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The Americas

Agitprop in America Agitprop in America
Thursday, May 12, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The tempest has subsided, and the playwright Tony Kushner will receive his honorary doctorate from the City University of New York after all. After a single trustee convinced the majority of his fellow board members to deny the award on the basis of Kushner's viciously negative pronouncements about Israel, the weight of almost the entire New York cultural apparatus was brought to bear.
Crimes of Communion Crimes of Communion
Monday, May 9, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Two years ago, a Muslim reporter for the Malaysian magazine Al Islam attended a Catholic mass in Kuala Lumpur with a companion, surreptitiously took communion, and put the wafer in his mouth, only to spit it out later. The May 2009 issue of Al Islam featured a cover photograph of the soggy, partially-eaten wafer—to the horror of local church authorities.
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.
Do Israeli and American Jews Need Each Other? Do Israeli and American Jews Need Each Other?
Friday, April 29, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Starting in 2005, American readers of the Israeli daily Haaretz noticed something new in its pages: well-informed, jaunty analyses not only of American politics and diplomacy but of American Jews and American Judaism. The paper's correspondent was clearly a native-born Israeli, but, in decidedly un-Israeli fashion, he not only was genuinely interested in understanding American Jewry from within but regularly had insightful things to say about it.
Clash of Civilizations Clash of Civilizations
Friday, April 8, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The death toll in Afghanistan has passed the two-dozen mark in the riots "inspired" by Pastor Terry Jones's burning of a Quran in Florida. The grisly political theater has served its purpose.
Shakespeare, Much Improved? Shakespeare, Much Improved?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Nahma Sandrow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the few things people think they know about Yiddish theater in America is that once upon a time there was a production, probably of King Lear, advertised as "translated and much improved." Joel Berkowitz's history, Shakespeare on the American Yiddish Stage (2002), quotes the line but never gives an attribution, which suggests that nobody ever actually said it. But someone might have.
Halakhah for Americans Halakhah for Americans
Friday, March 18, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Asked in a 1975 New York Times interview how he had acquired his standing as America's most trusted authority in Jewish religious law (halakhah), Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) replied: ''If people see that one answer is good and another answer is good, gradually you will be accepted."
The Peace Plan Israel Needs The Peace Plan Israel Needs
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Israel's wobbly friends in Europe and the U.S. are renewing their pressure on Jerusalem to "do something" about the "unsustainable" stalemate in the "peace process." As German Chancellor Angela Merkel scolded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "You haven't made a single step to advance peace."
Identity = ? Identity = ?
Thursday, March 10, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In discussions of that elusive entity known as "Jewishness," few terms have become so ubiquitous, and as a consequence so elusive, as "Jewish identity." The phrase regularly serves as the name of a communal dream: the wished-for end product that vast apparatuses of education, institution-building, and programming aim to instill and perpetuate. But what is it?
The Last of the Red-Hots? The Last of the Red-Hots?
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by Sam Munson | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The past decade has witnessed a seeming revival in the fortunes of America's old, new, and newest Left. Some elders, notably including Bill Ayers, have enjoyed career recrudescences. One of the better-known spokesmen and avatars of this revitalized political culture is the veteran writer and activist Todd Gitlin.
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Editors' Picks
Reb Shlomo, Superstar Mary Jane Fine, Forward. If Fiddler on the Roof is about tradition, a new musical about Shlomo Carlebach is about breaking with tradition—even if that means, as in Carlebach's case, breaking one's father's heart.
Rules for Revisionists Jonathan S. Tobin, Contentions. By brandishing the name of Saul Alinsky, does Newt Gingrich intend to send out anti-Semitic dog whistles to the Right? Nonsense.
Then They Came for the Jews Matthew Fishbane, Tablet. With his latest assault on the upper classes and persistent attacks on Israel, President Hugo Chavez has left Venezuela's Jewish community facing a choice between emigration and persecution. (With photos)
The New Normal Jackson Diehl, Washington Post. In spite of the Islamist ideology of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, Turkey may prove to be a key U.S. ally in the Middle East during the coming decades.
Kosher Jesus Gil Student, Torah Musings. Shmuley Boteach's strategy is a familiar one—reject the Gospels and strip Christianity of its beliefs. It is, in fact, an old form of polemic. (And Boteach's reaction to media coverage of his book is telling.)      
Are Jews Trending Republican? Shmuel Rosner, Jewish Journal. Conservatives have often tried to convince the public that a new wave of Jewish Republicans was just around the corner. So far, they've only been disappointed—but should now watch the independents.
Debate-Changer Adam Kirsch, Tablet. Judging from a recent spate of articles in some of the country's most respectable mainstream publications, it seems that while Walt and Mearsheimer lost the policy battle, they are winning the war of ideas.
Who's on First? James Kirchick, Haaretz. So-called progressives should stop mimicking the far Right and refrain from using terms like "Israel-firster" that question the allegiance of their fellow Americans.
Silent Majority Matthew Ackerman, Contentions. Everyone says young American Jews are increasingly hostile to Israel. But is it true? A new poll cautions us not to mistake a vocal minority for the majority.
The Last Resort Jordana Horn, Forward. Jews may have deserted the Catskills for the Vineyard and the Hamptons. But one of the great resorts, Kutsher's, refuses to go quietly. Meet Kutsher's Tribeca.