Once More Unto the Tower Of Ensisheim

“The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity.” — Abraham Lincoln This can be a problem with dead tree media, too. A couple of day ago, on Tisha Be’Av, I read this passage in the Artscroll Kinos: From the seat of his rabbinate in Rottenburg, Maharam guided […]

Blessing the Fashioner Of Man In the House Of the Fashioner Of Man

I recently read several responsa on the bitterly controversial nineteenth century question of holding weddings in synagogues, including one that is probably the most famous treatment of the subject, by Hasam Sofer, and another rather less well know pair, by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. Much of their technical analysis revolves around the descriptions of traditional […]

Epigenetics and Race

אַל-תִּרְאוּנִי שֶׁאֲנִי שְׁחַרְחֹרֶת, שֶׁשְּׁזָפַתְנִי הַשָּׁמֶשׁ; בְּנֵי אִמִּי נִחֲרוּ-בִי, שָׂמֻנִי נֹטֵרָה אֶת-הַכְּרָמִים–כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי, לֹא נָטָרְתִּי.1 A friend recently showed me this passage by the Gaon: בהרת עזה נראית בגרמוני כהה, והכהה בכושי עזה. רבי ישמעאל אומר, בני ישראל, אני כפרתן, הרי הן כאשכרוע, לא שחורים ולא לבנים, אלא בינוניים.2 בגרמוני. זה איש מבני גומר כדאמרינן ביומא […]