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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?
What’s Left? What’s Left?
Friday, November 12, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Usually, when Israelis speak of Left and Right, they are differentiating mainly between security hawks and peace-camp doves—not between liberals and conservatives in general, or in the American or European sense.  By this definition, Israel's left wing is in a sorry state.
Class Divide Class Divide
Thursday, November 11, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The world's two largest Jewish communities differ in many ways. Class is one of them. That fact was made painfully clear this week as 4,000 communal professionals, activists, and donors met in New Orleans for the general assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America—at the same time that, in Israel, the National Insurance Institute (equivalent to the U.S. Social Security Administration) issued its annual report on "poverty and social gaps" in the Jewish state.
Who’s “Right” in Israel, and Who Isn’t Who’s “Right” in Israel, and Who Isn’t
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last month, two dozen followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane marched on the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, stronghold of the extremist Islamic Movement. They were making the point that Jews have the right to go anywhere in Israel. In the predictable mayhem that ensued, a dozen police were injured and ten Arab rioters were arrested. Sympathetic reports about the "mounting anger of Israel's Arab minority" made the world press, as did portrayals of the Kahanists as Israeli "right-wing activists" and "nationalists." But is that what they are?
The Non-Zionist The Non-Zionist
Monday, November 8, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The YIVO Institute in New York recently marked the 150th birthday of perhaps the most eminent among its founders: the historian and nationalist ideologue Simon Dubnow (1860-1941). Massively influential in its time, Dubnow's historical writing has been overshadowed by the work of later generations of scholars. In the meantime, the cause he championed—Diaspora Jewish nationalism—was throttled by the Holocaust.  Yet the man and his ideas may be ripe for rediscovery.
The Warrior Rabbi The Warrior Rabbi
Friday, November 5, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Praise of military virtue, prominent in the Bible, is almost non-existent in the Talmud, which, in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jews by the Romans, either ignores wartime feats or re-interprets them as allegories of intellectual or spiritual prowess. The Talmud's relative silence on the subject would prove enduring. Until the second half of the 20th century, with few exceptions, military virtue was consistently depreciated in traditional Jewish thought.
Jumping with Dance Jumping with Dance
Thursday, October 28, 2010 by Margot Lurie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"I don't like that people think Israel: war, guns, army. This doesn't really color who we are."  Thus speaks Ohad Naharin, artistic director of the Batsheva dance company, which recently completed a triumphantly successful round of performances in New York. To tell the story, and the significance, of modern dance in Israel is indeed to add a bright and distinctive hue to the "color" both of the state and of its cultural achievements, among which Batsheva occupies a place of shining honor.
Who is Ed Miliband, and What Does He Want? Who is Ed Miliband, and What Does He Want?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

With the Conservatives now in power in Britain, the Labor party has been sorting out not only its personnel but its policies, including toward Israel and the Middle East. In his campaign for the party's leadership, in which he narrowly edged out his brother David, Ed Miliband pledged to visit the area to see first-hand "what is happening on the ground."
Guaranteed in America Guaranteed in America
Friday, October 22, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Why should the Netanyahu government place any faith in the incentives offered by President Barack Obama in return for an extension of the moratorium on settlement construction? So grumble some Israelis, pointing for added emphasis to Obama's refusal to honor an earlier, Bush-administration pledge to Ariel Sharon.
Bi-Polar Europe Bi-Polar Europe
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last month, Western intelligence services uncovered a plot by Arab men holding European citizenship to carry out simultaneous shooting strikes in France, Germany, and Britain.  The United States apparently thwarted the attacks in a targeted killing campaign using drone aircraft against suspected Taliban- and al-Qaeda-backed terrorists along the Pakistan-Afghan border.
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Editors' Picks
Israel’s Oldest Residents Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post. In a cave deep under Ramle, scientists have discovered eight new animal species which have lived there in total isolation from the outside world for millions of years.
Praying for a Posek ha-Dor Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Jewish Ideas and Ideals. “To be a posek means to be a person of unprecedented courage. A person willing to initiate a spiritual storm which will shake up the whole of the Jewish community.”
Spinning Spinoza Allan Nadler, Forward. From David Ben-Gurion to Jonathan Sacks, Jews are determined to see the traditionally Jewish elements of Spinoza’s thought—by misreading his genuine heresy.
Survival in Buchenwald Brad Rothschild, Times of Israel. When the SS came looking for Jews on Kinderblock 66, Antonin Kalina told them there were no more.  (He had listed them as Christians . . .) 
Dividing the Druse Isabel Kershner, New York Times. With Syria entrenched in civil war, tensions are rising in the Syrian Druse villages on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, as opponents of Assad square up against loyalists.
Israel’s New Academic Diversity Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom. The opposition of Israel’s academic establishment to Ariel University is less about its location than the fact that Ariel threatens the Left’s hegemony over higher education.
Spy vs. Spy Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom. While the American press remains outraged at Jonathan Pollard’s spying on the U.S. for Israel, the Jewish state is crawling with American spies—and this is normal, routine, and implicitly accepted by both sides. 
Who is an Arab Jew? Albert Memmi, Israel Academic Committee on the Middle East. “The much vaunted idyllic life of the Jews in Arab lands is a myth! The truth, since I am obliged to return to it, is that from the outset we were a minority in a hostile environment.” (1975)
Strife in the Sinai Abigail Hauslohner, Time. In the two years prior to Sunday’s attack which left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead, Bedouin leaders had reported a resurgence in al-Qaeda affiliates operating in the peninsula.
The Dignity of the Individual Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Book of Doctrines and Opinions. In which the Rov rejects the death penalty for the Rosenbergs, says that slander in political elections is forbidden, and admits personal tension between his ideal of dignity and his impatience with the less educated. (1959; lecture notes)