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 postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments) predicated upon the belief in the value of and […]
What a pleasure it was to read Rabbi Jen Krause’s new book The Answer. Make no doubt about it this is not your regular self-help book. “The Answer” is more about realizing that ultimately life’s greatest challenge is coming to terms with the fact that sometimes we are so quick to find the answer that we forget what it is we are looking for and why it is we are looking so hard.
There is more than something disgusting and anti-Jewish about the Syrian Jewish community’s ban against converts (no other Jewish community promotes such a position). The amount of unnecessary and halakhically unacceptable pain this ban has brought on numerous Syrian families is unconscionable. Yet, in an era of apathy, ignorance, and mass acculturation, the Jewish retention rate and engagement on the part of the Syrian community is remarkable. How can’t one help and dare I say have even slight feelings of jealously for, the strong communal ties fostered by the success of the Syrian communities insularity?
Haftez describes a community where familial care and love trump educational accomplishment and enlightenment. Yet, this lack of intellectualism has in no way hindered the community’s economic growth. Rather, according to the New York Times, it is one of the wealthiest and most charitable communities in New York City.
Rabbi Jen might be right that many in the rabbinic tradition did promote an open posture to culture, science, philosophy, and most things “other” (I certainly put myself in that camp). But you know what? Who is to say they had all the answers?