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Faith & People


A Zionist Who’s Who A Zionist Who’s Who
Thursday, January 20, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The state of Israel, like the Zionist movement in all its forms—political, cultural, artistic, religious—was an astounding collective creation. The famous names are known, as are the slightly less famous.  But what about all the others?
Lost & Found Lost & Found
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In 1974, a strange letter from northeastern India landed on the desk of Israel's then Prime Minister Golda Meir. It was sent by a group of Indians claiming to be descendants of the biblical tribe of Menashe.
The DNA Speaks The DNA Speaks
Monday, December 20, 2010 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Are Jews a "nation" or a "people"? The Hebrew term ‘am means both.  Both terms, moreover, have been subjected to disapprobation in our time—although not nearly to the extent of "race," a term that Jews themselves stopped using nearly a century ago. How, then, are we to think about the mounting genetic evidence that points to Jewish biological continuity over time?
The Continuing War for Safed The Continuing War for Safed
Thursday, December 16, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Safed (Hebrew: Tsfat) is a picturesque town of 32,000 souls nestled in the hills of Galilee.  It is also home to a hardline branch of the Islamic Movement looking for ways to undermine Jewish sovereignty.
Of Devils and Dybbuks Of Devils and Dybbuks
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Many an enlightened reader of the New York Times must have indulged in yet another condescending laugh at the Catholic Church upon seeing a November 12 report about a conclave of bishops in Baltimore; the purpose was to discuss the urgent need for priestly experts in the task of expunging the devil from possessed parishioners. Among those chuckling, no doubt, were many Jews.
A Jewish Renaissance? A Jewish Renaissance?
Monday, November 15, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In recent years Israel has become a vast open-air laboratory for experiments in Judaism, re-fashioning rituals, reading old texts through new lenses, scrambling and fracturing familiar dichotomies between secular and religious. Secular yeshivot, mainstream performers singing medieval Hebrew hymns, non-denominational "prayer communities" in hip Tel Aviv, kabbalistic therapy movements, Judaism festivals on once-socialist kibbutzim—something is going on here, but what?
World Jewish Congress World Jewish Congress
Monday, August 30, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a show of solidarity with Israel, leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) will be gathering in Jerusalem at the end of the month. Not to be confused with the American Jewish Congress, of which it was originally an outgrowth, or the World Zionist Congress, founded by Theodor Herzl, the WJC is an umbrella group of Diaspora organizations (including the European Jewish Congress, the Latin American Jewish Congress, and others) that defines itself somewhat grandly as "the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people." If you haven't heard of it, there's a reason.
It Sounds Better in Amharic It Sounds Better in Amharic
Thursday, August 26, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his one-man play, It Sounds Better in Amharic, the Ethiopian-born Israeli actor Yossi Vassa humorously contrasts life in the old world and the new, mulling over the differences between traditional and modern ways of dating and the respective virtues of traveling by donkey or Lamborghini. He also narrates his family's 400-mile journey from Ethiopia to Sudan—from where, in 1984, the Israeli air force flew 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Vassa's family covered the 400 miles on foot, in three months. "Not to brag," he comments, "but it took the children of Israel 40 years."
Easter Easter
Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Around the world this weekend, Christians are preparing to celebrate Easter, the holiday marking the death and resurrection of Jesus and the culmination of the period of penitence that began with Ash Wednesday on February 17.     The first bishops in Jerusalem were Jews, and so the early Christian community commemorated the Feast of the Resurrection on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, coinciding with the Jewish festival of Passover. In Temple times, the essential rite of Passover was the slaughter of a paschal lamb; the Christian Bible explicitly tied this ritual with Rome's crucifixion of Jesus:...
The Messianic Aliyah The Messianic Aliyah
Monday, March 15, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Today marks the rededication of the Hurva (literally, "ruin") Synagogue, once the jewel in the crown of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Its history, and the debates over that history, open a window onto a fascinating chapter with powerful reverberations today. In 1700, days after arriving from Poland, a Jewish pietist purchased an abandoned plot known since the 15th century as "the Ashkenazi courtyard," hoping to build a synagogue. When his followers proved unable to keep up their payments, the Arab creditors reduced the site to rubble. In the 19th century it arose again, magnificently, thanks to the...
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Editors' Picks
It's a Bird! It's a Challah! Leah Koenig, Forward. Rolls shaped like birds, symbols of divine protection and mercy, are among traditional Ashkenazi foods for Rosh Hashanah and the meal before Yom Kippur.
Hitting Bedrock Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom. Two-thousand years after Herod's builders laid them, the foundation stones of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem have at last been uncovered.
Anti-Semitism=Anti-Peace David Patterson, Middle East Quarterly. The greatest obstacle to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is almost never mentioned in media accounts: virulent, jihadist hatred of Jews.
Flogging and the Rabbis Michael L. Satlow, Michael L. Satlow. A once-common practice, recently recommended for revival by an American criminologist, is discussed at length in the Talmud. Barbarous, or something more complex and perhaps even effective?
The Loneliness of the Kaifeng Jews Bob Davis, Wall Street Journal. A population that may once have peaked at 5,000 has dwindled to as few as 500 self-identified descendants of an ancient Jewish community in central China.
Superhuman Discovery Arieh O‚ÄôSullivan, Jerusalem Post. Muscles bulging, a lion skin draped over his shoulder, the Greek mythical hero Hercules has reappeared—headless—in a Roman-era bathhouse in northern Israel.  
Groupthink and the Sanhedrin Patricia Cohen, New York Times. Did the decision-making practices of the ancient Jewish legislative body anticipate modern wisdom on averting conformism and encouraging dissent?
From Jerusalem's Ancient Tunnels Associated Press. On the eve of Tisha b'Av,  archaeologists revealed artifacts newly unearthed from the great Jewish revolt against Rome (67–70 C.E.), including coins minted by the rebels and a stone incised with a sketch of the Temple menorah.
Banking on the (Jewish) Past Alex Weisler, JTA. Cologne, Germany's fourth largest city, is investing tens of millions to unearth the remains of its old Jewish quarter in hopes of attracting tourists.
On the Ninth of Av Frank Talmage, Commentary. In Catalonia, Spain, once the scene of centuries of Jewish hopes and achievement, a student of Jewish history is beset by a torrent of emotions.