Jewish Ideas Daily has been succeeded and re-launched as Mosaic. Read more...

American Judaism

Good Girl Gone Bad Good Girl Gone Bad
Monday, October 18, 2010 by Margot Lurie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Fifty-five years ago, a star was born: plucky, lucky Marjorie Morningstar, the "American Everygirl who happens to be Jewish." At least, that's how Time described her. Today, depending on whom you ask, Herman Wouk's 1955 novel, Marjorie Morningstar, is either the story of the romantic awakening of a blue-eyed Jewish beauty or a cautionary tale about what happens when you stray too far from your origins.
America and the Jews: Different, or the Same? America and the Jews: Different, or the Same?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 by Jack Wertheimer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In 2004, a commemorative medal marking the 350th anniversary of Jewish settlement in North America quoted, on one side, from George Washington's letter assuring the Jews of Newport, R.I. of their rightful place in the fledgling republic of the United States; the reverse side portrayed huddled masses of Jews yearning to breathe free; around the outer edge, in Hebrew and English, ran the biblical passage, "proclaim liberty throughout the land."
The J Street Scandal The J Street Scandal
Monday, October 11, 2010 by Benjamin Kerstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The recent scandal involving the lobbying group J Street, a liberal organization founded in 2008 that bills itself as "pro-Israel and pro-peace," may seem to some like a tempest in a teapot. In fact it is very significant, especially to anyone concerned about Israel, its future, and its relationship to the United States.
Romancing Hasidism Romancing Hasidism
Thursday, October 7, 2010 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Hasidism has a long history of concurrently repelling and enchanting modern Jews. Today, its distinguishing features—isolationism, religious fanaticism, and aggressive rejection of all things modern, including not only non-Orthodox Judaism but the very idea of secularity—are inexplicable, if not abhorrent, to much of world Jewry.
Feminism and Jewish Art Feminism and Jewish Art
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by Richard McBee | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

An exhibit now on view at New York's Jewish Museum purports to chart the course of a cultural revision—specifically, the rise of women artists, or, more specifically, the rise of Jewish women artists, or, more specifically still, the rise in the numbers of such artists exhibited at the Jewish Museum over the past 50 years. It turns out that since 1947, over 550 women artists have shown at this one venue in Manhattan.  One wonders if MOMA can match those numbers.
The Best Proletarian Novel Ever Written The Best Proletarian Novel Ever Written
Thursday, September 16, 2010 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Comparisons between the Great Depression and current economic conditions "remain relevant," says the financial columnist Robert Samuelson—"and unsettling." Economic growth for this year's second quarter was a paltry 1.6 percent; unemployment hovers above 9.5 percent; sales of existing homes have fallen to their lowest rate in more than a decade; consumers show little sign of having recovered their confidence. At such a moment, American literature must surely be ripe for a revival of the Marxist-inspired "proletarian novel."
Orthodoxy and Innovation Orthodoxy and Innovation
Monday, September 13, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For many religiously observant Jews, the traditional siddur, or prayer book, constitutes a problem. One such Jew was the great hasidic rebbe, Nahman of Bratzlav (1772-1810), who articulated the problem in terms appropriate to his time: the fixed prayers, with their praises and petitions, are like a well-traveled highway, and well-traveled highways attract robbers. By which he meant that excessive routine makes it difficult to concentrate the mind. 
A Tale of Two Lobbies A Tale of Two Lobbies
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 by Ruth R. Wisse | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The problem of the Arab-Israel conflict begins with the term itself, which misrepresents the unilateral Arab war against Israel as a bilateral dispute. Unilateral aggression is not unheard of—when did Poland ever aggress against Germany or Russia?—but nothing in United Nations history compares in intensity or fixity with Arab belligerence toward Israel, a UN member state. 
World Jewish Congress World Jewish Congress
Monday, August 30, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a show of solidarity with Israel, leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) will be gathering in Jerusalem at the end of the month. Not to be confused with the American Jewish Congress, of which it was originally an outgrowth, or the World Zionist Congress, founded by Theodor Herzl, the WJC is an umbrella group of Diaspora organizations (including the European Jewish Congress, the Latin American Jewish Congress, and others) that defines itself somewhat grandly as "the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people." If you haven't heard of it, there's a reason.
Requiem for a Big Little Magazine Requiem for a Big Little Magazine
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

After eighty-six years, eighty-two in print and the last few in cyberspace, the New Leader, a quintessential American "little magazine," is folding. Like all good publications, it both embodied and analyzed a world of its own, a world worth remembering. 
Page 19 of 22« First...10...1718192021...Last »
Editors' Picks
The Great Assimilator Christopher Hitchens, Atlantic. Martin Amis vividly remembered something Saul Bellow had once said to him, which is that if you are born in the ghetto, the very conditions compel you to look skyward, and thus to hunger for the universal. (2007)    
Persuaded D.G. Myers, Literary Commentary. On the heels of his roll call of the best Jewish books of 2011, Myers reflects on how the prose of Irving Kristol led to his own political and religious "right turns."      
Decoding Day School Enrollment J.J. Goldberg, Forward. Despite two decades and millions of dollars spent pushing the idea, Jewish day schooling just isn't catching on among non-Orthodox American Jews.
Bullies, Sluts, Bulimics . . . and Supreme Court Justices Shira Kohn, Lilith. Given the numbers of women involved over the decades, historians won't be able to ignore the Jewish sorority experience for much longer. (PDF)
What Does Paul Goodman Mean to Me? Michael Walzer, Dissent. He wasn't a particularly nice person, he wasn't a great novelist, he was a fine poet only sometimes, and he wasn't much of a historian—but, but, but . . .
Re: Occupy Marc Tracy, Tablet. A response to Commentary's feature article on Occupy Wall Street and the Jews.
Radical Orthodoxy Daniel Boyarin, Book of Doctrines and Opinions. The Talmud scholar imagines a religious practice, "free of the ethnocentrism and even racism that characterizes so much of contemporary orthodox language . . . that would authentically enable my own radical political commitments." (Interview with Alan Brill)
Occupy Wall Street and the Jews Jonathan Neumann, Commentary. Predictably, the Occupy movement was plagued by conspiracy theories implicating Jews and Israel. Which makes the prominent Jewish involvement in the protests all the more curious and alarming.
Obama's Jewish Problem Allison Hoffman, Tablet. The core of the Obama campaign's play for Jewish votes is simple: Overwhelm what the Obama camp sees as Republicans' bald emotionalism on Israel with a flood of facts and figures. Will it work?
Are You a Hellenist? Gil Student, Torah Musings. Is a contemporary acculturated American ignoring the main theme of Hanukkah? And for that matter, how did Maimonides reconcile his devotion to Greek philosophy with the ostensible message to reject Greek ideas?