November 19, 2018

Judaism

"Be connected, be still, and be satisfied -- my 3 essential principles of Shabbat do more for me than all the halacha I learned to be a rabbi."

"...the more modern form of the movement has its roots in late 19th-century Europe... The sole focus of some missions based in England and the U.S. was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity..."

"The Hebrew Bible tends to regard idol worship as the sin par excellence. To Scott Shay, there is an underlying connection between hatred of Jews and Judaism’s rejection of the idolatrous worldview..."

"The Jews buried within them are not the fiercely traditional European ancestors so commonly imagined by contemporary American Jews—poor but plucky in their timeless shtetls."

"Shiva was unfamiliar to me, and required asking a lot of questions. I grew up without formal Jewish education, so I didn’t know the rules. I wasn’t sure if I was “supposed” to observe the rites since my dad wasn’t Jewish..."

"A myth linking Armistice and Kristallnacht - one that began with falsifying the war record of the 100,000 German Jews who fought for the Fatherland during World War I – still exists today."

"I believe that Anne Frank would have become a great writer had her family been offered refuge, but unfortunately, she was turned away from the United States. Maybe Steve Miller, who grew up in Santa Monica, a safe liberal zone, is unaware of this.."

According to religious belief, prophecy ceased to exist at the very beginning of the First Temple period.... Since then, God has been silent, and Jews have had to rely on the laws he had already handed down to us through revelation."

"For many decades psychologists conceived of prejudice as a one-dimensional antipathy: People love their “in-groups” and hate “out-groups.” But this us-versus-them approach failed to account for prejudice’s real-world complexities."

"I made a decision when I was 24 to join something so much bigger, so much stronger than where I came from and what I knew. And I am grateful every day to be part of my Jewish family."

"Years ago, Rabbi David Hartman warned Jews not to build an identity on a covenant of Auschwitz. Sadly, we’re still stuck in the old, familiar Jewish trauma cycle."

"In the 19th and 20th centuries, the question of whether a shared faith or a national identity unifies the Jewish people was the major question of Jewish political thought...Yet most Jews have insisted that the answer lies somewhere in between."

"Jewish history has not always been characterized by laughter, but in Genesis it evokes the freedom and joy of a life in partnership with God."

"Judaism was not a religion, like Protestantism. Instead it was something attached to their bodies and expressed through one’s relationship to land, labour and resources. "

"The Sabbath is a rupture in the architecture of time, a day set apart. For those who practice the ritual, it is a moment of disconnection from the week—a temporal void...."

"The archetype for all anti-Semites is Amalek. His cowardly specialty was picking off the old, weak and infirm stragglers at the back of the Exodus pack. Saturday’s murderer was Amalek brought to life..."

Certainly there are many deeply religious people in 2018 - but can we relate to the depth of feeling that religious people felt as recently as a few hundred years ago?

"Two newly translated diaries by young women murdered in the Holocaust cry out to us about the evils of the past and the dangers of the present."

"Unlike the shofar or the lulav, tefillin is a mitzvah of the body, and its holiness requires extreme caution. The body must be kept clean, the mind kept pure, and natural functions like passing gas are strictly prohibited while wearing tefillin."

"That the highest God speaks for six days and then has to rest from fatigue at the seventh is a patent absurdity: ‘It is not fitting for the first God to be tired or to work with his hands or to give orders,’ he writes."

The fact that certain Jews have joined ranks with the far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party has been met with shock. Here's what the Jews of the AfD have to say about the political alliance.

"ISIS, in its abysmal stupidity, had not understood that in its midst, converted into a cache for rockets and ammunition, stood a synagogue on par with those found in Kurdish Iraq."

Some Jewish thinkers are eager to reconcile science and religion by reconciling the Torah with the scientific theories. But science and religion are different fields of knowledge and address different concerns.

“It’s interesting that it is actually the Reform community, which is maligned by Conservative Jews, that is preserving Judaism more than the ultra-Orthodox.”

“Perhaps there was something too primal about it, the associations with blood and the female body and sexuality, the act of immersing naked in rainwater.”

“Let’s bring back the Sabbath as a radical act against ‘total work.’”

“There is such a thing as too late, as the terrible legacy of "if only", and the image of a hand which stretches towards a dove - which is no longer there to return.”

In Modern Orthodox Judaism: A Documentary History, Zev Eleff explores an often ignored but very influential Jewish denomination.

A grammatical anomaly in the Torah could suggest a different story about the creation of the world.

“Meet the Rabbis Who Believe the Torah Is on Trump's Side.”

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"Be connected, be still, and be satisfied -- my 3 essential principles of Shabbat do more for me than all the halacha I learned to be a rabbi."