Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

May 2007 Archives

Teen Pregnancy & Aids: Not a Jewish Problem?

I’m disturbed by Rabbi Stern’s claim that the incidence of teenage pregnancy and AIDS in the Jewish community is not a problem that needs to be taken seriously. Similar claims were once made about alcoholism and domestic violence, driving the […]


Safe Sex for the Soul?

posted by Virtual Talmud

I don’t have the same problem Rabbi Waxman does with the Orthodox Union’s recent effort to promote abstinence among its young people. The OU’s site does seem to include accurate information, at least to my medically untrained eye, particularly by […]


The Seduction of Abstinence

Regular readers of VT may have noticed my absence from the blog the past couple of weeks – but it has been for the most wonderful of reasons: my wife and I have been extremely busy as we have welcomed […]


Orthodox Coercion Hurts Our People

posted by Virtual Talmud

Kol ha kavod to Rabbi Stern on drawing the line between the coercive power of the Israeli Rabbinate and their encroachment on the American Orthodox Rabbinate’s authority over American conversions. However, I wonder if Rabbi Stern would be willing to […]

Shavuot: Choice and Coercion in Modern-Day Life

The issue of intermarriage and conversion has most recently been reawakened by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s attempt to take over the full conversion process of the American Orthodox Rabbinate. This difference between American Jewry and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate comes […]

Jewish Mothers, Take a Joke

Rabbi Grossman has spoken like a true Jewish mother. Her moral finger-wagging at those who crack a few jokes is either obvious or prudishly naive about human nature. Yes, Jewish mother jokes can be insensitive and downright hurtful. But they […]

How Many Jewish Mothers Does It Take?

posted by Virtual Talmud

How many Jewish mothers does it take to change the Jewish mother stereotype? I don’t know about you, but the Jewish mothers I knew–my mother and both my grandmothers–were loving individuals who gave unstintingly of themselves to their children in […]

Are Jews Intellectually Superior? Who Cares!

I would agree with both Rabbi Waxman’s and Rabbi Grossman’s comments regarding Charles Murray’s recent essay in Commentary Magazine on Jewish brains. Even if his answers seem a bit strained, Murray’s article certainly has a certain grain of truth. The […]

Two Jews, Three Opinions

posted by Virtual Talmud

It is not just our traditional and liturgical emphasis on asking questions that contributes to what Rabbi Waxman terms the “Jewish intellectual legacy.” It is the value Jewish traditional learning placed upon engaging different opinions. The Talmud is full of […]

Questioning Jewish Genius

An article by Charles Murray that recently appeared in Commentary Magazine has been inspiring both conversation and criticism with its claim that Jews are uniquely gifted when it comes to intellectual accomplishment, especially in the arts and sciences. Although much […]

Darfur: Are We Part of the Problem or the Solution?

posted by Virtual Talmud

I brought my 7th grade class to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington last Sunday. I wish I could say they were learning past history. The sad news is, they were not. The very same day, people gathered in front […]

Does Darfur Need a Good Publicist?

A few weeks ago my congregation was fortunate enough to host Ruth Messinger, executive director of American Jewish World Service, who spoke to us on the situation in Darfur and the obligations that our Jewish values–and recent history–demand of us. […]

Saving Darfur Is the Highest Form of Charity

Last week I had the chance to stop into B’nai Jeshurun on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for early Friday evening services (a little bit of cross denominational socializing and praying is always healthy), and was moved by the massive sign […]

Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in ...

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe ...

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s ...

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the ...

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced ...

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »


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