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Efrat, Israel - Rabbi: Kagan Showed Great Wisdom In Her Youth

Published on: June 29, 2010 09:02 AM
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Rabbi Shlomo RiskinRabbi Shlomo Riskin

Efrat, Israel - As Senate confirmation hearings began Monday for US Solicitor- General Elena Kagan’s appointment to America’s Supreme Court, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin recalled teaching the 12-year-old Kagan.

Riskin is the chief rabbi of Efrat, but made aliya in 1983 from Manhattan’s West Side, where he was the rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue.

At the time, Riskin was teaching for the synagogue’s Feldman Hebrew School, where Kagan was a student. During a class there, he began explaining to his students that when a Jewish boy turns 12 he is considered to have begun his journey to adulthood and achieved maturity, and would then prepare for his bar mitzva. At the time, there was no similar ceremony for an Orthodox girl’s bat mitzva.

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This didn’t satisfy Kagan. Riskin said she wanted to be able to read from the Torah in the sanctuary on Shabbat morning. Riskin explained to her that because the Lincoln Square Synagogue was Orthodox, this would not be possible, (as was previously reported here on VIN News).

However, an arrangement was worked out and Kagan was able to have her bat mitzva on Friday evening May 18, 1973, in the sanctuary. After the evening service, she was able read the Book of Ruth.

“She raised my consciousness about having a celebration for a woman achieving her age of responsibility, and I was also very impressed. Although I didn’t go as far as she would have liked me to go, I respected the fact that she was very respectful of my response and she went ahead with great elegance, charm, grace, and success,” Riskin told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Riskin also imparted another story that he said conveyed Kagan’s character.

One Shabbat, a young man had finished leading the services for his bar mitzva. Riskin was passing through on his way to a classroom when he heard a soft crying from the now darkened sanctuary.

Approaching the young man who was crying (it was the boy who had just had his bar mitzva), he began consoling him.

The young man revealed that his two grandmothers had been arguing in front of him about who he should be sitting with at the luncheon, making him feel caught in the middle.

Riskin took the boy out to the luncheon and Kagan approached the boy. Realizing it was a difficult time for him, she invited him to sit next to her during the luncheon instead, settling the matter and giving the young man a positive experience at his bar mitzva.

“She showed great wisdom and sensitivity,” Riskin said. ”She certainly has only grown with the years. Wisdom of the mind and wisdom of the heart – those are the two most important things that a justice of a Supreme Court requires.”

As for Kagan’s confirmation hearings in the Senate, Riskin said, “I have very good reason to believe it’s going to go well.”


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Read Comments (71)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:08 AM Anonymous Says:

No question that Elena Kagan is a warm caring brilliant person. Everybody has an opinion on whether she'll be good for yidden or not. But in the end, only Hashem knows for sure. We can only have bitochon in Hashem and hope that she'll be good.

2

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:12 AM Anonymous Says:

What was her reason for questioning the Orthodox tradition?

3

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Interesting. I wonder if she does anything yiddish now.

4

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:15 AM Anonymous Says:

some times even rabbi's should be quite he has not seen her and has no knoweldge of her sincew 1983 and he is defending this thing.

5

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:17 AM Anonymous Says:

An endorsement of Kagan from a gadol such as Rav Riskin should itself be sufficient reassurance to those on the Judiciary Committee to vote for her confirmation.

6

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:25 AM Anonymous Says:

like rush would say feminazi

7

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:26 AM Anonymous Says:

Another tinuk shenishba and another sad rabbi, what else is new? Can we move on now? Can we stick to politics now? She is a firey liberal

8

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:28 AM Anonymous Says:

Marx and Lenin probably also had wisdom.

9

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:31 AM Dov Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

An endorsement of Kagan from a gadol such as Rav Riskin should itself be sufficient reassurance to those on the Judiciary Committee to vote for her confirmation.

No time for humor now. It's a fast day.

10

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

What was her reason for questioning the Orthodox tradition?

Her family wasn't religious, they just went to that shul.

