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UNIFIL: Peacekeepers or Enablers? UNIFIL: Peacekeepers or Enablers?
Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The response of the civilized world to events in southern Lebanon—where Hizballah, in preparation for its next act of aggression, is reportedly digging tunnels at the border with northern Israel—is doubly revealing. It says much about the non-enforcement of international law in an area dominated by Islamist irregular forces. And it is a reliable indicator of what might happen if, in the event of an agreement between the Palestinian leadership and Israel, international peacekeepers were to be stationed in the West Bank and Gaza.
In the Garden of Eden In the Garden of Eden
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The history of Israeli visual art begins, long before the establishment of the state, with the 1903 opening of Bezalel, an undersized but ambitious art and design school in Jerusalem. A little over a century later, Israel is bursting with academies, museums, galleries, architectural sites, and artists of all kinds. Or almost all kinds.
“A Simple Jew” “A Simple Jew”
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last Friday, several thousand people gathered in Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Yehuda Amital, an extraordinarily complex figure whose journey took him from prewar Hungary, via the Holocaust and the 1948 War of Independence, to the elite of the rabbinic world, the heart of Israel's military, the hilltops of Judea, and eventually the Israeli cabinet. Throughout, the yeshiva he founded and led, and the ideal of Torah study it embodied, were central to his life and teaching.
The Arab Peace Initiative The Arab Peace Initiative
Monday, July 12, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Among the things remaining unclear in the aftermath of the visit to Washington last week of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the next negotiating move of the Palestinians.  President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has warned that if his objectives in the "proximity talks" mediated by the U.S. are not achieved by mid-September, he will ask the Arab League to press harder with its 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. This document has become part of the verbiage of international declarations on the Arab-Israel conflict. According to the American envoy George Mitchell, it has also been incorporated into the Obama...
The Return of Peoplehood The Return of Peoplehood
Friday, July 9, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Among the various attempts over time to articulate a common, all-embracing sense of identity and direction for the Jews—that sprawling, fractious, and diverse group—the notion of peoplehood has been experiencing something of a revival. The Jewish Agency, for one, has announced that peoplehood will henceforth be the focus of its programming, and Israel will of course play a central role in this effort. But does a central role for Israel actually comport with the broadly inclusive tent that the "peoplehood" rubric seeks to establish? Some say no.
Waiting for the (Political) Messiah Waiting for the (Political) Messiah
Thursday, July 8, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Israelis are not scheduled to go to the polls until October 2013, but no one would be astonished if some political upheaval forced earlier elections. Several high-profile contenders are already letting it be known that they could be enticed to provide the deliverance Israelis habitually crave, either by starting new parties or by taking leadership roles in existing ones. The saviors waiting in the wings include the photogenic television personality Yair Lapid, who promises to stand up to the "settlers" and the "ultra-Orthodox." Then there is the magnetic Aryeh Deri, once the top vote-getter of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas party,...
Tradition and Its Discontents Tradition and Its Discontents
Wednesday, July 7, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Judaism teaches the unity of body and soul. The soul has received most of the ink, but in recent decades historians have made an effort to give the body its say by uncovering and interpreting the material circumstances that, together with the learning and the spirituality, have comprised the weave of Jewish life. Prominent among these historians is the Hebrew University's Shaul Stampfer, whose new book, Families, Rabbis, and Education, explores the diverse currents coursing through the nineteenth-century Jewish heartlands of Eastern Europe.
The Mossad The Mossad
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last week, Israel successfully deployed its fourth orbiting spy satellite, hailed by the country's intelligence community as delivering better than expected surveillance of "areas of interest." At the same time, Israel's human-intelligence apparatus, essential as ever to the Jewish state's survival, has come under severe criticism for two of its recent missions: the presumed liquidation of the senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai and the ill-prepared interdiction of the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla. Meanwhile, Lebanese authorities continue to sweep up reputed Israeli agents for spying on Hizballah.
Retrieving American Jewish Fiction: Myron Brinig Retrieving American Jewish Fiction: Myron Brinig
Friday, July 2, 2010 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"For Jews," the historian Jerry Z. Muller said recently, "Jewish economic success has long been a source of both pride and embarrassment." Very few Jewish writers have risen to even this level of ambivalence. The ground note of Jewish fiction has been hostility to business—the prooftext is The Rise of David Levinsky—and the story of Jewish success in establishing banks, department stores, and clothing lines has fallen to strangers (including anti-Semites) to tell.
Typography Typography
Thursday, July 1, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the Book of Genesis, the Hebrew language is the very stuff of creation. The Talmud tells us (Menahot 29b) that Rabbi Akiva would derive new laws from the "crowns" of Hebrew letters.  In the Kabbalah, the shape of the letters is said to reflect the shape of God's own inner being.  What type of type can do justice to any of this?
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Inheriting Abraham