Monthly Archives: December 2009

Off to the holy land!

This coming Thursday (24th Decemeber 2009) I am flying to the holy land for my very first time, Thank G-d. It is a special privilege and honour that I have been given, which I am very grateful for. I will be there until the 22nd of January.

If there anyone out there in Israel who reads my blog and would just like to say hi, please feel free to contact me ralevinsohn @ gmail. com perhaps we can meet up, would be great to meet some readers face to face.

Anyways, all the best to you all, chag samayach and hope to meet some (anyone?) of you in person.





The Dignity of Difference: The ways in which religions can be a source of peace rather than conflict

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is a true gadol and outstanding spokesman for our people. Please take the time to listen and absorb his thought provoking  and deeply insightful commentary how we as mankind can live in peace and harmony. Enjoy (Note the introductions lasts about 10min) Please distribute this lecture widely, it is truly remarkable.

(Hat tip to R'Dovid Sears for the link)

Rabbi Scherman on the demise of the English language

The Matzav newspaper recently published an interview with Artscroll co-founder Rabbi Nosson Scherman. The whole article was interesting, however the following paragraphs stuck out in my mind. On the one hand humorous, on the other hand a truly sad depiction of the quality of general education in certain sectors of our community.

Y.H.: How did you get such a strong background in English language skills?

N.S.: Yeshivos in general in those days had stronger general-studies departments than they have today. A very important influence was my friendship with Rabbi Nisson Wolpin and Rabbi Mendel Weinbach. They were two of my classmates, and we used to correspond. Rabbi Wolpin was from Seattle and Rabbi Weinbach was from Pittsburgh. During the summers we used to write letters. Does anyone correspond today? We wrote to each other-that helped. We tried to outdo each other; we were big-shot teenagers. The only way to learn how to write is to write. You know that. That is your craft. But it was those correspondences that helped a lot.

Y.H.: I have noticed that the word “ArtScroll” has taken on a new connotation in some circles. It has replaced the expression “highfalutin.” I have heard people say, “I can’t read that! It is written in ArtScroll English”-meaning with too high a vocabulary. Do you have any comment about that?

N.S.: We try as much as possible to avoid complex terminology. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I do try to avoid hefty words. When I edit others, I try to simplify what they are saying. If people feel that our English is not intelligible, it reflects the fact that they just don’t know English. It’s the American educational system.