Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dialogue: Winter 5772/2011-12 Review

Dialogue Volume I Review

The second volume of Dialogue has arrived. Below is my review:

Rabbi Avi Shafran penned the opening article, When Tzedek Isn't regarding the new Magen Tzedek initiative. This essay reminds me of the classic Jewish Observer style of showing Hashkafically what is wrong with the various other denominations of Judaism. Well written, well argumented and succinct.

Dr. Daniel Berman, doctor of infectious diseases, discusses the Metzitza bePeh controversy. Dr. Berman explains the rationale for continuing the practice of MBP in light of the possible transfer of Herpes from the Mohel to the baby. His primary argument is that with all available precautions, the likelihood of infection is so minute, that it appears that there may be an ulterior motive behind the Health Department's recommendation against the practice. He points to recent attempts in San Francisco to ban Bris Milah.

Yoram Bogacz has a fascinating piece Experience, Heredity and Yaakov Avinu's Sheep. He discusses the latest in scientific genetic theory and the effect that external factors can have on offspring. Well footnoted.

"Before We Call Out to You, Answer us" is the title of an informative article on The Essence of Prayer by Rabbi Menachem Zupnick.

Rabbi Eliyahu Wolf adds an Halachik justification for reviving the Neglected Prayer for Birkas Kohanim - Ribono Shel Olam - While the Kohanim Chant.

Pseudonymous B. D. Da'ehu rounds out the volume with an intriguing short story Reb Zeeshe the Sandlor that lends a Mussardik aspect to the varied Dialogue for Torah Issues & Ideas.

Last but not least is the Letters to the Editor, with some interesting give and take on the topics from Volume I.

I found the current volume to be thought provoking and informative. Magen Tzedek is a timely topic and RAS does a fine job explaining why one would oppose an otherwise meaningful project. Dr. Berman likewise eloquently spells out why there is so much opposition to MBP. YB's article on genetics is very interesting and appropriate for the current science/Torah debate. Rabbi Zupnick adds much with his Hashkafic/Davening essay, and Rabbi Wolf provides cogent proofs for reviving the RSO prayer.

I found it somewhat puzzling why they included the short story. I found the volume to be too short - even shorter than volume I. Considering that they turned down R. Broyde's response to Rav Ifrah and Rav Wiener, I truly wonder why the entire publication was only 94 pages. It also bothered me why they didn't change the colors of the jacket. The same drab color was used for volume I, unlike Tradition or Hakirah which vary their covers. I also found a typo on page 42. Although I only found one in the entire volume, I think that in this day and age it is neglectful to let this slip through.

Overall I was impressed with the articles. I wish them Hatzlocho for future volumes, yet I would like to see more content. Then my heart will be content.

Dialogue can be ordered by calling 410-367-2567 or email
AJOP 5906 Park Heights Avenue, Suite 10, Baltimore MD 21215


  1. Seems tamer than volume I. I don't think you'll see as many comments as you got on the first review.

  2. Nice review, thanks!
    I couldn't find the error on page 42. -- SpellingGuy

  3. I don't have it in front of me now, but I'll check later. Unless they sent me the only infected copy to out me. :-)

  4. No need to worry somehow, my copy also has the error on page 42.

  5. Oh, "facr". Wow, it took four times to notice that! -- SpellingGuy. (Maybe I should retire that title!) Lest you think that spelling is all I care about, I just want to add that I appreciate and like your review.

  6. B.D. Da'ehu wrote an unusual "kosher" novel about a top bachur in Lakewood who connects with a non-Jewish girl. He is a major talmid chacham and the Rav of quite a chareidi shul.

  7. I'm not questioning his credentials. In fact, the story was pretty good. I'm wondering if it belongs in an hashkafic journal.

  8. Incidentally, the cover is changed somewhat. If you look at the arrows between the Atzay Chayim, you will notice that the color changed from orange in volume one to greenish/brown in volume two.


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