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Follow the Money Follow the Money
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) is shocked—shocked—to discover that Muammar Qaddafi is a very bad man. So the once venerable institution is diverting some of the $2.5 million pledged through Qaddafi's son Saif al-Islam into a scholarship fund for Libyan students.
Jewish Philanthropy 2.0 Jewish Philanthropy 2.0
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jewish mega-donors are hardly news. It is also a commonplace that wealthy Jews allocate less than 25 percent of their giving to specifically Jewish causes. Of the two facts, the latter has understandably puzzled and frustrated fund raisers for Jewish causes. But is it really so mysterious?
In the Portable Homeland In the Portable Homeland
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Heinrich Heine described the Bible as the Jews' portable homeland. Both it and its various and proliferating extensions through history have been the objects of intense exploration by modern Jewish scholars. What do the numerous books and articles published by these scholars have to tell us, and how much of their scholarship is relevant to daily life, or of interest beyond the circle of their fellow academics?
A Jewish Renaissance? A Jewish Renaissance?
Monday, November 15, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In recent years Israel has become a vast open-air laboratory for experiments in Judaism, re-fashioning rituals, reading old texts through new lenses, scrambling and fracturing familiar dichotomies between secular and religious. Secular yeshivot, mainstream performers singing medieval Hebrew hymns, non-denominational "prayer communities" in hip Tel Aviv, kabbalistic therapy movements, Judaism festivals on once-socialist kibbutzim—something is going on here, but what?
Jews and Their Historians Jews and Their Historians
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Over the last two centuries, Jewish identity has assumed an often bewildering variety of forms—religious, political, social, and cultural. One form, insufficiently recognized as such, is the study of Jewish identity, especially as filtered through Jewish history. Its main means of expression is the academic enterprise known as Jewish Studies, a field that in turn comprises a variety of specific schools and thinkers.
Zionism Derangement Syndrome Zionism Derangement Syndrome
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A smoldering resentment, bordering on political paranoia, is palpable in sectors of Israel's Left these days. Everywhere, it seems, powerful enemies are conspiring to undermine the centers of cultural influence that leftists have long regarded as their own property, and as beyond criticism. Their response bears a resemblance to the left-wing American affliction that the columnist Charles Krauthammer memorably labeled "Bush Derangement Syndrome."
And That’s an Order? And That’s an Order?
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

International pressure is mounting on the Netanyahu government to freeze—and eventually remove—Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Simultaneously, a heated domestic debate is taking place within the national-religious (Dati Leumi) community over whether religious soldiers can, if push comes to shove, resist a government order to remove settlers from their homes. The argument resonates most strongly in the "Hesder" yeshivot, higher-level schools whose students alternate periods of Talmud study with active military duty. Yesterday, the heads of Har Etzion, a flagship Hesder yeshiva, issued a strong statement against disobedience. The issue is made more acute by the fact that so many religious...
School Daze School Daze
Thursday, December 17, 2009 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a narrow decision by the UK Supreme Court, an Orthodox school in London has been ruled in violation of the country's race-relations law for refusing admission to the son of a non-Orthodox convert. "The judges knew they were handling a hot potato," comments the author of a 2008 report on the future of Jewish schools in the UK, who reads the decision as an open invitation to Parliament to revisit and re-write a defective law. But alarm bells have been ringing loudly in the Jewish community ever since the case started its way through the lower courts; the columnist...
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Editors' Picks
From Harvard to Entebbe Charles E. Shepard, Harvard Crimson. Thirty-five years after Yonatan Netanyahu (a brother of the prime minister) was killed while leading the heroic hostage-rescue mission, his classmates remember their singular peer.
Fallout from YIISA Ron Rosenbaum, Slate. Thanks in part to complicity by Jewish faculty in Yale's shameful decision, the frank discussion of anti-Semitism is becoming verboten on American campuses. See also: Why are Liberals Silent?
Now Playing at a University Near You Robert Wistrich, Forward. The controversy over a cancelled research program at Yale raises the question of why the academic study of anti-Semitism has come so late to the U.S.
Are Day Schools the Solution? Daniel Avraham, eJewish Philanthropy. They are a solution for some, but focusing all communal funding on them is not the way to improve Jewish education.
On Torah and Judaism James L. Kugel, YouTube. Interviewed in Moscow, the eminent scholar talks about his life, his career, and the tension between what he does as a student of the Bible and how he lives as a Jew. (Video)
Russia's Jewish Spring Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post. The opening of a Jewish-studies department at St. Petersburg State University marks a quiet triumph for Jewish academic, cultural, and religious life in Russia.
Up with Electronic Scholarship Seth Kadish, Rationalist Judaism. Should scholars of Judaica publish their work on the Internet instead of between covers? Only if they want people to read it.
Strings Attached Paul Berger, Forward. Money alone has not sufficed to buy a treasured Judaica library containing, among other unique specimens, hundreds of handwritten Hebrew documents dating back as much as 1,000 years.
Kushner's Comrades Ron Radosh, Pajamas Media. A vote not to award an honorary degree to the anti-Israel playwright sparked a vitriolic outpouring against the trustees of New York's City University; guess who won.
From Our Archives: Kabbalah and its Discontents Aryeh Tepper, Jewish Ideas Daily. Aside from a small circle of students and admirers, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag was an unknown figure at his death in 1954. Today, religious schools and New Age "educational centers" around the world are actively spreading his ideas, and his writings are being analyzed by professors and graduate students. After spending an hour in the rabbi's stone mausoleum, the pop-diva Madonna emerged with tears in her eyes.