11

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

like rush would say feminazi

I'll take Rav Riskin anytime over a racist and druggie like "Rush"

12

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

she will try to turn the supre,e court on it's head. She has made her intentions very clear

13

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Dov Says:

No time for humor now. It's a fast day.

Threre is no issur on poltical humor on yom tzon...pls don't paskin for the rest of us...

14

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:46 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

What was her reason for questioning the Orthodox tradition?

Because questioning, rather than blind faith, is encouraged in Judaism. One cannot learn without asking questions.

15

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:47 AM clear thinker Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Marx and Lenin probably also had wisdom.

It is ashame that one cannot say the same about you.

16

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:48 AM Anonymous Says:

as the former chief rabbi of our community said..
"its a risk to have Riskin in our Community"

he "made Aliyah" because he was thrown out!!!!

17

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:48 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

What was her reason for questioning the Orthodox tradition?

She was 12 years old, from a non-observant family!

Are you going to tell me that nobody as a pre-teen ever questions our tradition? Or are you such an authoritarian that you would forbid any hashkafic or halachic question, ever? Attitudes like that will drive more and more people away from Rabbinic Judaism.

18

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:49 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Another tinuk shenishba and another sad rabbi, what else is new? Can we move on now? Can we stick to politics now? She is a firey liberal

Actually she isn't very fiery and a lot of folks on the Left are questioning her appointment as a result.

19

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:49 AM Anonymous Says:

What does being nice have to do with anything. She is a far left liberal who like obama (not as bad, obama way worst) is anti military, pro abortion, gay marriage. She should not be conformed

20

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:50 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Another tinuk shenishba and another sad rabbi, what else is new? Can we move on now? Can we stick to politics now? She is a firey liberal

I wonder if the experience of working with Ms. Kagan may have stimulated Rabbi Riskin to develop women's tefillah groups?

21

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:52 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

An endorsement of Kagan from a gadol such as Rav Riskin should itself be sufficient reassurance to those on the Judiciary Committee to vote for her confirmation.

Are you kidding me, "a gadol". He has always been left of left when it came to Torah and Yiddishkeit. She unfortunately will be confirmed because the Senate has a majority of lefties and she will become part of the Breyer - Ginsburg - Kagan Chilul Hashem Troika. It is truly a shame that such individuals represent Judaism to the world.

22

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

like rush would say feminazi

We know what rush would say. Any opinions of your own? Or do you just preach whatever you hear on the radio from your "conservative" idols?

24

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:16 AM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

What was her reason for questioning the Orthodox tradition?

A (prospective) Supreme Court Justice is supposed to question the petitioners. She started early. Rabbi Riskin is a true Orthodox Rabbi. But I'm surprised that the members of Lincoln Square Synagogue do not celebrate Bas Mitzvah.

25

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:19 AM Anonymous Says:

She is a (active) supporter of infanticide/murdering baby's anti-military (not anti war) supported closing a military recruiting center on campus compared the nra to the kkk...

26

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:21 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Are you kidding me, "a gadol". He has always been left of left when it came to Torah and Yiddishkeit. She unfortunately will be confirmed because the Senate has a majority of lefties and she will become part of the Breyer - Ginsburg - Kagan Chilul Hashem Troika. It is truly a shame that such individuals represent Judaism to the world.

You are so right. Let us hope that the world will realize we have luminaries such as Harav Krunski et.al

27

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM Chaim Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

as the former chief rabbi of our community said..
"its a risk to have Riskin in our Community"

he "made Aliyah" because he was thrown out!!!!

Totally untrue - he was respected and loved in US and still is.

28

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Are you kidding me, "a gadol". He has always been left of left when it came to Torah and Yiddishkeit. She unfortunately will be confirmed because the Senate has a majority of lefties and she will become part of the Breyer - Ginsburg - Kagan Chilul Hashem Troika. It is truly a shame that such individuals represent Judaism to the world.

