Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Mo'adim L'Simcha L'Geula Shelaimah!

Sometimes I wonder if any of those people who decry "YU's move to the right" have ever actually been there, at least lately. Explanation below.

Last night, I went to the Yom HaZikaron/Yom Ha'atzmaut event there. It was quite nice- (not in this order) short speeches by the Israel Club YC president, memorial tefilot, candle lighting and reading of bios by his SCW counterpart (they focused a bit on famous names, but not exclusively, which was good), a PowerPoint presentation on Israel, and three speeches- two in Hebrew, by Rav Goldvicht and the (a?) Rosh Yeshiva from KBY, and one by the dude from Israelight, who gave a nice speech, if a bit wandering and morbid at times. I'm not complaining.

Following the davening, with all the trimmings (shofar, etc.) there was dancing and food in the gym and caf. Alas, it was late, and I am officially Old Dude, so I took a San Juan Family taxi home and got to sleep at a decent (well, semi-decent) hour. Davening at Etz Chaim today, again with trimmings. Andy even came down from his apartment last night to see me, which was really nice.

My point? The event was in Lamport Auditorium. This may not mean much if you don't know YU, but in my time (damn, I sound like a geezer), the event was held in the smaller Weissberg Commons, down in Belfer Hall (in fact, after having my burger, I walked down there, and had to go all the way back to Zysman Hall). There were maybe a few hundred people back then, barely filling the seats. It was quick, and dancing and some food was in the same room, on the other side. I think it was mostly guys from the campus.

This time, the auditorium, which seats well over 1100 people, was packed. The side sections were all female, and many people were standing in the back. There was no great preponderance of "yeshiva guys," so I suppose most students still aren't over that way- and the yeshiva guys turned out, too! Granted, this is all anecdotal, and there is chardalnik-ism out there when it comes to Israel, but I see this as a powerful point versus Jonas and whoever's feeding him propaganda. The most I can say is that YU students may be more religious, in the halacha, not "frumkeit" sense- and how bad is that? In fact, I dare say that such students will be more committed to Modern Orthodoxy (take this event, for example) than those who aren't as religious.

Ah. Rant over. It's Yom Ha'atzmaut, time to celebrate. Good times last night, and all times. Well, except for this printing stuff. At least the folks at TWoP had a good laugh at that.

One question: Is Ronald Lauder (halachically) Jewish? In the obit for his mother in the Times yesterday, they quote her (admittedly inaccurate) autobiography in which she says that her mother's mother wasn't Jewish. I mean nothing by the question- Lauder's a great guy, who's done plenty for Judaism as well as for domestic affairs (except for one big blunder in 1989)- but I'm just curious.

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