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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.
Back From Heaven Back From Heaven
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In May 2011, Gallup conducted its annual "Values and Beliefs" poll, seeking to quantify religious demographics and beliefs in America. One question struck a national nerve, eliciting a consensus that defied religious or cultural distinctions. The question: Do you believe in heaven? The answer: Yes, overwhelmingly.
A Humanist Bible? A Humanist Bible?
Monday, December 12, 2011 by Armin Rosen | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

According to Jewish tradition, the Torah was delivered to Moses by God on Mount Sinai thousands of years ago. A.C. Grayling's The Good Book claims humbler origins. That text was given to us by an English philosophy professor this past summer.
The Holy Land of England The Holy Land of England
Thursday, November 10, 2011 by Liam Hoare | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The King James Bible, along with the Book of Common Prayer, Shakespeare, and Milton, transformed the English language, introducing a vibrant lexicon that is used to this day.  It also fused biblical mythology with concepts of English national identity.
Jonah and the Music of Yom Kippur Jonah and the Music of Yom Kippur
Thursday, October 6, 2011 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Leviticus 10 tells us that Aaron's sons Nadav and Avihu died for bringing "strange fire" before the Lord in the wilderness. As a result of their deaths, according to Leviticus 16, God instructed Moses to ordain an annual Day of Atonement.
Where Have All the Prophets Gone? Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Writing in 1911, Martin Buber declared that "the nature of the prophets" lives within the Jewish people. A hundred years later, do any Jews still believe this?
Needing Jeremiah Needing Jeremiah
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the most significant accomplishments of the Zionist project was to re-vitalize the Bible as a Jewish national document. Or, if not the Bible as a whole, at least parts of the Bible. The early Zionists were attracted in particular to those books, like Joshua and Isaiah, which appealed to the dream of return and political restoration. One biblical book that most definitely didn't fire the Zionist imagination was the book of Jeremiah.
Jonah and Yom Kippur Jonah and Yom Kippur
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by Meir Soloveichik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Read in its entirety in the synagogue in the afternoon of Yom Kippur, Jonah is the only multi-chapter book of the Bible to be so honored. Indeed, one commentator, observing that the brief Torah reading that precedes Jonah has little to do with the day, but merely continues where the morning reading left off, has suggested that this may be precisely in order to emphasize that, in a departure from the usual priorities, the haftarah, or prophetic portion, is in fact the critical text for the occasion. But what makes it so significant, and what lesson does it really teach about Yom Kippur?
Let Us Pray Let Us Pray
Friday, January 22, 2010 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Rabbi Shimon said: make not your prayers a fixity, but a plea."  The inevitable tension in prayer between practice and passion, between communal structure and the lone voice, was certainly known to the biblical prophets and the rabbis of the Talmud. Yet today, the traditional prayers—profoundly communal and reflecting ancient ideas of monarchy, patriarchy, and retribution, sometimes in complicated Hebrew—seem alien to many. If the test of contemporary Judaism is whether it offers a compelling personal experience to "the Jew within," a common liturgy becomes more difficult to maintain than ever before. And so, the project of renewing the Siddur—the Hebrew...
Editors' Picks
Prophetic Democracy Warren Zev Harvey, Jewish Ideas and Ideals. Equality of all Israel’s citizens "is not a grudging compromise that Judaism has made with modern secular ideologies, but derives from within Judaism—from the vision of the Prophets."
The Prophetic Voice Jonathan Sacks, Algemeiner. The prophets were the first people to see time as the arena in which the great drama between God and humanity was played out, especially in the history of Israel.
Judaism as Protest Movement Tomer Persico, 7 Minim. From Abraham to Korah's ill-fated faction to the beseeching prophets and doubting sages, Jewish tradition has always fostered protesters and protests—not least against God Himself.
The Lord is My . . . Lumberjack? Michael Carasik, Shofar. The topic of biblical translation deserves a good book for a general readership. But one recent effort is problematic at best—and preposterous at worst.
The King versus Bloom Hillel Halkin, Jewish Review of Books. By temperament a strong misreader, the Hebrew Bible is a mine of riches for Harold Bloom. The King James version of it, considered solely as the fine and faithful translation that it is, is less so.
Why Joshua? Meir Soloveichik, Jewish Ideas Daily. What is truly celebrated on Simhat Torah: the fact that the Torah has been completed, or that its reading begins again? The choice of the day's Haftarah, and the history of that choice, offer a clue. (PDF, 2010)
Pooling Genes Gianna Palmer, Forward. A new scientific paper uses DNA to assert a genetic link between Jews and Africans—a link also attested by ancient Jewish tales of trade and other exchanges with sub-Saharan Africa.
Me and Jonah Harold Bloom, New York Review of Books. My favorite book of the Bible is a sly masterpiece, a parody of prophetic solemnities, a magnificent piece of literature because it is so funny.
Mormons and the House of Israel Mark Paredes, Jewish Journal. A new book about a woman's search for lost tribes offers a glimpse into Mormon doctrines about Israel's covenant and those to whom it applies.
A Voice Crying . . . Shlomo Karni, Torah Musings. Observations on one of the best known and most misconstrued phrases in the Hebrew Bible.