Tonight was the book launch for Rabbi Slifkin's new book, The Challange of Creation. The lovely eees and I both attended. There was certainly a better turnout tonight than there was when he spoke in Brooklyn last year.
The first speaker was Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President of the OU. He spoke about the need for a book of this type. Specifically, he mentioned that there were three types of people who were in danger of dropping out of the Orthodox community because of questions of science and Torah - specifically, (a) ba'alei teshuva, who often have these questions and may "drop out" if they are told to close their minds to them, (b) the young, who also may rebel if they are not allowed to ask questions and (c) the layman, who has questions such as these, and will not simply close his mind to them and pretend that they don't exist.
The next speaker was Rabbi Gil Student, the publisher of Yashar Books. Rabbi Student spoke about why the book is being published in spite of there being a ban against it. He gave three reasons why there can be such a book after a call for a ban against it - (a) there are authorities who permit it, (b) one is allowed to follow an authority in one's community and (c) these matters should be decided on a communal basis (since it is the communal rabbis who know best what the community needs) and that a one-size-fits-all p'sak should not be given in these matters.
Lastly, Rabbi Slifkin himself spoke. Rather than address issues that are in the book, he spoke about why he chose to put a picture of a dinosaur on the cover of the book. Aside from the fact that he personally likes dinosaurs (and yes, he mentioned the dinosaur that belives in itself - the apikorusaurus), he used it as a symbol to show readers that the book isn't meant for everyone - if you're troubled by the concept of dinosaurs and fossils, then the book isn't for you.
Overall, it was a very nice evening. Aside from Rabbi Student (obviously), I'm curious how many other bloggers were there.