Talmud Party

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Jane Eisner, editor of The Jewish Daily Forward, talks about the celebration at the Meadowlands of all those who've read the Talmud, one page per day, over the last 2,711 days.


Jane Eisner

Comments [35]

Your Daddy


I never saw so many of the Synagogue of Satan in one place before. Was anybody passing out chickens for the freaks to spin over their heads? A more huge conglomeration of LOSER can not be found anywhere on Earth. I could have solved 90% of the world's problems by just locking the black-hatted refuse of humanity in the stadium and thrown away the key.

Jewry is a JOKE...and a bad one at that. Scum.

Sep. 01 2012 10:00 AM
Isaac from brooklyn

Come on you guys know,"A large curtain between a group of men and women" has nothing to do with segragation. It is simply so that men shouldn't have immoral thoughts about women especially at times of prayer when talking to g-d. It has nothing at all to do with treating women as second class citzens. We have full respect for women and do not consider them at all any less capable or different then men other then gender.

Aug. 07 2012 09:23 AM
Moshe from Queens

Edward from Washington Heights:
We already know what kind of sites Oscar got his tidbits from: Neo-Nazi and other anti-Semitic sites. This is the kind of stuff that gets David Duke all riled up. These misquotes have been debunked too many times to exert any effort to do so here. It's sad to see Nazi/KKK sympathizers here in New York.

Aug. 03 2012 12:37 PM
Sam F. from NJ

Brian - Very disappointing in your choice of guest. Why would you choose a journalist from a far-left secular publication to comment on this complex religious phenomenon? Surely there are thousands of more knowledgeable (and less biased) people who could enlighten the public. And spending so much time on the gender issue is a diversion from the amazing talmud phenom at hand, which was not really explained - seems there is a Brian Lehrer agenda imposed here?

Aug. 03 2012 08:00 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

oscar from new york,

Please provide links to the sites you quote from.

Let's see what kind of sites they are.

Aug. 03 2012 03:46 AM
lucy from Brooklyn

Hmm... just like the KKK I reject sexism, racism, and segregation. Way to turn the inside out and the outside in. I will now go get my pointy white hood on.

PS Those isms are no more acceptable to me because of Jewish culture than they are from Christian extremists. All religious extremists share the same values of hate, be they Christian, Jewish, Moslim or Hindi. Those are values of intolerance of those who are different. Why else do they find it necessary to imprison and kill the "other".

Aug. 02 2012 06:24 PM
oscar from ny

In the talmud i like.. 1)take the first female born cat of a first female born cat and make it into ashes...take a little of this ashes and put some in your eyes and you will see demons all around, there should be hundreds or more.. 2)take any ashes and scatterd them making a circle around your must maintain inside the circle...once your done circling ashes around your bed lay and go to the morning you will find that you can see somewhat of chicken foot prints made in the ashesss.. 3)something about the virgins and how if younger than 3 their hymen grows back if broken...supposed to be like touching an eyeball...(???)

Aug. 02 2012 04:39 PM
Phoebus from NJ

Brian, I love your show and am a daily listener, but as an Orthodox Jew, I have to say that this interview was something of a train wreck. Your guest is a journalist who confessed ignorance of the subject of her story. She neither conveyed accurately what the Talmud is, nor did she do justice to the discussion of its accessibility to women in traditnal communities. Frankly, your tone was so jocular that you did not really ask compelling questions; everything was tongue-in-cheek.

I understand that some practices can seem bizarre and some traditions anachronistic, but I always tune in to WNYC expecting some degree of journalistic integrity, and an objective, serious treatment of whatever the topic may be. Your guests should be experts on a given topic, whether it be climate change, politics or religion.

Please treat your listeners with the respect they deserve.

Thank you.

Aug. 02 2012 02:28 PM
Moshe from Queens

First, I must express my sorrow at some of the hateful comments posted here by ignorant people. If you don't understand a cultural tradition that is different than your own, please try to learn about it. Or don't. But please show respect. The separation of men and women at Orthodox Jewish religious ceremonies has nothing to do with female inferiority. Anyone who has studied Talmud or Kabbalah knows that women are considered to be on a higher spiritual plain than men. One of the most famous passages in the entire Talmud is: "it was due to the merit of the righteous WOMEN that the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt" (Sotah 11b). This is because the rabbis of the Talmud taught that the men were busy committing sexual crimes and worshiping idols while the women remained virtuous.

As for women studying the Talmud, I wish I was able to respond to this question. Brian and Jane: there is no debate about whether women are allowed to STUDY the Talmud. That is nonsense (so you can say it with a straight face, Brian :-)). The relevant passage (Sotah 21b) discusses whether women should be TAUGHT the Talmud. This is a non-issue when it comes to being taught the Bible or those parts of the Talmud that relate to ethical and moral principles. It is solely a question of instructing women in the LEGAL portions of the Talmud that are very intricate. The issue is essentially whether women are to be trained as jurists/decisors. Earlier authorities disapproved of this. Many today have sanctioned the teaching of even these legal portions to women. But in either case, women are free to study whatever they wish.

