Sunday, July 6, 2014

Han'arim: A Song for Our Lost Boys

Only one week ago, last Friday night after our Shabbat meal, I was putting my son to sleep. He was sad about something—I don't remember what—and I was sad, too, thinking about our missing boys and hoping that they would be found alive. I wrote this song there in his room, to comfort us both, and as a prayer for my son, for the boys, and for all of the Jewish people in anguish and despair. Now that our worst fears have been realized and the missing boys, Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, are dead, I offer the song with the hope that their holy souls be bound with the souls of the ever-living, and that their families and all of us find comfort in the rebuilding of Jerusalem soon and in our days.

JewBrain Tinier

Friday, May 16, 2014

60,000 What??

The JewPsy blog has reached 60,000 hits! But what's so special about 60,000?

Men in hard hats posing in front of a sculpture of the number sixty thousand
This photo has no relevance at all other than the big, red
60,000 with which these fellows are inexplicably posing.
Well, imagine that. You all have visited this blog sixty thousand times! Which doesn't really mean all that much because, to be honest, 60,000 is not a particularly significant number. It's not the flashy 50,000, and it's less than plenty of downright boring numbers (60,001 being just one of infinite examples). But 60,000 is still a nice, round number, and that's a good enough reason for me to allow myself to share a little high-five with you (yes, and you too). While we're at it, though, here's a little 60,000 trivia that you may find, if not
useful, then at least marginally interesting.
60,000 is:

  • The number of Legos it took to build a scale model of Vatican City last week in Summit, NJ. The model, built by the 5th and 6th graders of Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child took up 400 square feet of the school gym. 
  • The number of people who sang Bohemian Rhapsody together while waiting for the start of a Green Day concert in London's Emirates Stadium in June. (I know, right? Green Day still selling out stadiums?) That just shows you the dangers of prolonged exposure to heat, boredom, and claustrophobia. Watch the video after the bump:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Are We Listening?: Women Singing, Orthodox Rabbis, and Israel's Religious-Secular Divide

R' Lichtenstein accepting the Israel Prize

They say it 'aint over til the fat lady sings, but maybe we should lower the curtain before she even starts. This week, on Israel's Memorial and Independence Days, the chief rabbi of Tzfat (Safed), Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and Rosh Yeshiva (dean) of Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein both participated in public ceremonies that involved "kol isha," (lit., a woman's voice), the halakhic term for women singing. Rabbi Eliyahu delivered his opening remarks and then got up and left, while Rabbi Lichtenstein stayed for his entire ceremony, looking honored to be there. Rabbi Amnon Bazak, an outspoken lecturer at Har Etzion, addressed these contrasting approaches in a short but poignant essay today. Below is an English translation followed by the original Hebrew.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Blogging Rabbis and the Unfolding Future of Orthodox Judaism

As rabbis have increased thier web presence, the discourse about halacha and contemporary religious issues has started to move online, too.  Shulem Deen, editor of, discusses the history of Orthodox Rabbi-run blogs, thier impact on Modern Orthodoxy, and the Ultra-Orthodox response:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

R' Aharon Lichtenstein profiled in advance of receiving Israel Prize

Who Is Aharon Lichtenstein? » Mosaic Magazine

"To those... who are acquainted with or have been touched by [Rabbi Lichtenstein's] life and work, this award, to be conferred on May 6, Independence Day, will signify one of those rare instances when government committees get things right."
JewBrain Tinier