Sunday, May 1, 2011

This and That - UPDATED

Some miscellaneous follow-ups and notes:

1. Regarding the infamous Ami article, one reader described a Pesach Program that he attended in which the scholar-in-residence was one of those recommended by the Ami article as being part of the solution - but who is in fact part of the problem.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I just had a long phone conversation with the scholar under discussion, who was very upset and bewildered at the reader's account of what transpired. He flatly and vehemently denies every single part of the account. (I myself often find that people misrepresent me; sometimes deliberately, sometimes subconsciously, and this is sometimes even done by people who are close to me - and it is immensely frustrating.) The Ami article - which this speaker hated as much as the rest of us did - likewise did not accurately represent his work, and quoted him (also inaccurately) without his permission. I do know that while in the past this speaker was heavily involved in Discovery-style presentations, he has very much moved away from that approach in the last few years, for which he should be commended.

2. In my post Orthodoxy Vs. Maror, I described how some people would rather use horseradish and thus stick to tradition than use bitter lettuce and thus be yotzi lechol hadeyos. After further investigation, it seems that while there are many in England and America who use horseradish (and my post was prompted by learning of someone who avoided eating a kezayis as a result), in Israel lettuce is much more common.

3. My book Sacred Monsters has been out of print for a while, and I would like to republish it with a new publisher. So far I have a sponsor who is willing to fund the second half of the publication costs; if someone would like to help out with the first half, please be in touch. In addition, a Hebrew translation is nearly ready for publication.

4. I am currently planning a lecture tour in the US for late July/ August. If you are interested in having me visit your community as scholar-in-residence, please write to me at zoorabbi@zootorah.com

5. Menachem Kellner's important book Maimonides' Confrontation With Mysticism is finally available in paperback, at the much more reasonable price of $29.95. Highly recommended. There is also a new book by Herbert Davidson entitled Maimonides the Rationalist, but it is so far only available in hardcover at the rather high price of $64.50.

6. I have lots of posts in the works on all kinds of topics. So stay tuned! And don't forget that you can subscribe by email by using the form on the right.

12 comments:

  1. Garnel, your name in the comment above is linked to a misspelling of your website (blogPOT instead of blogSPOT) which leads to a Christian missionary site rather than to your blog!

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  2. In my experience, Australian charedim also use lettuce for maror as a matter of course, even the Hungarian charedim, who take minhag very seriously indeed, like those who don't eat fish on Pesach (because in Hungary they used to transport fish in alcohol).

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  3. FTR, as long as we're making rationalist book announcements, Seymour Feldman's Gersonides: Judaism Within the Limits of Reason has also been out for a bit.

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  4. Whoops!
    That's what I get for typing quickly in the middle of the night while running on coffee and oranges.
    Don't try it at home. Sadly, I'm a professional.

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  5. Readers: Please see the important update to the first part of this post.

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  6. [Dr. Lawrence Kaplan - thanks for your note in the previous post. I posed a responsive question there, which I would sincerely appreciate if you could answer. Thank you.]

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  7. "I just had a long phone conversation with the scholar under discussion, who was very upset and bewildered at the reader's account of what transpired. He flatly and vehemently denies every single part of the account. (I myself often find that people misrepresent me; sometimes deliberately, sometimes subconsciously, and this is sometimes even done by people who are close to me - and it is immensely frustrating.)"

    OTOH, the typical Orthodox rabbi who is quoted as saying something which will shock people because it is so liberal will typically deny it.

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  8. Hi Natan,

    Concerning maror: In Holland (where I originate from), the custom is to use chicory. I have always wondered why people used horseradish as it is sharp but not bitter and lettuce does not really taste bitter either.

    BTW: The book about the Rambam was reduced in price on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Maimonides-Rationalist-Herbert-Davidson/dp/1904113583/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304322087&sr=8-1

    (Still expensive, but...)

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  9. Did your post originally have the reader's account of what happened and you removed it? If so, shouldn't we be able to hear both sides of the story?

    Also, does Mysterious Creatures have a dragon pullout?

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  10. Did R' Mechanic give his side of the story or did he just deny Garnel's account. I'd like to know what he actually believes about the issues.
    I've heard a taping of him speaking in a Yeshiva in which he played on mockery of other religions and made very elementary arguments in favor of Judaism. Does he actually believe in his arguments or does he just cater to the crowd?
    Neal

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  11. As I noted on my blog, I am willing to stand by my recollection of events.

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