Menachem Mendel

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Archive for February, 2016

Sources for Mixed Seating on Public Transportation

The issue of mixed seating on public transportation is in the news again with a report of El Al being sued by a woman who was asked to change her seat in order to accommodate an Orthodox man who did not want to sit next to hear. I do not want to address this specific […]

Prioritizing Treatment of the Wounded-The Israeli Experience

A few months ago there was a lot of discussion in Israel about comments made by the Director General of Magen David Adom. Eli Bin said that When I see my enemy wounded I no longer treat him as a terrorist, but as a human being. He has surrendered; he no longer poses a threat, […]

Interview with Author of Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests

Jason Mokhtarian, the author of the recently published book Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran, was interviewed by the New Books Network about his book. He lays out a research program for Talmud studies that is contextual, rather than literary or exegetical. Analyzing references to Persians and Persian […]

The Oldest Kashrut Certificate

A Facebook group focused on the Cairo Genizah has posted what may be the oldest kashrut certificate. Here is the text: בשמך רחמנ(א) אודיע לרבותינו אשר בארץ מצרים ×›×™ בא יפת בר משולם שהוא מכת הקראים אשר בסמרתקה וקנה שלושים רטלין גבינין ממעשה הר זיתים, והם כשרים וטובים לקנות מהם הרבנים. ולא התרנו לקנות ממנו […]

Aramaic Radio Broadcasts from Israel

It turns out that Radio Reka, the division of Israel Radio whose broadcasts are in non-Hebrew languages and are geared towards immigrants has a daily broadcast in Aramaic. The programs can be found here. Most of the fifteen minutes is devoted to music.

Jeffrey Rubenstein Looks Back at his Work

At the Ancient Jew Review Jeffrey Rubenstein has written a reflection on his scholarship about stories in the Babylonian Talmud. For all the work of the past fifteen years, the study of Bavli stories is still in its infancy. I routinely receive emails asking if there is any scholarship on a certain story. Sometimes there […]

History of the Jewish Calendar

Moshe Benovitz has written a nice overview of the history of the Jewish lunisolar calendar. It is true that the ancient Egyptians, Persians and Romans had solar calendars of various types, but the lunisolar calendar was more prevalent: it was common to the Celts of Gaul, most of the ancient Greeks, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, […]

Finally a Reliable Book on the Laws of Shabbat in English

I am often asked by people to recommend a good book in English on Hilkhot Shabbat. There have been numerous books in English that have been written on Hilkhot Shabbat, but I never liked any of them enough to really feel comfortable recommending them to anyone. They either weren’t comprehensive enough, too strict, not very […]

Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum z”l

The scholar of Jewish law Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum z”l has passed away. It is difficult to summarize Prof. Kirschenbaum’s scholarly achievements, they range from popular booklets on studying Talmud to a massive tome on self-incrimination in the history of Jewish and Roman Law. A web site dedicated to his scholarship has begun to be built and […]

The Kotel Compromise: Good or Bad?

Much has been written and spoken about the “Kotel Compromise” both in favor and against. Two of the more interesting things that I heard were two interviews (Hebrew) with Israeli Orthodox women who have come down on different sides of the compromise, one in favor and one against. While the agreement is not without its […]

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