About Sexual Harassment: My Jewish Standard - Dear Rabbi Zahavy - Talmudic Advice Column - for December 2017

Dear Rabbi Zahavy
Your Talmudic Advice Column

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

I have been subjected to sexual harassment by a person of authority. I cannot avoid this person. He is persistent and aggressive towards me. He has made it clear that he wants to have sex with me. I am not interested in his proposition. I find his unrelenting advances intimidating and awful.
Is there some advice that you can offer to me from the Jewish perspective that will help me deal with this terrible situation?

Harassed in Hackensack

Dear Harassed,

I’ll try to offer some guidance, but as you can tell from the daily barrage of recent news stories, this sort of problem is serious in our society at large, it is widespread in our world, and it is terribly hard to resolve.

First, I’ll remind you that this problem is not new.

Second, I’ll assure you that this problem is nearly intractable. The Talmud has a saying that there is no such entity as a guardian who can be appointed to protect us from wanton sexual aggressions.

Third, I’ll nevertheless suggest some steps that you may take to help you avoid harassment, and protect your personal integrity.


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Maimonides Films from Israel - 2017: The Great Eagle - in three parts

A new set of professional documentaries about the great Sephardic rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Maimonides. Approximately three hours. A valuable course of study with scholars and interviews and travels.

בפרק הראשון חייו המוקדמים של הרמב"ם, מלידתו בקורדובה (ספרד של היום), הבריחה למרוקו התאסלמותו בכפייה והגעתו לארץ ישראל.

הפרק השני מלווה את חייו של הרמב"ם במצרים בה חיבר את ספר ההלכה המונומנטלי "משנה תורה" אשר ממשיך להשפיע על חיינו עד עצם היום הזה.

הפרק השלישי עוסק ב"מורה נבוכים" ספר הפילוסופיה אותו כתב הרמב"ם אשר נותר שנוי במחלוקת ומציב שאלות קשות ליהדות בת ימינו אנו.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three


Is Kevin Spacey Jewish?

No, Kevin Spacey is not a Jew.

Spacey plays the disgraced lobbyist and Orthodox Jew, Jack Abramoff in the 2010 film, Casino Jack. At the original web site for that film you could take a "Test" to find out how corrupt you are.

Spacey has already been nominated for this role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

Previously Spacey played the Jewish attorney Ron Klain in the HBO film, Recount. Klain was Al Gore's chief of staff in the White House and General Counsel to Al Gore's recount committee after the 2000 election.

Spacey was born in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Kathleen Ann, a secretary, and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, a technical writer and data consultant. According to rumor, Spacey's father was an antiSemite.

Spacey has been accused in 2017 of the sexual harassment of a 14 year old boy in 1986.

My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Talmudic Advice Column for November 2017: How can I find Jewish ways to be meaningfully and mindfully meditative?

Dear Rabbi Zahavy
Your Talmudic Advice Column
The Times of Israel - Jewish Standard

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

At my health club I have joined a class in meditation. We practice techniques of breathing and mindfulness and achieve tangible positive physical and mental results. In the past, I have associated meditation with spiritual movements. So why can’t I find more of it in my Jewish contexts? What can I do to become a more meditative Jew?

Distractedly Seeking Spirituality in Demarest

Dear Seeking,

If you seek properly, you can find many meditative opportunities in our Jewish practices. Our traditions are rich in interior modes of spiritual expression. I practice Jewish meditations throughout the day, and not just at times of prayer.

There are many resources available. Teaneck’s Len Moskowitz offers meditation training at nearby Yeshiva University. Books by Aryeh Kaplan and others have been popular for years. In Brooklyn, Jerusalem, and elsewhere you can find many Jewish meditation teachers and groups.

The main shortcomings of such options is that they assume that to practice Jewish meditation, you must learn peripheral kabbalistic texts or seek practices outside of the regular cycle of Jewish rituals.

I believe that need not be the case. A person can become an adept meditation practitioner within the regular daily practices of our religious communities.

Let me give you some background, and then tell you how I have developed and integrated my mindful Jewish practices.