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American Judaism

Art is a Camera Art is a Camera
Friday, January 8, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ever since the Second Commandment, with its prohibition of "images," Judaism has been an un-, or even anti-visual culture. Or so we are told. While there is some truth to this notion, it is a very limited truth. The realities—historical, philosophical, above all aesthetic—are much more complicated and much more interesting. After all, the Bible itself tells us that at Sinai the people "saw the voices." Scholars have demonstrated the rich visual culture at work in Jewish history, as well as the role of the visual imagination in theology and mysticism—and in the daily experience of those for whom Judaism is...
Abortion: Is There a Jewish Perspective? Abortion: Is There a Jewish Perspective?
Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Controversy over the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of American health care has dwelled in part on the issue of public subsidization of abortion. Although the bill passed by the House upheld the status quo and banned such subsidies—to the dismay of its liberal supporters—the subject has not faded from sight. Amid the turmoil, little attention has focused on the question of abortion itself, its moral and ethical status. Is there a distinctive Jewish view of this matter? In practice, to judge by survey results and voting patterns, Jews hold the most permissive “pro-choice” views of any group in the American population,...
Land That I Love Land That I Love
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For many American Jews, the approach of Hanukkah is a reminder of another miracle besides the one in Jerusalem two millennia ago: the miracle of their country, of the blessings it has showered on its Jewish citizens, and of its firm friendship with the state of Israel. Steven Windmueller of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has written a crisp summary of the American Jewish experience and of the factors that have made it the exceptional phenomenon it is. Also just released are a handful of essays focusing on the economic life of American Jews, a subject that has...
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Editors' Picks
Identity Cleft James Hyman, eJewish Philanthropy. While Israeli Jews are fully enveloped in a Jewish identity which embraces religion, culture, education, land, and history, American Jews have a much more limited self-definition.
Songs for the Jewish-American Jet Set David Pescovitz, Boing Boing. In the 50's and 60's, the independent Tikva Records cranked out everything from Israeli folk and klezmer to cantorial singing, Catskills comedy, and political spoken word. (With audio)
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?
Reeling Benjamin Ivry, Forward. On the tenth anniversary of her death, film critic Pauline Kael is receiving a stream of tributes that show how close to the bone her work still cuts.
Court Jew Allison Hoffman, Tablet. "I don't think there's any Jewish issue that doesn't have [his] fingerprints on it," said legendary litigator Nathan Lewin's new partner—his daughter Alyza.
Edifice Complex Robert I. Evans, Avrum D. Lapin, eJewish Philanthropy. Strategies for consolidating the many over-built, under-programmed Jewish organizations.
After Weegee David Kaufman, Forward. Although her name comes up only late in the book, Susan Sontag is the grand antagonist of a series of essays on contemporary Jewish American photographers.
Strange Gods Lee Siegel, Economist. Why did T.S. Eliot, who made anti-Semitism into an art form, have a signed photo of Groucho Marx hanging on his wall?
Pledges and Gag Rules Jonathan S. Tobin, Contentions. While the cause of Jewish unity is noble, a new "National Unity Pledge for Israel" is clearly intended to shut down accountability on the issue from those in power.
Drowning in the Red Sea Ruth R. Wisse, Jewish Review of Books. The history of Yiddish publications in America shows what moral credit writers of the highest order were prepared to extend to the Soviet Union.