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Modern Times

Enigmas of Modern Jewish Identity Enigmas of Modern Jewish Identity
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by Stephen J. Whitfield | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Over the course of a lifetime facing modernity's conflicting demands, how might Jewishness affect the struggle to sustain identity, and how might this struggle mark the contours of Diaspora history?
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 Jewish Civil War The Jewish Civil War
Thursday, April 4, 2013 by Diane Cole | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the tragedies of the American Civil War was that it pitted friends and family members against one another.  American Jews were not immune from the internecine bitterness.  A new exhibition tells their story.
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.
Fresh-Baked Matzah and the Spirit of Capitalism Fresh-Baked Matzah and the Spirit of Capitalism
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Small-scale matzah bakeries in Israel are enabling people to fulfil the mitzvah of baking matzah—and strengthening communities.
Is Judah Halevi’s <i>Kuzari</i> Racist? Is Judah Halevi’s Kuzari Racist?
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by Ari Ackerman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A recent attempt to redeem the Kuzari from the charge of ethnocentrism raises the question as to whether Jewish texts should be reinterpreted to accord with modern sensibilities.
It’s All in the Angle It’s All in the Angle
Friday, February 1, 2013 by Jack Riemer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his new collection of essays, ultra-Orthodox rabbi Avi Shafran disputes the scientific worldview on its own terms.  But he refuses to acknowledge scientific challenges to Judaism.  
Where Does the Modern Period of Jewish History Begin? Where Does the Modern Period of Jewish History Begin?
Friday, January 18, 2013 by Michael A. Meyer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In this classic 1975 Judaism article, Michael Meyer argues that there is no value in "setting a definite terminus for the beginning of modern Jewish history."
It’s All Happening at the Zoo It’s All Happening at the Zoo
Monday, January 7, 2013 by D. G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Howard Jacobson's latest novel, Zoo Time, is not immediately recognizable as Jewish fiction; but Jacobson again portrays the fear, uncertainty, and ambivalence that characterize the modern Jew. 
At Last, Zion At Last, Zion
Friday, September 21, 2012 by Charles Krauthammer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Milan Kundera once defined a small nation as "one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear, and it knows it."  Israel is a small country. This is not to say that extinction is its fate. Only that it can be.
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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.”
Memorializing the Rav David Shatz, YU News. On the occasion of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's 20th yahrzeit, some thoughts on how his thought will be conveyed to a generation that did not know him.
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.
Somewhere in Africa Curt Brown, Star Tribune. The British tried to convert them to Christianity; Idi Amin forced many to become Muslims.  But Uganda’s Jews, though dating back no further than the 20th century, are unmistakably Jewish.
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.
“Ihr zint frei!” Margalit Fox, New York Times. In 1945 Rabbi Herschel Schacter, who has died at age 95, entered Buchenwald with Patton’s Third Army.  “Shalom Aleichem, Jews,” he shouted to the inmates in Yiddish, “you are free!”
One Jew Too Many Adam Levick, Algemeiner. Libya recently barred Bernard-Henri Levy from visiting because he is Jewish.  The Libyans are merely being consistent: by 2004 they had managed to drive out every one of their Jews.
Divided by Faith David J. Davis, Imaginative Conservative. “Where modern tolerance does not permit any rival to the authority of rationalism and secular humanism, pre-Enlightenment Europe was establishing policies that permitted worldviews which its rulers saw as heretical.”
The Problem with Gay Marriage Gilles Bernheim, First Things. "All the affection in the world will not suffice to produce the basic psychological structures that address the child’s need to know where he comes from."
Modernity’s Price in the Middle East Bernard Lewis, Norman Podhoretz, Peter Robinson, National Review. "In the pre-modern Middle East,” says Lewis,” there were many institutions in which power arose not from above but from within.  All that was destroyed by modernization." (Video)