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The First War of National Liberation The First War of National Liberation
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Maccabees' revolt can lay claim to being the first war of national liberation.  Reprinted here is Diana Muir Appelbaum’s account of why the Book of Maccabees is so modern and so dangerous.
A Meditation on <i>Maoz Zur</i> A Meditation on Maoz Zur
Monday, December 10, 2012 by Ismar Schorsch | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In this 1988 essay, Ismar Schorsch writes that the much maligned final stanza of  Maoz Zur, which calls for divine retribution against Israel’s enemies, illustrates a distinction between redemption within history and the ultimate redemption, which must come from without.
Clothes Make the Man Clothes Make the Man
Friday, December 7, 2012 by Chaim Saiman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The recent daf yomi Shabbat 63 appears to present just the technicalities of what can and cannot be transported on Shabbat.  Yet it is simultaneously an exploration of war, peace, and the nature of manhood.
The Sigd Festival Comes Home to Jerusalem The Sigd Festival Comes Home to Jerusalem
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 by Shai Afsai | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On the Sigd, Ethiopian Jews would walk to a mountaintop and pray to return to Jerusalem.  Now they are in Jerusalem, and the Sigd is a national holiday in Israel.
The Turning of the Torah Tide The Turning of the Torah Tide
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

“Torah Judaism today retains more of its youth than at any time since the Haskalah.”  Historian Marc Shapiro recently made this remark.  Can he possibly be correct?
Inheriting Abraham Inheriting Abraham
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Jon D. Levenson | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On August 28, Jon D. Levenson, the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, spoke with the current class of Tikvah fellows about his latest book, the first volume in the Library of Jewish Ideas: Inheriting Abraham. Here, an edited transcript of the event.
The <i>Tish</i> and the Thanksgiving Table The Tish and the Thanksgiving Table
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a scene in Avalon, Barry Levinson’s cinematic memoir of growing up in Baltimore with his Yiddish-speaking immigrant parents, Uncle Gabriel Krichinsky, brilliantly played by Lou Jacobi, arrives—late, as usual—for the extended Krichinsky family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
America’s Religious Left America’s Religious Left
Monday, November 19, 2012 by Jonathan Neumann | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Since the rise of the Religious Right, many people have associated American religion with political and cultural conservatism. Historically, however, American religion has been at least as liberal as conservative.
The Real Jewish Geography The Real Jewish Geography
Friday, November 16, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A new series of high resolution maps, produced by geographer Joshua Comenetz, provide a view of American Jewish life that is seemingly familiar—but, beneath the surface, spread unevenly across the 50 states.
Keep Calm and Carry On Keep Calm and Carry On
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 by Dov Lerner | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Shabbat is designed to be a day of rest and communal prayer. But due to halakhic restrictions on their carrying items from one place to another, observant Jews can become prisoners in their own homes.  
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Editors' Picks
God's Children James Tabor, Taborblog. Angels, anointed kings, and the Children of Israel are all called sons of God in the Bible—without its implying that they share in God's divinity.
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."
Religion without God Ronald Dworkin, New York Review of Books. In acknowledging a sense of value, mystery, and purpose in life, many non-believers live by a form of faith—and reject the naturalism of the New Atheists.
Judaism without Theology Levi Brackman, YNet. “The lack of a theology, beyond a generic belief in one God, is, to me, part of the beauty of biblical and talmudic Judaism.”
Patriarchs on the Couch Leonard Greenspoon, Bible History Daily. Attempts to subject biblical characters to modern psychoanalysis, which have branded Abraham, Moses, and Samson psychotic, reflect “reckless disregard for millennia of careful exegesis.”
A Friend in Francis Monica Yanakiew, JN1. Months before his election as Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio attended Hanukkah celebrations in Buenos Aires and spoke of "the holy light shining on all mankind." (Video)
What's Wrong with Cross-Dressing? Michael L. Satlow, Then and Now. Although the Torah prohibits cross-dressing, it never explains why—and there is no consensus on the reason among Jewish sources in antiquity.
Constitutional Discrimination Peter Berger, American Interest. New York City’s human rights commission has charged ultra-Orthodox businesses with discrimination for demanding female modesty—that is, for exercising a constitutional right.
Evading the Synagogue Tax Rachel S. Harris, Sh'ma. Young Jews are increasingly reluctant to pay synagogue membership fees.  But they are paying for other kinds of Jewish affiliation.
Still, Small Voice Rick Jacobs, Jewish Week. "Rationalists, such as Maimonides, and mystical poets, such as Judah Halevi, agree that at the end of the journey there is silence—that silence is the ultimate connection." (Interview by Alfredo Borodowski)