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American Judaism

The Moral Costs of Jewish Day School The Moral Costs of Jewish Day School
Monday, May 20, 2013 by Aryeh Klapper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

As Jewish Ideas Daily nears its re-launch, we look back at some of our highlights over the last three-and-a-half years—beginning with Aryeh Klapper's day-school proposal, first published May 14, 2012.
Going Home Going Home
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by Judah Bellin | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his new book, Rod Dreher insists that communities are difficult to forge in America’s largest cities.  But for traditional Jews, the demands of modern capitalism and community are not as incommensurate as Dreher assumes. 
“They All Could Have Been Saved” “They All Could Have Been Saved”
Thursday, May 2, 2013 by Lance J. Sussman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus personally rescued 50 Jewish children from Nazi-era Vienna and brought them home to Philadelphia.  A new documentary tells their story—and contrasts it with the apathy shown by their community.
The Last Books The Last Books
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by Jonathan Brent | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The invisible structures created by the Jewish people of Eastern Europe over a thousand years were given shape and transmitted through the books and the documents collected by YIVO.  These structures still move us.  If we do not know what they are, we do not know ourselves.
The Decline of the Rabbi-Intellectual The Decline of the Rabbi-Intellectual
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Zach Mann | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The congregation-based scholars of yesteryear labored to make Judaism intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally stirring and politically applicable.  
The Politics of Yiddish The Politics of Yiddish
Monday, April 29, 2013 by Ruth Wisse | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jews who hold on to, or reach back for, the Yiddishkeyt of Yiddish yearn not merely for a declining language but for the social and political ideal that seems embedded in it.  
Orthodox Schooling: What Do We Know? Orthodox Schooling: What Do We Know?
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

80 percent of American Jewish day school students are Orthodox, but there is little research on the state of Orthodox education—because the Orthodox community has never funded it.
Faith and Matrimony Faith and Matrimony
Friday, April 19, 2013 by Dana Evan Kaplan | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

An initiative to admit intermarried students to Reform rabbinical schools is yet another indication that Reform Judaism is swiftly becoming not so much a religious movement as a Jewish activities club.
The New Jewish Leaders The New Jewish Leaders
Friday, April 5, 2013 by Hal M. Lewis | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Distinguished scholars profile the new generation of American Jewish leaders, from the ages of 22 to 40, and ask how they differ from the leaders of the generation past.  But who counts as a Jewish leader?
<i>As a Driven Leaf</i> As a Driven Leaf
Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Phil Cohen | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Milton Steinberg's As a Driven Leaf is no literary masterpiece.  But the novel, with its story of a notorious 2nd-century, C.E. heretic, has been in print for 75 years.  What accounts for the book's appeal to generations of modern Jews? 
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Editors' Picks
Go West, Young Man Jeremy Gillick, Moment. Joining the Californian gold rush in the 1850s, Jews discovered a land with no established hierarchy, no significant anti-Semitism—and no rabbis.
The Post-Yeshiva Synagogue Yonatan Kaganoff, Torah Musings. In American Orthodoxy, a fair number of synagogues have shifted from being places for whole families to gather to becoming places for men to pray and, especially, to study.
The Paradox of Choice Peter Berger, American Interest. "Judaism in America is faced with a paradox: Traditionally understood, being a Jew is a matter of destiny . . . But in American society today, remaining a Jew is in fact a matter of choice."
"Was I a Man or a Jerk?" David Wolpe, Los Angeles Review of Books. Greg Bellow's memoir of his father, author Saul Bellow, reveals "a sort of uneasy, seesaw truce between a famous, domineering, and rageful father, and a sensitive son."
The Outreach Revolution Jack Wertheimer, Commentary. The gap between Orthodox  and non-Orthodox Jews in America is supposed to be widening.  But Orthodox outreach is increasing contact—and invigorating non-Orthodox communities.
Don't Just Celebrate Mishael Zion, eJewish Philanthropy. "How fitting would it be if the week of Yom Ha'atzma'ut would be a time in which American Jews educate themselves on Israel’s challenges and opportunities."
A Contract Is a Contract Michael Helfand, Center on Law and Religion. A Connecticut state court has ruled that it may enforce the support provisions of an Orthodox prenuptial agreement without intruding on First Amendment religious protections.
Another Post-Pesach Celebration Gabriel T. Erbs, New Voices. Two craft brewers near Portland, Oregon, celebrate Passover’s end by making Matzobraü, with crushed-up leftover matzah added to the fermenting mash.  Only whole wheat matzah, of course.
Why Is Manischewitz Matzah Like the iPhone? Daniel Fromson, New Yorker. OK, the founder of the Manischewitz matzah-making company wasn’t exactly Steve Jobs.  But, like Jobs, he took an existing product, tweaked and improved it, and vastly improved its image.
Constitutional Discrimination Peter Berger, American Interest. New York City’s human rights commission has charged ultra-Orthodox businesses with discrimination for demanding female modesty—that is, for exercising a constitutional right.