Friday, May 26, 2006

Post round-up

Since I'm currently between projects at the office, I've had some reading time. I've found so many good posts that it finally dawned on me that I couldn't possibly blog on each one individually. So here's an Ezzie-style post round-up. :) (Eventually, I'll be home at an early enough hour to respond to all of my recent commenters, too. But right now, I'm on my way to a Yom Yerushalayim [Jerusalem Day] concert. Into the e-mail this goes, to be posted later.)

Um, later . . .

#1: News from the broader community (this may be of particular interest to the members of the J-blog med squad)

From this article in the May 24, 2006 New York Times:

U.S. Plan to Lure Nurses May Hurt Poor Nations

Published: May 24, 2006
As the United States runs short of nurses, senators are looking abroad. A little-noticed provision in their immigration bill would throw open the gate to nurses and, some fear, drain them from the world's developing countries.
. . .

"We're disappointed that Congress, instead of providing appropriations for domestic nursing programs, is outsourcing the education of nurses [my emphasis]," said Erin McKeon, the group's associate director of government affairs.

Holly Burkhalter, with Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group, said the nurse proposal could undermine the United States' multibillion-dollar effort to combat AIDS and malaria by potentially worsening the shortage of health workers in poor countries. "We're pouring water in a bucket with a hole in it, and we drilled the hole," she said.

There are now many more Americans seeking to be nurses than places to educate them. In 2005, American nursing schools rejected almost 150,000 applications from qualified people, according to the National League for Nursing, a nonprofit group that counts more than 1,100 nursing schools among its members.

One of the most important factors limiting the number of students was a lack of faculty to teach them, nursing organizations say. Professors of nursing earn less than practicing nurses, damping demand for teaching positions. "

#2: On changes contemplated by the Israeli rabbinate to the rules for the acceptance of conversions and gittin (Jewish religious divorces)

Only 50 rabbis abroad recognized [courtesy of the ADDeRabbi of On the Contrary!]

" . . . they're talking about not accepting Gittin either. This is scary @#$%. A scary implication - a woman gets divorced and remarried, has kids w/ her 2nd husband, and makes aliyah. The Rabbanut deems the kids safek mamzerim."

Jewish law, standing on one foot: A woman who remarries without a get (Jewish religious divorce) is considered adulterous, and, therefore, any child of hers from the second marriage would be a mamzer (a Jewish version of "illegitimate"). My understanding--and PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong!!!--is that a mamzer is not permitted to marry any other Jew except another mamzer or a convert. In other words, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children could be declared illegible for marriage despite their mothers' best efforts to spare them this fate.

Certifying the Galus [Joe Settler has another viewpoint concerning conversion]

"Everywhere in the world marriages (and divorces) are registered by the government. And just like everywhere in the world (especially when foreigners are involved) there is a lot of paperwork (even in the U.S.). It's a bureaucracy. Period. This new rule will make it much easier for the potential Oleh to go through the various processes he needs to go through when making Aliyah and getting married. With standardized paperwork, and authorized (recognized) processors (the Galus Rabbis), unrecognized, unfamiliar, and unacceptable paperwork will eventually be a thing of the past (or at least a rarity)."

#3: On what Judaism is and isn't, and how it's changed

I'm embarrassed to say that I forget who linked me to this post. On the plus side, this means that I'm between projects and have had plenty of time over the past day or two to waltz my way down my entire blogroll and my even-longer "Favorites" list:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Judaism Is About
What Judaism is......
and what it is not about

Here's a sample, but please, please read the whole post!

"Judaism is about passing the Torah and it's teachings from one generation to the next, about educating all of our children in the best manner possible to ensure that Judaism lives another generation and that the Torah is observed. It is about seeing the inherent value in every student and transmitting the Torah to them in a way that will cause them to cherish and value it for the rest of their lives.
Judaism is not about excluding children from schools because they don't dress the way you dress, speak the language you speak, don't sit and learn all day (as opposed to going to work) or hold the exact same hashkafic values that you hold. It's not about catering only to the "super-learners" who have kollel futures while ignoring those who cannot or will not reach that lofty goal."

DovBear chimes in:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sur Mai Rah v'Asei Tov

DB's thoughts on a post (which I can't find, but it must be there somewhere) by MOChassid:

MOChassid: "In the chareidi educational circles there is way too much emphasis on Sur Mai Rah and not nearly enough on Asei Tov. There is an overwhelming fear of the outside world but not enough confidence in the beauty of Torah and Yiddishkeit. Consequently, we hear about restriction after restriction rather than discussions about inspiring our children. This is tragic."

