23 February 2007

Hamapil, etc.

As I had mentioned before, I have been working on an article on ברכת המפיל (blessing before going to sleep). I finally finished up the first draft of it earlier this week. On Sunday, I hope to work on editing it a bit before the next editors meeting next week.

PS - I may still yet comment [perhaps on Sunday(?) or Monday (?)] on the Yated article - I've been holding off on it, not sleeping on it (pun intended).

shabbat shalom

19 February 2007


Saturday night, I went out with some friends bowling in Queens. I realized I hadn't bowled in years(!). This was sad as I grew up for many years bowling (although my father can correct me, but roughly before I started elementary school and stopping before high school (which is about eight, give or take)) in a weekly league. It was a regular part of my life (oh gosh, I sense a huge posting at some point on how baseball used to be part of my life and I miss it every spring, summer, and fall...) and for 10-11 years, it has been missing.
Anyways, I realized I hadn't bowled since I moved to New York(!) (I need to get out bowling...), which means that in least two and a half years, I hadn't bowled, but it's probably been 3-4 years.
So, I got about 133 in the first game, but then I shook off some of the rust and scored a 161.
I know I at least still have some bowling skills, but it'd be nice to retain it a little (now, if I can go back home and get my bowling ball...).

16 February 2007

Recent Commentator Article on YCT

A few weeks ago, an article came out in the Commentator on YCT (my school) entitled, "Who is YCT? A Look at Upper Manhattan's Other Orthodox Seminary", written by Zev Eleff. I was glad there was something written on it, the last article since Avi Robinson's of four years prior. So it was nice and there were also good little quotes sprinkled throughout. I saw two things in the article that I thought I may correct.
1) The article states, "Second year students study laws of family purity and mourning; the third year students focus on Sabbath and laws and the following year concentrates on kashrut." In truth, years 2-4 study these topics, but do so on a three-year cycle. For instance, I am studying נדה (menstrual impurity) this year, כשרות (kosher food) next year, and שבת (Sabbath) the following [and my last] year. Previously, the menstrual impurity section was done along with mourning, but it has now become part of our lifecycles curriculum.
2) The article states, "Only four students have left the school without graduating since its inaugural year." I do not know at how this figure was arrived. I can immediately think of at least a half-dozen students who have left the school in my two and half years there. Unless the number was arrived at by considering just the rabbinical students and not including the mechina/beit midrash students.
Just thought I'd set a couple of things straight. Shabbat shalom.

Gender-Neutral Bathrooms: What is the Halakhah?

Earlier this week, while I was at the Jewish Funds for Justice's Kehillot Kedoshot gathering, the men's bathroom that was in proximity to the epicenter of the conference (it was in our wing of the hotel) was converted to a gender-neutral bathroom. Now, the women's bathroom wasn't so far away, but I imagine that the conference went ahead with this measure because they thought that the women needed more stalls. Unfortunately, the next closest men's restroom was near the lobby, a couple minutes away.
While I was not sure whether I would personally be comfortable or not using the gender-neutral restroom, I figured it would not be an appropriate thing as an Orthodox rabbinical student to be doing. In fact, none of my fellow YCTers used it either. I think we figured that it was not צניעות (modest) to be doing so. I just had never before contemplated the halakhah about gender-neutral restrooms before, though it was interesting to encounter.

11 February 2007

In California

For the first time in my life, I'm currently in California. Actually, this is my first time further west of Kansas. For the next three days (today, Monday, and Tuesday), I will be participating in the Jewish Funds for Justice's second national gathering of synagogues, etc. For more, check out my new rabbinical student blog.

09 February 2007

Israel Pictures

I never finished up my blogging about my Israel trip, to my chagrin. Although I hope to mention some highlights, things I learned, etc. at some point, I just wanted to point out that I have uploaded my pictures from the trip.