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Simply the Besht Simply the Besht
Friday, April 26, 2013 by Glenn Dynner | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Earlier biographers of the Ba'al Shem Tov had left him shrouded in the mists of legend.  But Moshe Rosman insisted that "only by bringing the Besht down to earth will it be possible to evaluate his way in the service of heaven."
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.
The <i>Tish</i> and the Thanksgiving Table The Tish and the Thanksgiving Table
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a scene in Avalon, Barry Levinson’s cinematic memoir of growing up in Baltimore with his Yiddish-speaking immigrant parents, Uncle Gabriel Krichinsky, brilliantly played by Lou Jacobi, arrives—late, as usual—for the extended Krichinsky family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
Renaissance Men Renaissance Men
Monday, November 5, 2012 by Adina M. Yoffie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Hugo Grotius. Isaac Abravanel. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.  These are not names normally mentioned in the same breath, but taken together, their experiences with and thoughts regarding interfaith encounters are instructive.
The Postmodern Golem The Postmodern Golem
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

To Elizabeth Baer, the recent spate of golem literature, going beyond novels to comic books, artwork, even The X-Files, is an “intentional tribute to Jewish imagination as well as to the crucial importance of such imagination in the post-Holocaust period.”
Disturbing the Universe Disturbing the Universe
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 by Daniel C. Matt | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Today, in an exclusive preview from the new issue of the Jewish Review of Books, preeminent Kabbalah scholar Daniel Matt steps away from his Zohar translation for the first time in years to review Lawrence Krauss's New Atheist account of the Big Bang and Alan Lightman's quirky novel about creation. Special to Jewish Ideas Daily readers: Click here to receive a free copy of the whole summer issue!
Aquarius in Zion Aquarius in Zion
Thursday, May 17, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the great crazy quilt of Israeli religious and spiritual life, the cluster of ideas and practices called "New Age" (in Hebrew, 'Idan Hadash) is increasingly visible. Love it or hate it, it's around, in books, festivals, newspapers, the pronouncements of tycoons, and growing networks of popular Kabbalah.
Gershom Scholem, 30 Years On Gershom Scholem, 30 Years On
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Thirty years after his death at age 84, Gershom Scholem casts a long shadow. The field he created, the modern study of Jewish mysticism, has grown beyond him, yet his work remains the indispensable foundation.
Spirituality Lite Spirituality Lite
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A simple truth lurks behind the rise of "post-denominationalism" in Jewish religious life. It is that increasing numbers of Jews are becoming less interested in defining what Judaism means than in sampling aspects of the Jewish tradition that seem to promise spiritual vitality.
Kiefer’s Challenge Kiefer’s Challenge
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by Richard McBee | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The German artist Anselm Kiefer has once again taken New York by storm. Ensconced at the prestigious Gagosian Gallery, Next Year in Jerusalem, his latest show, has met with reviews ranging from the gushing to the grudgingly respectful.
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Editors' Picks
How Kabbalah Shaped Mormonism Tomer Persico, Haaretz. Joseph Smith was versed in Christian commentaries on Kabbalah as a teenager, but it was from a Jew named Alexander Neibaur that he came to understand the "secret Jewish Bible."
Learning with Harold Bloom Maria Popova, Brain Pickings. Critic Harold Bloom used the structure of the Kabbalah for his book analyzing 100 geniuses.  Now an Italian team of artists and graphic designers is translating the book into pictures.
The Dude Still Abides Ashley Fetters, Atlantic. In the 15 years since the release of The Big Lebowski, the Coen brothers' comedy has not only become a cult classic but spawned an actual cult—inspired by kabbalah.
Lessons From a Man of Peace Yossi Klein Halevi, Jerusalem Post. "Rav Menachem Froman taught me that, in order to make peace with the Muslim world, one needs not only to honor Islam but to love it."
Harold Bloom’s Divine Obsession David Mikics, Tablet. Literary critic Harold Bloom dismisses halakhic Judaism as a "fossil."  But, 20 years after his work The Book of J, the Bible continues to obsess him.
Very Superstitious Eli D. Clark, Torah Musings. While science and technology have supplanted magic and the occult in the West, Jews have not only retained old superstitions, but invented some new ones. 
Kabbalah's Spiritual Home Daniela Berretta, Associated Press. Kabbalah is most widely known in its Madonna-patented celebrity version.  But Jewish mysticism's real home is Safed, which attracts a different sort of tourist. 
Borges, a Jew? Ilan Stavans, Jewish Review of Books. “In a typewriter in the hotel room where his body is found is a note: ‘The first letter of the Name has been written.’”
Who Knows Three? Peter Schäfer, New Republic. For Daniel Boyarin, it isn't enough to claim that a notion of two equally divine figures is a Jewish idea.  Rather, he asserts that even the Trinity was present among the Jews before Jesus.
The Chinese Kabbalist Jonathan Wilson, Forward. In an interview, the scholar Ying Han reveals her first impressions of Jews, the similarities between Hillel's teachings and Confucianism, and how a translating assignment led her to pursue a PhD in Jewish literature and Kabbalah.