September 24, 2018

How to De-Compartmentalize Your Jewish Practice

“As a young teenager davening daily in the shul that my father, a”h, served as Rav, a congregation whose clientele ranged from totally non-observant Jews to fully observant ones, I considered myself something of an expert in Jewish sociology.

I wasn’t anything of the sort, of course, and my assumptions that none of the non-observant shul members would ever one day begin to keep Shabbos or undertake kashrus or study Torah were happily proven wrong. I underestimated the power of my father’s warmth and his standing on principle, and the respect that those things engendered in his congregants. And the ability of people to change.

But before I saw the power of an unabashed but warm presentation of Jewish right and wrong, I looked down at the shul members who expressed their Jewishness only on the “High Holidays” – “three day Jews,” some called them – and yahrtzeits, and I considered them to have missed the point of the Jewish mission. Judaism, after all, can’t be “compartmentalized” and “practiced” only in shul. It’s an all-encompassing, non-stop way of life.

Around the same time I stopped looking down my young nose, I started looking into my young heart, and realized that I, too, compartmentalized Yiddishkeit, living it fully at times and places but… less fully at other ones.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

China's massive and rapid investments in Africa have been criticized by some as a form of economic colonialism. Others are just wondering why the West is missing out on the opportunity.

"For two years, Americans have tried to absorb the details of the 2016 attack — hacked emails, social media fraud, suspected spies — and President Trump’s claims that it’s all a hoax. The Times explores what we know and what it means."

Twenty-five years after Oslo, Israeli-Palestinian peace remains elusive. A mix of Leftist idealism and PLO rejectionism are to blame for taking the "process" out of the Peace Process.

"In recounting the life of alleged Mossad agent Ashraf Marwan, Ariel Vromen's disappointing film leaves the most interesting parts of the story off screen."

The tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump will add to the national debt. But they did succeed in one area: making rich people even richer.

"As Seen On TV" gadgets like the "sock slider" or a banana peeler are often mocked for being useless wastes of plastic. But for some individuals with disabilities, these gadgets make all the difference.

If SJWs often resemble religious fundamentalists, bell hooks is their highest prophet. Her work on gender and intersectionality have redefined American campuses, and her ideas are being put into action with religious fervor.

"It strikes me that we’re now suffering collectively from a “tyranny of the virtual,” since we find ourselves unable to look away from the screens that mediate not just print but, increasingly, reality itself."

Parents see it all the time. Young girls, confident and full of joy, become timid and shy around their tween and early teen years. A new book explores the sociological explanations for the loss in confidence.

How did a Chinese citrus fruit become the central symbol of one of Judaism's most important holidays? According to a new book by Rabbi David Moster, the Etrog wasn't always so important. For ancient Jews, any old fruit would do.

If IQ tests are any indication, Americans are getting stupider. Some think environmental factors could be to blame. Others say that it's our culture which is to blame for making us stupider.

According to a new book from Jack Wertheimer, American Judaism is embracing universalism in an effort to stay relevant. But this focus on universalism may threaten to undermine the vitality of the Jewish faith.