March 23, 2019

Judaism

“Jewish identity has always been subject to gatekeeping. In classic Jewish form, the question “Who is a Jew?” is always answered with another question: “Who is the gatekeeper?”

On Sukkot we read the book of Kohelet –one of the Torah’s most existentially anguished inclusions. Is the message of Kohelet nihilist? Or does it call us to action?

“In a time when cell phones, email, and other technological advances, combined with economic changes, create situations in which work can pervade all of life, a revival of the Sabbath might be more necessary than ever.”

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.

Jews have had a state for seventy years. It has been just about as long since the end of the Holocaust. Globally speaking, antisemitism is down. But it doesn’t always feel that way.

“In our own time, we have no High Priest and no Temple. There is no perfect setting for our approach to God and we lack the Temple rituals which welded us together at this critical moment in our calendar.”

“A Ukrainian township is home to one of the world’s biggest, and all-male, Jewish pilgrimages. It’s dirty, seductive, raucous, mystical and transgressive. Some rabbis even brand it heretical. But they can't beat it.”

“…heaven is not a place of angels, halos, lyres, pearly gates, or fluffy clouds, or of chariots, smoke, lightning, or thunder. The essence of heaven is an academy—a yeshiva—a place of Torah study.”

“Compartmentalization explains how it is that an otherwise committed Orthodox Jew can, in his workplace, engage in questionable business practices, or mistreat a child or a spouse."

Created by Rabbis, the Noahide Project is a Jewish faith for non-Jews. Take a look at the growing Noahide religious movement and the individuals at work promoting it around the world.

“The ritual of Jewish parents blessing their children is indeed moving, but it is easily misconstrued. Properly understood, it stresses first and foremost not the bond between parent and child, but rather between the child and God.”

In Judaism, the call of the Shofar on Rosh HaShannah ushers in the new year with three sounds – t’ki’ah, sh’varim, and tru’ah. Here’s the surprising history of the Shofar’s unique music.

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Historic buildings and structures dating from the Byzantine era to the 20th century have been subjected to disastrous restorations in recent years here, prompting public outcry and fostering a cynical attitude toward planned projects."

"Fox News, normally the object of presidential praise on Twitter, was subjected to an unusual tweet-lashing over the weekend when the president went after three of its anchors."

"Opinion: I am not willing to cast a ballot for this current crop of scandal-mongers, gossips and PR-obsessed dilettantes who are tearing the country apart - don't we deserve better?"

"Listening to The Joe Rogan Experience is sort of like crashing an intense, intimate dinner party in which the only courses are whiskey and weed."

"At the Jewish Museum in London called “Jews, Money, Myth.” The show explores the ways in which Jews have been associated with money over the past 2,000 years."

"Footage of last week’s massacre in New Zealand, which the shooter streamed in real time via Facebook Live, quickly proliferated. The original 17-minute webcast was viewed fewer than 200 times and wasn’t immediately reported, Facebook says."

"When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential."

"Lost in migration: When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?"

"Someday my daughter will be asked if she wants to have a bat mitzvah. I’m inclined to let her make up her own mind... It's a lot of work to learn Hebrew, memorize parts of the Torah and prepare for a pressure-packed performance at such a young age."

"Tablet's Unorthodox Podcast: Gail Simmons, Shalom Auslander, Jill Kargman, Gil Hovav, and more on the Jewish foods that mean the most to them."

""Hitting someone is a foundational moral violation," Yale University Psychologist Paul Bloom wrote in a comment to the paper. "Indeed, these sorts of physical infractions are found to be morally wrong by the youngest babies we can test."

" Ilhan Omar in particular has garnered attention for tweets widely viewed by the Jewish community as trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The result has been the most media coverage of anti-Semitism in a decade..."