2/14/17

Talmudic Chaos v. Halakhic Linearity in the Logic of Judaism

In 2011 I published an article, "In Search Of The Logic Of Judaism: From Talmudic Chaos To Halakhic Linearity," which you can download and read from the link here.   

I used mathematical ideas to differentiate the linear organization of the halakhah from non-linear thinking of the Talmud. Our abstract says: 

In this paper I examine some common views of scholars concerning the idea of the halakhah in Judaism. I then explain why their methods failed to account for the main philological and historical evidence regarding the term from the Talmudic texts. Then I suggest as a heuristic explanation that the logic of the Talmud defies linearity and can be discussed productively using chaos theory.

The authors in this volume cover varied topics with sophistication and erudition. The publisher's page provides details about the book, as copied below. 

Is Lady Gaga Jewish?

No, pop star, Lady Gaga is not a Jew. Her birth name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and she is Catholic.

Wikipedia explains that, "Stefani was born March 28, 1986, the eldest child of Joseph Germanotta, an Italian American internet entrepreneur, and Cynthia Bissett... At the age of 11, Germanotta attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private Roman Catholic school on Manhattan's Upper East Side."

Gaga's performance in Madison Square Garden in February 2011 was made into an HBO special.

Her music video, Alejandro, in 2010 stirred up religious controversy and condemnation that it is a sacrilege because the scenes in which the singer displays a cross and wears a red nun's habit alternate with scenes in which she engages in simulated sexual acts and suggestive poses and motions.

Is Caroline Kennedy's Husband Edwin Schlossberg Jewish?

Yes, Edwin Arthur Schlossberg is a Jew.

All four of Schlossberg's grandparents were Russian (Ukrainian) Jews born near Poltava and arrived in the United States at Ellis Island.

In 1986 Schlossberg married Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Hyannis Port when Caroline was 28 and Ed was 41.

Their afternoon wedding ceremony was held at the Church of Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, Massachusetts and did not include a mass.

How Jewish is Schlossberg? Nate Bloom refers to "American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy" by C. David Heymann as follows:
Heymann writes that Schlossberg was raised in a "devout Orthodox Jewish family" that belonged to a modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan. He attended Hebrew School and had a bar mitzvah ceremony.

2/4/17

Jews in Book Reviews - NY Times Book Review - 5 major reviews of books about Jews

I can't recall a Sunday NY Times book review with 5 of its major reviews about books concerning Jews. Daphne Merkin, Aharon Applefeld, and three more.



CREDITRUTU MODAN

NONFICTION

Diving Into Hell: A Powerful Memoir of Depression

In “This Close to Happy,” Daphne Merkin explains her struggles with depression with insight, grace and excruciating clarity.


NONFICTION

The Rise of Brooklyn, What’s Wrong and What’s Right

Kay Hymowitz’s “The New Brooklyn” looks at the transformation of Brooklyn over the last several decades and complicates our understanding of gentrification.
How David Became Goliath: The Secret of Israel’s Military Success

4 3 2 1 By Paul Auster 866 pp. Henry Holt & Company. $32.50. When Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life” was published in 2013, it felt like something new, a wildly inventive
January 31, 2017 - By TOM PERROTTA - Books - Print Headline: "Parallel Lives"


2/2/17

Shabbat Limo Riders and Shul Avoiders: My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Column in the Jewish Standard for February 2017

My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Column for February 2017: 
Shabbat Limo Riders and Day School Paying Shul Avoiders

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

I was brought up Orthodox and continue to represent myself as such. I married a woman who converted to Orthodox Judaism to marry me. Recently, my influential father-in-law invited me to an important high-profile gala dinner on a Friday night. I did go to the dinner with my wife, and we returned home in a limousine after sunset.

Before doing this, I asked my rabbi, and he said that because of the circumstances I was permitted to attend and to ride home. Still, a lot of Orthodox people have criticized me for going to the event and for taking the ride.

I want to know — did I act properly?

Shabbat Limo Rider in Livingston

Dear Limo Rider,

Yes, you acted properly. You respected your father-in-law. You respected the importance of your situation. You respectfully asked your rabbi. By having someone drive, you did not violate the direct Sabbath restrictions against performing forbidden labors.