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Halacha Is Not A One-Man Show

If you believe we need to change the normative view of Halacha, okay. But then bring other normative practitioners of Halacha along with you. This is how the Jewish community has always functioned, and it is how we can tell who is within the mainstream and who is not.

Unfortunately one person who is believed to be an Orthodox Jewish rabbi has diverged from this path.  What this rabbi says sounds great: You can be observant AND—use tap water for a mikvah, and chametz dishes on Pesach. You don’t need an eruv. Married women are not required to cover their hair. You can have a meat potluck with people who don’t necessarily keep kosher, because you should trust that they wouldn’t break your trust (Purim 2017). Pretty much any cheese, supervised or not, (with a few exceptions), should just be considered kosher, and vegan restaurants don’t require kosher supervision.

He issues halachic rulings that sound well reasoned and maybe they are.

But like they say about schemes to make a million dollars, if you’ve discovered the way, why hasn’t mainstream Orthodoxy saved themselves much trouble and followed you?
Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Creative Commons photo via Pixabay.

Judith Light in Transparent, & the Hidden Abuse of Jewish Women

Just finished Season 4, Ep. 8 where Shelly (Judith Light) tells her kids about the ongoing molestation she experienced at the hands of a beloved teacher when she was only 10 years old.

“I was only 10,” she practically whispers.

It is impossible to capture in words the expressions on her family’s faces as she reveals her “secret.”

Her ex-husband is transgender and almost completely obsessed with himself, and his long-held secret: “I thought you were talking about me.”

Her character in the show is 69 years old and she has to whisper this because it is so bad.

She went to the mental hospital twice; is it any wonder?

“I thought you went to Fresno,” says her daughter.

“There was this teacher, this Mr. Stenger, who said that he saw my talent. Or so I thought.”

We see a grinning teacher. He doesn’t “look” like a pedo.

“And then, when we were alone, the things happened. And I stopped eating.”


The pain of that scene is so vivid, my hands are shaking just writing this. 

It is impossible not to cry.

What might have been if Shelly Pfefferman had never been molested as a 10-year-old?

What is the hidden impact on her, her ex-husband, her children, her grandchildren?

If this is the plot of a popular TV show, what do we not know about our own beloved foremothers?

What justice is owed to them, and their descendants?

Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Photo of Judith Light via Wikipedia at 
This post is hereby released into the public domain. Watch the show free if you’re an Amazon Prome user.