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Orthodox Judaism Archives - David Werdiger

Democracy Comes to Yeshivah

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With the passing of a new Jewish year and the fresh spiritual energy this brings to the world, there is a palpable buzz around the Yeshivah as we approach something that has never happened here before: democratic elections. The intersection between democracy and Orthodox Judaism is a complex one that is still developing, and after a baptism of fire over the last few years, our community is likely breaking new ground in its transformation from closed to…

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Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

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After reading the responses to Rabbi Kennard’s original article (AJN, 31/1/2014), I felt he was deeply misunderstood. He pointed out the disproportionate number of Chabad Rabbis in Melbourne congregations, and bemoaned the lack of diversity, particularly the lack of home-grown non-Chabad Rabbis. Chabad has a strong history in Melbourne. From the pioneering Moshe Zalman Feiglin (my wife’s great-grandfather) who arrived just over 100 years ago, to the wave of immigrants post WW2 (which included my…

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More on Beinart, Chabad and Israel

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Following Peter Beinart’s controversial article about Cory Booker’s association with a couple of Chabad Rabbis, I wrote this piece on Open Zion / The Daily Beast to address some of the common misunderstandings about the way Chabad works as an organisation. Space did not allow me to go into detail about the specific issues he raised, so I will do so here. His first contention is that … the values of Chabad rest uneasily alongside…

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Power Changes at Yeshivah

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(with thanks to Jeff) There are important changes to power happening at Yeshivah Shul. For a few days now, it has been running on partial power while they upgrade the switchboard. In shul this Shabbos the lights were not all working, electric clocks were flashing with the wrong time, and there was only air conditioning in one room. Outside, there lay parts of an old switchboard that looks like it should have been replaced years…

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How do we solve a problem like Beit Shemesh?

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The term ‘sectarian violence’ has been used extensively to describe the conflicts that have been occurring within various Arab countries, in Iraq and Afghanistan during the wars there, and more recently with the instability that has come as a result of the ‘Arab Spring’ movement. Unfortunately, this is the term that can now be used to describe what is going on in pockets within Israel. Most recently, things have flared up in the town of…

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Yankel Rosenbaum – 20 Years On

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It’s quite appropriate that I find myself visiting New York, and particularly staying in Crown Heights, as I pen this tribute to my dear friend Yankel Rosenbaum HY”D to mark the twentieth anniversary of his murder in the Crown Heights riots of 1991. This very morning I was walking to shul with my son, who was born just the day after Yankel’s shloshim, and I pointed out the place near the corner of President St…

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The Stigma

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There has been lots of talk recently in the local blogosphere (here, here, and here) as well as in the mainstream media about the alleged (I use terms like this throughout because they are appropriate until a court makes a determination) sexual abuse that took place at Yeshivah College some twenty years ago. This has elicited a range of vigorous responses from many people. Some have used this to take a stab at the administration…

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