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Religion in Israel

Peter Beinart, I Quit. Peter Beinart, I Quit.
Monday, April 2, 2012 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Peter Beinart's new blog on the Daily Beast titled Open Zion (formerly Zion Square) is dedicated to an "open and unafraid conversation about Israel, Palestine, and the Jewish future."  But after several weeks of Open Zion, one writer has concluded that its conversation is not, in fact, open—and is not one in which he can continue to take part. Here, he resigns his position. 
Marching to Jerusalem Marching to Jerusalem
Thursday, March 22, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Protests, marches, sit-ins, boycotts—all these nonviolent techniques have been employed in support of the Palestinian cause, but violence has remained at the core of the enterprise. For decades, well-meaning people have suggested that a wholehearted embrace of nonviolence would do more for the Palestinians than their continuing resort to terrorism.
Varieties of Post-Religious Experience Varieties of Post-Religious Experience
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Israel is, on top of everything else, a gigantic open-air laboratory for experiments in Judaism and Jewish identity, mixing and matching old and new forms, deliberately and on the fly. One of the more interesting recent specimens is Religiozionisticus Postreligious.
Jews, Damned Jews, and Sociologists Jews, Damned Jews, and Sociologists
Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What is this thing called Jewishness? What does it look like? What are its boundaries? Even the most neutral-sounding answer reflects some position on one side or the other of the crazy-quilt of conflicts that have defined and continue to define Jewish life over the last 200 years.
Jazz, <i>Piyyut</i>, and Jewish Identity Jazz, Piyyut, and Jewish Identity
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by Omer Avital and Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Israeli-born, New York-based Omer Avital is both a world-class jazz musician and a master of classical Arabic music. He recently visited the Tikvah Fund, oud in hand, for an evening of music and free-flowing discussion about jazz, piyyut [liturgical verse], and Jewish identity.
Jewish Ethics, from Ancient Bible to Modern Bus Jewish Ethics, from Ancient Bible to Modern Bus
Monday, February 13, 2012 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The next time someone tells you that ethical behavior doesn't need a foundation in religious teaching, step onto an Israeli bus (it doesn't have to be the gender-segregated variety) or open a mass-circulation Israeli newspaper and see how religion puts Jewish ethics on steroids.
In God They Trust? In God They Trust?
Thursday, February 9, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Stick an average alumnus of the Israeli public school system into a synagogue during morning prayers, and chances are they would be bewildered. Even if they could recollect an arid Bible class they had to endure long ago, what good would it do them? They'd still be lost.
From New Year to Arbor Day From New Year to Arbor Day
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holiday of Tu Bishvat ("the fifteenth of Shvat") falls this year on Wednesday, February 8. What are its origins, and when and why did it become incorporated into the calendar as the Jewish "Arbor Day"?
The Pale God The Pale God
Friday, February 3, 2012 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Imagine God not as a benign force infusing the universe with love and sustaining it with mercy, and not as a stern judge smiting sinners from on high with his cosmic zap-gun, but as a grandfatherly figure, kind but, truth be told, somewhat out of it, sitting in a corner, tolerant of the various paths his children have chosen.
Siren Songs Siren Songs
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by Shlomo Zuckier | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"For your voice is sweet and your appearance pleasant" (Song of Songs 2:14). On the basis of this verse, Jewish law prohibits a man's listening to kol ishah, a woman's voice in song. Unlikely as it may seem, this prohibition has sparked a controversy that could shake the foundations of Israel's self-defense and self-definition.
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Editors' Picks
Misreading Passover David Hartman, Hartman Institute. "I dreamed that when the calendar turned to Passover, the dominant discussions in the culture would be about subjugation, alienation, and human dignity.  But what do we talk about instead?  Recipes."
The Talmud, Not for Non-Believers Gil Student, Torah Musings. Ruth Calderon's inaugural speech to the Knesset advocated secular study of the Talmud.  Yet the Talmud warns against students who don't intend to put what they learn into practice.
The Silent Yeshiva Deborah Fineblum Raub, JNS. Ma’aseh Nissim, Israel’s first yeshiva for the deaf, has not only tailored Talmud study to the needs of students who cannot hear, but also brought sign language into the ultra-Orthodox world.
Rav Ovadia’s Revolution , Menachem Mendel. “Like Coca-Cola, l’havdil”: A video documentary on the idiosyncratic, infuriating genius of the Baghdadi gaon and the transformation of Sephardic Jewry in Israel.
Secular Meets Religious in the IDF Shani Boianjiu, New York Times. “The moment I touched the weapon, one of the soldiers got up from his chair and left.”
Israel’s Pork Problem Jeffrey Yoskowitz, Slate. The Israeli government’s plan to transfer pig farms from the Galilee to the Negev threatens to undermine the 50-year-old accommodation between the state and the country’s Christian Arabs. 
Judaism Redivivus , Economist. The Economist declares Judaism “alive and well” in a seven-part special report, covering demographics, Diaspora life, Chabad, politics and pluralism in Israel, ideology, and nationhood.
National Torah Service Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post. For one Hasidic rebbe, ultra-Orthodox men should serve in the Israeli Defense Forces on one condition: that secular Israelis enlist in a parallel effort of Torah study.  
Abortion Politics Arrive in Israel Eetta Prince-Gibson, JTA. Abortion is one issue that has never figured in Israel's political campaigns. But recent calls for a public debate threaten to open a new fault line.
Keep Religion out of Israeli Adoptions Jerusalem Post. When conversion becomes a condition for adoption, the process is easily distorted—by pressures on rabbinical conversion court judges and prospective parents.