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Modern Times

The Whole Damn Deal The Whole Damn Deal
Friday, January 6, 2012 by Suzanne Garment | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On April 2, 1979, President Jimmy Carter recorded in his diary that he had asked Robert S. Strauss to be his Mideast peace negotiator. Strauss answered, "I've never even read the Bible. And I'm a Jew." Observance-wise, Bob Strauss, who spent 50 years as a consummate practitioner of American politics, wasn't much of a Jew.  
The State of Christianity The State of Christianity
Thursday, January 5, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On a sun-drenched day during the week before Christmas, Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre was crowded with pilgrims from Nigeria. They were taking turns kneeling and praying at a marker on the spot where, sacred history has it, Jesus was crucified, entombed, and resurrected.
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 Mughrabi Bridge to Nowhere The Mughrabi Bridge to Nowhere
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

From the southern end of the plaza in front of Jerusalem's Western Wall, a temporary wooden bridge ascends eastward to the Mughrabi Gate, the only one of the 11 gates into the Temple Mount area that is accessible to non-Muslims.
2011: A Year in Books 2011: A Year in Books
Monday, January 2, 2012 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holidays are over, the coffee-table books have all been unwrapped and set aside, and winter isn't going anywhere for a while. In short, it's time to settle in for some good reading. The literary critic D. G. Myers here presents the 38 best Jewish books of 2011, all of which merit your attention.
Highlights of 2011:<br />Part II Highlights of 2011:
Part II

Friday, December 30, 2011 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Part II of our round-up of the past year's most popular features on Jewish Ideas Daily. (Part I is here.)
Urban Planning, Hasmonean-Style Urban Planning, Hasmonean-Style
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the early 1990s, construction began on Modi'in, Israel's new "City of the Future." Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie and located mid-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Modi'in is in many ways typical of modern planned communities.
Apologia for Ben-Gurion Apologia for Ben-Gurion
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At this year's yahrzeit ceremony in Sde Boker for David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Iran clearly on his mind, emphasized—eight times—Ben-Gurion's capacity for making hard decisions.
Roll, Jordan, Roll Roll, Jordan, Roll
Friday, December 23, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The mighty River Jordan cuts a tiny ribbon through the geological depression stretching from Syria to Ethiopia. The river's output is paltry, at most two percent of the flow of the Nile. Today it divides Israel from Jordan, both created only in the 1940s. But for millennia the river has been a thread in Western consciousness.
Loof Loof
Thursday, December 22, 2011 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For the millions of Israeli citizens drafted into the Israel Defense Forces over the past 60 years, military service has involved patriotism, community, self-sacrifice—and Loof, Israel's kosher Spam. But a new generation of soldiers is about to experience military service without the familiar pink meat.
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Editors' Picks
Trailing the Magic Bullet Josh Feinberg, Huffington Post. Permission to treat Christians, entrance quotas, scientific heroes, magic cures, and nursing campaigns: a new exhibit explores the glorious, scandalous history of Jews and modern medicine. (Slideshow)
Lions and Angels Adin Steinsaltz, PBS. How did the legendary rabbinic scholar, who was raised in a secular household, become religious? "It was almost spontaneous." (Video)
"Kinat Sofrim" Laurent Binet, Garth Risk Hallberg, The Millions. One writer at work on the (false) memoirs of an old SS veteran reads another's bestselling, prize-accruing (false) memoirs of another SS veteran.
The Times and Kenneth Libo Karl Grossman, Jerusalem Post. "The horror," the historian said, "is to find a one-column headline on Page 16 of the New York Times saying, ‘One Million Jews Killed.'"
Lies, Damn Lies, and Middle East Memoirs Emanuele Ottolenghi, Middle East Forum. Gary Sick's success is indicative of how lucrative stridently politicized pseudo-research on the Middle East can be.
Darkness Visible Robert Zaretsky, Forward. Himmler and Heydrich were careerists. This is not to say they were not anti-Semitic: They were, rabidly so. But fanatical anti-Semitism was also a good career move in Nazi Germany.
Cyrus the Unappreciated Great Daniel Johnson, Standpoint. No Gentile is treated with such reverence in the Bible as Cyrus. But his example shows just how alien Iran's recent rulers are to the long history of Persia and its people.
Pop! Goes the Patriarchy Yoel Finkelman, H-Net. A new study offers a strong focus on the faults inherent in Orthodox masculinity without adequate discussion of its strengths.
War Diary Matti Friedman, Times of Israel. "Arab Legion reported to be trying to smoke out the Haganah who had entered underground channels . . ." Excerpts from a British clergyman's 1948 journal.
The Holocaust and Atrocity Prevention Nina Shea, National Review. Obama excoriated the Bush administration for failing to speak up about the Armenian genocide, yet he has also remained silent. But official recognition often comes at a high cost.