Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox-Conservative Divide

The rabbinic scholar Saul Lieberman, who died in 1983, was famed for his comprehensive knowledge of talmudic literature, his meticulous scholarship, and his synthesis of traditional learning with modern academic methodology. Spending most of his adult life as a professor at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, he also maintained warm relations with leading Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox rabbis. Recent attempts to classify him in today’s denominational terms, argues David Golinkin, are both misguided and groundless:

Lieberman did not consider himself “Conservative.” However, neither did he consider himself “Orthodox.”. . . Lieberman meant exactly what he said in his letter to [the Israeli newspaper] Maariv in 1974: “I teach Torah to the Jewish people and I don’t care much about politics—that is: I am neither ‘Orthodox’ nor ‘Conservative.’ There are ‘Conservative’ rabbis who are halakhic and there are ‘Orthodox’ rabbis who are not.” Lieberman did not care about labels but rather about substance, and in this he was a true disciple of Rabbi Judah the Prince who said . . . “do not look at the vessel, but rather at its substance.”

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Read more at Seforim

More about: Conservative Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary, Judaic Studies, Orthodoxy, Saul Lieberman, Talmud

Europe Must Stop Tolerating Iranian Operations on Its Soil

March 31 2023

Established in 2012 and maintaining branches in Europe, North America, and Iran, the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Network claims its goal is merely to show “solidarity” for imprisoned Palestinians. The organization’s leader, however, has admitted to being a representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a notorious terrorist group whose most recent accomplishments include murdering a seventeen-year-old girl. As Arsen Ostrovsky and Patricia Teitelbaum point out, Samidoun is just one example of how the European Union allows Iran-backed terrorists to operate in its midst:

The PFLP is a proxy of the Iranian regime, which provides the terror group with money, training, and weapons. Samidoun . . . has a branch in Tehran. It has even held events there, under the pretext of “cultural activity,” to elicit support for operations in Europe. Its leader, Khaled Barakat, is a regular on Iran’s state [channel] PressTV, calling for violence and lauding Iran’s involvement in the region. It is utterly incomprehensible, therefore, that the EU has not yet designated Samidoun a terror group.

According to the Council of the European Union, groups and/or individuals can be added to the EU terror list on the basis of “proposals submitted by member states based on a decision by a competent authority of a member state or a third country.” In this regard, there is already a standing designation by Israel of Samidoun as a terror group and a decision of a German court finding Barakat to be a senior PFLP operative.

Given the irrefutable axis-of-terror between Samidoun, PFLP, and the Iranian regime, the EU has a duty to put Samidoun and senior Samidoun leaders on the EU terror list. It should do this not as some favor to Israel, but because otherwise it continues to turn a blind eye to a group that presents a clear and present security threat to the European Union and EU citizens.

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: European Union, Iran, Palestinian terror, PFLP