Monday, September 15, 2008

Bloggers' picnic turns into YCT mini-convention :)

Much to my surprise, the only folks who showed up at the NYC-area bloggers' picnic were Steg and Drew. (Next time, methinks I'll send out an e-mail reminder two weeks before instead of the night before.) At any rate, we have a delightful time. We talked about such scintillating topics as the "forced" homogenization of the Orthodox community (which I think is a result of the ascendancy of what I described as an Ashkenazi Chareidi "Papacy"). One of the guys wanted to know why young men from the German Jewish community of Washington Heights (in upper Manhattan, New York City) were coming back from Lakewood Yeshiva speaking Eastern-European-accented Hebrew. I asked why young Sefardi women returning from a year in a Sefardi Chareidi seminary in Israel were being forced by their American seminary teachers to switch to Ashkenazi pronunciation. And what's with Rabbi Sherman, famous for fanning the flames of the latest conversion controversy, insisting that former Sefardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, known (as Steg and Drew told me) as an outstanding Torah scholar, follow the halachic rulings of the Ashkenazi rabbinate? It's insulting. (Update: Steg kindly posted the relevant Rabbi Sherman link in the comments.)

Thanks to these YCT guys for explaining Rabbi Gil Student's approach(es) to halachah (Jewish religious law) to me. I've never quite understood how a person who goes out of his way to publish Rabbi Slifkin's banned books on Torah and science could, at the same time, be so utterly opposed to any leadership role of any kind for women in the Orthodox community. (I'm not talking about his opposition to women as rabbis or even as synagogue presidents--I'm talking about his opposition to women leading even non-synagogue Jewish community organizations.) These rabbinical students explained that Rabbi Student is a Centrist* on matters of education and science, but Yeshivish* on matters regarding the Jewish community. (*) Oh, now I get it. Thanks, guys!

Photo to follow, as soon as I have a chance to upload it. In the meantime, here's the one that the hubster took with Drew's camera.

Update, 11:45 PM

Here are photos, as promised: 1) Picture by the Punster, 2) picture with the Punster (by a kindly waiter).

Lest you think that yours truly never has anything critical to say about her own gang, the Conservative Movement, I also discussed with Drew and Steg my opinion that the Hekhsher Tzedek innovators made a tactical error by insisting on using the word "hekhsher" (roughly, seal of rabbinical supervision and approval), because it was like waving a red flag in a bull's face, the Orthodox rabbinate having pretty much staked out the supervision of kashrut as their own turf. (As evidence, I'm linking to this hatchet job on Hekhsher Tzedek published by the right-wing-Orthodox Jewish Press.) Why not do what the Israelis do and just go for a social-justice seal of approval, which would accomplish the same goal with less possibility of causing misunderstanding and/or offense?


Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

The R' Sherman reference is here

Mon Sep 15, 06:44:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Holy Moses, either you're a fast commenter or I'm a slow editor--I had just finished my final edit and was taking a last look at this post when I saw your comment!

Rav todot, many thanks for the link. And thanks for joining the Punster and me yesterday.

Mon Sep 15, 06:55:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Got the text and emails but had been invited last second to a wedding at the exact same time (felt bad for the guy, he was apologizing like crazy that we somehow got left off the list - only realized when he was doing seating and wondering where our response was). In the end, I had to miss that, too, with a spinning headache.

Sorry to miss out!

Fri Sep 19, 02:04:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Major bummer, twice over. :(

Sat Sep 20, 08:19:00 PM 2008  

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