In all of the storied history of the Jewish people, there was no single event that had greater short and long-term consequences than the revelation of Torah at Sinai.
The festival of Shavuot, which we celebrated this week, marked the anniversary of that extraordinary (in both the literal and figurative senses of the word) day. It encouraged us to recall, or recreate, if you will, the power, majesty and mystery of that luminous moment when God and humanity communed as one. The world would never be the same thereafter.
New York State Education Department Commissioner John King is “prepared to take escalating action” to address problems within Rockland County’s East Ramapo Central School District, a district whose elected board is currently composed solely of fervently Orthodox Jews.
At Yeshivat Avir Yakov, an all-boys school in the chasidic enclave of New Square in New York’s Rockland County, students spend the vast majority of their long school days studying religious texts in spartan classrooms furnished only with battered wooden benches and desks. Unlike their counterparts in public or private schools outside the chasidic community, the boys at Avir Yakov do not have access to the Internet or computers in their school because chasidic leaders view the Internet as a corrupting force capable of undermining their way of life.
Temporary stay delays implementation of required warning by three weeks until Nov. 14.
A temporary restraining order against New York delayed the start of a new informed consent requirement for a controversial circumcision rite.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in New York ordered the stay of implementing the required warning to parents of the dangers of metzitzah b'peh, a ritual in which the circumciser uses his mouth to draw blood from the baby's penis.
It is beautiful how much emphasis there is on Shabbat and holiday celebration in American Orthodoxy. However, the celebration of the values of health and exercise are sorely lacking in the community. Parents often do not stress health and exercise for their children, and day schools fall short on creating rigorous health programs. Happily, religious celebration need not compromise our commitment to health.
In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made an accommodation for full-time yeshiva students to serve their country by studying Torah rather than enlisting in the army. There were only 400 such young men at the time, and Ben-Gurion believed the number would diminish.
Late last year, Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) rabbis banned the popular blog Voz Iz Neias and even went so far as to try to have it taken down. Now, FailedMessiah.com reports that the Agudath Israel of America's Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah has issued a ban prohibiting its adherents from using the Internet without a filter.