Breyer and Ginsburg are terrific Supreme Court Justices. I'll bet you have never even read the majority of their opinions. As far as representing Judaism to the world, only a very few Americans (let alone people in other countries) can even name more than a handful of Supreme Court justices. I would be surprized if more than 5% of Americans know who Breyer is and of that 5%, probably only 10% know he is Jewish. I, for one, would be happy to have people know that. I'm not including Justice Ginsburg in my remarks only because I suspect that more people know here because she is a woman and her name, unlike Breyer's, is more obviously Jewish. She is a smart, dignified, hard working lady who just lost her beloved husband so I request you show some respect.

29

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:35 AM Ledageher Says:

shame on you...he is a rabbi...show him the respect he deserves (and her two).

30

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM Aron Says:

Lincoln Square Synagogue is actually an offshoot from a Conservative congregation in the early 1960's. Many of its congregants, especially in the "early days", were not Orthodox.

31

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:42 AM kim Says:

the question is, how is r riskin going to modernize our religion in a few years when the modernized orthadoxy of today is no longer modern?

32

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Are you kidding me, "a gadol". He has always been left of left when it came to Torah and Yiddishkeit. She unfortunately will be confirmed because the Senate has a majority of lefties and she will become part of the Breyer - Ginsburg - Kagan Chilul Hashem Troika. It is truly a shame that such individuals represent Judaism to the world.

Isn't America wonderful and the golden medinah!! Where else could a hateful yid such as yourself get to publicly display his/her ignorance of the achievements and respect most of us have for several of the most chashuve and ehrlich yidden in the world today.

33

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

I think Americans have a right to know whether this lady is "straight", since there are those of us who would hold that her private life does indeed reflect on her professional life. Personally I would never want to support placing a Supreme Court Judge who was not straight--that would override any positive attributes. There was some attempt at discussion about this immediately after the nomination, then quickly suppressed in the media.

34

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

wasnt rabbi riskin the one that in december said his rabbi is jesus?

35

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Rabii Riskin has always pushed the envelope. I don't think most prominent Rabbi's need a 12year old girl to raise their conscioussness. His remarks add nothing new. They sound like self-promotion.

36

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:09 AM Anonymous Says:

In the meantime 850 Rabbis, have come out against Kagan, saying she is a misfit (KOSHER) for the Supreme Court.
When your own people realize what, who, and how you are, it is time to sit back and reflect with great trepidation.
She is a pawn of the messiah's, and reflects his left socialist leanings.

37

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:16 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #30  
Aron Says:

Lincoln Square Synagogue is actually an offshoot from a Conservative congregation in the early 1960's. Many of its congregants, especially in the "early days", were not Orthodox.

And it was Rabbi Riskin who made them orthodox, at a time when more and more congregations were going in the other direction. How many charedi rabbis managed that kind of accomplishment in the 1960s?

38

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:17 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #30  
Aron Says:

Lincoln Square Synagogue is actually an offshoot from a Conservative congregation in the early 1960's. Many of its congregants, especially in the "early days", were not Orthodox.

The comments trashing Rabbi Riskin are a reminder on this day of 17 Tammuz why the temple was destroyed.

39

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:19 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

What does being nice have to do with anything. She is a far left liberal who like obama (not as bad, obama way worst) is anti military, pro abortion, gay marriage. She should not be conformed

This shows that Kagan's opponents are not willing to stick to facts but have to resort to lies in opposing her. She in fact stated in direct response to a question by a Republican Senator that there is no constitutional right to same sex marriage.

40

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

She is a (active) supporter of infanticide/murdering baby's anti-military (not anti war) supported closing a military recruiting center on campus compared the nra to the kkk...

Her positions on abortion (assuring right to protect life of mother etc,) are consistent with the mainstream view of Americans....at Harvard, she simply maintained an existing policy which most students and faculty supported. As to the NRA, they are probably responsible for the deaths of more Americans than the KKK through their opposition to common sense regulation of automatic weapons

41

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Interesting. I wonder if she does anything yiddish now.

If she sees the comments in this forum, she certainly will lose whatever interest she might have had.

42

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:22 AM Postmodern Judaism Says:

Reply to #31  
kim Says:

the question is, how is r riskin going to modernize our religion in a few years when the modernized orthadoxy of today is no longer modern?

