Avi Shafran

America's Not '1984' Yet — So Why Can't I Refuse To Back Gay Marriage?

If Avi Shafran were a bakery owner, he would refuse to make a wedding cake for two grooms. He says the Constitution enshrines his right to do so, even if most Americans think otherwise.

The Ritual: The Seder is a chance to instill in our children and grandchildren the realization that they are not mere independent individuals but rather parts of a people.

The Seder Is a Mother

Even though it’s often men who lead the Seder in traditional Jewish families, Avi Shafran believes that the Seder itself is maternal in its quality and purpose.

Shake Those Groggers: Ernest Normand’s 1888 painting, “Esther Denouncing Haman.”

Why Purim Is Holiday of Ironies

On Purim, we celebrate how a plan to kill Jews ended up with the death of the perpetrator. For Avi Shafran, the holiday demonstrates the beauty of irony.

Marketing Meyvintes: Rosie Kraus (right) and Chavy, who would allow use of only her first name, launched their careers as entrepreneurs after watching episodes of the reality TV show ‘Shark Tank’ on YouTube.

How Ultra-Orthodoxy Is Most Feminist Faith

Ultra-Orthodoxy is often criticized for its treatment of women. But Avi Shafran says it offers women more opportunities to work than men, who must study the Torah.

Orthodox Jews Aren't Trying To Kidnap Your Kids

After reading a mother’s appalling account of the rabbi who ‘turned’ her daughter against her, Avi Shafran explains what Orthodox outreach is really about.

The Heresy: The book that almost changed Avi Shafran’s mind.

When I Drifted Off the Path

Avi Shafran, a pious Orthodox Jew, remembers his own brush with doubting Judaism —  and what it took to get him believing again.

How Gil Steinlauf Chose 'Personal Torah' Over One True One

Gil Steinlauf says he has struggled with his sexual identity for 20 years. Avi Shafran says a respected rabbi should keep fighting to live a life consistent with the Torah.

Punk rock icon Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungeon.

A Punk Rocker, Tisha B'Av and Our Love of History

A punk rock musician taught Avi Shafran an unexpected lesson about Tisha B’Av. The rocker was bemused to hear that Jews still mourn the destruction of the temples.

Black Hats and Wigs Do Not an Orthodox Jew Make

Why do some Orthodox Jews do things that seem so un-Jewish? Avi Shafran has an answer — they go through the motions of ritual without embodying true belief.

Beseeching: Thousands of Jews gather for a mass prayer at the Kotel.

How Prayer Can #BringBackOurBoys

Critics say prayer won’t bring the in the three kidnapped Israeli boys home. But Avi Shafran turns to Jewish tradition — and declares that every plea to God makes a difference.