An Orthodox Rabbi Discusses his Support for Gay Rights

Not a month goes by without a young person just out of the closet — or sometimes that person’s shocked parents — contacting me in search of Orthodox leaders to respond credibly to their questions. It was this reality that was on my mind as I confronted the backlash to a same-sex commitment ceremony I performed last November. In response, 100 rabbis signed a statement censuring me. While these rabbis may prefer to foist this challenge upon me, the truth is that, as rabbis, we are all responsible for the conflict between present halachic norms and the real lives of people. We are all responsible for the gay and lesbian kids who are growing up in Orthodox communities and want a future. And I am not the only Orthodox rabbi who believes so.

For more, go here.

A growing consensus on the future of the humanities?

The CHE has a daily blog from the MLA, and the first one announced a growing consensus on the future of the humanities.  As someone pretty deeply involved in cognitive neuroscience, I’m certainly interested in at least part of the vision , and have been actively involved for about 16 years.  I should think, though, that there are plenty of administrators and people in philosophy who will reject this  picture; the only consistent support I’ve had in my university has been from the scientists and my new, young colleagues..

I’d be very interested to hear what people are finding in their own departments.

 So far, from my perspective, the 2012 MLA conference has not focused on minor points of theory—or radical posturing—so much as it has involved discussions of teaching practices, collaborative workshops, and poster sessions that [all] emphasize what we are learning from neuroscience and what we can accomplish with digital technology.

Vision statements tend to summarize what is already taking place “on the ground.” Based on what I have seen on the first day of the MLA, we are reaching a consensus about the future of our profession that will involve not just language and literature, but all of the humanities in partnership with technologists, scientists, and information professionals.  It will become increasingly difficult to say what the humanities disciplines represent, by themselves—and to target them for elimination—because we are enmeshed increasingly in the transformation of every discipline in higher education.

Don’t cultivate a bicycle face!

From brain pickings: “A List of Don’ts for Women on Bicycles Circa 1895 – The following list of 41 don’ts for female cyclists was published in 1895 in the newspaper New York World by an author of unknown gender. Equal parts amusing and appalling, the list is the best (or worst, depending on you look at it) thing since the Victorian map of woman’s heart. http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/01/03/donts-for-women-on-bicycles-1895/”

The same attitudes about women and cycling also provided fodder for a great comic, The Awful Effects of Velocipeding.