Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cellphone Behavior

This is what a NYTimes columnist finds amazing:

Brown will sometimes gather her students — who are accomplished adults — and tell them to turn off their cellphones in unison before class.

Besides, that what does she do?


Brown seems to poke people with concepts that sit uncomfortably with the modern mind-set — submission and sin. She writes about disorienting situations: vengeance, scandal, group shame. During our coffee, she criticized the way some observers bury moral teaching under legal casuistry and the way some moderns try to explain away the unfashionable things the Torah clearly says.

She pushes the highly successful. No, serving the poor for a few days a year isn’t enough. Yes, it is necessary to expose a friend’s adultery because his marriage is more important than your friendship.

All of this sounds hard, but Brown thinks as much about her students as her subject matter. “You can’t be Jewish alone” she told me. So learning is a way to create communities and relationships.

She's Erica Brown, a scholar in residence at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

And a graduate of my alma mater, Yeshiva University.


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