Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #21

  1. Rav Belsky on the concert ban.
  2. Yehuda has a post about the fifth cup.
  3. In a recent post in my translation of Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah, Shadal mentions the compelling theory that the (/an) author of the Zohar was Avraham Abulafia, a false messiah.
  4. Rafi G. posts on a segulah of reading a particular letter on erev Pesach. And Nava posts the text of the letter in a comment at the bottom.
  5. A Masculine Haggadah?
    Not so much:

    In an effort to stanch a modern-day Exodus — men fleeing its synagogues — Judaism’s largest denomination has for the first time adopted a new seder and Haggadah for men only.

    Not even female cantors are allowed.

    “It uses the structure of a Haggadah to bring men together to explain contemporary Jewish men’s issues,” said Doug Barden, executive director of the Men of Reform Judaism, which represents 250 temple brotherhoods and its 20,000 members.

    The authors of the Haggadah — Dan Moskovitz, a Reform rabbi, and Perry Netter, a Conservative rabbi — note in an introduction that there are “certain experiences that only men can share ... Men need the company of men, to be men.”
    It is quite possible I am incorrect in this, but my assessment is not that this Exodus is a result of an over-focus on gender. Thus, Reform promoting feminism in the name of Judaism makes men uncomfortable. The solution should not be to say that women will do this and men will do that. I think it is just being remarkably silly and misguided, along the similar paths as the initial mistake. Not to mention that it is a transparent ploy, which I think many men will see through as inauthentic.

    How about a focus instead on the meaning of the seder, exodus from Egypt, freedom, faith, etc.? Not everything has to tie into a feminist, or masculist agenda. There can be things which are just as they are.

    The key, that is, is not to encourage the trend and say women can have their seder and men can have their own. Rather, it is to discourage the feminist seders in the first place. Judaism should be Judaism, and a seder should be a sefer, not just a way to advance a particular agenda over and over and over again.

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