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Jewish Thought


J Street’s Last Hurrah? J Street’s Last Hurrah?
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a little over three years, a liberal lobby calling itself "passionately and unapologetically pro-Israel" appears to have either supplanted or co-opted other likeminded groups on the Jewish Left—among them, Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum, and the New Israel Fund.
Military Virtue, and Virtue Military Virtue, and Virtue
Monday, February 28, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On February 14, Benny Gantz was appointed the twentieth chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It wasn't supposed to be that way. Yoav Galant, a decorated soldier and former head of the IDF's southern command, had been named to the position at the end of 2010.
Jewish Philanthropy 2.0 Jewish Philanthropy 2.0
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jewish mega-donors are hardly news. It is also a commonplace that wealthy Jews allocate less than 25 percent of their giving to specifically Jewish causes. Of the two facts, the latter has understandably puzzled and frustrated fund raisers for Jewish causes. But is it really so mysterious?
Jewish-Christian Dialogue Today Jewish-Christian Dialogue Today
Monday, February 21, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

How do today's Jews and Christians encounter one another? The most obvious way is in the countless interactions of Jewish and Christian colleagues and acquaintances in a host of daily settings, including exchanges on their respective religious attitudes and experiences.
The Riddle of the Satmar The Riddle of the Satmar
Thursday, February 17, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A prospect terrifying to secular Israelis and Zionists worldwide has been the rapid growth of the Jewish state's ultra-Orthodox (haredi) community. Given the stranglehold of haredi political parties on recent coalition governments, and the encroachments by non-Zionist haredi clerics upon Israel's chief rabbinate, once religiously moderate and firmly Zionist, the fear is not entirely irrational.
Spirituality Lite Spirituality Lite
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A simple truth lurks behind the rise of "post-denominationalism" in Jewish religious life. It is that increasing numbers of Jews are becoming less interested in defining what Judaism means than in sampling aspects of the Jewish tradition that seem to promise spiritual vitality.
Skeletons in the Closet of Hasidism Skeletons in the Closet of Hasidism
Friday, February 11, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Popular demands for transparency in our institutions and the availability of technological means to achieve it have made it hard to keep secrets. This has affected the conduct not only of government and business but also of religion.
Who is Uri Avnery, and Why Does He Matter? Who is Uri Avnery, and Why Does He Matter?
Friday, February 4, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jerusalem's decision in the early 1990's to admit Yasir Arafat and his fellow thugs into the heart of the land of Israel proved to be one of the country's major political blunders, paid for in the coin of a five-year terror war that traumatized Israeli society and transformed the dream of Israeli-Palestinian peace into an extended nightmare.  How did it happen?
Calling David Ben-Gurion Calling David Ben-Gurion
Thursday, February 3, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Times like these tend to remind us what a rare thing is great statesmanship. How many leaders are capable of wedding long-term vision with the nuts and bolts of politics and institutions, let alone an understanding of great historical forces with the will to shape them and the wisdom to know the will's limits?
The Seed of Israel The Seed of Israel
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Until modern times, the boundaries of Jewish identity were cut and dried. If you were born to a Jewish mother, or if you were a convert according to Jewish religious law (halakhah), you were Jewish. If not, you weren't.
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Editors' Picks
Physician, Explain Thyself Michael L. Satlow, Talmud Blog. How can we account for the Babylonian Talmud's medical advice, which in many cases seems to have been transmitted retrojectively?
Nature, Nurture, and the Nobel Prize Lazar Berman, American. The case study of Jewish IQ can reveal not only the source and nature of intelligence, but whether we as a society are mature enough to debate these questions honestly.
Trotsky the Jew Richard Pipes, Tablet. Can the Russian revolutionary be treated as an "eminent Jewish figure"? A new book attempts to do just that—and glides over the more savage features of Trotsky's thought and behavior in the process.
Otherwise Occupied Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism. Occupy Wall Street protesters are trying to prevent their movement from turning against the Jews—but they may come head-to-head with an old, hard truth about anti-Semitism.
To Ransom or Not to Ransom? Aryeh Tepper, Jewish Ideas Daily. As demands for the release of captive soldiers grow ever more exorbitant, when is the price simply too high to pay?
Who's a Zionist? Sol Stern, City Journal. Those who support policies that endanger Israel, suggests the founder of J Street.
Evil Urge Amit Gevaryahu, Talmud Blog. A new work tackles one of the most entrenched myths in the academic study of Jewish sources: namely, that Judaism has historically been a sex-positive religion.
Be Joyful Yehudah Mirsky, Jewish Ideas Daily. "And you will rejoice," the Bible commands with regard to Sukkot. But can even God summon up joy on demand? (2010)
The Heartbreaking Boy Gilad Ari Shavit, Haaretz. There are many good reasons to oppose the deal for the release of Gilad Shalit.  But until history has its say, let us rejoice in the kidnapped soldier's homecoming.
A State is Born Ronen Bergman, New York Times. How did the (possibly pro-Arab) United Nations Special Committee on Palestine come to recommend the creation of Israel in 1947?