Yeshiva University Must Make the Moral Case for the Values It Seeks to Uphold

Although the Supreme Court has so far declined to intervene in Yeshiva University’s dispute with a group of students who want recognition for an LGBT campus organization, the legal battle is likely to continue for some time. The constitutional issues at stake are both significant and complex, but Mark Gottlieb stresses the need for the school, one of the flagship institutions of Orthodox Jewry in the U.S., not to lose sight of questions that are even more important:

It is up to the leadership of Yeshiva University—the heads of the yeshiva, rabbis, educators, and administrators—to make the case for what the Torah has to say about the human person, the complementarity of male and female, and the communion of persons that constitutes Jewish marriage. The question of homosexuality in a community of traditional faith is arguably the question of our generation. How do men and women of faith respond to this question? Yeshiva ought to be leading the way for Orthodox Jews—and others of faith—through this vexed, painful issue, providing both clarity and compassion for its students and alumni seeking guidance. It can, and must, do more.

“Torah values” need to be thoughtfully, lovingly—but fully and unapologetically—articulated if the phrase is to be more than a platitudinous cliché or bureaucratized buzzword. Simply repeating “Torah values,” like “family values,” is not enough to preserve and defend the rich, deep, and sacred theological anthropology that animates the Torah’s account of the human person. Merely invoking this phrase—without explicating both the publicly reasoned relationships Jewish tradition proscribes, and painting a compelling portrait of the sexual lives championed by the Torah—feels wholly inadequate for today’s culture, maybe any culture. It’s certainly not a sufficient form of education for acculturated men and women bombarded daily by counter-narratives of sexual normativity dramatically at odds with tradition.

In The Fractured Republic, Yuval Levin laments how often contemporary political discourse emphasizes attacking one’s rivals rather than presenting what is true, good, and beautiful about one’s own account. What’s true in political culture is even more vital when it comes to theological teachings.

Read more at First Things

More about: Homosexuality, Judaism, Yeshiva University

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7