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Sabbath & Holidays

Shoftim: The Apotheosis of Justice
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

This week's portion, Shoftim ("judges"), begins with an exhortation to pursue justice: "justice, justice shall you pursue" (16:20).
Ekev: The Nature of the Covenant
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

The Tablets of the Covenant: we all have an image of them in our minds, thanks to Rembrandt.  In Hebrew, they even have their own Wikipedia entry.  They are the bedrock of the Jewish relationship with God.
Mourning, Memory, and Art Mourning, Memory, and Art
Monday, August 8, 2011 by Richard McBee | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

David Roberts (1796–1864) was a Scottish painter who in the late 1830's traveled extensively in the Levant and Egypt documenting "Orientalist" sites in drawings and watercolors. Among Roberts's paintings was a massive 1849 work, The Destruction of Jerusalem.
John Lennon and the Jews John Lennon and the Jews
Friday, August 5, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"It's not cool to be Jewish, or Negro, or Italian. It's just cool to be alive, to be around." So said Aretha Franklin. I know, because my father used to have the soul diva's wisdom hanging on the wall of his study at home. He also used to walk around in a t-shirt with "Miscegenate" emblazoned across the chest.
Reconstructing Judaism Reconstructing Judaism
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by Joseph J. Siev | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At a time when all three major Jewish denominations in America—Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform—find themselves in a state of deep internal fracture, a fourth and much smaller movement, Reconstructionism, has just voted to create a unified body to coordinate the activities of its lay and rabbinical arms.
D’varim: “Weeping for the Generations”
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

This week's portion, which inaugurates the book of Deuteronomy, is traditionally read on the Shabbat immediately preceding Tisha b'Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, the anniversary of the destructions of both the First and Second Temples.
Mas’ei: Tz’lafhad’s Daughters and Hamlet
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

This week's reading, Mas'ei, closes out the book of Numbers. It is named for the travels (masa'ot) of the Israelites during their approximately four-decade sojourn in the wilderness.
The Loyalties of the Sephardim The Loyalties of the Sephardim
Friday, July 22, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a recent Haaretz column, Gideon Levy, the radical leftist polemicist, sounded the warning that Israel's religious Zionists—"the knitted skullcaps"—have joined hands with the ultra-Orthodox and the Sephardim to form "a united tribe of zealots."
Mattot: The Wrong Side of the River
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

by Michael Carasik "The farmer and the cowman should be friends," advises the song, but they generally aren't.  This week's portion suggests this was the case even in ancient Israel.  Earlier in the book of Numbers we have seen challenges to the leadership of Moses, from Korah and even from his own siblings, Miriam and Aaron.  Now, a rift that goes right through the people is exposed.
Pinhas: “Simeon and Levi are Brothers”
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

  This week's reading places principal emphasis on the order of the sacrifices, delineating the entire year's required offerings along with their accompanying libations and meal-offerings. It begins, however, where last week's reading left off: with the aftermath of the Midianites' seduction of the Israelites.
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Editors' Picks
The Red Beret and the Rabbis Shmuel Rosner, Jewish Review of Books. Religious Zionism is in urgent need of shifting away from the rabbinical and back to the political. But its encounters in that sphere have not always gone smoothly.
The Faith of Women Richard Sarason, H-net. Spurred by an interview with a grieving Israeli mother, a scholar has anthologized an impressive range of personal prayers written by and for Jewish women.
What's Inside Ruth Abusch-Magder, Forward. Hidden identities are the very essence of Purim, and the holiday's foods, from hamentaschen to surprise fillings in bread and meatballs, reinforce the message.
Master Illustrator Eve M. Kahn, New York Times. A new, annotated edition of Arthur Szyk's Haggadah brings back a long-neglected Jewish artist.
Hail Miri Freud-Kandel, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. A book-length assessment of Britain's current chief rabbi leads to the question of whether the office he holds should be abolished.
The Palate of Algiers Dennis Wasko, Jerusalem Post. The large and ancient Algerian Jewish community is all but gone; its cuisine remains.
Let's Talk About It Akiva Novick, Ynet. A pioneering course of instruction helps rabbis to advise religious couples on problems in the bedroom.
Dirty Jokes and Wedding Jesters Sue Fishkoff, Jewish Telegraphic Agency. In July 1661, abusive and aggressive jokers, a fixture of Eastern European Jewish life, were exempted from a rabbinic ban on merrymaking—and modern Jewish humor was born.
As I Am Philologos, Forward. On the two Hebrew words for "Jew."
Kosher Game Aaron Kagan, The Jew and the Carrot. Your grandmother may not have used gazelle in her stuffed cabbage, but several species of game are kosher and increasingly available from adventuresome farmers.