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Sh’lah L’kha: Send Yourself
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by Torah Talk with Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

"Send men to scout the land"—and the mysterious word that's missing from that translation. (Click here for source sheet.) Download  
Rousseau, Melody, and Mode Rousseau, Melody, and Mode
Friday, May 17, 2013 by Ben Elton | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Though best remembered today for his political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also a careful student of music.  But his conclusions are undermined by the liturgical music of Ashkenazi Jews.
The Politics of Yiddish The Politics of Yiddish
Monday, April 29, 2013 by Ruth Wisse | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jews who hold on to, or reach back for, the Yiddishkeyt of Yiddish yearn not merely for a declining language but for the social and political ideal that seems embedded in it.  
Cousins: Jews and Arabs Seek Each Other Out Cousins: Jews and Arabs Seek Each Other Out
Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, it seems, is the rule governing Jews and Arabs: the farther apart they are from one another, the greater their mutual interest, while the greater their proximity, the more antagonistic they seem.
Moravian Morals for Montreal Moravian Morals for Montreal
Friday, August 31, 2012 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

When Montreal police entered the home of Amir Khadir, a member of Quebec’s parliament, they found a curiously revealing objet d’art: a parody of Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, with Khadir, in the position of Lady Liberty, standing triumphantly over the corpse of Quebec premier Jean Charest.
Neologism and Nationalism Neologism and Nationalism
Thursday, August 30, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

There has never been agreement about Zionism.  Not only is the idea of Jewish nationalism controversial, the very word “Zionism” arouses unique passions, as a recent controversy highlights.
The Road Not Taken The Road Not Taken
Friday, August 24, 2012 by Johanna Kaplan | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In my unusually large, far-flung, contentious, loopy contingent of maternal first cousins, the quandary of aliyah, or not, at one time or another, has possessed—pierced—nearly all of us.  And this is so despite the great divergence in our ages, interests, temperaments . . . 
Until a Hundred Twenty Until a Hundred Twenty
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 by Hillel Fradkin | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Bernard Lewis has published many books on the history of the Middle East and Islam. On these subjects he is, simply, the pre-eminent authority. At 96, he has now published yet another book: a memoir.
Goodnight, Vienna Goodnight, Vienna
Wednesday, January 4, 2012 by Daniel Johnson | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Jews of Vienna did not merely understand the world: they took Marx's point and changed it, too. From Freud's psychoanalysis to Wittgenstein's philosophy, from Mahler's music to Herzl's Zionism, they made a unique contribution to modernity.
The Evil Inclination The Evil Inclination
Monday, December 5, 2011 by Raphael Magarik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The yetzer hara, usually translated "evil impulse," is an elusive rabbinic concept. The words derive from God's observation in Genesis 8:21 (paralleled earlier in 6:5) that "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth."
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Editors' Picks
Speaking Jewish Sarah Bunin Benor, Kavvanah. "American Jews speak a Jewish language comparable to Judeo-Persian, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Greek, and many other Diaspora languages." (Interview by Alan Brill)
To Touch the Hand of God Gil Student, Torah Musings. Maimonides and Nahmanides disagree about translating biblical references to God’s physical attributes—because they disagree about the nature and purpose of language itself.
The Yiddish Quran Philologos, Forward. Yiddish is so closely, so intimately, so inextricably linked to Judaism that there is something singularly odd about encountering it in the service of another, and in some ways anti-Jewish, religion.
The Wedding Guests Have Goose Feet Damion Searls, Los Angeles Review of Books. In postwar America, I.B. Singer was the one who made it—into English, into the pages of Playboy and Esquire and the New Yorker, into big Hollywood movies, into being thought “modern.”  But the identity politics that worked for Singer in the short term risk making him unread now.
Launching Yiddish Farm Ezra Glinter, Forward. Some 50 miles northwest of Manhattan, two men aim to create an immersive Yiddish environment that is also a model of sustainable agriculture.  (With video)
The Cognate Accusative: An Appreciation Philologos, Forward. English and other European languages have an aversion to pairing verbs with etymologically-related objects.  But the form is common in Hebrew.
Our Maronite Minority Eli Balshan, Times of Israel. Inspired in part by Eliezer Ben Yehuda, two Maronite brothers have taken it upon themselves to revitalize their ancestral Aramaic into a modern, living language.
A Jewish Esperanto? Philologos, Forward. According to two encyclopedias, out of an estimated 16 million Jews in the world in 1939, 11 million were Yiddish speakers. But that figure doesn't stand up to closer inspection.
The Macaronic Talmud Yair Furstenberg, Talmud Blog. The rabbis of the Talmud were not only exposed to Greek, but proficient enough to cunningly manipulate the language with wordplay and puns.
Mincing Words Philologos, Forward. The Yiddish expression makhn ash un blote—"to make ashes and mud" or "to make mincemeat" of someone—exemplifies the influence of biblical idiom on Yiddish phraseology.