He will ask modern women that have names like Kim but cannot spell the word "orthodoxy" to switch to modernized Hebrew names such as "Schprintze".

43

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:45 AM Aron Says:

Reply to #38  
Charlie Hall Says:

The comments trashing Rabbi Riskin are a reminder on this day of 17 Tammuz why the temple was destroyed.

Charlie, I believe you misdirected your comment. I never mentioned Rabbi Riskin in my comment. I just pointed out Lincoln Square's early history so as to put into perspective the religious affiliation of Ms. Kagan and her family.
BTW, while it is true that Rabbi Riskin raised the level of religiousity of Lincoln Square, it was it's early congregants that hired him out of Yeshiva University. I believe he even asked a "shailah" if he can take the job, in light of their Conservative background.

44

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:48 AM Alan Says:

The "true lie" in the Supreme Court nomination process is the statements by both left and right that they want a neutral Justice. They want no such thing: all want a judge that mirrors their own perceptions.

45

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

I think Americans have a right to know whether this lady is "straight", since there are those of us who would hold that her private life does indeed reflect on her professional life. Personally I would never want to support placing a Supreme Court Judge who was not straight--that would override any positive attributes. There was some attempt at discussion about this immediately after the nomination, then quickly suppressed in the media.

What business is it of your, may I ask, to inquire about Solicitor General Kagan's sexual orientation? Where is it written that a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has to be straight? For your information, the individual who saved President Ford's life in 1975 (he grabbed the gun as Sara Jane Moore fired), was a non-straight Vietnam Vet.

46

 Jun 29, 2010 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Are you kidding me, "a gadol". He has always been left of left when it came to Torah and Yiddishkeit. She unfortunately will be confirmed because the Senate has a majority of lefties and she will become part of the Breyer - Ginsburg - Kagan Chilul Hashem Troika. It is truly a shame that such individuals represent Judaism to the world.

#21 - You got it. This 'rabbi'(?) is also now involved with the JforJ & other missionaries in Israel. These are important facts for the Jewish public to be aware of.

47

 Jun 29, 2010 at 12:17 PM Anonymous Says:

She was a nice 12-year old girl! She may be nice now to someone who is crying over a dysfunctional family!

Actually, she told him to ditch his grandmothers and do something which made himself happy... It may have been a good specific choice, but it's not a great life value!

And this has exactly what to do with being a Supreme Court judge?

48

 Jun 29, 2010 at 12:23 PM baruch Says:

Since departing our shores Riskin has regularly taken the wrong side on matters of critical importance to the Jewish people. Case in point: he favored the Oslo accords and all the subsequent capitulation that has lead us to the brink of destruction. Hashem yishmoreinu. He is wrong on this matter as well. Elena Kagan genuflects exclusively at the altar of the dominant religious philosophy of the ruling elite, relativistic secular humanism, and we should expect nothing else of her when she ascends to the pinnacle of judicial power. Uch und vey.

49

 Jun 29, 2010 at 12:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

No question that Elena Kagan is a warm caring brilliant person. Everybody has an opinion on whether she'll be good for yidden or not. But in the end, only Hashem knows for sure. We can only have bitochon in Hashem and hope that she'll be good.

It is not a matter whether it is good for the yidden or not. What matters if it is good for the country. A healthy, strong and constitutionally sound United States is good for the yidden.

50

 Jun 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

I think Americans have a right to know whether this lady is "straight", since there are those of us who would hold that her private life does indeed reflect on her professional life. Personally I would never want to support placing a Supreme Court Judge who was not straight--that would override any positive attributes. There was some attempt at discussion about this immediately after the nomination, then quickly suppressed in the media.

There are studies showing that people who raise this kind of issue on "orientation", especially those like you who do so anonymously, are frequently themselves challenged in tjhis regard. Best wishes are discovering you OWN identity.

