel

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Donald Trump has just announced his intention to nominate David Friedman to be the US ambassador to Israel. The press release signaled a dramatic change in US-Israel relations. Friedman is quoted as saying that he wishes to strengthen the relationship between the two countries “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem”. What a delight! (more…)

Is Greek Wisdom Jewish?

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Jews, in the words of Tolkien (he of Lord of the Rings fame), are a “gifted people”. John Adams was fulsome in his praise. “They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a Bauble in comparison of the Jews. They have…  influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily, than any other Nation ancient or modern.” Mark Twain: “His contributions to the World’s list of of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.” (more…)

Improper Religiosity

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I was recently at a Shabbos sheva brachos, and the chosson and kallah arrived almost 45 minutes late to lunch after deciding to go home after kiddush. As a friend of theirs, I met them outside and mentioned that I understood they are the chosson and kallah but it is not correct to make more than 50 people wait to start the sueda. The kallah responded, “We are the chosson and kallah, there are cheshbonos”.  I was shocked by that response. (more…)

The Chareidi “Emes”

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There must be many thousands of Jews in the United and States and elsewhere who get their news from chareidi websites. I confess to reading these websites myself throughout the day. About a week ago, a story of a “Kiddush Hashem” appeared on a well-known chareidi website. It concerned the Korean Ambassador to the United Nations and his daughter who worked for a well-known Agudah leader. (more…)

Tzedaka: Blind Trust?

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I thought long and hard before writing the following words. For a couple of years, I dithered and I paused. For many months, I questioned whether I had the right to be critical of those seeking our assistance. But events that happened recently in Eretz Yisroel convinced me that some things had to be said, regardless of their sensitivity. (more…)

The Skver Vote

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The following is not a joke, it actually was recorded on their hotline

On Friday night in the big Shul in Square Town, the gabbai (sexton) called out “everyone must go out and vote for Hillary Clinton”. Since it was announced in Shul it was with the Rebbe’s guidance. When Trump was the winner, a rumor started that the Rebbe really knew (a Rebbe knows everything) Trump was going to win (more…)

The Berland Scandal

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With this latest conviction of Rabbi Berland, where he admitted to several counts of groping woman and kissing them. Let us not kid ourselves, this was a plea bargain where at these things, the perpetrator admits to lesser charges as to avoid more jail time. It is now clear to us, that with his admission of “just” fondling and kissing, we see that these claims by all the other women of what he did to them are completely true. (more…)

Shlomo Carlebach: A Tribute

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The Jewish people arose as a nation many millennia ago. From the dawn if its birth, at the time of the Revelation at Mount Sinai, events occurred that influenced the march of its history and were indeed the hinges that changed the course of our nation. At these junctures, people arose who became, sometimes unwittingly, the instrument of those historical changes. (more…)

Pray For Israel, And The Donald

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Now that the bitter and nasty fought election are over and there is a new President, we should all pray for his success. Still many are frightened, concerned, and some angry enough to take to the streets. This fear by so many is not that the “Right wing” won and there will be more conservative policies over next few years here, the fear is a totally different fear. The Republican agenda is much closer to my thinking then the Democrats, but I stayed home and did not vote this year, as I felt we were left with choice of either a macshefa (nasty person) or a mishugana (a nut job). (more…)

True Simchas Hatorah

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Something that always irked me but I never really spoke about was the current state of Simchas Torah in our community. To me, Simchas Torah was represented by the usual assortment of rowdy individuals, many of whom picked up a Gemara* maybe 12 times this year, dancing in a raucous crowd of giddy, inebriated, and puerile adults.

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