Best Of The Web
“Be ‘a man in the street and a Jew in the home’: a common piece of advice that liberal Jews often gave their co-religionists in the 19th century. If Jewishness was kept invisible and private, they wagered, then Jews could become citizens and professionals, and be granted equal access to the material resources made available to any other member of society. There was plenty of Christian bias to combat, encapsulated by images of Jewish avarice and materialism such as Shylock’s greedy hands and Rothschild’s beard in the form of snake-like tentacles. If only Jews could fit into the spiritual boxes established by the European Protestant elite, they would be accepted, or at least tolerated in the public sphere as Frenchmen, Germans or Englishmen. Though compelling in theory, the deal became more fraught as rampant anti-Semitic violence in eastern Europe continued to remind Jews that, no matter how much they tried to look like ‘everyone else’, their bodies were marked as Jewish.
In the 1870s European Judaism underwent an intellectual revolution. Around then, a group of young Russian Jewish radicals began to identify Judaism with materialism, and to theorise about what they called – whether in Russian, German, Yiddish or Hebrew – the ‘material’ (material’nii, materiell, gashmi, ḥomri) aspects of the Universe. For many Jews living in this period, ‘materialism’ was a worldview that brought into focus latent Jewish ideas and beliefs about the physical world. The materialists claimed that a theory of Judaism, defined by the way people related to land, labour and bodies, had been lying dormant within Jewish literature – in Hasidic texts, the Bible, Spinoza’s philosophy – and could now be clearly recognised and fully articulated. Jewish particularity was based on specific historical economic differences between Jews and others. What made Jews different was a certain socioeconomic dynamic that distinguished them from their neighbours.
The Jewish revolutionaries in 1870s Russia who embraced the idea of materialism shared a number of critical assumptions. They all rejected the notion that Judaism was based on abstract metaphysical theories (Scholasticism), rituals (Hasidism), study (Mitnagdim), and ethics and reason (Enlighteners). 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 materialists had also given up hope that the state could protect them and ensure their economic wellbeing. And finally, they no longer believed that history was headed in a positive direction. Over no amount of time would Jews living in Russia ever be granted greater rights and opportunities. Therefore, only a radical reclaiming of the physical world on the part of Jews could ensure that they would be protected and given a fair and equal share of resources.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"...after five months of canceled meetings and muted statements of dissatisfaction by both countries, experts say there is no sign of progress toward the Singapore goal of so-called "denuclearization" of the North."
"The presidential news conferences have become frustrating to watch and, doubtless, are frustrating for President Trump to engage in. While we have freedom of the press in our country, we should not tolerate unprofessionalism."
"It's highly unlikely that Israel's center-left parties will form a coalition to run together in the 2019 election, but they should not abandon efforts to find common ground to fight for."
"Cam has the brilliant audacity to argue that the internet isn’t about connecting people. Netflix’s slick, saucy new horror noir understands the existential terror of losing your carefully curated fictional internet persona."
"Wealthy nations have strong currencies. A strong dollar allows Americans to buy goods, services and resources from other countries at low prices."
"China’s leaders like the internet they have created. And now, they want to direct the nation’s talent and tech acumen toward an even loftier end: building an innovation-driven economy, one that produces world-leading companies."
"At an inaugural desert festival of yogis and spirit guides like Russell Brand, an exclusive industry grapples with consumerism, addiction, and the actual meaning of wellness."
"The confusing thing about Franzen is that even people who hate him admit that he is a great novelist, and even people who love him admit that his essays are often a little on the insufferable..."
"“And just like that” or “in the blink of an eye” are familiar captions on parenting milestone photos. But for me, while the days were long, not even one year flew by."
"How the Silicon Valley set fell in love with sourdough and decided to disrupt the 6,000-year-old craft of making bread, one crumbshot at a time."
"...everyone can — and should — learn quantum mechanics. It’s not rocket science — it’s a fundamental part of how our world works, and not as complex as you might fear."
"New Hebrew University initiative brings international students to Yoga studio run by Breslov Hasidim for course on 'Judaism and the Body.'"