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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.
Tithing and Taxes Tithing and Taxes
Friday, April 12, 2013 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A significant proportion of tax revenue is used for charitable purposes: food stamps, Social Security, housing assistance, public healthcare.  May Jews therefore count tax payments as charitable contributions?
Enigmas of Modern Jewish Identity Enigmas of Modern Jewish Identity
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by Stephen J. Whitfield | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Over the course of a lifetime facing modernity's conflicting demands, how might Jewishness affect the struggle to sustain identity, and how might this struggle mark the contours of Diaspora history?
Sh’mini: The Clean and the Unclean
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Torah Talk with Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

Kosher creatures, non-kosher creatures, and what the difference has to do with the priestly calling. (Click here for source sheet.) Download
Fresh-Baked Matzah and the Spirit of Capitalism Fresh-Baked Matzah and the Spirit of Capitalism
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Small-scale matzah bakeries in Israel are enabling people to fulfil the mitzvah of baking matzah—and strengthening communities.
What Is Free Will? What Is Free Will?
Monday, March 18, 2013 by Simon Gordon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For millennia, philosophers have attempted to prove or disprove the existence of free will.  Ludwig Wittgenstein saw this as a misguided exercise—which obscures a genuine moral issue.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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Editors' Picks
Burial Rights and Wrongs Shlomo M. Brody, Tablet. Should Tamerlan Tsarnaev, co-perpetrator of the Boston bombings, have been buried?  Jewish law extends burial rights even to the worst criminals and the most ardent enemies of God.
Rage against the Rebbe Baruch Sterman, Huffington Post. The Pshiskhe Hasidim challenged the establishment belief that "only the great and holy Rebbe could bring salvation," maintaining instead that spirituality comes from within.
Bad Education Vigen Guroian, Imaginative Conservative. "I try to explain to my pupils that envy is despicable," wrote Martin Buber, "and at once I feel the secret resistance of those who are poorer than their comrades."
Prolonging the Inevitable Natan Slifkin, Rationalist Judaism. Private donations to the haredi kollel system in Israel help to ensure that haredi men never acquire the skills they will need when they are forced to enter the workforce.
Lost Cause? Francis J. Caponi, Marginalia. A new book argues that the root of the conflict between science and religion is the reductive modern understanding of causality—which many scientists are now rejecting.
Second Temple Torah Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Fostering the conception that rationales can be offered for almost all the commandments is a product of Hellenistic Judaism in the Second Temple period."
The Paradox of Choice Peter Berger, American Interest. "Judaism in America is faced with a paradox: Traditionally understood, being a Jew is a matter of destiny . . . But in American society today, remaining a Jew is in fact a matter of choice."
God, Your Healer Daniel Eisenberg, Community. The Shulhan Arukh states, "the Torah gives permission to the physician to heal; moreover, this is a mitzvah."  But how does that square with the Jewish conception of God as the ultimate healer?
On Orthodoxy and Homosexuality Alan Jotkowitz, Torah Musings. While the halakhic prohibition on homosexual relations remains, several Orthodox rabbis have advocated  the communal acceptance of individual homosexuals.  But can the same be done with same-sex families?
Unmasking Anti-Semitism Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Jerusalem Post. "It is not because they are 'good Christians' that the Europeans are instinctively anti-Semites," wrote Zionist leader Harry Sacher. "It is because they are bad Christians, in reality repressed pagans."