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12/18/06

Women Studying Talmud

A friend calls: "Dude, if you want to cause problems in the L.A. rabbinate, you call me. There's a huge issue you've touched on before but have not fully exploited.

"Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger from Chofetz Chaim (he's now the principal of Valley Torah High School and an expert on forbidden speech) gave a talk Saturday morning at Shaarey Zedek saying that women should not be taught Talmud. Some people walked out. As long as Rabbi Stulberger is around, Valley Torah will never teach girls Talmud.

"It's the perfect issue because it is a slippery slope. If women start learning Talmud, they'll want to become Orthodox rabbis.

"If a woman is going to be a housewife, there's no reason for her to study Talmud. It requires devotion. It is a party of Jewry that many women don't need because they are not as tempted. Women are on a higher spiritual plane. Talmud study brings a man to a higher level. If you go to daf yomi (Talmud study), it is hard to go out and do bad things. It's metaphysical. It's not explainable. When you learn at that deep of a level, something happens."

Frank writes: "I graduated from Valley Torah in the early 80's. When I asked my teacher (one of VT's top rebbeim back then, now unfortunately, he is deceased) why women are not taught to learn Talmud his response was "because they would learn to fool their husbands". I thought to myself that he must have been very insecure in his marriage. But he shouldn't project that on the rest of the world. Doesn't sound like the school has come too far. I assume that Rabbi Stulberger, along with his Chofetz Chaim buddies probably doesn't have a place for Rabbi Soloveitchik in his philosophy."

3/16/06

Shaarey Zedek Update

Rabbi Stulberger's (he's the principal of Valley Torah High School, the Valley's biggest Orthodox day school, and an expert on the sins of gossip, referred to in Hebrew as "lashon hara" aka evil speech) sermons Saturday at the Valley Village Orthodox shul were against gossip. Aron Tendler, a longtime rabbi of the shul, has just resigned after numerous accusations of sexual wrongdoing.

Valley Torah High School is significantly financed by slumlord Sam Menlo who was a major figure in creating the school. The Valley Torah building is dedicated to the Menlo family. There's a big placard.

Instead of giving a traditional sermon on this week's Torah portion, Rabbi Stulberger read for a few minutes from the work of the Chafetz Chaim against gossip.

A former president of the shul stood up at the downstairs minyan and said we have a right to know what went on with Aron.

Aron got up and said he'd be happy to talk privately with anyone who wants to know.

Rabbi Stulberger's speeches had no effect. Aron's indiscretions remain the topic of discussion at Shaarey Zedek.

Regarding the search for the new rabbi, Rabbi Stulberger told the congregants to leave it to the search committee (overwhelmingly right-wing).