And the Talmud (Niddah 45b) teaches that God endowed women with superior understanding (binnah yeteirah) to that of men.

Aug. 02 2012 01:45 PM
Henry from Manhattan

@ Naomi

A large curtain between a group of men and women is segregation. That’s the appropriate word for it. Also, women aren’t supposed to educate themselves on their own religious doctrine and are presumed to be not worth educating at all in certain Jewish communities.

I understand the traditions behind the segregation. It’s perfectly reasonable to criticize such attitudes since this takes place within the boundaries of this country. I disagree with it. Sure I judge. Why shouldn’t I? There are religious people judging me for treating women as equal persons. My reasons for treating women like persons, is, wait for it, superior (yes, I said superior) to the reasons why religions continue to treat women as second-class persons.

• Because we always did it.
• Because God says so.
• Because society will presumably collapse and the world will end or something.

Are all bad reasons.

Religions and cultures are perfectly welcome to embrace their traditions, but if their entire premise is predicated on denying humanity to others within their own community, consider me an enemy to such oppressive regimes. However, I most religions and cultures can jettison such atavistic practices and preserve the important aspects of their beliefs and heritage just fine, so I will encourage them to do so.

Aug. 02 2012 12:52 PM
Henry from Manhattan

jgarbuz from Queens said:
“All of the major religions are PATRIARCHAL in nature, because radical feminism ultimately destroys ALL societies eventually. If you don't believe me, just wait long enough to see it.”

Patriarchal society deserves to be destroyed and replaced with a more rational, more compassionate, less oppressive, civilized alternative.

Aug. 02 2012 12:48 PM

These are very damaged women. They live in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance. They would learn more studying the Clark's doll experiments from the 60s (no one will forbid them to study these.) Or look at this Constantly being told you're unworthy is toxic, whatever the religion/"culture." Don't tell me hatred and intolerance should be respected anywhere.

Gaia is all you need. She's your real Parent and Sustainer, and unlike the guy with the white beard, she's real and you can touch her in true communion. And we're in the process of destroying our ability to live with her. Her Wrath is the only wrath anyone should be worried about. The Abrahamic faiths have caused the polluted disrespect toward our home, the Earth, because of their cult of nationhood and nationalism, which is still causing so many problems across the world. They deny and attack Nature and punish and oppress women because of our special appreciation of Her. Men are not stewards, as the arrogant ones would have you believe; they are guests, and guests deserve to be evicted when they abuse their welcome.

Aug. 02 2012 12:27 PM

lucy -- so don't buy hasidic fast food.

Aug. 02 2012 12:23 PM

Sad to read comments such as those posted by Lucy and Henry. Terms used are "sexism, homophobia and racism", or segregationists, suggesting that those commenting are open minded and accepting of all others, while the subjects at hand are anything but that. .
The reality is usually quite different. While it is true that people such as Brian and others actually make an attempt to understand their subjects from their inside world and perspectives (which is not always a goal that is attained), others such as Henry and Lucy are quick to judge and despise anyone that is part of a culture that is different than theirs.
Henry such make an attempt to get a more accurate picture of the so called "segregation" in the religious world. Lucy should pray to g-d to be cured of the reins of the liberal version of the KKK.

Aug. 02 2012 12:15 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

All of the major religions are PATRIARCHAL in nature, because radical feminism ultimately destroys ALL societies eventually. If you don't believe me, just wait long enough to see it.

Aug. 02 2012 12:02 PM
Ellen from New Jersy

As a Reform rabbi, I enjoyed today's segment on the Talmud and the Siyyum HaShas celebration at the Meadowlands last night. I was disappointed, though, with your choice of guest. I would have appreciated hearing from a Talmud scholar - maybe a professor from one of the liberal rabbinic seminaries in NYC, either the Hebrew Union College (Reform) or the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative)or the Academy for Jewish Religion (non-denominational, liberal).

Aug. 02 2012 12:02 PM
joe from NY

RL. I agree. It is disappointing reading the comments posted on this board. Unfortunately, it seems to have been hijacked by a few rubblerousers, who prefer to stir a pot of inflammatory and divisive comments, rather than focus on some of the beautiful thoughts that were covered on this topic.
I personally am an observant (I try) jew that was at the gathering last night. It was beautiful to hear the perspectives of the two women on this program. Kudos to Brian for a job well done.
In addition, I wanted to compliment the NJ state troopers, the security apparatus, and all of the employees that worked last night's event at the meadowlands. They showed an enormous level of professionalism, organization, kindness, and sensitivity.
Thank You!

Aug. 02 2012 11:59 AM
lucy from Brooklyn

Why is there never criticism and protests against the sexism, homophobia and racism displayed by the Orthodox and Hasidic Jews in New York City? The Orthodox have the same beliefs as the owner of Chick-Fil-A and give millions to support backward thinking politicians, causes and promote war. The gender segregation in the Moslim community is criticized but never the Jewish community. How about a show exploring their beliefs and donations.

