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July 01, 2013


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A great man.

They say "Revel dreamed, Belkin built, and Lamm had to pay the bills." Not a small task.

Yochanan Lavie

The Silence of the Lamm.

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What exactly is YU?

So Yehuda just said he was wrong, no long intellectual gymnastic routine, but a modern day Rabbi needs to go into an elaborate explanation comparing himself to Yehuda but doing the exact opposite?

What is the sanctification of the secular thing all about? How about just being a normal human being and live a good moral life, follow the 613 if you want, without being a split personality? If Torah and madah is just an idea to distance yourself from the cleary sociopathic Charedi way, stop apologizing and just live like a normal human being but by a higher ethical moral standard.

I can't quite put my finger on it yet but these guys just seem like better educated Charedim to me. Always us vs them. Just be normal, lead the way, stop whining and report sexual abuse.

His letter should read: We had a good idea going here, but obviously we failed at the core of our moral obligations. Perhaps a little less intellectual gymnastics, a little less philosophy, and a bit more basic human decency should be our focus.

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And, if I remember my Bible correctly, Judah was going to impose the death penalty for an accused adulteress which was apparently legal and normal at the time, and Judah himself was guilty of breaking his contract with Tamar to provide a husband. His sexual relationship was not illegal or immoral by the standards of that time.

Normann on the other hand aided and abetted and criminal, sexual deviant who prayed on his students.

Nice of him to compare himself to Judah.


i give him credit for admitting his mistakes and his need for tshuva.

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APC: He did it only after being exposed, Norman had no real choice, now he is trying to claim moral greatness when in fact he acted in an evil criminal manner.
Again, unlike the story of Judah in which Judah had the option of hiding his guilt as only Tamar knew of it, and she was going to carry that secret to the grave, but unlike Norman, Judah manned up despite having an easy way out.

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Maybe YU could offer a new course in Bible criticism? Judah and Norman 101: A 4 credit course comparing and contrasting the Biblical Character of judah and Norman Lamm.



no doubt his actions-or in-actions- hurt many and i've condemned him for that on previous threads. i'm not suggesting the apology makes it all better.

Chicago Sam

What exactly did Lamm do that got in trouble? Did he cover up sexual scandals? I could not discern from his letter of resignation what he did wrong. The language seemed vague.

Chicago Sam

Never mind, I already found out ....

Nigritude Ultramarine

@Pard "[...] now he is trying to claim moral greatness when in fact he acted in an evil criminal manner."

His family helped him with this letter. I like to think of this as a "my dad can beat up your dad" kind of letter.


For what it's worth I had several interactions with R Lamm over the years and he was always quite nice to me. I wrote to him expressing some of my religious struggles and he invited me to his office where we spoke for an hour. Nobody else ever did that for me. He always responds to my emails. Can you imagine a University President responding to the emails of somebody who isn't even associated with the school whether as student or faculty and isn't rich? I have two actual paper old fashioned letters from him where he responded to my inquiries. This is pretty amazing, especially in this day and age. And he has been one of the most courageous opponents of charedism over the years. He was doing that before many of us were born.

None of that negates the whole scandal or its effects. I don't know enough details or what the various people in power were actually told to comment and to size the whole thing up. Just saying, this guy has done a lot of good.

And I agree, an apology should just consist of the words I was wrong. I am sorry.

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Excellent and important point you make.

People are almost never all good or all bad. No doubt Lamm has huge credits on his life's balance sheet.

Cultures are the same, containing, always, vice and virtue. Charedim have great and noble elements to their society.

When I post here, it is always a critical exercise. This is the foil to an otherwise fantastical "perfect" universe that the perpetrators reported upon created for themselves.

Where else but on this blog can the perps get torn a new, (well deserved)one.


'Created a perfect universe for themselves.'

Great turn of phrase.


The title here should be that he retired, not resigned, which has a different implication.

Charles P. Cohen

The Jewish Daily Forward reporter who broke this story has published his comments on his interview with Norman Lamm:


I leave it to readers to figure out whether he's telling the truth, or whether to believe his attackers.

. Charles

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Not sure it matters that Lamm had symptoms of dementia at the time of his interview unless he requested that such info be stated in the copy. I am not up to speed on the conventional state of Journalistic ethics.

The point to focus upon is that the Big Wig of the MO universe was complicit in the cover up of heinous crimes that ruined and contributed to the termination of some lives.

His apologies came only after being forced to admit that the crimes occurred. The apology is also irritatingly defensive in it's complexity.

Sure we all make serious mistakes, and often hurt others as a result, but when you accept the position of leadership and have power to influence and control the destiny of others, particularly if you claim to do so with the Creator's authority as a Spiritual leader, you forfeit the slack afforded the average Joe.

Torah Umadah, yeah right

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