January 16, 2019

Judaism

"Anti-Semitism, though, isn’t just a brand of bigotry. It’s a conspiracy theory in which Jews play the starring role in spreading evil in the world."

"In an America where anti-Semitic incidents are at an all-time high, according to both the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, Hanukkah has become a more loaded holiday."

In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting, many are tempted to find someone to blame. But in blaming the entire political right, do people end up blaming right-wing Jews for antisemitism?

"It can come from the right or the left. It exists in countries that have large Jewish populations, like France, and it also flourishes in places with smaller Jewish communities, like Poland."

"Though names of rabbis who can perform marriages still kept under wraps, Rabbinate's list of those who can grant divorces and handle conversions made public – including rabbi who oversaw Ivanka's conversion..."

"Unique aspects of Haredi culture have led to an anti-vaxxer movement developing in the community. As senior rabbis issue contradictory rulings, medical experts are using informal gatherings to try to spread the word..."

"Religions, nations, movements, companies and concepts all go through transformations in reaction to changing circumstances, and there has been a radical change in Jewish circumstances over the last 150 year."

"Last week, Israeli media reported of rioting Haredim onboard an El Al plane. The true story turned out to be very different, and deeply revealing."

"New Hebrew University initiative brings international students to Yoga studio run by Breslov Hasidim for course on 'Judaism and the Body.'"

"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.

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JJ Editor's Picks

"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."

Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?

"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."

"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."

"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."

"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."

Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.

"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."

"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."

"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."

"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."

"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."