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Religious Life


Orthosexuality Orthosexuality
Monday, December 19, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Talmud tells a story about one Rabbi Kahana who hid under the bed of his master, Rabbi Abba (better known as Rav), as the latter was having sex with his wife. Kahana, shocked at the type of frivolous language used by his mentor, commented that Rav was behaving ravenously.
Returning to Pearl Harbor Returning to Pearl Harbor
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Vernon Olsen was a 21-year-old seaman assigned to mess hall duty aboard the USS Arizona, a battleship moored in the calm waters of Pearl Harbor.  At 7:55 that morning, the ship's air raid alarm sounded.
Love, Marriage, and the Israeli Rabbinate Love, Marriage, and the Israeli Rabbinate
Monday, November 28, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The organization Tzohar is fighting for the right to perform its popular "alternative" weddings in Israel. A recent dispute with the Ministry of Religious Services was apparently resolved after a media war, frantic mediation, and a high-level Knesset meeting.
In the Jewish Dark Continent In the Jewish Dark Continent
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Most American Jews descend from ancestors who resided in the Pale of Settlement, the territory from the Black Sea to the Baltic in which Jews were confined by the Czars.  A new book describes one effort to chart that territory.
Kosher Fiction Kosher Fiction
Friday, November 11, 2011 by Eitan Kensky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Haredi adventure stories are a curious but popular genre. There is the 2005 Yiddish-language film A gesheft ("A Deal"), the story of a Hasid-gone-bad out for revenge on the pious man he wrongly blames for his childhood misfortunes.
Eating Your Values Eating Your Values
Friday, November 4, 2011 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The many Jewish laws regarding food—how it gets from the ground and into our mouths in a kosher manner—are central to Jewish life.  But what ethical framework underlies the system of kashrut? Maimonides' justifications for kashrut range from avoiding cruelty to animals and eschewing the idolatrous practices of antiquity to considerations of health.
America’s Holy Haunted Houses America’s Holy Haunted Houses
Monday, October 31, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Halloween is most certainly no Jewish holiday; yet its spooky mood is curiously congruent with the ambience that overcomes American synagogues this time of year.
The Yiddish Silver Screen The Yiddish Silver Screen
Thursday, October 27, 2011 by Nahma Sandrow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Nobody is sure exactly how many movies were ever made in Yiddish. James Hoberman's exhaustive study Bridge of Light (2010) lists some hundred such films, made in the 20th century primarily in America, Germany, Austria, Romania, Poland, and Russia.
Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel? Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel?
Monday, October 24, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For all the theological, ritualistic, and institutional differences separating the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements, what distinguishes the groups in the minds of many ordinary American Jews comes down to branding.
The End of the Torah The End of the Torah
Monday, October 17, 2011 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Torah begins with a bang—the Big Bang, the creation of the universe. But it ends with a whimper, albeit a whimper concealed by a very loud noise of another kind. Let me explain.
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Editors' Picks
Up Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal. One New York woman who has "done Hagbah" is a physical trainer who lifts weights and teaches Pilates. Yet when she raised the Torah, she says, "I was shaking."
The Stranger in Our Midst David Ellenson, Daniel Gordis, Times of Israel. Even if we cannot eradicate the complexity of our tradition's attitude to conversion, we must understand the pain it causes for those who seek to join us.
Standards and Practices Shlomo Brody, Jerusalem Post. The idea that one may convert without intent to carry out mitzvot is a minority opinion.
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.
I'm Waiting for the Ham Raphael Fuchs, Jewish Press. Some Jewish sources suggest that pig will one day be kosher. Come again?
The Practice of Musar Geoffrey Claussen, Conservative Judaism. The Conservative movement likes to see itself as intellectual one. But it might have something to learn from a 19th-century movement of strenuous moral development.
Hail to the Chief? Dianna Cahn, JTA. Now that modern-day Judaism is losing ground as a uniform community in Britain, many are asking whether the chief rabbi can—or should—continue to try to unite Jewry under a single umbrella.
There's a Key in My Challah! Jeffrey Saks, Torah Musings. Does the post-Passover tradition known as "shliss challah" derive from symbolic readings of the season's texts—or, rather, is it a Christian symbol of Jesus rising in the dough?  
Remembering Too Well? Joshua Hammerman, Times of Israel. The importance of fostering a Jewish identity that values "God of Sinai" over "God of Auschwitz."
Genetic Threads Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Education. The story of Jewish origins, once the province of historians and scholars of religion, is now being told by DNA—and it decisively refutes the counter-narratives promulgated by Shlomo Sand.