To anyone who knows Jewish life, or Israeli life well, this is laughable in its ‘fringiness’. This is not a serious trend. That having been said, it raises many red flags for me. There is a consistent multi-decade trend for Orthodox Jewry, as well as Israeli Jewish life in general, to descend deeper and deeper into its own peculiar expression, in other words, to spurn universal values and to re-surface peculiar and unique, often extremely reactionary trends and customs.
This joins a global pattern of indigenous re-discovery of uniqueness in a post-colonial and post-Cold War Age. But not all that is indigenous is good, and in fact much is awful. In fact the entire reason that otherwise patriotic Europeans of all nationalities came up with transnational, or universal values, is because they were disgusted by just how low and racist societies can become if all they ever think about, if …
By Omar Kasrawi
Standing outside a mausoleum in Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery, Rawan Dajani bows her head and cups her hands upward in prayer for her ancestor Sheikh Ahmed Dajani. He was buried in Mamilla, the oldest Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem, nearly half a millennium ago.
About 200 meters away, a fenced-off construction zone marks the future site of the Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance, a project overseen by the California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In Israel, starting a new project inevitably means bumping into history. In this case, the construction that started in 2004 has stirred Muslim anger as it displaces hundreds of Muslim graves dating as far back as the 7th century, including the remains of soldiers and officials of the Muslim ruler Saladin.…
University of Miami president detained for questioning at Israeli airport: The Pride and Shame of Being Jewish in 2010
I was reading this headline in Ha’aretz and by sheer accident, it was in the same column as another headline, “A superb day for the Jewish people’: Kagan sworn in as Supreme Court judge”
And I was just struck by the paradox of pride and shame of being an identified Jew in 2010. On the one hand, another Jewish woman reaches the most honored position of legal wisdom in the United States, an achievement that in my youth I would have called a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of the Divine Name, a testimony to the hard work of centuries of her forebears who kept alive Talmud study and the search for knowledge and wisdom and now, thankfully, yielding the proper results with the honor of women as equals in achievement.
And then, and then….The same page, also an enormously distinguished good woman, my cousin as a Jew, someone of …
You have to watch this short five minute film to believe it. Watch a village steadily stolen illegally by the Jewish National Fund, finally destroyed by the IDF and the State with hundreds of police, and then rebuilt and reclaimed by Jews and Arabs, citizens of Israel, together.
You don’t have to believe that this is exactly what the JNF has been doing for over a hundred years, you don’t have to read the long and complicated history through the eyes of Israel’s leading analysts like Tom Segev in One Palestine Complete, just look at five minutes of video to see the destruction of olive trees and the theft of land through planting ‘Jewish’ trees, donated by clueless American Jews, no doubt, as Arabs watch helplessly their entire village demolished. But then watch Jews and Arabs together rebuilding in a single day. Feel the power and the determination.
This is the day in the Jewish calendar that is the eve of destruction, commemorating all the catastrophes of the last 2500 years, the forced exiles, the crusades, the massacres, the pogroms, an authentically religious national day of mourning for millions of jewish innocents over the ages. Only what is different from profane forms of Jewish mourning, is that religious mourning looks inward, introspectively, not outward for scapegoats. And this is the difference between heaven and hell, the hell created by profane nationalism, and the heaven created by spiritual identity.
I heard a homily in a synagogue yesterday that turned my stomach so badly that I had to leave. It was a celebration of conquest, precisely at this time, an embrace of the conquerors of the Book of Joshua, as role models for a new husband and wife team celebrating their upcoming marriage.
But Judaism is not the Bible, something …
Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:
By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER
This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.
Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …
States defined as religious or ethnic are almost always injurious to human rights, and injurious to the moral integrity of either religious or cultural traditions. Citizens who do not belong to the designated official religion or culture have customarily been mistreated in history. This is true of Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindu states.
But the fact is that Israel has been defined as religious or ethnic, and this will not change any time soon. Therefore, a new social contract is required in order to negotiate the circumstances under which an extremely diverse population of Jews and non-Jews can coexist in both safety and equality.
An earnest process of negotiation and compromise would include some of everyone’s interests and needs, but is particularly essential for enabling a rule of …
I know that some Jews on my list find this painful and embarrassing, but this is the Jewish version of Al Qaeda. Just as embarrassed Muslims have to face themselves, so do Jews. I would love to hear rebuttals of this story, with evidence in hand. Finally, not everything has to be balanced in the shame game. Sometimes Muslims need to ‘take it in the chin’ like 9/11. Gaza? It is a prison of millions of real human beings, and 99% of the casualties were Palestinian men, women, and children. So you have to take it in the chin and just deal. How else can people improve themselves.
I would like to ask my Jewish listeners about the scandal in the past decades of child abuse and sexual abuse among Orthodox rabbis. So fine, it was and is a small minority, but the problem is that, as with the Catholic …
The Politics of Repentance
By Steve Lipman
Two theological underpinnings of the approaching High Holy Days season have become more topical this year: apology and forgiveness. Classical Jewish thought, formulated by scholars like Maimonides centuries ago, consider those twin acts as preludes to the Ten Days of Repentance, direct apologies for the previous year’s slights a prerequisite for Divine forgiveness. In “No Enemy to Conquer: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World,” British journalist Michael Henderson argues that apologizing and forgiving have a value on both a personal and political plane. The Jewish Week spoke last week to Henderson about the issue.
Read more here.…