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“AS SHABBOS came to an end the week before last, my friends and I performed the havdallah ritual. Flame, spice, wine, song and brave words granted us the courage necessary to depart our sacred “island in time” for the messy continent of the mundane. But havdallah could not prepare us for the news coming out of Poway, California, echoing the horror exactly six months before in Pittsburgh. “There’s been another shooting,” my friend blurted, as she scrolled through her news feed, partaking in the very modern Saturday night ritual of logging back in to one’s devices to review the events of the past 24 hours. All the sweet slowness of Shabbos fled me in one bitter rush.
Tuning out once a week is an act of creative constraint. It yields “a seed of eternity,” a night and day filled with song, food, friends, rest, and love—a taste of the world as it should be. Yet there’s a helplessness in surrendering the sense of control we feel in being constantly tuned in to the news cycle. In a world that delivers one uppercut after another, it’s scary to let your guard down; who knows where the next punch might land.
Of course, there’s also a helplessness in being tuned in to tragedy, one that grew increasingly acute as more and more information rolled into my feed over the course of the week: details about the shooter and his white Christian nationalist manifesto; the hollow, cynical condemnations from President Trump; calls for Jewish communities across the country to bar their doors, hire armed guards, or move to Israel. Then there were the heroic stories of Lori Kaye, zeykher tsadikes l’vrokhe, and the pictures of her grieving family, zey tsu lange yorn.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."