6/26/20

Yahrzeit of my mother Edith Zahavy

We are observing the 20th Yahrzeit of my mother Edith Zahavy (aleha hashalom).

We miss her so very much. She would have loved to see the progress of her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and take pride in all of their accomplishments. She would have loved to read books to her great-grandchildren and to watch them play and grow.

She was born in NYC and attended the public schools in Washington Heights. She watched from her classroom window as they built the George Washington Bridge.

She graduated from Hunter High School, Hunter College and went on to a career in public service at the OPA and then into the field education. Together with my dad, she founded the Park East Day School when my father was rabbi at the Park East Synagogue, then called Congregation Zichron Ephraim. She subsequently taught in NYC public schools for many years.

She is interred on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem. Her beautiful memorial photo site is here.

6/16/20

9 years ago I published: "God’s Favorite Prayers" - it has been a delicious improvement on all previous theologies of Jewish prayers

"God’s Favorite Prayers" (ISBN 0615509495) is a new published book that unlocks the personalities behind the prayers. Author Tzvee Zahavy introduces readers to the archetypes within Jewish liturgy in this engaging new volume.

"God’s Favorite Prayers" invites the reader into the heart of Jewish spirituality, to learn about its idiom and imagery, its emotions and its great sweeping dramas. The author invites the reader to meet six ideal personalities of Jewish prayer and to get to know some of God's favorite prayers.

According to Zahavy, Jews recite and sing and meditate prayers that derive from six distinct archetypes. He labels those six personalities: the performer, the mystic, the scribe, the priest, the meditator and the celebrity.

6/15/20

Rabbi Soloveitchik on the Ontology of Women and Replies to it - all in the Link

Note: A credible scholar gave a class on zoom  yesterday showing in detail that the Rav was wrong in his halakhic premises about this topic. I concur with that conclusion.
A New Transcription: Surrendering to the Almighty
By Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt”l | March 14, 2019
Editor’s note: Torahweb.org has just completed this new transcription as part of a forthcoming book. The full shiur, made in 1975 to Rabbinic alumni, is available on YU Torah here: https://tinyurl.com/y5ylmmax. This text is excerpted only in the interest of space, omitting several introductory paragraphs. The full transcription, with full footnotes, is available here: https://tinyurl.com/y5akgjoj.
...Today, let me say it in Hebrew, «כלו כל הקיצין» [2], and I feel it is my duty to make the following statement, and I am very sad that I have to do it. But somehow, I have no choice in the matter; there is no alternative. What I am going to say, I want you to understand, is my credo about Torah and the way Torah should be taught and Torah should be studied.
The study of Torah has had such a great cathartic impact upon me, as you understand it, is rooted in the wondrous experience I always have when I open up the Gemara. Somehow, when I do open up the Gemara, either alone or when I am in company, and I do teach others, I have the impression - don’t call it hallucination, it is not a hallucination - I have the impression as if I heard, I would say, soft footsteps of somebody invisible, who comes in and sits down with me, sometimes looking over my shoulder. It is simply, the idea is not a mystical idea, it is the Gemara, the mishna in Avos, the Gemara in Berachos say, «אפילו אחד יושב ועוסק בתורה שכינה שרויה» [4] and we all believe that the nosein haTorah, the One who gave us the Torah, has never deserted the Torah, and He simply walks, He accompanies the Torah, wherever the Torah has a, let’s say, a rendezvous, an appointment, a date with somebody, He is there.

6/11/20

How to Deal With Facebook Stalkers, List Snubs and Technology Taboo Makers - My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Zahavy Column for June 2020



Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

I am on Facebook a lot and have many friends there. Recently, one of those people, whom I have known for many years, started replying negatively on every post that I made and on every comment that I put on Facebook. These were not just critical replies. They were snarky at first, and then became nasty and highly personal in nature.


I unfriended this person. But somehow, he still manages to find and comment on all my posts. What should I do to stop this?

Besieged in Bergenfield


Dear Besieged,

Facebook has mechanisms for actively blocking content from specific individuals. You can and should poke around the platform until you find them, and then invoke the harshest level of blocking against this offending person. Be persistent. Since Facebook thrives on content proliferation, your postings make money for them, and thus it deliberately makes the blocking process possible, but neither easy nor intuitive.

6/5/20

Are dirty tricks in negotiations kosher?

Day after day we see ill will and bad faith in the negotiations in our marketplace and workplace.

No, dirty tricks are not kosher.

But you ask, exactly what are dirty tricks and how can you deal with them?

Several years ago we took one course in Negotiations in the MBA program at Rutgers. Each year the brilliant professor who taught the course, Daniel Levin sends emails to his former students to remind them about how to respond in a negotiation to the prevalent issue of distributive tactics or what we normally call "dirty tricks."

According to Levin, the top ten dirty tricks in negotiations are:
1. Good Cop/Bad Cop
2. Emotional Intimidation
3. Lowball (or Highball) Offer
4. Opening with a Take It or Leave It Offer
5. Exploiting the Trappings of Power
6. Increasing an Offer's Appearance of Legitimacy
7. Pretending to Have Limited Authority
8. Playing a Game of Chicken
9. Lying about Priorities
10. Nibbling
Levin gives us his priceless suggestions for responses in his Talmudic analysis here. Study it and study it some more, because everything you need to know about dirty tricks is in that grid.

We've said many times that in all of the years of our education through college and rabbinical school and graduate school at Brown, Levin's negotiations course in the MBA program at Rutgers was the most valuable course that we ever took.

We use the skills that we learned there every day.

Thank you again Dan Levin.