51

 Jun 29, 2010 at 01:00 PM Ephraim Says:

"Case in point: he favored the Oslo accords"

The first time I heard of Rabbi Riskin was a news report in which he was arrested during a demonstration against Oslo. It's well know, that R ' Riskin is right-wing politically and left-wing religiously. The latter may be highly inappropriate for your typical shul in Brooklyn

"He is wrong on this matter as well."
He can't possibly be wrong, since he didn't take a position. He said some nice things about, pretty much generic praise. He said nothing about her professional capabilities, nor did he make any reference to her politics. Nothing he said can be construed as an endorsement.
In any case, how appropriate would it be for a rabbi, and one residing outside the US, to make such judgments on purely domestic matters?

52

 Jun 29, 2010 at 01:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

I think Americans have a right to know whether this lady is "straight", since there are those of us who would hold that her private life does indeed reflect on her professional life. Personally I would never want to support placing a Supreme Court Judge who was not straight--that would override any positive attributes. There was some attempt at discussion about this immediately after the nomination, then quickly suppressed in the media.

I'm sure you also wanted to know if Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Roberts were "straight" before they were approved. I'm sure you understand that marital status has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation.

53

 Jun 29, 2010 at 01:40 PM jimmy37 Says:

WHO CARES?? What Kagan thinks now and might do in the future is what concerns me. Liberal ideologues need not apply for judgeships.

54

 Jun 29, 2010 at 02:04 PM hear nur Says:

Reply to #45  
Anonymous Says:

What business is it of your, may I ask, to inquire about Solicitor General Kagan's sexual orientation? Where is it written that a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has to be straight? For your information, the individual who saved President Ford's life in 1975 (he grabbed the gun as Sara Jane Moore fired), was a non-straight Vietnam Vet.

Excuse me, that blogger has every right to be concerned about the downgrading of traditional values which are the key to a stable and sane society. The vast immorality rampant in America that is effecting those who should be the role models for the nation are turning out to be indecent, dececadent, immoral non-elites that have no values to impart to the nation's youth. Don't you think that politicians should be more than blabbering creatures that don't have honorable souls?

55

 Jun 29, 2010 at 02:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Charlie Hall Says:

I wonder if the experience of working with Ms. Kagan may have stimulated Rabbi Riskin to develop women's tefillah groups?

Not unlike Rabbi Avi Weiss with Sara Hurwitz .

56

 Jun 29, 2010 at 02:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #41  
Charlie Hall Says:

If she sees the comments in this forum, she certainly will lose whatever interest she might have had.

Soon she reads yours ,she'll relent .

57

 Jun 29, 2010 at 02:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Ephraim Says:

"Case in point: he favored the Oslo accords"

The first time I heard of Rabbi Riskin was a news report in which he was arrested during a demonstration against Oslo. It's well know, that R ' Riskin is right-wing politically and left-wing religiously. The latter may be highly inappropriate for your typical shul in Brooklyn

"He is wrong on this matter as well."
He can't possibly be wrong, since he didn't take a position. He said some nice things about, pretty much generic praise. He said nothing about her professional capabilities, nor did he make any reference to her politics. Nothing he said can be construed as an endorsement.
In any case, how appropriate would it be for a rabbi, and one residing outside the US, to make such judgments on purely domestic matters?

Not quite. For a man who claimed that he always consulted with the Lubavitcher Rebbe when facing a major decision, he was blithely forgetful regarding the policy of trading land for peace. True when terror struck home he began to "wise-up" much like most former liberals but we don't hear much from him these days when we are in desperate need of leadership. Yet silent Shlomo finds his voice for dear, sweet Elena.
Winston Churchill once remarked that if Hitler invaded hell, "I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." Churchill I understand but what seems to escape you is Riskin's purpose in publicly releasing his recorded comments attesting to the intelligence, courage, wisdom and kindness of a nominee to the Supreme Court. Why didn't he also comment on the narcissism, repressed anger and identify confusion. Elena Kagan for social worker, maybe, for Justice of the Supreme Court - G-d help this nation regain its footing and may Rabbi Riskin stop publicly opening his mouth only when he decides to put a foot in it.

58

 Jun 29, 2010 at 02:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #50  
Anonymous Says:

There are studies showing that people who raise this kind of issue on "orientation", especially those like you who do so anonymously, are frequently themselves challenged in tjhis regard. Best wishes are discovering you OWN identity.

