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Jewish Thought


Jews and Capitalism Jews and Capitalism
Friday, June 3, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Why are so many Jews discomfited by capitalism—and not merely by the caricature of capitalism as rapacious speculation and exploitative profiteering but by the very idea of organizing an economy along free-market lines?
The Jewish Way in War The Jewish Way in War
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

How can democracies, acting under the conventions of international law, defeat Islamist terrorists operating by their own benighted rules? How, especially when UN member-states are prepared to enable terrorists by perverting the rules of war and human rights?
The Anthropology of AIPAC The Anthropology of AIPAC
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Few events in contemporary American Jewish life generate as much passion as the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), held in Washington this year on May 22-24. The best way to view the over 10,000 conference participants may be in terms of a tribe or small society.
American Orthodoxy and Its Discontents American Orthodoxy and Its Discontents
Friday, May 27, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A "case study in institutional decay": that description of Orthodox Judaism in America was offered in 1955 by the late sociologist Marshall Sklare. It has long since entered the gallery of scholarly misjudgments, acknowledged as such by Sklare when events turned out to belie his assessment.
No Springtime for Palestinians? No Springtime for Palestinians?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by Sol Stern | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his May 19 speech celebrating the Arab Spring, President Obama expressed enthusiasm for the "movements for change" that have been unseating tyrants previously supported or tolerated by the United States. In language echoing that of his despised rival George W. Bush, he adopted as his own the idea of promoting democracy in the Middle East.
Sympathy for the Devil Sympathy for the Devil
Monday, May 23, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Occupying a place of particular infamy in Jewish collective memory is an 18th-century serial apostate, sexual deviant, messianic pretender, and chameleonic charlatan. His name was Jacob Frank.
Israel and Western Guilt Israel and Western Guilt
Friday, May 20, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Confront Your Privilege." So reads a "subtly coercive" sign on display at tony American liberal-arts colleges. Why coercive? Because, as Wilfred McClay explains in an illuminating recent essay in First Things, what such signs are really telling the students is, "Feel Guilty."
What Would Ben-Gurion Do? What Would Ben-Gurion Do?
Thursday, May 19, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

How would David Ben-Gurion handle himself if he were the one scheduled to meet Barack Obama on May 20 and address a joint session of the U.S. Congress a few days later? That hypothetical question has been aired frequently by Israelis in the run-up to Benjamin Netanyahu's pending appointments in Washington.
Holocaust without End Holocaust without End
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sixty-six years after the end of World War II, the Holocaust remains one of the central puzzles of human history. For Jews, the imperative is clear: to remember and to encourage others to remember. But remember what? Has the earnest dedication of both Jews and non-Jews to seek the meaning of the event and absorb its lessons ended by emptying it of meaning and lessons alike?
The Life of Prayer The Life of Prayer
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Prayer has never been easy, as the Psalmist well knew: "For there is no word on my tongue; You, O Lord, know them all" (139: 4). And even if there are words on the tongue, the results can be distressingly uncertain, or worse: "My God, I call out by day and You do not answer; by night, there is no respite for me" (22:2). It hasn’t gotten easier since then.
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Editors' Picks
Is the Kotel Plaza a Synagogue? David Golinkin, G’vanim. How should the State of Israel respond to the increasing religious policing around the Western Wall that is slowly but surely turning the area into a Haredi synagogue? (PDF)
The Perils of Self-Deception Colin Rubenstein, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. To imagine that anti-Semitism would evaporate if Israel signed a peace deal with the Palestinians is sheer fantasy.  So why do pundits and policymakers regularly make this claim?      
Incitement and Enlightenment Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz. Even the fact that ultra-Orthodox women work in professions while the men are increasingly cooking and taking care of the children isn't enough. The Left demands a single set of standards for everyone: its own.
Sha-bot Gil Student, Torah Musings. Can a robot be a Shabbos goy? The question is not simple, but it is not without Talmudic precedent.
Three Talmudists Confront the Evil Urge Shai Secunda, Amit Gevaryahu, Eva Kiesele, Raphael Magarik, Talmud Blog. A symposium on the psychological, historical, and rabbinic development of the yetzer hara picks up where Jewish Ideas Daily left off.      
Japan's Inner Israel Glenn Newman, Japan Times. Both Japan and Israel rose from deprivation to prosperity in, historically speaking, the blink of an eye. But now Israel is punching far above its economic weight, while Japan can't seem to get off the mat. What happened?
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."      
Whither Israeli Democracy? Jonathan S. Tobin, Contentions. Though Israel is beset with serious social problems and partisan clashes over a host of issues, the idea that democracy there is in any danger is a figment of the imagination of the country's left-wing critics.
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 . . .