The Jewish Press Interviews Rabbi Gil Student

From Hirhurim:

The Jewish Press has an interview with me this week (link). Here’s an excerpt and you can read the whole thing at the source:

In the world of Orthodox blogs, few are as popular as Hirhurim.blogspot.com, run by Rabbi Gil Student. Visited over four million times since its founding five years ago, Hirhurim – which the Jerusalem Post ranked as the "Best Jewish Religion Blog" in 2005 – features informative, intriguing, and sometimes controversial discussions on halacha, Jewish philosophy, biblical stories, and more.

Rabbi Student, the managing editor of OU Press and founder of Yashar Books, recently compiled some of his blog posts in book form. Released last month, Posts Along the Way, Vol. 1: Shuls includes 50 short essays on such topics as women rabbis, Carlebach minyanim, and the permissibility of holding one’s child duringdavening.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with Rabbi Student.

The Jewish Press: What inspired you to start your blog in March 2004?

Click here for moreRabbi Student: At the time, there was a Jewish blog discussing homosexuality from a halachic perspective and I didn’t feel the sources were being represented accurately.

In 2006 the Conservative movement officially issued a permissive ruling on homosexuality. But back in 2004 they were in the discussion stage and a lot of discussion was happening online and via e-mail lists, and it had slowly moved to blogs.

I decided to create my own blog to correct what I thought was an incorrect and misleading halachic position on this sensitive topic.

Many people views blogs as forums for gossip and criticism of the Orthodox community establishment. What is your take?

If you have a hammer, you can use it to build a house or bang someone on the head. It’s a tool. It can be used for good or bad. Just as a newspaper can be used for gossip and horrible character assassination – a blog can also. And just like a newspaper can be used to enlighten the community and give it important information – a blog can also…

Full interview here: link.

FKM POSTS: "Is there any serious way of identifying someone’s views as heretical without being personally hurtful in the process?
I don’t see how it’s possible.
And if not, I don’t see why it deserves criticism."

S POSTS: You seem to relish the job which you feel is your duty. Why don’t you seem to regret it? How about a post or two about how you cry at night thinking of the personal pain you’ve perhaps caused Slifkin, about how you’re not 1000% sure, because after all you’re human, and Yom Kippur is difficult for you? I mean, I’m sure you’re personally reflective like that and doing a dirty job which you have no choice but to do.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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