True, but not limited to educational circles.. . .

In each of these cases an Asei Tov (do good) opportunity is being sacrificed for the sake of Sur Mai Rah (turn away from evil.) Those fleeing a shul where the woman dress immodestly might have stayed and provided a better influence. The man who is afraid of names he doesn't know deprives himself of knoweldge. And the angry Rabbi likely keeps women from joining the minyan, if he doesn't drive them and their husbands away from the shul altogether. Examples of this sort abound, and MoC's right: It is tragic."

I encourage you to read the entire post.

On a lighter note, Conservadox posts:

Monday, 15 May 2006
customs sure change
"when a newly hired teacher at S.R. Hirsch's school did not remove his hat on first entering the principal's office, Hirsch himself reprimanded him for not removing his hat, explaining to the astonished young man that if other teachers, including also some non-Jews, were to see him greeting the school's principal with coccvered head, they would have to regard it as a sign of disrespect."

Breuer, Modernity Within Tradition: The Social History of Orthodox Jewry in Imperial Germany (p. 9).

Posted by conservadox at 11:27 PM EDT

#4: On following in the footsteps of our ancestors, even when our beliefs or opportunities are lacking

From Godol Hador:

Orthopraxy Le'Halachah

Prof. Ernst Simon didn't consider himself Orthodox (he "knew too much" and had moral issues with certain mitzvot) but he considered himself "a good soldier" and I guess I feel the same way. In the long run, we're part of something much bigger than ourselves, a phenomenon of religion and history (not necessarily the MOST unique or MOST remarkable or MOST beautiful, but a phenomenon nevertheless) and that may motivate us to keep the chain going. Grey Area 05.24.06 - 12:49 pm

David G. makes a good point. We're not all philosophers who keep this stuff on the brain 24/7, and anyway, Martin Buber could be an insensitive jerk sometimes, too. To use Heschel's analogy (originally applied to prayer without kavvanah), some of us Orthopraxists wind our watches even if they're not working well because we like them, because they're the only way we have to keep time, because occasionally we find a talented watchmaker who performs a partial repair, because someday we may find a master watchmaker who will repair it for good (not my personal reason but a shout-out to the optimists among us), and (here's the reason that circles back to Judaism Itself) because we appreciate the concept of Time and winding even an imperfect watch is the best way to show that appreciation. Anonymous 05.24.06 - 1:14 pm #

And speaking of Orthopraxy:

Monday, May 15, 2006

Responsibility to Tradition
"What's the big deal with having Jewish grandchildren? If there is no God, or if there is a Deistic God but no Yahweh, isn't Judaism simply a lifestyle choice? And shouldn't grandchildren (and children!) make their own lifestyle choices? If my grandchildren are relatively happy, I'll be happy."

Being part of a tradition involves passing on what has been received. We, as a People, have a responsibility to ensure that our own unique ideas, history, cultures, philosophies, our whole heritage really is preserved in the hearts and minds of our descendants. To fail to do so is to doom all that we have produced - and that which has produced us - to obscurity. No other people is going to do it for us.

That's the post, standing on one foot. Now tze u-l'mad--go and study, by reading the rest.

From Chayyei Sarah:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Taking Responsibility for Oneself
Really neat story about adults taking caring of responsibilities that their parents somehow never got around to (pidyon haben, hatafat dam brit, talmud torah/the study of sacred Jewish texts). They sound like me. :)

#4: On the day school tuition crisis, and some ideas for helping alleviate it

MOChassid, in his Tuesday, May 23, 2006 post, The Tuition Kerfuffle: Missing the Forest for the Trees, links to Orthomom's post, then a commenter links to his own post here, where you'll find some worthwhile thoughts, and quite a nice exchange of ideas between 501c3 and SephardiLady.

#5: From my own little corner of the Jewish community, a report on updates to the chumash published by the Conservative Movement

May 25, 2006
by Reb Yudel

"Updates to Conservative Etz Hayim Humash

"Etz Hayim: Corrected Printing
With more than 200,000 copies in print, "Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary" has now gone into its sixth printing. This printing is noteworthy because it includes the most comprehensive set of corrections since the book first appeared in 2001, . . ."

Since I don't even open my blogger e-mail account, much less either publish posts or respond to comments on my blog, at the office (because I like my job and have no interest in losing it), it can be much easier for me to write posts and e-mail them home for later publication than to keep up with comments. So please excuse me for not getting back to all of you. In one case, I've been trying to compose a proper response for several days. Rest assured that your comments are read and appreciated.


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