17 thoughts on “Haviva Ner-David: Not a fan of Canonist

  1. I really don’t get why her response is “wild”, or as the one commentor on Weiss’s site says, Ner-David is the “perfect example of the women stereotype. Typical overreacting, emotionally driven, illogical whining.”
    Nice. Shes just asking questions. Why is that so unsettling? She’s being confronted with a lot of attack and criticism and has every right to question people’s motives.

  2. accusing steven of having it out for women rabbis and questioning his motivations as to whether he’s a right-wing ideolgue (he’s liberal orthodox) is illegitimate and deflects attention to the real issue, which is the apparent misunderstanding between she and the rav who certified her.

  3. While Ner-David might certainly have phrased her email more carefully, I do agree with Siviyo that she was asking reasonable questions.
    I’m also irritated with Steven “I” Weiss for responding to Haviva’s attacks in the same vein (which not only violates the Jewish blogger’s ethic but is just unprofessional). And Mobius, you didn’t help anything with the “ladies, start your engines” bit.
    The real story here, which he might have pursued (and perhaps is pursuing given that he said there may be follow-up with Strikovsky), is WHY there seems to be such a discrepancy between Strikovsky’s original public statements and what he seems to have told Steven. That’s the interesting story: either about the terrible pressure the Orthodox establishment can exert on one of their own to retract his words, or about a disagreement between student and teacher, or whatever the truth may be. And I think we presently have not much of an idea about what that truth is.

  4. Did Ner-David give permission for her personal email to be published on the blog? I don’t know the ethics of this — I didn’t go to journalism school — but it doesn’t seem right unless it was cleared with her beforehand.

  5. I’m actually surprised at Kelsey’s statement. As if he actually believes Orthodox Female Rabbis exist. (Thanks, folks, I’m here all week.)
    But seriously, “ladies, start your engines” just assumes that all women are contentious harpies, protesting every little thing, when the reality is that living within a framework of restriction isn’t easy. How we react to that framework–or whether we accept its restrictions to begin with–is fundamentally a very individual choice, but is also heavily influenced by our desire to belong to a community that means something to us. If our community frowns on something that we individually believe, we have to make a choice. And that sucks, and it is a problem that’s not easily answered. Just because a woman is given smicha, or even attains a level of study/knowledge that’s comparable to the accepted levels for smicha, it doesn’t mean that the world will acknowledge it. I think we all understand that.
    But by generalizing all women into a category of overreacting and whining, such men (see, not ALL men, just the ones who do that) yet again deny women the individuality and the freedom that they are often denied within the framework of Judaism–while the men themselves are lucky enough to experience those freedoms for themselves every day.
    Now, I’m going to stop before I start to blubber and cry and lash out in an emotional way as the generalists would have you believe is my innate, gendered propensity.

  6. actually, i didn’t make that remark to suggest women were whiny harpies or anything of the sort. i said it because i know that our female rabbinical student and rabbi contributors were in the right position to thoroughly examine and address this issue and to deliver a thorough asswhupping on the subject. instead, i got lumped in with the sexists. why? um, probably because i’m a man. sexism — meet your double standard.

  7. Sorry, Mobius, but I think Esther’s right. The wording of your post conjured up the oh-so-evocative combination of “(Orthodox) Girls Gone Wild” and some NASCAR flair. Your prerogative, but it wasn’t exactly a solemn invitation “to thoroughly examine and address this issue.”
    Speaking of gender issues, why would it just be the female rabbis and rabbinical students who could investigate and go to town on this one?

  8. it wouldn’t “just be” them, but i would expect them to be the most well versed on these issues, seeing how it’s something they deal with frequently

  9. Have any of you actually read Ner-David’s letter?
    It starts with a childish title (“Thanks a Lot!”) and proceed to open with a frontal attack on Weiss’s integrity.
    This is followed by misrepresentations of fact (Weiss did in fact post her smicha document on his blog). Then come more ad hominem attacks on Weiss and wildly inaccurate descriptions of his opinions – the old “anyone who doesn’t agree with my extreme progressive position MUST be a benighted reactionary” routine.
    This is followed by an attempt to put words in Rabbi Strikovsky’s mouth, coming to a rousing conclusion that combines another swipe at Weiss with a pollyannaish pronouncement about “trusting reporters” – even though there is no evidence that Weiss distorted anything, and clear evidence that Ner-David is trying to rewrite Strikovsky’s public statements.
    Sorry folks – the word that comes to mind when reading this is – despite the sexist overtones of the word – “shrill”.
    And whoppingly unprofessional.
    Did Ner-David really think that nobody would examine her smicha? That she would not have to field these questions – not just from Orthodox doubting Thomases, but from across the Jewish spectrum, and perhaps from some general media, too?
    And she didn’t prepare for it?
    And now she’s shocked – SHOCKED – that these questions are being asked?
    Give me an effing break. If she’s so thin-skinned and politically inept, she’s the wrong candidate for such a ground-breaking project.
    And can we please lay off Mobi? This is a blog, not a doctoral thesis – he concluded a short piece with an innocent quip.

  10. No problem, Mobius.
    And yes, I read Haviva’s email, which as far as anyone knows was never meant to be anything but a private communication.

  11. RR – You should do better research before accusing someone of improper conduct. And if you’d do better research, you’d also know that the discrepancy between student and teacher on this issue is precisely the story that I was and am pursuing.

  12. This is hardly the first time Steven I Weiss has published private communication in a deliberate attempt to embarrass someone who disagreed with and/or criticised him. It appears to be his modus operandi when he feels he has been criticised. People have emailed him regarding his irresponsible or erroneous blogging, not knowing that he considers himself a “journalist” (especially since some of his posts were completely partisan and obviously not researched, as a genuine reporter might do before publishing a story), and he had no scruples about publishing names, addresses, workplaces, and other private information contained in those correspondences.

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