Louis Finkelman


In a Pickle: Giving a Full Sour Its Due

By Louis Finkelman

In a Pickle: Giving a Full Sour Its Due
Consumer Reports recently recruited a team of five expert tasters to sample 10 different brands of pickles. After three days of pickle chomping, the taste testers reached a conclusion: Only the Whole Foods house brand, 365 Everyday Value, earned the ranking of “excellent.” Trader Joe’s pickles came in second. Almost all of the other brands, including Vlasic, B & G, Claussen and Boar’s Head kosher dill spears, merited the rank of “very good.” One poor entry, the Ba-Tampte Kosher Dill Deli Spears pickle earned the sad rank of “good,” the lowest rank of the bunch.Read More


Beth Din of America Launches New Journal

By Louis Finkelman

Beth Din of America Launches New Journal
Standard halacha, or Jewish law, demands that Jews take their disputes to a court of Jewish law — a beit, or beth, din. It’s a hard sell in countries where Jewish courts have no power of enforcement and the secular courts seem fair. To get Jews to follow the policy in real life, rabbis have to convince them that their courts provide just and prompt resolutions to disputes. The recently produced first issue of The Journal of the Beth Din of America, published in collaboration with the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, seems a sophisticated effort to do just that.Read More


Why ‘Dialogue’ Journal Is One-Sided

By Louis Finkelman

Why ‘Dialogue’ Journal Is One-Sided
Anyone who starts publishing a journal must feel dissatisfied about something. The editors of “Dialogue: For Torah Issues and Ideas” seem to feel dissatisfied about you.Read More


Lord Byron and His Forgotten Hebrew Melodies

By Louis Finkelman

Lord Byron and His Forgotten Hebrew Melodies
Lord Byron was a celebrity before the word was invented. All over Europe, men saw his portrait, and wanted to look like him. Women — also a few men — saw him and wanted to make love to him; a surprising number succeeded. The details of his private life made good topics for public conversation. Unlike some modern celebrities, Byron was good at something: He wrote spectacular poems, still read, and loved, today.Read More






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    • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
    • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
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    • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
    • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
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    • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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