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Judaism

  • Connecting Sukkot and the fight against home demolitions

    Around the world, dozens of communities are organizing activities to draw the connection between Sukkot — a holiday in which Jews commemorate the physical insecurities experienced by their ancestors — and the need to protect Palestinian villages in danger of destruction by Israel. By Micah Friedman Israeli demolitions have left 256 Palestinians homeless in the West Bank this year. Two hundred and fifty-six souls were driven from the safety of their homes, forced into internal exile. Since 2006, 5,849 Palestinians living in Area C, under full Israeli military control, have lost their homes due to demolitions. [tmwinpost] Now, Israeli Defense…

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  • A rare opportunity to put Jewish universalism on a pedestal

    On this Holocaust Memorial Day, I'd like to seize the opportunity and honor the memory of my teacher, Auschwitz survivor Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, by remembering an important lesson: A universal vision is an essential part of Jewish particularism. By Rabbi Arik Ascherman A day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed in Israel starting Wednesday evening, Israeli author and media personality Irit Linor published a rant on Facebook (Hebrew), apparently with Holocaust and Heroism Day (as it is known in Hebrew) on her mind. She wrote that she is completely particularistic and that she doesn't have "any truck with universalistic…

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  • A dark stain on all of Judaism

    Friday's arson was a terrorist attack familiar to the likes of ISIL. Now is the time for ideas; condemnations aren't enough. The question is not only what was said that led to the murder, but what we did not say. By Meir Buzaglo Perhaps if I were a better Jew, I would fast today. With every such attack by "religious" people, the wound within Judaism grows. Last summer, after Muhammad Abu Khdeir was burned alive, Rabbi Israel Maimran told me: "I am ill." At this moment, we condemn and let the police do the talking. But perhaps the police, and even…

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  • Have you murdered and also taken possession?

    First the moderate Judaism of Mizrahi Jews was trampled and some of them were pushed into an extreme orthodox practice that originated in Europe. Then the Mizrahi Jews were blamed for Ashkenazi-originated orthodoxy, and now MK Ruth Calderon reinvents moderate Judaism as if none of this has ever happened. By Avraham H. Muthada (Translated from Hebrew By Iris Barner) Ruth Caldreron’s maiden speech in the Knesset (Hebrew) left a mark in our memories and amazed the Israeli public. Ever since, the secular Midrashas (seminaries for women) she represents are sprouting up everywhere and are presenting a refreshing, new Jewish discourse.…

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  • Sephardic spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef passes away at 93

    Former Sephardic chief rabbi and spiritual leader of Shas was known for efforts to reconcile Jewish law with modernity, advance the status of Mizrahi Jews in the Israeli religious establishment and in Israeli politics and society. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Sephardic-Haredi Shas party passed away Monday at the age of 93. Yosef recently suffered from a series of health problems, specifically with his heart and lungs. He was hospitalized several times in the last month. Yosef was a complex and not always well understood figure. He was know for his groundbreaking rulings which tried to incorporate…

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  • Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta are no friend of the Palestinian national struggle

    Neturei Karta, a small ultra-Orthodox sect that rejects the existence of a Jewish national movement, is embraced by Palestinians because of its opposition to Zionism. However, its radical approach does not serve Palestinians in their national struggle. By Eldad Levy Throughout the last round of violence in Gaza and the south of Israel, Facebook was flooded with Palestinian and Israeli support campaigns. The campaign of Neturei Karta, the most famous Hassidic sect that opposes Zionism, was among the most interesting ones. Facebook users often share pictures of Neturei Karta in their traditional black clothing, often wearing a keffiyeh decorated with Palestinian…

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  • Rabbinate gets rid of "Tzohar," tightening its monopoly on marriage

    The organization that officiated Ori J. Lenkinski's wedding, and the one viable alternative to the Rabbinate for Jews who want to marry in Israel, informed her that it is being shut down. This afternoon I received an email from Rabbanei Tzohar, the organization that officiated my marriage. In a very thought-out message, they explained that they were being closed down and would no longer be able to officiate or expedite any matters concerning our marriage certificate, but that we could turn to the Tel Aviv branch of the Rabbinate with any questions. Religion, it struck me, is quite the business.…

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  • No, a woman's voice is not "pubic" - the song must go on

    A recent protest from within the IDF against the sound of women singing made it all the way to the High Court. But the event is only one in a string of state-sanctioned assaults against women's rights, led by Israel's religious establishment, which likens women to their genitalia By Hila Benyovits-Hoffman | Translation: Dena Shunra Some six weeks ago, during a formal IDF officers’ training course event celebrating military heritage, nine cadets stood up and left the performance hall. The reason for their pointed exit was the participation of women among the military singers. The cadets felt they were prohibited from listening to them…

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  • WATCH: Muslim, Jewish, Christian teens talk religion in film

    A few weeks ago, I volunteered at Together Through Film, a weekend outdoor activity camp with 18 teenagers from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  The group was made up of a mix of Muslim, Jewish and Christian youth, some religious and others secular. What brought this group together was their passion to learn about each other's religions, traditions and beliefs, in addition to their interest in filmmaking. The camp was organized by Danya Hakeem of National Geographic and her fantastic team of volunteers, who are also filmmakers from National Geographic, where I am  an "Emerging Explorer" - and the Center for…

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  • Author calls for rejection of official status as Jews

    [4] And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. [5] So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou…

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  • Israel's "Arab problem" (by Jerry Haber)

    Zionism was intended to solve Europe's "Jewish Problem," the supposed inability of the Jews to assimilate and become equal citizens of the European states. In the late nineteenth century, which saw the rapid rise of nationalism and political anti-Semitism, some European Jews, especially in Russia and Poland, considered their main nationality to be Jewish (and were considered to be such in some of the multi-national empires), and even later, when the age of empire ended, they distinguished between their citizenship and their nationality in their own self-consciousness. This model of separating nationality and citizenship, inherited from the multi-national empires of…

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  • Between the Lines (Oct 11): More “loyalty” measures in store

    The Headlines: Heading in the wrong direction, fast > Israelis will soon be allowed to accelerate to 11o kph on some highways. But where will they be going? > One indication could be the government’s endorsement of a law requiring non-Jewish new citizens to declare loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and Democratic” state. Some ministers are already planning a law revoking citizenship from those convicted of “’disloyalty”, or requiring all 16-year olds to sign a loyalty oath, if they want to get their ID cards. On the margins, the bizarre machinations of Defense Minister Ehud Barak over this law…

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  • Wishes for a faithless year

    The Jewish New Year begins as the cruel Middle Eastern summer draws to an end. My non-Jewish ex-wife used to say: "Your new year makes sense. Something is actually beginning. Nothing is tangibly beginning on the first of January. Of course the days are getting longer but you really wouldn't notice that until late February." To be fair, we really wouldn't know it's autumn by the weather until October. Tomorrow is new years' eve, and I'm sitting here with both fan and AC on full blast, sweating nonetheless, but there was a small breeze here and there over the last…

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