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American Jewish History

Heschel in Yiddish and Hebrew Heschel in Yiddish and Hebrew
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Standing at Sinai, "All the people were seeing the thunder" (Exodus 20:15), seeing the sounds. The word "revelation" would be somewhat misleading, since nothing was unveiled: The mountain was wreathed in cloud and smoke.
Old-New Leonard Old-New Leonard
Friday, March 9, 2012 by Peodair Leihy | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

After 60 years of publishing and recording, seventysomething Leonard Cohen has something else to say; and, lo and behold, the "Camp"—the Bergen-Belsen of the remembered newsreels of his childhood—comes up. He also gets the "Eye"—Jerusalem's Eye of the Needle—in there, a Jewish metaphor from the Talmud and the New Testament.
Hitting the Jackpot Hitting the Jackpot
Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Who doesn't like Purim? Besides the costumes and candy, the story itself has all the politics, sex, and violence of a juicy HBO series. In case you missed it: "Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted to destroy the Jews, and had cast a pur—that is, a lottery—with intent to crush and exterminate them."
Gertrude Stein, Fascist? Gertrude Stein, Fascist?
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 by Eitan Kensky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Does it say something that the most indelible portraits of Gertrude Stein come from the outside? Or, to frame the question a different way: what does it say when our most lasting impressions of a writer are based not on her words, but on the visions and appropriations of others?
Redefining Religious Activity Redefining Religious Activity
Friday, February 17, 2012 by Meir Soloveichik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In August of 1790, Moses Seixas, a leading member of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, composed a letter to then President George Washington, who was visiting Newport. In his letter, Seixas gave voice to his people's love of America and its liberties.
Mensch in the Moon Mensch in the Moon
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 by Josh Gelernter | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Right now there are two Americans aboard the International Space Station, and their only way home is to hitch a ride in the Russians' Soyuz capsule, a ramshackle remnant of the 1960s. There's no space shuttle to bring them home because the shuttle's been retired; also retired are plans for an American return to the moon.
Trotsky Eats and Runs Trotsky Eats and Runs
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by Micah D. Halpern | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

I first heard the name Trotsky when I was seven years old. My grandfather, a Jewish tailor from Belarus who arrived in the goldene medine and pulled himself up by his bootstraps to own a men's suit factory in New York, had just gotten a swept-back haircut. He called it a Trotsky.
The Whole Damn Deal The Whole Damn Deal
Friday, January 6, 2012 by Suzanne Garment | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On April 2, 1979, President Jimmy Carter recorded in his diary that he had asked Robert S. Strauss to be his Mideast peace negotiator. Strauss answered, "I've never even read the Bible. And I'm a Jew." Observance-wise, Bob Strauss, who spent 50 years as a consummate practitioner of American politics, wasn't much of a Jew.  
Highlights of 2011:<br />Part II Highlights of 2011:
Part II

Friday, December 30, 2011 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Part II of our round-up of the past year's most popular features on Jewish Ideas Daily. (Part I is here.)
Bittersweet Charity Bittersweet Charity
Thursday, December 8, 2011 by Suzanne Garment | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a recent issue of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues, Debra Mesch, director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, together with colleagues, has published an article called "Does Jewish Philanthropy Differ by Sex and Type of Giving?"
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Editors' Picks
The Man behind the Reference Desk Zalman Alpert, Jewish Press. A career librarian at Yeshiva University reflects on the evolution of American Orthodoxy, Chabad, and what the Black Power movement gave the Jews. (Interview by Elliot Resnick)
“A Great Compliment Paid the Jews” Michael W. Schwartz, Commentary. In July 1788, New York State’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution was far from a sure thing. But its supporters still postponed a huge parade out of respect for a Jewish fast day (observed again this Sunday).    
The Fourth of July and the Jews Joseph Michelson, JWeekly. “So, what is so unusual about our sojourn with America? It is, in terms of historical significance, perhaps the most beneficent, generous, and happy marriage we, as a people, have ever had!”
New York’s First—and Last—Chief Rabbi Avraham Kelman, Jewish Press. In the 1880’s, New York’s Jewish community was lax in practice and lacking in direction. Nor did it want to change—as Yaakov Yosef discovered to his detriment.
A Forgotten Hero Brad Hart, American Revolution Blog. Francis Salvador is remembered only as the first Jew to be killed in the Revolutionary War. But as a wealthy English Jew who became a patriotic American democrat, he epitomized the American dream.   
Roosevelt’s Religion Andrew Preston, Boston Globe. For conservatives, the Judeo-Christian tradition is the ancient basis of the Western world—while for liberals, it’s a conservative myth. But if there is such a tradition, it was created by a liberal president.
The Jewish Pioneers Pamela R. Winnick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While Jews were tolerated in the New World, they were hardly made welcome by the Protestant majority—until they played a military and, more importantly, a financial role in the Revolution.
Different, or the Same? Jack Wertheimer, Jewish Ideas Daily. For over a century, American Jews have asserted that America and the Jews are a perfect fit. Is it true?
We Failed Zuckerberg Dana Evan Kaplan, Forward. A Reform rabbi argues that his movement's pluralistic theology is to blame for the detachment of young Jews from their faith.
The Third American Jewish Revolution Steven F. Windmueller, eJewish Philanthropy. In the current economic climate, the American Jewish system—a $9.7 billion annual enterprise—will need to rethink basic elements, like work, membership, and community.