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Middle Age & Renaissance


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.
Cousins: Jews and Arabs Seek Each Other Out Cousins: Jews and Arabs Seek Each Other Out
Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, it seems, is the rule governing Jews and Arabs: the farther apart they are from one another, the greater their mutual interest, while the greater their proximity, the more antagonistic they seem.
Sleepless on Shavuot Sleepless on Shavuot
Thursday, May 24, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Two practices long associated with Shavuot, the "time of the revelation of the Law" (z'man matan Torateinu), are the enrolling of children in religious school and the marathon all-night study vigil (tikkun leyl Shavuot).
Not Everything is Illuminated Not Everything is Illuminated
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 by Ben Greenfield | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Judaism is famously infatuated with text; and the New American Haggadah, with contemporary authors Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander listed as editor and translator, respectively, is the latest in a long line of love letters by Jews to their object of adoration.
Art against History Art against History
Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Antiquity washes away the immediacy of historical pain and injustice.  Our ability to feel suffering is indexed directly to its epoch: the more remote, the more detached we are. Museums play on this—pander to this—and to our forgetfulness. History is softened, elided, or erased.
A Convenient Hatred A Convenient Hatred
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

With some 1,000 books currently in print on the subject, does the world desperately need another tome on anti-Semitism? What difference will it make, when anti-Israelism provides only the latest justification for Europe's persistent prejudice against Jews and anti-Semitic views are shared by 15 percent of Americans and 90 percent of Muslims worldwide?
Jewish Ethics, from Ancient Bible to Modern Bus Jewish Ethics, from Ancient Bible to Modern Bus
Monday, February 13, 2012 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The next time someone tells you that ethical behavior doesn't need a foundation in religious teaching, step onto an Israeli bus (it doesn't have to be the gender-segregated variety) or open a mass-circulation Israeli newspaper and see how religion puts Jewish ethics on steroids.
From New Year to Arbor Day From New Year to Arbor Day
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holiday of Tu Bishvat ("the fifteenth of Shvat") falls this year on Wednesday, February 8. What are its origins, and when and why did it become incorporated into the calendar as the Jewish "Arbor Day"?
The Dangerous Mr. Nelson The Dangerous Mr. Nelson
Monday, February 6, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Eric Nelson is a danger to academia. You would not think so from his background. He is the Frederick S. Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University. He has had a proper education, at Harvard and Trinity College, Cambridge.
The Pale God The Pale God
Friday, February 3, 2012 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Imagine God not as a benign force infusing the universe with love and sustaining it with mercy, and not as a stern judge smiting sinners from on high with his cosmic zap-gun, but as a grandfatherly figure, kind but, truth be told, somewhat out of it, sitting in a corner, tolerant of the various paths his children have chosen.
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Editors' Picks
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.
Columbus the Converso Charles Garcia, CNN. Columbus's voyage was not funded by Queen Isabella, but rather by two Jewish conversos and another prominent Jew. Was he meant to find gold to finance the Jewish conquest of Jerusalem?
My Heart is in the East (of Europe) Timothy Snyder, Wall Street Journal. Not many Ashkenazi Jews are nostalgic for life in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—though for centuries, Poland claimed the most vibrant Jewish community in the world.
No Quarter Matti Friedman, Times of Israel. For its two million tourists, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City is the historical and spiritual center of Judaism. But the only Jews who lived there before 1948 were those too poor to leave.
Did Muhammad Exist? Daniel Pipes, National Review. As revisionist scholarship claims that Muhammad was not the founder of a new religion but an anti-Trinitarian rebel Christian leader, Islam is headed for a confrontation with higher criticism.
A Heretic in the Truth Zachary Micah Gartenberg, Jewish Review of Books. Spinoza takes Maimonides' characterization of miracles as divinely implanted—but still natural—anomalies in the regular course of things. Then Spinoza adds a twist.
Doctor Who? Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times. Despite a sequence of papal edicts prohibiting Jewish doctors from treating Christians, almost every pope in history had a personal physician who was Jewish.
What Kind of Jewish Name is Shylock? Fred MacDowell, On the Main Line. The question has engaged scholars since the 18th century, leading to some very creative theories.
From Enemies to Friends Ephraim Mirvis, Jerusalem Post. Medieval Britain originated the blood libel and was the first European country to expel Jews. Yet in 1942, it was Britain that created first national interfaith organization between Christians and Jews.
False Memories of the Crusader States Peter Frankopan, Jerusalem Post. Take heed, Israel: where things went wrong for the Crusaders was not in the long-distance messaging to core supporters, but in the muddling of that message among neighbors and near-neighbors.