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Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah Content Editor at the Orthodox Union. He is the author of five books, including The Tzniyus Book. His latest work, The Taryag Companion, is available from OU Press as well as on Amazon.

Commentary: Who Do You Hate?

February 17, 2017, by

This past week, Alexander Rapaport, the director of Masbia soup kitchen, supported his Yemeni neighbors in protesting President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. In response, he lost donors, including one who wrote, “After seeing…that you protested President Trump’s executive order, and thus shamefully sided with those who are putting American lives

Commentary: Can We Dial Back the Hitler References?

February 9, 2017, by

There is a form of argument in logic called reductio ad absurdum (reduction to absurdity), which attempts to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous conclusion. A variation of this is called reductio ad Hitlerum (reduction to Hitler), which is the attempt to invalidate another’s argument on the basis that the

Just Be Nice

January 30, 2017, by

I have observed a recurring theme in my own writing. In past articles on this site, I have advised: That, if we arrive at shul and someone is sitting in our usual place (makom kavua), that we not say, “You’re in my seat,” but rather just sit close by. This is actually the halacha, plus

It’s Not Your Concern

January 24, 2017, by

The big news this past week was that Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, asked a rabbi about attending the inaugural balls on Shabbos and received a heter (dispensation) to accept a ride in a car. (They were willing to walk but there are serious safety concerns involved. Remember how Ivanka was accosted on

The Age of Miracles

January 18, 2017, by

Recently, I had occasion to quote the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Boxer,” which tells us that “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” The context was Israel’s antagonists, who justify lobbing missiles into Israel as the desperate act of an oppressed people but who criticize Israel’s self-defense efforts despite

Rabbi Shimon and Garfunkel on the UN Vote

January 11, 2017, by

Throughout the Talmudic tractate of Shabbos, there is an ongoing debate between Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Yehuda regarding what’s called a davar sheino miskaven – something unintentional – with Rabbi Shimon considering such actions permissible on Shabbos and Rabbi Yehuda considering them prohibited. The prototypical example is found on page 29b. There is a Biblical

Midrashim: Don’t Be So Literal

January 3, 2017, by

I have observed a phenomenon among a large number of people who were raised Orthodox but became disenchanted (popularly known as “off-the-derech” or OTD). Many of them have a particular axe to grind: they complain about midrashim, which they find to be childish and simplistic. Now, I’m not suggesting that midrashim drove them away from

Why “Social Justice Warriors” Don’t Care About Israel or Jews

December 27, 2016, by

It’s gratifying that our society has become more open and tolerant. Whether it comes to race, religion, sexual preference or gender identity, there is an expectation of acceptance and accommodation the likes of which has never before existed. What’s frustrating, however, is the one glaring exception: Jews in general and Israel in particular. We get

Pants on Fire: The Occasional Liar is an Anomaly

December 21, 2016, by

On December 1, 18-year-old Baruch College student Yasmin Seweid reported that she had been attacked by a group of drunken men who chanted “Donald Trump,” called her a terrorist and tried to rip off her hijab. She further claimed that no one in the crowded subway car where the attack allegedly occurred came to her

Defending Black Santa

December 5, 2016, by

This year, the Mall of America announced their first black Santa. Most people are okay with this – quite pleased, actually! – but there is a very vocal minority that has a problem with this. And yes, it’s racially-based. “Santa is white!” they scream. Some of them insist they’re not racist, they just want to

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