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Israel & the Near East

Marking the Day–But Which Day? Marking the Day–But Which Day?
Monday, April 8, 2013 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

If it's the 27th of the month, it must be Holocaust Remembrance Day.  But what are we remembering, and why?  Differences in memorializing the Holocaust reflect fundamentally differing perspectives on Jewish history.
The Mad Zionist The Mad Zionist
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Ran Baratz | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

British Major-General Orde Wingate, who fought in theaters from Palestine to Burma, was a military genius.  He was also a Zionist's Zionist.  A new Wingate biography tries to explain why.
Strategic Investment in Israel’s New War Strategic Investment in Israel’s New War
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by Ronen Shoval | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Foreign governments, acting thoughtfully and strategically, fund dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that form a flourishing anti-Israel movement within Israel itself.
Iranian Jewry Today Iranian Jewry Today
Thursday, August 16, 2012 by Shai Secunda | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In late June 2012, the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran addressed an international conference on the proliferation of illicit drugs.  He acknowledged his country’s extensive border with Afghanistan, the largest producer of illegal opium in the world.  But he also blamed the crisis on the Babylonian Talmud.
Steal This Siddur Steal This Siddur
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

If anyone might be poised to understand how a project of decentralized authority and radically distributive ownership could operate in a market-based economy, it would be the treasurer of a kibbutz.
Shavuot: The Stopping Point Shavuot: The Stopping Point
Friday, May 25, 2012 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

There is always something going on in the Jewish festival calendar. From the fast of the 10th of Tevet through Hanukkah right around to the next fast of the 10th of Tevet on December 23rd, it's hard to go more than four or five weeks in a row without finding some special day to be observed.
Sleepless on Shavuot Sleepless on Shavuot
Thursday, May 24, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Two practices long associated with Shavuot, the "time of the revelation of the Law" (z'man matan Torateinu), are the enrolling of children in religious school and the marathon all-night study vigil (tikkun leyl Shavuot).
Aquarius in Zion Aquarius in Zion
Thursday, May 17, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the great crazy quilt of Israeli religious and spiritual life, the cluster of ideas and practices called "New Age" (in Hebrew, 'Idan Hadash) is increasingly visible. Love it or hate it, it's around, in books, festivals, newspapers, the pronouncements of tycoons, and growing networks of popular Kabbalah.
What is Jewish Dance? What is Jewish Dance?
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by Walter Zev Feldman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For readers interested in the development of folk dance and, to a lesser extent, modern dance in Israel, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, edited by Judith Brin Ingber, a dance scholar who has written widely on Israeli dance, is a valuable resource.
Gershom Scholem, 30 Years On Gershom Scholem, 30 Years On
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Thirty years after his death at age 84, Gershom Scholem casts a long shadow. The field he created, the modern study of Jewish mysticism, has grown beyond him, yet his work remains the indispensable foundation.
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Editors' Picks
Shalit’s Return: Summing Up Up Ben Caspit, Jerusalem Post. “The bottom line is that the soldier came home and started a new life, and Israeli society held firm to the solidarity for which is it famous.”
Israeli Natural Gas Field Comes on Line Associated Press, Times of Israel. Gas from the offshore Tamar reservoir began flowing this week, moving Israel toward energy independence.  Questions have been raised about why the journey had to start on Shabbat.
Historic Damascus Synagogue Looted and Destroyed Yoel Goldman, Times of Israel. It is an unsurprising tragedy: The Jobar Synagogue, 2,000 years old, has been burned to the ground.  The rebels blame the government.  The government blames rebels and Zionist agents.
Abraham's Magnificent Home Town Jane Arraf, Christian Science Monitor. A British archeologist, returned to Iraq for the first time in a quarter-century, unearths a temple or palace of “breathtaking” size near the Ur of Abraham’s era.
Learning from Herod Shmuel Browns, Popular Archaeology. King Herod’s legacy is problematic, but his standing as a master builder is not.  The current Israel Museum exhibit on his architecture and artifacts would have made Herod himself proud.
Learning Ladino Elizabeth Bloom, Times of Israel. Ladino, the language of Sephardic Jews, is undergoing something of a revival.  But there is only one current example of Ladino journalism—in, of all places, Istanbul, Turkey.
Iran the Peacemaker Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel. Netanyahu’s apology to the Turkish prime minister may have been a diplomatic coup by Barack Obama—or a sign of recognition by Israel and Turkey of their common interest against Iran.
The Real Enemy Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, Arab News. “What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care, and the infrastructures instead of wars?”
Mossad’s Mistake Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel. The attack that began the Yom Kippur War caught everyone in Israel, including Golda Meir, by surprise—everyone except the Mossad.  A new look at Israel’s Pearl Harbor. 
The Razor’s Edge Dan Ephron, Daily Beast. How might war between Iran and Israel begin?  Former Mossad chief Ephraim Levy says the flash point could be the Iranian soldiers now in Syria helping the Assad regime.