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American Judaism

At Last, Zion At Last, Zion
Friday, September 21, 2012 by Charles Krauthammer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Milan Kundera once defined a small nation as "one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear, and it knows it."  Israel is a small country. This is not to say that extinction is its fate. Only that it can be.
Spinoza in Shtreimels Spinoza in Shtreimels
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Carlos Fraenkel | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Philosophy professor Carlos Fraenkel wrote that “the cultural relativism that often underlies Western multicultural agendas [is] a much greater obstacle to a culture of debate than religion.”  Today, in an exclusive preview from the Jewish Review of Books, Fraenkel relates how his theory fared among a group of Hasidim.
Neologism and Nationalism Neologism and Nationalism
Thursday, August 30, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

There has never been agreement about Zionism.  Not only is the idea of Jewish nationalism controversial, the very word “Zionism” arouses unique passions, as a recent controversy highlights.
Are Day School Vouchers the Answer? Are Day School Vouchers the Answer?
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Is Jewish education a parental or communal responsibility?  The privately funded heder, with its melamed, or tutor, emphasizes the parental aspect.  The publicly maintained talmud torah, or congregational school, emphasizes the communal obligation.
The Road Not Taken The Road Not Taken
Friday, August 24, 2012 by Johanna Kaplan | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In my unusually large, far-flung, contentious, loopy contingent of maternal first cousins, the quandary of aliyah, or not, at one time or another, has possessed—pierced—nearly all of us.  And this is so despite the great divergence in our ages, interests, temperaments . . . 
Jewish Studies, Once and Future Jewish Studies, Once and Future
Thursday, August 23, 2012 by Adina M. Yoffie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

It’s that time of year again—not just the High Holidays but the time when Jewish college students pore over online course catalogues and make their choices for the fall semester. Will they take Jewish Studies courses? If so, does it matter which ones?
Jews and Guns Jews and Guns
Friday, August 17, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Two mass shootings in the past month—in Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin—have focused American attention once again on the issue of guns. Are guns a Jewish issue?
Charles Murray and the Rabbis Charles Murray and the Rabbis
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by Yaakov Y. Kermaier, N. Daniel Korobkin, Yosie Levine, Ari Perl, and Benjamin J. Samuels | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Five Modern Orthodox rabbis bring the Jewish tradition to bear on questions posed by the eminent sociologist.
The Birth of Conservative Judaism The Birth of Conservative Judaism
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

My little corner of Queens, New York, where the six Conservative synagogues that existed two decades ago have dwindled to two, epitomizes the national movement. 
New York Jews: Growing in Numbers, Growing Apart New York Jews: Growing in Numbers, Growing Apart
Thursday, July 5, 2012 by Leslie Lenkowsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ever since the first 23 Jewish settlers arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654, New York City has been the economic, cultural, religious and, not least, demographic center of Jewish life in North America.  
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Editors' Picks
America's Holy Haunted Houses Allan Nadler, Jewish Ideas Daily. Halloween is most certainly no Jewish holiday; yet its spooky mood is curiously congruent with the ambience that overcomes American synagogues this time of year.
No Child Left Behind Avital Chizhik, Forward. While many Russian Jewish immigrants to America are staunch conservatives, their children’s route to Americanization is through liberal Jewish politics.  
Assimilation through the Back Door Yoel Finkelman, Seforim Blog. Despite concerted efforts to be separate, American Haredim not only imitate the popular music and literature of the secular world, but have also internalized many of its social mores.
Rabbis for Slavery Howard B. Rock, Tablet. Today, New York’s Bnai Jeshurun Synagogue is a bastion of progressive politics. But on the eve of the Civil War, its rabbi was a champion of slavery.  A cautionary tale.
A New Lease on Life Winnie Hu, New York Times. From the Bronx to New Orleans, struggling synagogues have come up with a new way to survive: They pay Jewish families to move into the neighborhood.
Rabbinical School Encounters Matt Abelson, SPME. “My willingness to criticize the Palestinians, in general, and their political leadership, specifically, was not mainstream.”  A Conservative rabbi-in-training responds to Elliot Jager, and to his peers. 
Radio Days Jenna Weissman Joselit, From Under the Fig Tree. Thirty years ago, musicologist Henry Sapoznik discovered a trove of 1,000 recordings of inter-war American Yiddish radio shows.
Chabad vs. Chabad Paul Berger, Forward. What’s at stake in a decades-long battle by a powerful Lubavitch rabbi to take over the deed to a 150-family synagogue in a Detroit suburb?
Homeshuling Steve Lipman, Jewish Week. As the cost of Jewish schools in America soars, several hundred families have taken to educating their children at home. 
The Birth of the Jewish Vote Rafael Medoff, Los Angeles Times. In 1944, as American Jews became frustrated with FDR’s indifference to the fate of Jewish refugees, Benzion Netanyahu saw an opportunity to give them a voice in U.S. politics.