Remembering a Beloved Teacher of Hundreds of Jewish Girls

On April 9, Bruria David died in Jerusalem at the age of eighty-four, and was mourned intensely by a segment of the Orthodox world who knew and revered her as a charismatic teacher. Born in New York City to Isaac Hutner, a prominent Polish rabbinic scholar, David spent most of her career directing a seminary for young women located in Jerusalem. Rivka Press Schwartz, one of her many pupils, writes of her legacy:

If people know of Rebbetzin Bruria Hutner David, . . . but did not know her, they probably know two things: that she played an important role in the production of her father Rabbi Isaac Hutner’s masterwork, Paḥad Yitzḥak, and that she earned a PhD from Columbia University. Both of these facts of her biography have been retold often. . . . But as a way of praising her or summarizing her life’s accomplishments, [these items fail to convey] the bold undertaking in ḥaredi women’s education that was her life’s work.

From one institution based in the Matersdorf neighborhood of Jerusalem, she hoped to rearrange the mental furniture of ḥaredi women chosen for their academic ability and their willingness to have their mental furniture rearranged. Thus equipped, these women would go on to be the teachers and rebbetzins and mentors and mothers who would reshape American ḥaredi Jewry to become more formal, more dignified, more aware of the uniqueness and incomparable worth of Torah (as well as more proud of its distinctiveness), less acculturated, and less, well, American.

Rebbetzin David’s worldview emphasized the primacy of Torah—not in the reductive way of “you should marry a man [who studies in post-yeshiva religious academy],” but in the underlying philosophical way that means that whatever field of study or profession her students pursued, it would be with a deep understanding of the way that the Torah’s wisdom is incomparable to the wisdom of any discipline or academic endeavor. Whether that teaching ended up shaping her students’ or their husbands’ life choices, it would shape how they spoke, how they thought, whom they admired, and which accomplishments they most highly praised.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Haredim, Jewish education, Orthodoxy, Yitzchok Hutner

Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy