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


Eruv Eruv
Friday, March 12, 2010 by | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the more obscure municipal systems knocked out of commission by late February's blizzards along the Atlantic seaboard were eruvim. These, as the New York Times explained, are networks of poles and wires that construct symbolic boundaries around Jewish communities, thus enabling the observant to carry objects through outdoor public spaces on the Sabbath. The prohibition against carrying is of ancient vintage, attestedĀ in the book of Jeremiah (17:21-22): ". . . and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses." The Talmud (Shabbat...
Agunot Agunot
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ta'anit Esther, the traditional fast day preceding Purim, will be observed tomorrow. In recent years it has been designated as an international day of study, reflection, and calls to action on behalf of agunot, literally "anchored" or "bound" women.  In biblical and talmudic law, a marriage is dissolved upon certain proof of a spouse's death or upon the granting of a divorce (get) at the husband's discretion. Each of these halakhic requirements can leave a woman languishing for years, tortured either by her husband's uncertain fate or by his malicious will. Though technically the term agunah is reserved for the former condition, it...
Soul Food Soul Food
Monday, January 18, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A widely-circulated article points to the growing popularity of kosher food among non-Jews in the United States. In Europe, meanwhile, the campaign for animal welfare has revived old charges of Jewish carnality, and a number of countries have gone so far as to ban kosher slaughtering.   Articulating both the meaning of kashrut and its many regulations has challenged Jewish thinkers, Maimonides among them, for millennia. Today, some Jews find in the tradition's dietary discipline an inspiration for a contemporary ethics of consumption. Others promote, alongside traditional strictures, a system of ethical certifications of kosher products.  In the end, though, kashrut may...
Page 2 of 212
Editors' Picks
With These Words Fred MacDowell, On the Main Line. With one salty term of consecration (possibly an obscene rhyme), a Jewish man may have betrothed a woman. In 1823, the rabbis of London had to deal with the consequences.
The Lost Tribe of New Mexico Irene Wanner, Seattle Times. Straddling the border between Colorado and New Mexico, San Luis Valley is home to Hispano communities, where research shows that almost everyone is related by blood. Jewish blood.
A Separate Peace Tamar Rotem, Haaretz. A Gur Hasid, who practices a strict sexual separation, will not walk with his wife on the street. He will not call her by name. To address her, he will knock on the table. Or hum.
Blurring the Issue Hadassah Levy, Torah Musings. Blurring or removing photographs of women might be understandable in the ultra-Orthodox world, but it should have no place in Modern Orthodoxy.
Kosher Food for Gentiles Andrew Adam Newman, New York Times. As mainstream brands increasingly pitch to consumers who keep kosher, Manischewitz is doing the opposite: creating kosher products you can serve for Easter dinner.
Go Ahead, Buy that Train Set Dennis Prager, Jewish Journal. A holiday season defense of material pleasures.
Choose Your Poison Philologos, Forward. Why do some say l'chaim when blessing wine: to confirm that the drink hasn't been poisoned, to dispel grim associations, or simply to make sure that all present are ready for the blessing?     
Marriage and Morals Shlomo Brody, Jerusalem Post. While the Torah explicitly commands Jews to procreate, it never definitively demands marriage. That being the case, does Jewish law ever permit extramarital sex?
Faith is Not Quite the Word Martha Himmelfarb, Daily Princetonian. The scholar of religion talks about Israel, interreligious friendship, trends in American Judaism, and her own practice, including saying kaddish for her father, sociographer Milton Himmelfarb. (Interview by Robert George)
To Life, To Life . . . L'Chaim? Philologos, Forward. Does the classic Jewish toast contain a grammatical error?