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Modern Times

Listening to Saddam Listening to Saddam
Thursday, January 26, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the debate over Iran's nuclear intentions, the question of rationality looms menacingly. How do Iran's rulers perceive cause and effect, calculate costs and benefits, and make policy decisions in order to maximize the well-being of their state and citizens? How do they understand the outside world?
Trotsky Eats and Runs Trotsky Eats and Runs
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by Micah D. Halpern | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

I first heard the name Trotsky when I was seven years old. My grandfather, a Jewish tailor from Belarus who arrived in the goldene medine and pulled himself up by his bootstraps to own a men's suit factory in New York, had just gotten a swept-back haircut. He called it a Trotsky.
Whither the Alawites Whither the Alawites
Friday, January 20, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Time does not appear to be on the side of Syria's minority Alawite-led regime. President Bashar Assad has reportedly been offered asylum in Moscow, which wants an orderly transition that will preserve Russian strategic interests. Other stories have Assad and his loyalists preparing mountain strongholds for a last-ditch stand.
Jerusalem’s Ego and Id Jerusalem’s Ego and Id
Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Biography is not the same as history. Biography charts the outer and inner life of a person—character, spirit, morality, emotion, perhaps even soul. History, by contrast, incorporates different narratives and pieces of evidence, seeks out new data, then rises above all the fragments with a synthesis.
America the Biblical America the Biblical
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Greeks did not invent equality. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and the gang famously believed that the rich are different from you and me—not merely because they are shaped by their privileges but because they are actually, literally made of superior stuff.
Gender Trouble Gender Trouble
Monday, January 16, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Suddenly, it seems, gender segregation is everywhere in Israel—buses, army bases, Jerusalem sidewalks, Beit Shemesh schoolyards and, above all, the front pages. What is going on here? Why is all this happening now? Let's begin with the second question.
Human Rights and Religious Wrongs Human Rights and Religious Wrongs
Friday, January 13, 2012 by Jonathan Neumann | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Although the discourse on human rights has a long pedigree, traceable at least to early modern natural rights theory and politics, the philosophical case for human rights against one alternative, religion, has yet to be made.
Two Palestines, Complete Two Palestines, Complete
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Some saw history in the making. With jubilation and fanfare Fatah and Hamas agreed last spring in Cairo to form an interim technocratic administration, hold parliamentary and presidential elections by May 2012 and, ultimately, to establish a national unity government.
The Couch and the Confessional The Couch and the Confessional
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 by Joseph J. Siev | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sigmund Freud's last book, Moses and Monotheism, was published in 1939, a year after  he fled, mortally ill with cancer of the jaw, from Nazi-occupied Vienna to London.  The book is famous for its speculations that Moses was not Jewish and that the people he led out of Egyptian slavery murdered him.   
Judaism on Steroids Judaism on Steroids
Monday, January 9, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ryan Braun, the reigning MVP of baseball's National League, is having a rough offseason. On December 12, ESPN reported that Braun had tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) after a league-mandated drug test revealed elevated levels of testosterone in his system.
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Editors' Picks
Nobel Nuggets Jay Nordlinger, National Review. There was no Nobel Peace Prize for 1939, because Germany invaded Poland on September 1. (Forty-seven years later, Henry Kissinger would write to Elie Wiesel: "I was not proud of my Nobel, but I am of yours.")
Search on a Centennial Ben Sales, JTA. One hundred years ago, Yosef Haim Brenner sold a pair of suspenders to fund the publication of S.Y. Agnon's first book—copies of which are now actively sought after.
The Good Göring Christoph Gunkel, Spiegel. Albert Göring has remained essentially unknown—perhaps because it's hard to believe that the brother of Hitler's deputy was a member of the resistance.
When Stalinism Was in Vogue Michael Moynihan, Wall Street Journal. Playwright Lillian Hellman disdained a system that made her fabulously rich while romanticizing one that made its citizens spectacularly poor.
Paranoid or Realist? Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg. Benzion Netanyahu gave his son, Israel's prime minister, a dark view of the Middle East—and, therefore, the ability to negotiate a realistic peace.
Budding in Budapest Andrew Sacks, Jerusalem Post. Much of Hungary's Jewish establishment is government-funded and ossified. But in its shadow, in Budapest's old Jewish quarter, a kind of revival is going on.
Alma, Tell Us Ilan Stavans, Forward. Did Isaac Bashevis Singer's long-suffering wife write a memoir?
There are More Things in Heaven and Earth David Winters, Bookforum. And there are other Walter Benjamins besides the post-Kantian philosopher dreamt of by Eli Friedlander.
Refugees and Resolutions Lyn Julius, Haaretz. Israel is afraid to champion restitution for Jews expelled from Arab countries because of the assumed link to the Palestinian refugee issue.
The Patriarch Michal Shmulovich, Times of Israel. While Benzion Netanyahu will go down in history as a pathbreaking scholar and political activist, Israel's prime minister will remember the father who braved a snowstorm rather than let his son go to bed hungry.