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Apologia for Ben-Gurion Apologia for Ben-Gurion
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At this year's yahrzeit ceremony in Sde Boker for David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Iran clearly on his mind, emphasized—eight times—Ben-Gurion's capacity for making hard decisions.
Jerusalem and Athens Jerusalem and Athens
Monday, December 26, 2011 by Leo Strauss | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holiday of Hanukkah is, in part, a celebration of the victory of traditionalist Jews over Jews bent on assimilation to Greek Seleucid culture.  As such, the second-century B.C.E. Maccabean revolt has resonated throughout the ages not only as a key historical contest, but as a wellspring for interpretations of the divergent views of the Hebrews and the Greeks. 
Roll, Jordan, Roll Roll, Jordan, Roll
Friday, December 23, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The mighty River Jordan cuts a tiny ribbon through the geological depression stretching from Syria to Ethiopia. The river's output is paltry, at most two percent of the flow of the Nile. Today it divides Israel from Jordan, both created only in the 1940s. But for millennia the river has been a thread in Western consciousness.
Loof Loof
Thursday, December 22, 2011 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For the millions of Israeli citizens drafted into the Israel Defense Forces over the past 60 years, military service has involved patriotism, community, self-sacrifice—and Loof, Israel's kosher Spam. But a new generation of soldiers is about to experience military service without the familiar pink meat.
The First War of National Liberation The First War of National Liberation
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

This is the 2,179th anniversary of the world's first war of national liberation. There have been many since. To a surprising extent, such wars have followed the pattern first established by the Maccabees. They, like later heads of independence movements, were leaders of a people conquered and occupied by a great empire.
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 Stoic Vision of Ludwig Blum The Stoic Vision of Ludwig Blum
Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sometimes an artist is more popular with the public than with critics and fellow artists because the artist appeals to a popular taste that is simply unrefined.  Sometimes, though, the public is on to something that the cultural elites miss.
Newt and the Palestinians Newt and the Palestinians
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

It was almost inevitable: Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has lobbed a grenade into the Republican nomination race, and the subject is Israel.
Returning to Pearl Harbor Returning to Pearl Harbor
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Vernon Olsen was a 21-year-old seaman assigned to mess hall duty aboard the USS Arizona, a battleship moored in the calm waters of Pearl Harbor.  At 7:55 that morning, the ship's air raid alarm sounded.
Terror Out of Zion Terror Out of Zion
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

There is no love lost between the British Foreign Office and Israel. In a report to parliament last month, Foreign Minister William Hague condemned Israel for building in Jerusalem, being in the West Bank, and treating the present Gaza regime like the enemy it is.
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Editors' Picks
Search on a Centennial Ben Sales, JTA. One hundred years ago, Yosef Haim Brenner sold a pair of suspenders to fund the publication of S.Y. Agnon's first book—copies of which are now actively sought after.
Caves of Refuge Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz. A fifth mikveh has been found in the caves on the Galilee's Cliffs of Arbel, indicating that the people who lived there under Roman rule were most likely kohanim, Jews of the priestly class.
The Good Göring Christoph Gunkel, Spiegel. Albert Göring has remained essentially unknown—perhaps because it's hard to believe that the brother of Hitler's deputy was a member of the resistance.
When Stalinism Was in Vogue Michael Moynihan, Wall Street Journal. Playwright Lillian Hellman disdained a system that made her fabulously rich while romanticizing one that made its citizens spectacularly poor.
Paranoid or Realist? Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg. Benzion Netanyahu gave his son, Israel's prime minister, a dark view of the Middle East—and, therefore, the ability to negotiate a realistic peace.
Budding in Budapest Andrew Sacks, Jerusalem Post. Much of Hungary's Jewish establishment is government-funded and ossified. But in its shadow, in Budapest's old Jewish quarter, a kind of revival is going on.
There are More Things in Heaven and Earth David Winters, Bookforum. And there are other Walter Benjamins besides the post-Kantian philosopher dreamt of by Eli Friedlander.
Refugees and Resolutions Lyn Julius, Haaretz. Israel is afraid to champion restitution for Jews expelled from Arab countries because of the assumed link to the Palestinian refugee issue.
Alma, Tell Us Ilan Stavans, Forward. Did Isaac Bashevis Singer's long-suffering wife write a memoir?
The Patriarch Michal Shmulovich, Times of Israel. While Benzion Netanyahu will go down in history as a pathbreaking scholar and political activist, Israel's prime minister will remember the father who braved a snowstorm rather than let his son go to bed hungry.