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Teachers & Students


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.
Hebrew School Hebrew School
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 by Allan Arkush | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Samson Benderly, one might say, had crusading in his blood. A direct descendant of Jacob Emden, the zealous 18th-century European battler against Sabbateanism, he spent his youth in Palestine before coming to the United States in 1898 with the aim of becoming a physician.
Anti-Semitism and Man at Yale Anti-Semitism and Man at Yale
Monday, June 13, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The modern university is no longer made up simply of departments and regular professors teaching students. Ancillary centers, programs, and initiatives proliferate, undertaking research on every conceivable topic. The fates of such entities rarely make the New York Post. But anti-Semitism is not a normal subject.
American Orthodoxy and Its Discontents American Orthodoxy and Its Discontents
Friday, May 27, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A "case study in institutional decay": that description of Orthodox Judaism in America was offered in 1955 by the late sociologist Marshall Sklare. It has long since entered the gallery of scholarly misjudgments, acknowledged as such by Sklare when events turned out to belie his assessment.
Holocaust without End Holocaust without End
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sixty-six years after the end of World War II, the Holocaust remains one of the central puzzles of human history. For Jews, the imperative is clear: to remember and to encourage others to remember. But remember what? Has the earnest dedication of both Jews and non-Jews to seek the meaning of the event and absorb its lessons ended by emptying it of meaning and lessons alike?
Anti-Semitism 101 Anti-Semitism 101
Friday, May 6, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the many dismaying things about anti-Semitism is its lack of originality. The rhetoric and setting change, but the substance persists. Anti-Semitism on American campuses is no exception; but the mere fact that it exists, and that it is virulent, is sufficient to merit the alarm it has caused.
Jewish Studies in Decline? Jewish Studies in Decline?
Monday, March 28, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Reports prepared recently for Israel's Council of Higher Education have brought despairing news about the condition of the humanities in the country's universities. Especially dispiriting is the report on Jewish studies, once the crowning glory of Israel's flagship Hebrew University—and, in the report's inadvertently nostalgic words, "an investment in the nurturing of the deep spiritual and cultural structures of Israeli public and private life." That investment has been producing ever smaller returns.
The Virtuoso of Judaism The Virtuoso of Judaism
Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Religious virtuosity comes in many forms. One of them is the ability to reconcile seeming irreconcilables, like faith and freedom, piety and intellect, revelation and science. The dream of synthesis has lured many in the past two centuries. One who seemed to live it was Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
Retrieving A.M. Klein Retrieving A.M. Klein
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What qualifies a literary work as "Jewish"? Debates on this subject, once conducted with rigor, have become sillier over the years, descending to the recent call for inducting the African American writer Walter Mosley—whose mother was Jewish, and in whose detective novels the heroes are all black men—into the Jewish literary pantheon.
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...
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Editors' Picks
The Rabbi Who Writes Too Much Gary Shapiro, Forward. Just how pronounced is the graphomania of Rabbi Eliezer Shlomo Schick? One professor found 954 titles by Schick in the catalog of the National Library of Israel—and those were just the ones in Hebrew.
Torah and Telos Jerome Gellman, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. A rational argument for taking one's religious text as divine revelation might have succeeded, were it not for the failure of the author's test-case: his justification for believing in a revealed Torah. (Interview with the book's author here.)      
The Book That Drove Them Crazy Andrew Ferguson, Weekly Standard. Twenty-five years ago, a studious manuscript called Souls Without Longing was given a more commercial title and a print run of 10,000 copies.  It soon was selling 25,000 copies a week, and its author was the most famous professor in the Western world.
Ghetto Seminaries Fred MacDowell, On the Main Line. No fooling: On April 1, 1906, The New-York Tribune published a long article about the "Jewish boys who risk health by long study in foul rooms"—including the heder that would become Yeshiva University.      
Inside Batsheva Deborah Friedes Galili, Dance Magazine. His dancers are known for fiercely expressive, electrifying performances.  But what's it really like to be a part of Ohad Naharin's choreographic alchemy?    
Three Talmudists Confront the Evil Urge Shai Secunda, Amit Gevaryahu, Eva Kiesele, Raphael Magarik, Talmud Blog. A symposium on the psychological, historical, and rabbinic development of the yetzer hara picks up where Jewish Ideas Daily left off.      
Digging that Hole Efraim Karsh, Hudson New York. Attempting to defend his political science department against charges of bias, one professor betrayed the true depth of the problem by likening Israel to Nazi Germany in several key respects.
Geoffrey Hartman's Jewish Turn Andrew Bush, H-Net. The scholar's aim is not to tear down the temple of the Western academy, but to build a third, distinctively Jewish pillar within it. Its name is midrash.
The Mis-Education of a Young Evangelical Dexter Van Zile, New English Review. How traumatic has the Jewish refusal to accept Jesus as the messiah been for Christians, and to what end?
Physician, Explain Thyself Michael L. Satlow, Talmud Blog. How can we account for the Babylonian Talmud's medical advice, which in many cases seems to have been transmitted retrojectively?