January 18, 2019

Judaism

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"

"In the 21st century, the criteria for identifying a Jew remains contested. In the United States, Robert Mnookin points out, several critical challenges add a sense of urgency to the age-old debate."

"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."

"Some think the key to unlocking academic success can be found in Jewish approaches to education, leading to the establishment of dozens of chavruta-themed institutions."

"Groundbreaking U.S. Rabbi Angela Buchdahl explains why she changed her mind on Jewish intermarriage, and what it's like to be the face of Judaism for many Americans, while not being kosher enough for Israel."

"...the prayer is not thanking Him for having created the stars, or the sun, or any particular celestial appurtenance. It is thanking Him for staying around and ensuring the job gets done, day after day."

"Myanmar’s Jewish community has dwindled to about 20 people. Most of the Jews had fled when Japan invaded the country in World War II, as the Axis power distrusted them for their perceived political alignment with the British."

"The Charedi community has much better demographic prospects than other denominations. But in the long-term, says Jonathan Boyd, Judaism will be most successful when it figures out how to preserve its particularism whilst caring for society..."

"According to Ethiopian lore, the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in a church in Aksum–a small city in the northern highlands–and guarded by a single monk."

"Almost the very first stories in the Bible are of violence, notes Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild as she investigates it's meaning in religion by looking at two books on the subject."

"If you believe the Torah is relevant today, you'll agree that its laws of damages should apply to forbidding the publication of women's images."

"Most of the immigrants to Israel last year were not halachically Jewish, according to figures released this week by the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics."

"In a remote landscape of corn fields without end lies an unexpected discovery: several gravestones, the only physical remains of Beersheba, a Jewish agricultural colony established in 1882."

"The resolutions we make on Rosh Hashanah tend to be about others rather than about ourselves. Instead of swearing, yet again, to join a gym or quit smoking, we ponder how to be better humans."

"2018 has felt at times the most confrontational year ever, especially among American Jews, however there has never been a time when young Israelis and Diaspora Jews were so similar."

"She and her husband moved to because a Jewish millionaire paid them to come build up the Jewish community there. Given an offer of up to $50,000, she and Kenny picked up their lives and came to Alabama."

"A 2017 poem by Alice Walker titled “It Is Our (Frightful) Duty to Study the Talmud” has resurfaced, wherein she refers to the “devastating impact” the Talmud has had on the entire world..."

"In examinations of both museums and modern memorials, we have seemingly taken for granted that big architectural projects are the most appropriate form of storytelling. They may not be."

"When a woman such as Calderon—or one of the many other female Talmudic scholars—delights in the Talmud, she is finding ways to love a body of work that does not love her."

"You have to have flexibility, because life is not clear-cut or coherent. Moving here, moving there, you work out the different opinions somehow, and you let it be. As such Jewish Law and beliefs stay fresh and thriving."

"Secular Jews have started to appreciate the nonreligious aspects of the holiday, from blinking lights to chocolate Santas to Mariah Carey’s Yuletide hits."

"...either our youth walk out on Judaism or maintain a lukewarm relationship with Jewish observance; or, they become so obsessed by its finest points that they are incapable of seeing the forest from the trees."

Have American college students become intolerant of challenging ideas? Perhaps American universities need to learn a thing or two from traditional Jewish houses of study.

"It’s December again, which means it’s time to put away childish things and once again heed our era’s highest moral calling and resume our arguments about Love, Actually."

"The Harry Potter series is a work of fiction. So, maybe we should just put the witchcraft debate aside and read it from a different perspective... there are a lot of lessons we can learn from the series that we also see in the Torah."

"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."

"If they embrace their Jewish roots, they can be accused of philo-Semitism... If they ignore it, they risk losing the understanding of the intricate and yes, intersectional, nature of the experience of their Latinx heritage in the Americas."

"As ultra-Orthodox internet and smartphone use becomes more widespread, gossip columns are growing more popular - but some topics remain taboo."

"When you have headlines about “white privilege” and “evil white men,” Jews become the epitome of whiteness—except, of course, for neo-Nazis, who see Jews as hyper-integrationists."

"The Jewish American Princess, or JAP, embodies both an attitude and a style of dressing. The archetype was forged in the mid-1950s, in concert with the Jewish-American middle-class ascent."

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JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"