Where is written ?

59

 Jun 29, 2010 at 03:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #54  
hear nur Says:

Excuse me, that blogger has every right to be concerned about the downgrading of traditional values which are the key to a stable and sane society. The vast immorality rampant in America that is effecting those who should be the role models for the nation are turning out to be indecent, dececadent, immoral non-elites that have no values to impart to the nation's youth. Don't you think that politicians should be more than blabbering creatures that don't have honorable souls?

As long as Solicitor General Kagan (soon to be Associate Justice Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court), preserves, protects, and defends the Constitution of the United States, what she does in the privacy of her home, is none of my concern, nor should it be any of your business! Case closed!

60

 Jun 29, 2010 at 04:28 PM baruch Says:

This most specious and sophomoric of arguments barely deserves rebuttal were it not that others might fall for it. First, what a person does in the privacy of his home tells us much about that person and often much more than the public persona. Second, if your logic held any water then it follows that if someone mixes volatile and toxic chemicals in his basement, his neighbors needn't be concerned as it is none of their business. As far as her personal proclivities are concerned I really wouldn't care less, that is until she seeks to assume a position where she is allowed to decide how I should lead my life. Then it is without question my "damn" business.

61

 Jun 29, 2010 at 05:47 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

I think Americans have a right to know whether this lady is "straight", since there are those of us who would hold that her private life does indeed reflect on her professional life. Personally I would never want to support placing a Supreme Court Judge who was not straight--that would override any positive attributes. There was some attempt at discussion about this immediately after the nomination, then quickly suppressed in the media.

If she keeps her private life to herself -- and she seems to -- then it is none of my business. Nor yours.

In any case it would be a much bigger deal that she is not shomer Shabat. But the only shomer Shabat Jew ever to have had a realistic shot at a Supreme Court appointment was Joe Lieberman, and some of the very same rabbis objecting to Kagan embarrassed themselves by trying to put him in cherem.

62

 Jun 29, 2010 at 05:53 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #54  
hear nur Says:

Excuse me, that blogger has every right to be concerned about the downgrading of traditional values which are the key to a stable and sane society. The vast immorality rampant in America that is effecting those who should be the role models for the nation are turning out to be indecent, dececadent, immoral non-elites that have no values to impart to the nation's youth. Don't you think that politicians should be more than blabbering creatures that don't have honorable souls?

True. I objected to Scott Brown having credited his posing nude for a magazine with jump-starting his career and even more to his publicly saying that he wouldn't mind if his daughter did the same thing. But Sen. Brown is a Republican and apparently Republicans don't have to adhere to the same standards. More proof of this is that Sen. David Vitter is about to get re-elected, and that Gov. Mark Sanford, Gov. Jim Gibbons, and Sen. John Ensign are still in office. Govs. Spitzer and McGreevey at lest had the dignity to resign. Kagan has never been accused of anything like those improprieties and keeps whatever personal life she has to herself.

63

 Jun 29, 2010 at 07:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Charlie Hall Says:

Actually she isn't very fiery and a lot of folks on the Left are questioning her appointment as a result.

When she was in the Office of Counsel to President Clinton, she wrote a Memo to him advising him to veto a bill which would have outlawed late term abortions. Worse than that, she had received medical documentation showing the brutal nature of late term abortions and how babies who are aborted at this stahge feel pain. She deliberately withheld those documents from President Clinton and did not mention them in her Memo. Not a fiery liberal? She was willing to allow children to suffer as long as her ideological commitment to "choice" was satisfied. Sad, but true.

64

 Jun 29, 2010 at 07:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

Breyer and Ginsburg are terrific Supreme Court Justices. I'll bet you have never even read the majority of their opinions. As far as representing Judaism to the world, only a very few Americans (let alone people in other countries) can even name more than a handful of Supreme Court justices. I would be surprized if more than 5% of Americans know who Breyer is and of that 5%, probably only 10% know he is Jewish. I, for one, would be happy to have people know that. I'm not including Justice Ginsburg in my remarks only because I suspect that more people know here because she is a woman and her name, unlike Breyer's, is more obviously Jewish. She is a smart, dignified, hard working lady who just lost her beloved husband so I request you show some respect.

