I’m kicking myself for missing this.
A source says: Heard Marc Shapiro speak at BJ at the 3rd meal, first time I’d seen or heard him.
I thought he was one of the more interesting I’ve heard in many years
1) mainly because of refreshing honesty (so absent by nature in religion)
2) and also sees BOTH sides, not as biased as I expected
(altho perhaps a result of which crowd he was talking to)
3) also quite talented, knowledgeable and voluble (the words flow out from him almost effortlessly; very few have this, the other one who comes to mind, perhpas oddly, is R Hershel Schachter)
3b) which was more inspiring to me since he is relatively young, and in the religious or Orthodox world it seems to me that it has been difficult to find anyone of great talent (there was an article a few years back how the Reform and Conservative also feel this about their own leaders)
4) I was especially surprised to see that despite not even studying at YU he has a superior knowledge of the Chareidi world (including a rare penetrating understanding of it, or “bekiyut” PLUS “iyun”) and also has seemingly visited Israel many times or knows the scene there firsthand.
I’m a bit surprised that he (a) knows all this (plus (b) is even INTERESTED in it, or (c) even takes it seriously, given his views. I am finding it increasingly difficult to take the Chareidim seriously, unfortunately.
I only maintain my interest in order to HELP the situation and many innocent, brainwashed Chareidim, a huge topic which I doubt he is involved in but which many are, such as Uri Regev, Yaron Yadan and also various good Chareidim acting to help them stop their mass shnorring and make a living, as the Talmud so vehemently advocates. Plus other aspects, like reducing child molestation, helping them cope with the outside world, teaching them skills, etc.
I saw myself in Israel as an ISRAELI, not American, as to Torah study standards, NOT in character, though. I considered the Americans in my yeshivah as bringing down the entire level, as did everyone else. They were mostly 1st and 2nd yr, altho the long-time ones also were behind in Hebrew and rarely good scholars. Of course, I now look at the Israelis as far more exteme and closed-minded. As to secular studies, the American Chareidim also know very little, the very opposite of the vehement emphasis of the Vilna Gaon.