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Holocaust without End Holocaust without End
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sixty-six years after the end of World War II, the Holocaust remains one of the central puzzles of human history. For Jews, the imperative is clear: to remember and to encourage others to remember. But remember what? Has the earnest dedication of both Jews and non-Jews to seek the meaning of the event and absorb its lessons ended by emptying it of meaning and lessons alike?
O Canada O Canada
Monday, May 16, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In striking contrast to the treatment Jerusalem has been getting from its fair-weather European allies and a fickle Obama administration, there stands, of all countries, Canada. Why "of all countries"? Because none of this was preordained. Until lately, Canada's relations with Israel have essentially followed the trajectory of those with Western Europe—that is, starting out warm and turning increasingly frosty.
Mimouna! Mimouna!
Friday, May 13, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What did two million Israelis do when Passover ended this year? As in previous years, they celebrated Mimouna, a Moroccan Jewish holiday that is popularly observed by picnicking, barbecueing, and consuming moufletas (sweet North African pancakes). And what is Mimouna all about? No one really knows.
Israel: The Miracle Israel: The Miracle
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 by Paul Johnson | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The state of Israel is the product of more than 4,000 years of Jewish history. "If you want to understand our country, read this!" said David Ben-Gurion on the first occasion I met him, in 1957. And he slapped the Bible. But the creation and survival of Israel are also very much a 20th-century phenomenon.
Crimes of Communion Crimes of Communion
Monday, May 9, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Two years ago, a Muslim reporter for the Malaysian magazine Al Islam attended a Catholic mass in Kuala Lumpur with a companion, surreptitiously took communion, and put the wafer in his mouth, only to spit it out later. The May 2009 issue of Al Islam featured a cover photograph of the soggy, partially-eaten wafer—to the horror of local church authorities.
The New Egypt: Back to Belligerence? The New Egypt: Back to Belligerence?
Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Watching Egypt's revolution unfold earlier this year, apprehensive Israelis were reassured by European and American observers that they had little to worry about: Hosni Mubarak's February 12 departure had been provoked neither by anti-Israel fury nor by Islamist fervor, and shouts of "Up with Egypt" in Tahrir Square more than drowned out chants of "Down with Israel" or "Allahu Akbar." 
Hamas-Fatah: Looking for the Red Lines Hamas-Fatah: Looking for the Red Lines
Tuesday, May 3, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Things can always get worse, and in the Middle East they usually will. That was made depressingly clear once again with the April 27 announcement in Cairo of a reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations of Fatah and Hamas.
Calibrating Darkness Calibrating Darkness
Monday, May 2, 2011 by Henry Tylbor | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A child survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and then of Auschwitz and Majdanek, Henry Tylbor (1929–2009) eventually settled in New York where he wrote and taught. A polymath, and fluent in several languages, he was especially interested in the fields of linguistics, neuropsychology, the sociology of culture, and their intersections. The present work of autobiographical fiction is among the manuscripts left at his death. In observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, it appears here for the first time.—The Editors
Loving the Jews Loving the Jews
Thursday, April 28, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Five years before Theodor Herzl published The Jewish State in 1896, an American Methodist lay leader named William Blackstone dreamed of the Jewish people's returning to their ancestral homeland and rebuilding their ancient country. Blackstone translated his dream into a petition signed by 400 prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and a future president, William McKinley.
How the Likud Came to Be How the Likud Came to Be
Friday, April 22, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Benjamin Netanyahu no doubt took comfort from a recent survey showing that 76 percent of Likud members opposed annexing all of Judea and Samaria. Yet he would also have known that 10,000 party recruits had been newly signed up by uncompromising settler leaders. How to keep the Likud ("Union") together and in the center of Israel's political mainstream?
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Editors' Picks
Wine Jewish Ideas Daily. On Purim, Jews are commanded, among other things, to drink. While all manner of intoxicants will do, pride of place has always gone to wine, humanity's favored escape from consciousness since the dawn of recorded time.
Raising Cane Benjamin of Tudela, Mostly Kosher. How did the story of a debtor hiding gold inside a walking cane (both to deceive his creditor and to avoid technically lying under oath) make its way from the Talmud to Don Quixote?
On the Record eJewish Philanthropy. Which organization brought the first John Deere tractor to Ukraine? What killer disease was eradicated in Ottoman Palestine by a Jewish doctor? A unique chronicle of Jewish life abroad comes to the web.
A Tale of Two Synagogues David Gelernter, Jewish Review of Books. Frank Lloyd Wright's sprawling celebration of suburban Judaism echoes the shape of a long-ago building in Poland. And that echo tells us something about the remarkable history of synagogue architecture. (With images)
Rhetorical Record Dan Senor, Wall Street Journal. Obama claims to have done more for Israel's security than any previous president, but his record, along with the discontent it has provoked within the Democratic party, tells a different story.
Vanished Vienna Giles MacDonogh, Standpoint. For all its dryness, Georg Gaugusch's extraordinary new tome captures the meteoric rise of Jews into Austrian high society and their precipitous fall.
Russian Renaissance David Rozenson, Tikvah Fund. In an interview, the director of the Avi Chai Foundation in the Former Soviet Union speaks of escaping the USSR as a boy, and of returning as an adult to rebuild Jewish life (Part I; Part II is here).
"Meh" Generation Ben Zimmer, Boston Globe. The now-ubiquitous utterance likely began as a Yiddish idiom of world-weariness. But it was "The Simpsons" that brought meh to the masses.
Brag, Brag, Brag Greg B. Smith, Daily News. "I've been a thief all my life," said Julius Bernstein, a/k/a Spike, the Jewish mobster who spent decades extorting money from businesses, unions, and even medical clinics—and never spent a day in jail.
Courting Change Mati Wagner, Times of Israel. As chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch brought the judiciary into the thick of public debate. Her successor, Asher Grunis, will favor a new era of judicial restraint.