I have read all of their opinions (I am a lawyer). Whenever a case involves an issue which divides liberals and conservatives, they always toe the liberal ideology line irrespective of the facts. They are not thinkers, they just blindly follow the liberal ideological line. This is also true of the conservatives on the Court. Neither side will look at reality, but only at ideology. Neither Breyer nor Ginsberg nor Roberts nor Alito show any common sense. Scalia shows common sense as does Kennedy.

65

 Jun 29, 2010 at 08:17 PM hear nur Says:

Reply to #62  
Charlie Hall Says:

True. I objected to Scott Brown having credited his posing nude for a magazine with jump-starting his career and even more to his publicly saying that he wouldn't mind if his daughter did the same thing. But Sen. Brown is a Republican and apparently Republicans don't have to adhere to the same standards. More proof of this is that Sen. David Vitter is about to get re-elected, and that Gov. Mark Sanford, Gov. Jim Gibbons, and Sen. John Ensign are still in office. Govs. Spitzer and McGreevey at lest had the dignity to resign. Kagan has never been accused of anything like those improprieties and keeps whatever personal life she has to herself.

Truthfully, I couldn't care less which party an offensive politician is in. If what you are saying about Sen. Brown is true, then we are on the way of becoming a weak nation as a strong nation rests on strong moral foundations (unless they resort to brutality to keep rebellion in check). This liberalism will put and end to a strong America.
In fact I see a steady incline of Muslim emergence, another offshoot of liberal acceptance of our enemy, and couple this with liberal acceptance of immorality, give it another fifty years or so (hopefully Moshiach will be here by then) and America will collapse.

66

 Jun 29, 2010 at 08:43 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #30  
Aron Says:

Lincoln Square Synagogue is actually an offshoot from a Conservative congregation in the early 1960's. Many of its congregants, especially in the "early days", were not Orthodox.

But in the latter days?! Are they Orthodox?! Do they adhere to Halacha?! That's what counts. What they're a shoot-off, or an offshoot doesn't count. Neither does, what they were in the early days. Some of our ancient relatives were pagans and cannibals. Does it matter today?! It only matters when it comes to Shidduchim! If we don't know what nursery program your great grandfather attended, the shidduch can't go forward.

67

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:01 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #62  
Charlie Hall Says:

True. I objected to Scott Brown having credited his posing nude for a magazine with jump-starting his career and even more to his publicly saying that he wouldn't mind if his daughter did the same thing. But Sen. Brown is a Republican and apparently Republicans don't have to adhere to the same standards. More proof of this is that Sen. David Vitter is about to get re-elected, and that Gov. Mark Sanford, Gov. Jim Gibbons, and Sen. John Ensign are still in office. Govs. Spitzer and McGreevey at lest had the dignity to resign. Kagan has never been accused of anything like those improprieties and keeps whatever personal life she has to herself.

The private lives of some of the staunchest conservatives are vastly different than what they preach or legislate. Including the late President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. Also, the Honorary Supreme Court Justice (I'm dreaming as if she's already confirmed.) Kagan's personal lifestyle is no news, either. Ultimately. The US Supreme Court will, unfortunately look like the Israeli Supreme Court, (As Justice Robert Bork has warned.) Where they destroy the last vestige of morality and decency. And they uphold the rights of every skewed group and faction to express their perversions in public. If someone says a word against it, they are incarcerated. Terrorists, who openly declare their intentions to commit murder and mayhem have their rights upheld. As an example. The reopening of Route 443 for west bank arabic residents. Against the unanimous (a/o anonymous) advice of all the security experts.

68

 Jun 29, 2010 at 09:10 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #50  
Anonymous Says:

There are studies showing that people who raise this kind of issue on "orientation", especially those like you who do so anonymously, are frequently themselves challenged in tjhis regard. Best wishes are discovering you OWN identity.

