Just another Rabbi…

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Just another Rabbi…

Just discovered: VaAni B'Sof HaMizrach, a relatively recent entry in the blogosphere authored by Avraham Bronstein, Assistant Rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue.

He "sub-titles" it:

"Just another Rabbi blogging from the Hamptons..."

...in the same way as OtBB's banner reads:

"Off the record, on the QT in WHB, and very hush-hush..."

...so I suspect that we have similar senses of humor with a wry nod to the absurd.

I don't believe I have met Rabbi Bronstein, though he and his wife (and Hampton Syna­gogue President Morris Mr. Tuchman) all used to Comment here until I drew an ironic com­parison between Rabbi Schneier's "Big Lie" tactics and those of Joseph Goebbels.

(Averring that he found such an "associa­tion ... shocking," Mr. Tuchman has de­clined to participate since then, and the Bronsteins haven't been around much either.)

Out of curiosity, I read back through Rabbi Bronstein's blog entries and found many of interest... and with apologies to Bill Bernbach, no, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy VaAni B'Sof HaMizrach

One item I found particularly informative was the July 6th audio recording of Rabbi Daniel Sperber's appearance at the Synagogue.

Rabbi Sperber, at the 0:51:26 mark fields a question from a woman in the audience about the tricky device in Jewish Orthodoxy known as a get, or "divorce document."

The timing of the question is interesting in that it comes 11 days following Rabbi Marc Schneier's own (fourth) marital woes were splashed across the New York tabloids.

It seems that this didn't occur to Rabbi Sperber until about 30 seconds into his response, then he paused, considered the potential volatility of the subject and plunged ahead, suggesting that a wife whose philandering husband was reluctant to grant her a get, be beaten until he changes his mind.

The matter is so ripe for snarky comment and ironic observation, I hardly know where to begin!

But a belated welcome to the blogosphere, Rabbi Bronstein.


1. Avraham Bronstein said...

Thanks for the welcome, though, to be fair, I should point out that my first blogging project began waaaay back in 2003, which was a long time ago. (For example, Donald Rumsfeld was Defense Secretary.)

I'm impressed that you listened to Sperber all the way to the 51 minute mark. You certainly heard him speak, then, about the importance of prayer, particularly congregational prayer, to Jews and Judaism. In fact, the point of his talk was to discuss his book which finds room within the Orthodox tradition for maximum involvement in a formal prayer service by the maximum number of people, women in particular. As you have noted several times on your blog, a great percentage of the congregation here at The Hampton Synagogue is not Orthodox, and we consider one of Rabbi Schneier's great achievements to be the creation of a space consistent with Orthodox tradition and practice and yet so open, welcoming, and inspiring for the entire Jewish community regardless of denomination or background. In fact, that is one of The Hampton Synagogue's most inspiring facets.

Rabbi Sperber paused before answering the question simply because it was unrelated to what he had been addressing for the past 45 minutes and needed to collect his thoughts before responding. There is practically nothing worse than a Jewish man who refuses to give his wife a get; it precludes her from remarrying and moving on with her life. Google "agunah" for more information. No need for snark or irony here, trust me.

I'm four years behind you in the blogosphere, so I have no direct knowledge of your initial efforts.

I am semi-familiar with the problems of obtaining a get through episodes of two popular TV series, "Law & Order" and "The Sopranos," to the extent that either fictionalized narratives have any basis in reality.

I'm also familiar with the multi-dimensions of Hampton Synagogue, dating back to the first public (multi-Board) hearing held by the Village in which certain representations were made, including one by Rabbi Schneier, in which he stated that there would be no parking requirement dimension to the Synagogue's application "because it is Orthodox and Orthodox don't drive on the Sabbath."

2. Seeker said...

If I may ride your commentary coattails, Dean… and by that comment by Rabbi Schneier and the subsequent outright lie it proved to be, was planted the seed of residents' resentment towards "the reb" and, by association, towards the Hampton Synagogue.

I think that was but one seed of the grown fruit... 20 years ago he thought nothing of giving Westhampton Beach a black eye when the Fire Marshal was discharging his responsibilities and citing him for operating an unsafe place of public assembly.

That's a blog entry which has been on the back-burner ever since the Wednesday Evening Eruv Educational Fiasco.

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