Here's what this tweet evoked for me. (Not exactly sure why, but it did.)

Everyone wants to hear our takeaways from COVID--the lessons learned. I have spoken about this a number of times, probably On Here and recently on a panel for @torahinmotion:
For me, helped along by former students and a community member who can let me know if they want to be tagged into this, the experience of COVID pushed me to ask: whose pain is a communal emergency, a crisis that demands halakhic and communal adjusting?
A Jew by choice said to me: I have spent sedarim alone, without family or anyone else. It wasn't a crisis that merited attention, support.
Former students who are not married or LGBTQ (realize those categories are not the same) said, "The pain of married couples deprived of physical intimacy is now an issue of enormous communal import. Why did my pain never matter that way?"
I AM NOT CALLING FOR CHANGING HALAKHA. Is that loud and clear enough? I am asking whose pain becomes agenda item #1, and whose pain we can overlook as a community.

(I believe Yeshayahu last Shabbos had a thing or two to say on the subject.)
But also, too, yes. When did we say that rabbis would leave phones on on Shabbos to answer calls? When did we look for unusual kulos in tevilah?
It definitely helps my empathy-cultivation that I went from someone on the upside of many communal status seesaws (other than gender), to someone who, through myself or those very close to me, is on the downside of at least two big ones.)
Certainly, there are clarifying effects to getting smacked in the face by a thirty-pound wet cod. 🐟💦. (Have to tag in my brother @DBashIdeas here.) I hope that even absent that, I would have learned from friends whose experience is different than mine to ask:
Whose pain do we attend to?

Whose pain matters?

Whose pains demands a response, even if halakha is halakha and we can't say yes to what is being asked?

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More from @Doc_RPS

21 Jul
As I sit with yesterday's discussion about mazel tov announcements and what choices we make about when we issue them, one part of the conversation really rankles.

Here are the reasons why it bothers me. (Some of these are "bothers." Some of these are more like "angers."):
1. The "it's only a derabbanan/ it's not really even asur at all" defenses are deeply disingenuous. (That's the polite-ish way to say dishonest.). If I asked you, "We have a shul member who had achieved great professional success working on Shabbos, and intends to keep doing so;
2. should we celebrate their success as a shul?" you would ask me, "Is she a trauma surgeon? A paramedic? No? Then how could we celebrate her working on Shabbos?" You would not start parsing out halakhic niceties. *Who gets halakhic parsing and who gets tut-tutted is privilege.*
Read 26 tweets
20 Jul
This is a tough one, but I feel it strongly. Let's see if we can have a meaningful conversation. (Anyone who gets ugly about any of the people/institutions involved is getting blocked.)

So: on shul mazel tov announcements, and selective standards, and the MLB draft, a thread:
This is not a call-out. I am not trying to criticize any one person or institution. I am noticing something in our community, and asking that we think about it:

Most institutions in the Orthodox community won't issue mazel tov announcements for gay engagements/marriages. (2/n)
This is the source of great pain to LGBTQ members of our community, and those who love them. (I have had the conversations with former students who call to speak with me about why their high school won't announce their engagement.) (3/n)
Read 24 tweets
8 Jul
This is a super-fascinating question, and I'd like to take the time to engage it seriously.

There are different sets of issues here, some of which are 2448-connected and some, I would argue strenuously, are not.
While I have sometimes engaged the 2448-ish questions on here (that is to say, things about the text of the Tanakh, the fundamental structure of halakha, the Divinely-ordained parts of this enterprise), most often, those are not the things I've talked about.
I've often discussed my very deep comfort in very traditional tefillah spaces, and my not-at-home-ness in more progressive tefillah spaces. (This is a personal statement of comfort, not a statement of value or psak.)
Read 10 tweets
2 Jul
So, I always tell my students I have a superpower: when I talk about something in class, it shows up in the newspaper.

I don't just mean humdrum, unimpressive stuff like I talk about George Washington, George Washington gets mentioned in the paper. Pffft.
I mean I talk about Andrew Jackson and the Second Bank of the US, and Nicholas Biddle's great-great-great-granddaughter's wedding announcement shows up in the Times:

nytimes.com/2009/06/21/fas…
I mean I talk about selective incorporation in AP Gov, and, well, this happens:

Read 5 tweets
30 Jun
The US had these forced-reeducation-and-cultural-genocide child prisons, too. And we are just right now beginning to do this reckoning, under Interior Secretary @SecDebHaaland.

We have absolutely no idea where the literal bodies are literally buried.
Also, if a fifth of the kids in these facilities in Canada died there, it's not just cultural genocide. It's genocide genocide, and we should call it that.
Think about the intergenerational trauma in Native/indigenous/First Nations families. Think about how many US states and localities mandate teaching about the Holocaust, and how many mandate teaching about what white North Americans did.
Read 5 tweets
16 Jun
Next up, this story. Absolutely classic NYC real-estate dodginess story. When I tweeted it, I didn't know how to thread (was threading a thing in 2016?), so I will do my best to put it into a thread for you.
Read 11 tweets

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