News Roundup – Thur. 3/11
First she was the Mahara”t, a “manhigah hilkhatit, rukhanit, toranit.” Then she was upgraded to a “rabbah.” But now Sara Hurwitz’s title might be in question. Hailed as the first woman to be ordained as anything close to an Orthodox rabbi, the act spawned a furious outpouring of protest and condemnation. “Mahara”t” they could live with; a “rabbah” makes them queasy. According to a statement issued by Agudath Israel, Rabbi Avi Weiss, the mastermind of this “radical and dangerous departure from Jewish tradition” falls outside the purview of Orthodoxy. According to Avi Shafran, Agudath Israel’s spokesperson, “women are demeaned” when placed in positions of public authority. He also thinks it’s akin to “keeping a cat in the aron kodesh.” Technically permitted, but not so ay ay ay.
A girl’s birthday party in Great Neck, NY, thrown by her Persian Jewish parents, went awry when an uninvited guest turned up, screamed “Shema Yisrael,” and unleashed a shrieking slew of Hebrew oaths condemning the celebration, which included mixed dancing and traditional Iranian fare. The intruder, Rabbi Shlomo Aderet, an Ashkenazi kabbalist from Monsey, showed up with an entourage of four people and cursed partygoers with “illness, bankruptcy and tragedy for eternity.” The birthday girl herself made no comment to the media, perhaps having to do with the fact that she’s only one year old. Guests and their children were allegedly so frightened by the intrusion that many left, while others stood shaking and crying. The day after the party, according to one of the rabbi’s supporters, the hosts visited the rabbi and demanded that he remove the curses from their home. It is unclear whether he granted their request.
Lipa Schmeltzer is branching out into the literary world. Although when asked by an interviewer if he now considers himself an author, he claimed to not know what an “author” was. His latest project is a full-color Hagadah, with images of himself in various stages of acting out parts of the Hagadic tales. When asked if he’s received any negative reactions, Lipa compared his Hagadah to spicy sushi: some people like it, some people don’t. We were a bit baffled by the wise son with a geshtizteh berdl, but even more so with the choice of wicked son, some dude with a backward baseball cap; we were hoping for that coveted spot ourselves. Stay tuned for Unpious’s insightful book review with annotated footnotes and a comprehensive bibliography.
Isaac Srugo has fifteen children. The latest to be married, with ten more to go, came with an unexpected wedding gift: a gallon of white paint poured down the windshield of his SUV. Srugo married off one of his children last week at a dissident wedding hall near Kiryas Joel, with Rabbi Zalmen Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe from Williamsburg, officiating, raising the ire of the mainstream faction who support Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe in KJ. This comes after weeks of vandalism and harassment following two earlier weddings at the same wedding hall. But we think those Satmar bucherim are being decidedly conventional. Paint on a windshield, sugar in a gas tank, overturning vehicles are not very imaginative. Which leads us to think – is it possible? – that the bucherim with the real gemureh kep, who might come up with something truly creative, are still in yeshiva hovering over their Shev Shmaatses, and these vandals are mere lowlifes with no idealism or principles? Say it ain’t so, Joel.
Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, A Chabad rabbi in Loudonville, NY, near Albany, gets 60 days in the slammer for “inappropriate physical contact” with two naked 13-year-old boys in the mikveh. In a statement by the mother of one of the boys, she said: “I toss and turn all night. I have a nagging pain in my head constantly. Sixty days in the scheme of things is not very long. But the 60 days might just let me have a full night’s sleep and relax my jaw.” We wonder though when parents will start having the good sense not to allow their young children in the mikveh unsupervised. It shouldn’t take a “nagging” headache to learn that such behavior is irresponsible.
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