Aug. 02 2012 11:57 AM
BG from NYC

@ jgarbuz: FWIW, Jews comprise 13% (not 20%) of NYC; scroll down to the chart just above the heading "Households."

Aug. 02 2012 11:54 AM
Henry from Manhattan

The segregation of women in the Jewish (orthodox) community makes me sad.

Ditto for any religion.

Aug. 02 2012 11:51 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

There is nothing in the Hebrew Bible that says "Don't Kill." The original Hebrew Bible says "lo Tirzakh" which means Don't MURDER. The English Christian translation is INCORRECT! It was changed on purpose by the Church to reduce gladiator killing and jousting for sport. There was too much killing for sport in Europe, so the Church Fathers changed it to "Thou Shalt not Kill." But that is now what the original says.

Aug. 02 2012 11:49 AM
Kressel from Monsey, NY

Several years ago, the women received their own round of applause at the siyum for our support of our husbands to go out and learn.

Regarding studying Talmud: Women don't make a lifetime commitment of study to it the way the men do, but we might learn a page or two as it comes up. My mother-in-law, whose husband is a rabbi in the Satmar community, has learned Talmud with her husband. We're also allowed to learn all the Aggadata in the Talmud - the stories and history, but we don't go in depth in the details of the law.

Aug. 02 2012 11:47 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To john

I'm awaiting with bated breath the first lesbian female Pope.

Aug. 02 2012 11:45 AM

As a non-jew I thought that this was going to be an interesting segment, and I might learn something. The comments here alone dispealed that thought. Sad.

Aug. 02 2012 11:44 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

I subbmit a challange to the 3 major religions who all believe in the old testement and the 10 commanments. Inspired by George Carlin and with me editing it down to 2
Dont kill anyone
Dont bear false whitness

Aug. 02 2012 11:43 AM
john from office

jgarbuz, I had the same thought. I will bet that she is also gay!

Thereby covering all bases!!

Aug. 02 2012 11:42 AM
Robert from NYC

Ooooooooh, Oscar this is where the cat ashes story belongs. It was posted in the wrong segment. Ok I got it now it makes sense here.

Aug. 02 2012 11:39 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Leave it to NPR and Brian to interview a WOMAN about the Talmud. Women aren't even supposed to study it. Remember Yentl? It's like interviewing female Catholic priests.

Aug. 02 2012 11:38 AM
john from office

To save time they should just do shows on gay jews, thereby covering 2/3 of all segments.

Aug. 02 2012 11:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To John

I agree. I would like to hear more about ancient Druids and Celtic culture. More about the Teutonic culture. More about Hinduism. More about Buddhism. Even more about Islam, and we certainly will when that segment of the population grows to 20% of New York's demographic, which probably isn't very far off.

I thing the biggest topic on NPR these days is about gays, and the LGBT community.

Aug. 02 2012 11:27 AM
john from office

I await the Voodoo/Santaria segment from Brian, they recently held a meeting in Jamaica Queens. They use Jamaica bay for rituals.

Que Viva Chango!

Aug. 02 2012 11:24 AM
john from office

I agree, I have huge respect for Jewish culture. Look at any Mexian Soap Opera, when the credits roll, lots of Jewish names. But, WNYC does have a bias, not positive or negative, but a bias to Jewish segments, books and issues. I think it is just the way it is, it is NYC.

Aug. 02 2012 11:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To john of office

If there had been no Jews, there would have been no Christians, and no Muslims either. For better or worse, the two major pillars of western tradition came out of Athens and Jerusalem. That's just a fact of history, for better or worse. And of course, Jews still do constitute 1/5th of New York City's overall demographic, it is hardly surprising if 1/5th of the time devoted to discussions on NPR are somehow related to Jews and Israel. I'd prefer it not to be so, but Jewz R' Newz. Nobody seems to want to write about Bulgaria or Slovenia. Slovenia is a beautiful and wonderful country, but doesn't make much news here. If one 1/5th were made up of Slovenes, maybe it would be different.

Aug. 02 2012 11:13 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

First of all, you don't READ Talmud; you STUDY it. Clearly Brian of National Palestine Radio is as clueless about Talmud as he is about videogames. That's the outcome of a liberal, left-wing, anti-Jewish education.

Talmud is mostly LAW. You don't read law books; you study the LOGIC of the cases you read about, and the logic behind the conclusions reached by the judge or the judges of the court ins that case. Talmud is not about "passages," although some of the more famous quotes from some rabbis, such as "One who saves a human life is as one who has saved the whole world" later came to be used even by other religious groups.

Aug. 02 2012 11:07 AM
john from office

As many others have noted on these boards, there is a heavy Jewish element to alot of the segments with Brian and Leonard. I know it is NYC and Jews are represented in media, on both sides of the mic or camara, but it is telling. Even in the earlier tax segment, it ended with a discussion of Jew and Israel.

WNYC, I am married to a Jew, so dont call me names, but there are other groups in the city. If this Talmud meeting were Christian, would you have had this segment??

Aug. 02 2012 11:06 AM

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