Avi Shafran

High-Wire Act

03/06/2009

Before the Internet Age rendered geography irrelevant to community there was the eruv, the rabbinic response to spatial separation. A strategically placed wire here, a natural hedge border there, the inclusion of a fence or a highway, turns a neighborhood into an imaginary walled community of halachic intent, as such a deliberate remembrance of pre-diasporic Jerusalem.  

The Edge of Town: Uncanny Tales of Survival

Thursday, February 26th, 2009     (Because of a formatting error on the main site, here’s a corrected version of this week’s “Edge of Town” column).       Uncanny Tales Of Survival   “Small Miracles of the Holocaust,” and the mysteries of coincidence          by Jonathan Mark      

The New Orthodox Lonely Hearts

04/09/2004
Staff Writer
It’s 8:30 on a Saturday night and 29-year-old “Ilana,” dressed in a sweater set and skirt that falls just below the knees, is in the hallway of a Brooklyn synagogue, its faded cappuccino-colored walls decorated with black-and-white photos from the 1950s and ’60s.  

More Than Noah Feldman

01/16/2008
Special To The Jewish Week
For many years after she married John, Ilana’s parents refused to speak to her. 

False Analogy

12/24/2009
Staff Writer

I respectfully disagree with Rabbi Avi Shafran’s letter (Dec. 18) concerning the arrest of the woman at the Kotel.
First, the Kotel is a public place belonging to all Jews and not just one stream of Judaism. Therefore, no one group should have exclusive rights to this most holy site in Judaism.

Living In A Man’s World

12/24/2009
Staff Writer

Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel, in his letter (Dec. 18), seems to be living in a man’s world with his head buried in the sand. Maybe a woman reading from the Torah while praying with the Women of the Wall on Rosh Chodesh Kislev violates his sensibilities, but he certainly not have the right to speak for the “majority of the Kotel’s regular visitors.”

Filmmaking With Purity

10/31/2003
Staff Writer
Some people call her film daring, others dangerous. First-time filmmaker Anat Zuria admits that "Tehora," her hour-long documentary about Jewish family purity, is meant to provoke. But she sees greater peril in keeping quiet about a subject that shapes the lives of Orthodox Jewish women.

Sound And Fury Over Jews For Jesus Ads

07/28/2000
Staff Writer
WABC TalkRadio is giving Jews an earache. Despite numerous complaints, the popular AM radio station has refused to stop running an ad from the Jews for Jesus group that many Jewish leaders term offensive. As a result, hundreds of New York pulpit rabbis have been asked to encourage congregants to protest to WABC management.

A Shot Of Unity

10/11/2002
Staff Writer
George Kalinsky was seething inside. A fervently Orthodox rabbi told him that he wasn’t a real Jew. Never mind that Kalinsky’s parents were Jewish and that he put on tefillin every morning. Kalinsky, the longtime photographer extraordinaire for Madison Square Garden, who captured the magic of the Willis Reed/Walt Frazier-era championship Knick teams and who took the last photo of John Lennon performing live, apparently wasn’t observing rituals to the Agudath Israel rabbi’s standards.

Should Mohelim Be Supervised?

02/11/2005
Staff Writer
The case of the Monsey mohel who may have infected three newborn boys with the herpes virus is prompting some to wonder if the field requires greater oversight. The three boys contracted herpes simplex virus 1, the type which in adults usually causes only a mouth sore, but can overwhelm a newborn’s system. One of the babies, who was circumcised in October, died ten days later. He and his twin brother tested positive for the virus. The third is a Staten Island boy who also tested positive after being circumcised by Fischer in late 2003.
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