I agree with you on that. (The possible, anonymous, obsessed inquiry about someone's orientation as a requirement for the job.) But the larger question remains. Whether she can separate her persona and judge objectively on laws that would affect Millions of lives. Otherwise, the --- orientation or preference of an individual is strictly a private matter.

69

 Jun 29, 2010 at 10:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #58  
Anonymous Says:

Where is written ?

Where is what written??

70

 Jun 29, 2010 at 11:20 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #66  
bigwheeel Says:

But in the latter days?! Are they Orthodox?! Do they adhere to Halacha?! That's what counts. What they're a shoot-off, or an offshoot doesn't count. Neither does, what they were in the early days. Some of our ancient relatives were pagans and cannibals. Does it matter today?! It only matters when it comes to Shidduchim! If we don't know what nursery program your great grandfather attended, the shidduch can't go forward.

Yes, it is now a large Orthodox congregation with hundreds of observant families and well-attended minyanim and shiurim.

71

 Jun 30, 2010 at 03:30 AM Ephraim Says:

Reply to #57  
Anonymous Says:

Not quite. For a man who claimed that he always consulted with the Lubavitcher Rebbe when facing a major decision, he was blithely forgetful regarding the policy of trading land for peace. True when terror struck home he began to "wise-up" much like most former liberals but we don't hear much from him these days when we are in desperate need of leadership. Yet silent Shlomo finds his voice for dear, sweet Elena.
Winston Churchill once remarked that if Hitler invaded hell, "I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." Churchill I understand but what seems to escape you is Riskin's purpose in publicly releasing his recorded comments attesting to the intelligence, courage, wisdom and kindness of a nominee to the Supreme Court. Why didn't he also comment on the narcissism, repressed anger and identify confusion. Elena Kagan for social worker, maybe, for Justice of the Supreme Court - G-d help this nation regain its footing and may Rabbi Riskin stop publicly opening his mouth only when he decides to put a foot in it.

Please cite where he was an activist for Oslo- I only remember him as a very vocal, and public advocate against Oslo. And he's not a johnny-come-lately to the issue either. The man has been building Eretz Yisroel for almost thirty years. And that after building Torah in America for many years as well. He's had a positive influence on hundreds, if not thousands, of people. If we would have one-percent of his accomplishments, we'd all be in clover. And that's true both for the hard-right neo-Kahanists, who have nothing good to say about those one inch to their left. And it's true for the gov't bashing charedim whose own party betrayed them and their brothers in Gaza. Those who relentlessly criticize, have nothing on R' Riskin, whether they be Charedim or Kahanists.
As far as the Kagan comments go, it's a trifle. Some journalist thought it would be a good idea to gain insight on Kagan's personal (not professional/political) background and sought out her former rabbi. R' Riskin's comments are not an endorsement. They only refer to her personality. Within that narrow context, why should he bash her? There simply is no room to extract enthusiastic support from R' Riskin's comments.

72

 Jun 30, 2010 at 10:49 AM Shua Cohen Says:

Reply to #67  
bigwheeel Says:

The private lives of some of the staunchest conservatives are vastly different than what they preach or legislate. Including the late President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. Also, the Honorary Supreme Court Justice (I'm dreaming as if she's already confirmed.) Kagan's personal lifestyle is no news, either. Ultimately. The US Supreme Court will, unfortunately look like the Israeli Supreme Court, (As Justice Robert Bork has warned.) Where they destroy the last vestige of morality and decency. And they uphold the rights of every skewed group and faction to express their perversions in public. If someone says a word against it, they are incarcerated. Terrorists, who openly declare their intentions to commit murder and mayhem have their rights upheld. As an example. The reopening of Route 443 for west bank arabic residents. Against the unanimous (a/o anonymous) advice of all the security experts.

> "The US Supreme Court will, unfortunately, look like the Israeli Supreme Court (as Justice Robert Bork has warned)."

>> Wow, Bigwheel, that is truly wishful thinking. But sorry, Robert Bork is NOT a justice. On the contrary, the Senate rejected his nomination to the Supreme Court
(he was nominated by Reagan to replace Lewis Powell) in 1987. Anthony Kennedy eventually filled the vacancy left by Powell's retirement.

73

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