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American Judaism

Judaism on Steroids Judaism on Steroids
Monday, January 9, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ryan Braun, the reigning MVP of baseball's National League, is having a rough offseason. On December 12, ESPN reported that Braun had tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) after a league-mandated drug test revealed elevated levels of testosterone in his system.
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.  
2011: A Year in Books 2011: A Year in Books
Monday, January 2, 2012 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holidays are over, the coffee-table books have all been unwrapped and set aside, and winter isn't going anywhere for a while. In short, it's time to settle in for some good reading. The literary critic D. G. Myers here presents the 38 best Jewish books of 2011, all of which merit your attention.
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.)
Highlights of 2011:<br />Part I Highlights of 2011:
Part I

Thursday, December 29, 2011 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A two-part glimpse back at some of the year's most popular Jewish Ideas Daily features that you might have missed. Here, part I.
Orthosexuality Orthosexuality
Monday, December 19, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Talmud tells a story about one Rabbi Kahana who hid under the bed of his master, Rabbi Abba (better known as Rav), as the latter was having sex with his wife. Kahana, shocked at the type of frivolous language used by his mentor, commented that Rav was behaving ravenously.
The Trouble with Hitchens The Trouble with Hitchens
Friday, December 16, 2011 by Benjamin Kerstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

When Christopher Hitchens passed away yesterday at the age of 62, the encomia started pouring in almost immediately. Most of this praise is deserved, as the acumen of Hitchens's muscular criticism and the wit of his ripostes will be with us for a long time to come.
Shtik and Sensibility Shtik and Sensibility
Friday, December 9, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Theater can challenge preconceptions or play it safe. Relatively Speaking, a set of one-act plays by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen, rises to the challenge.  The plays are variations on the theme of the Jewish mother, and two are predictable—but one is unusual.
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?"
Look for the Union Label Look for the Union Label
Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

With the din from the Occupy Wall Street encampments fading in the early winter chill, it's time to step back and consider the phenomenon as part of the broader history of the anti-capitalist struggle in America.
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Editors' Picks
A Kaddish for Sholem Aleichem Kara A. Kaufman, Moment. How did the Yiddish author want his descendants to spend his yahrzeit? They should "select one of my stories, one of the really merry ones, and read it aloud in whatever language they understand best."
E-vil? Micah Stein, Tablet. The ultra-Orthodox rally against the Internet is not merely about pornography. It's about Facebook, filters, accountability, and the maintenance of rabbinic authority. And then it is also about pornography.
Not Fit to Print Nick Pinto, Village Voice. What's missing from the New York Times' front-page stories on sex abuse in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox communities? Acknowledgement of the reportage lifted from Jewish media outlets.
Body Language Arika Okrent, Lapham's Quarterly. Jews tended to use one hand, Italians both. Italians touched their own bodies, Jews touched the bodies of their conversational partners. But as Jews and Italians became American, so did their gestures.
A Serious Man Joseph Epstein, New Criterion. One day Hilton Kramer appeared to drop off his copy in person at the New Leader offices. The editor asked him if he knew anyone who was looking for a job. "Actually, I do," he said. "Me."
Sally Priesand and the Reality Principle Michele Alperin, JNS. Forty years ago, the first woman rabbi intended to get married and have children, and planned to have a nursery next to her synagogue office. Reality turned out to be different.
Black Hats and Cassocks Avi Shafran, Jewish Week. Prudent, measured insularity is not asceticism, and Haredim aren't monks.
Common Denominator Bryan Schwartzman, Jewish Exponent. Across denominational lines, rabbis are facing the same problems—and are actually working together to solve them.
American Hebrew Poetry? Jerome Chanes, Forward. One of the best-kept secrets of Jewish American history is the creation of an indigenous Hebrew poetry in the first half of the 20th century.
A Conservative Catechism Diane Cole, Jewish Week. Ten years in the making, the Conservative movement's Observant Life covers halakhah, ethics, and thorny modern issues. Will it resonate with the youth it obviously wishes to court?