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The Riddle of the Satmar The Riddle of the Satmar
Thursday, May 23, 2013 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In this review of an adulatory biography of the Satmar rebbe, first published February 17, 2011, Allan Nadler considers Judaism's most traditional—and most alienated—community. 
The Decline of the Rabbi-Intellectual The Decline of the Rabbi-Intellectual
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Zach Mann | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The congregation-based scholars of yesteryear labored to make Judaism intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally stirring and politically applicable.  
Faith and Matrimony Faith and Matrimony
Friday, April 19, 2013 by Dana Evan Kaplan | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

An initiative to admit intermarried students to Reform rabbinical schools is yet another indication that Reform Judaism is swiftly becoming not so much a religious movement as a Jewish activities club.
Covering the Bases Covering the Bases
Monday, March 11, 2013 by Michael Arkush | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Sandy Koufax was not just the greatest left-handed pitcher I ever saw," recalled his biographer, Jane Leavy , at a recent celebration of Jewish baseball.  "He’s also the greatest mensch I’ve ever met in my life."
The Voice That Speaks in My Soul The Voice That Speaks in My Soul
Friday, March 8, 2013 by Susan Taubes | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Echoing Kafka in this 1949 letter of protest to a domineering male, Susan Taubes writes: "I can no more keep to the laws of the Bible than I can cross myself or take the sacrament."
Knowing When It’s Time to Go Knowing When It’s Time to Go
Thursday, February 28, 2013 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Talmud states, "The older Torah scholars become, the greater wisdom increases within them."  Yet the Torah imposes an age limit on spiritual leadership.
Go to Ammon and Moab Go to Ammon and Moab
Monday, February 25, 2013 by Daniel Gordis | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Imagining themselves to be the wise men consulted on Vashti’s fate, the Rabbis deferred to the Jews’ enemies, saying, “from the day when we were exiled from our land, wisdom has been taken from us."
It’s All in the Angle It’s All in the Angle
Friday, February 1, 2013 by Jack Riemer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his new collection of essays, ultra-Orthodox rabbi Avi Shafran disputes the scientific worldview on its own terms.  But he refuses to acknowledge scientific challenges to Judaism.  
<i>Shabbat Shirah</i>: Song Takes Wing Shabbat Shirah: Song Takes Wing
Monday, January 21, 2013 by Jerry Friedman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Complementing the Song of the Sea, which will be read this Shabbat in synagogue, the Rabbis suggested a home-based ritual to celebrate Shabbat Shirah: feeding the birds.
Gun Control and the Limits of Halakhah Gun Control and the Limits of Halakhah
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Rabbinic disputes on the proper regulation of dangerous dogs illustrate that reasonable people, who share Jewish values regarding violence and self-defense, can disagree about gun control.
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Editors' Picks
A Voice from Salonika Nina Caputo, Marginalia. A 19th-century Ladino memoir, published last year, depicts Salonikan Jews tyrannized by a despotic rabbinic ruling class that benefited from exorbitant taxes and fees.
How Powerful Are the Chief Rabbis? Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel. Foreign Policy may believe Israel's chief rabbis number among the world's 500 most powerful people, but "there are certainly more influential rabbis in the Jewish world—and even in Israel."
What's Wrong with Cross-Dressing? Michael L. Satlow, Then and Now. Although the Torah prohibits cross-dressing, it never explains why—and there is no consensus on the reason among Jewish sources in antiquity.
Kashrut in America Timothy D. Lytton, Jewish Review of Books. In 1986, a jar of herring in vinegar brought America's government-backed kosher regulation to its knees—and heralded the rise of the private kosher certification agency. 
America's Rabbis Bounce Back Steven Windmueller, eJewish Philanthropy. Twenty years ago, America’s communal elites curtailed the rabbis’ influence.  But with Orthodoxy’s new assertiveness, rabbis are shaping American Judaism again. 
Milton's Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Jewish Week. "The role of religious leaders is, in a paraphrase of Matthew Arnold’s description of Edmund Burke, to saturate politics with Torah thought, orientation, and commitment." (Interview by Eugene Korn)
When Rabbis Spoke Greek Nicholas De Lange, Marginalia. Scholars of rabbinics claim that "there is no trace of the Septuagint in the Judaism that we know from history."  But new research shows otherwise.
Smashing the Idols Josh Yuter, Jewish Press. Has veneration of gedolim, great rabbis, become "the single greatest impediment to intelligent religious discourse in the Orthodox Jewish community"?
Variations on a Theme Geza Vermes, Standpoint. Discrepancies among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, and the Masoretic biblical text point to interpretative ferment in the time of Jesus.
Whose Bible Is It Anyway? Lawrence Schiffman, It has become received wisdom that the Bible was an open canon—incomplete—when the Dead Sea Scrolls were composed.  But that is a reflection of Christian theology.