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Jewish Thought

The Black-Hat Underground The Black-Hat Underground
Monday, May 6, 2013 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The likely closure of Aderaba, the magazine by, for, and about frustrated Israeli ba’alei teshuvah, demonstrates that the mainstream haredi community is too great to overcome—for now.
Who Says There Are No Coincidences? Who Says There Are No Coincidences?
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by David Glasner | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In certain Orthodox circles, the idea that there are no coincidences has become a principle of faith.  But it contradicts a more fundamental Jewish doctrine: human free will.
Judaism and the Meaning of Life Judaism and the Meaning of Life
Friday, March 1, 2013 by Emil Fackenheim | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Emil Fackenheim is often remembered only for his Holocaust theology.  This 1965 Commentary essay reminds us of his understanding of the covenantal relationship between God and man.
An Open Letter to Philip Roth An Open Letter to Philip Roth
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Say it ain’t so.  The news that you have decided to retire from the “awful field” of writing fiction is terribly upsetting.  Not because your readers and critics might have paid more respectful attention to Nemesis if they’d only known that it was going to be your last book.
<i>Teshuvah</i>:  Progress or Return? Teshuvah: Progress or Return?
Monday, September 24, 2012 by Jonathan Ziring | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

While in theory the blowing of the High Holiday shofar should be enough to “awaken us from our slumber” and move us to repentance, in practice most people need to look to other sources to enable them to rethink the way they live or their understanding of repentance itself.
At Last, Zion At Last, Zion
Friday, September 21, 2012 by Charles Krauthammer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Milan Kundera once defined a small nation as "one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear, and it knows it."  Israel is a small country. This is not to say that extinction is its fate. Only that it can be.
“I, and Not an Angel” “I, and Not an Angel”
Thursday, September 20, 2012 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Warning: The Following Prayer May Be Dangerous to Your Spiritual Health.  Recite with Caution."  When was the last time you saw this kind of warning in a prayer book? Yet in most Ashkenazic S’lihot prayer books, that is the message that actually accompanies one of the hymns.
The Hebrew Bible and the Human Mind The Hebrew Bible and the Human Mind
Monday, September 10, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Yoram Hazony has a bone to pick with Tertullian, the second-century Christian theologian who asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
Spinoza in Shtreimels Spinoza in Shtreimels
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Carlos Fraenkel | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Philosophy professor Carlos Fraenkel wrote that “the cultural relativism that often underlies Western multicultural agendas [is] a much greater obstacle to a culture of debate than religion.”  Today, in an exclusive preview from the Jewish Review of Books, Fraenkel relates how his theory fared among a group of Hasidim.
Sin, Sin, Sin Sin, Sin, Sin
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the current Hebrew month of repentance, it’s hard not to notice that we live in a culture that takes sin far less seriously than it used to. The formula “mistakes were made” has largely replaced the admission of personal responsibility.
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Editors' Picks
Memorializing the Rav David Shatz, YU News. On the occasion of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's 20th yahrzeit, some thoughts on how his thought will be conveyed to a generation that did not know him.
Rashi the Preacher Martin Lockshin, H-Net. The medieval rabbi Rashi has traditionally been viewed as an analyst of biblical text.  But a new book argues that some of Rashi’s commentary was less exegesis than pedagogy.
Misreading Passover David Hartman, Hartman Institute. "I dreamed that when the calendar turned to Passover, the dominant discussions in the culture would be about subjugation, alienation, and human dignity.  But what do we talk about instead?  Recipes."
Judaism's Intellectual Boot Camp David Brinn, Jerusalem Post. "One great religious leader can move a community, one great political leader can shoulder a nation, and one intellectual leader can change hearts and minds."
Is Journalism Just Lashon Hara? Pinchas Landau, Institute for Jewish Ideas. Halakhah has yet to confront the gamut of prohibitions violated by modern mass media, from the sin of rekhilut to the greater sin of motsi shem ra, or slander.  
More Digitalmud Shai Secunda, Elli Fischer, Talmud Blog. Is the iPad-toting Jewish scholar just obeying the injunction to speak of the commandments “when you sit at home and walk the road, when you lie down and get up?”
Two Rabbis, Two Philosophies Daniel Treiman, Times of Israel. At the recent political conventions, Rabbi David Wolpe and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik each spoke powerfully to the contrasting political ideologies of the parties that they were addressing.
Crime and (Eternal) Punishment George Dvorsky, io9. Research shows that genuine belief in a punitive God is an effective deterrent to crime
Scholarship at the Fault Line Monica Osborne, New Republic. English departments and literary studies curricula have yet to acknowledge the significance of Jewish and midrashic thought to their disciplines.
Abortion Politics Arrive in Israel Eetta Prince-Gibson, JTA. Abortion is one issue that has never figured in Israel's political campaigns. But recent calls for a public debate threaten to open a new fault line.