BY AMY KALMANOFSKY, JTS
Women of Faith
Abraham passed God’s litmus test of faith. God commands Abraham to take his beloved son Isaac to the land of Moriah and kill him. Faithful Abraham does not hesitate. Genesis 22 may be the most loved and hated story in the Torah by every reader, no matter what their faith. Certainly, generations of Jews have struggled to make sense of this story, and of the father and God it portrays. Rashi, the 11th-century French commentator, cannot bear to think that God intended Abraham to kill Isaac. He writes: “God did not say ‘kill him [שחטהו],’ because the Holy One Blessed Be He did not want him to kill him. Rather, God commanded Abraham to “bring him up [להעלותו]” with the intention to give Isaac the status of being an offering” (on Gen. 22:2).
By Emma Wergeles for The Forward
All eyes have been on University of Michigan, my university, these past few weeks, thanks to some controversial incidents: two professors refusing to write recommendations for students seeking to study in Israel and a required seminar class comparing Israel’s Prime Minister to Hitler.
by Sharrona Pearl for the Lilith Blog
We defend our friends. It’s natural. It’s powerful. It’s what friendship is all about. Certainly Avital Ronell’s friends— the most powerful philosophers in academe, for what it’s worth—wanted to defend her from the recently revealed allegations that she’d sexually harassed one of her male graduate students. The Title IX complaint by Nimrod Reitman resulted in her year-long suspension from NYU.
By Cnaan Liphshiz for JTA
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (JTA) — All over the world, Holocaust commemoration events follow a certain protocol.
Somber affairs where participants dress in dark colors and modestly, they usually feature a soulful rendition of the “El Malei Rachamim,” prayer, or Merciful God, sung by an anguished cantor who names Nazi death camps and the horrible ways Jews were murdered there.
From Yael Deckelbaum.com
The song "Prayer of the Mothers", was born as a result of an alliance made between singer-songwriter Yael Deckelbaum, and a group of courageous women, leading the movement of “Women Wage Peace”.
The movement arose on summer 2014 during the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, and the military operation “Tzuk Eitan”.
BY EMILY PASTER for The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
Forget the pumpkin spice lattes — try this tangy, savory pumpkin recipe this fall.
October is upon us. I know because my Instagram feed is full of decorative gourds and pumpkin spice lattes. But, as much as Americans truly love pumpkin, we are sometimes guilty of type-casting this nutritious vegetable as sweet and forget that pumpkin has a savory side too.
BY EITAN KENSKY for Moment Magazine
It’s the inherent vice of joke books that their jokes are stale, wizened, practically in full beards. Paper doesn’t just flatten the delivery; it kills. (Take my joke—please!) There’s no joke teller, no emphasis on sound or detail, no voice. Lenny Bruce’s now-canonical “Jewish and Goyish” is funny because of the rhythm, and because of the intense personality it barely restrains. Joke books have no rhythm and no persons; they are disembodied words. The surprise of The First Book of Jewish Jokes is that a joke book from 1812 still sometimes shows a faint pulse. After all, when’s the last time you heard a good one about the learned philosopher Moses Mendelssohn?
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Kids at Israel’s Hagar and Hand in Hand schools are taught to respect each other’s traditions and viewpoints without an ‘us against them’ attitude.
Afnan Abu Taha doesn’t want her two daughters feeling alienated from their Jewish peers as she did when growing up in an Arab village. She doesn’t want them to struggle with Hebrew as she did in college. Neither does she want them to lose their own identity, language, heritage and culture.
Jewish Book Council
Edited by Laurel Snyder
Written by authors born into the so-called "dilemma of intermarriage," the stories in Half/Life explore the experience of being raised in a half-Jewish home. Though each essay is distinct, and the experiences are vastly different, each describes growing up without a streamlined identity, unsure of community or religious direction.
The word "kosher" literally means "fit" or "appropriate."
Ask an average person to describe kosher food and they might say it is food “blessed by a rabbi.” The word “kosher,” however, is Hebrew for “fit” or “appropriate” and describes the food that is suitable for a Jew to eat.
Image from BroadwayBasketeers.com
By Rabbi Jill Jacobs for COEJL
The rabbis of the Talmud ask the following question: When the people of a town decide to build or repair a guard wall, how much should each resident pay? Perhaps the wealthiest residents should pay the most, as they can best afford to shoulder the burden. On the other hand, maybe the people who live closest to the wall should pay more as they will benefit most, since thieves or murderers who enter the town are likely to target the first houses they encounter.
BY DEBRA NUSSBAUM COHEN for myjewishlearning.com
As a young child, Eva Mozes Kor was a subject of Dr. Mengele’s horrific human experiments. Decades later, she made headlines for granting ‘amnesty’ to a physician who worked alongside the notorious Nazi doctor. Here’s Mozes Kor’s story in her own words.
Eva Mozes Kor was just 10 years old when she, her twin sister, her two older sisters and their parents were transported from their small Romanian village to the Nazi death complex Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Benjamin Perlstein The Times of Israel Blogs
The Virtue of Self-Creation
In Parshat Noach we saw how morality and creativity in the Torah begin to be fused through the concept of covenant. In Parshat Lech Lecha we see how the practice of covenant between God and humanity matures into a new tradition of countercultural monotheism. As the Torah proceeds from covenant to covenant, we begin to see in finer focus that the importance of moral relationships entails a rich sense of the complementary creative seriousness of individuality.
From Hillel International
Know a high school junior just starting their college search, or a high school senior who is about to apply to college? Hillel is here to make the process a WHOLE lot easier!
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Side-by-side school comparison tool
A complete guide to kosher food options, Jewish studies courses and study abroad opportunities in Israel
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Attitudes have shifted dramatically in recent decades, with sharp differences between the Orthodox and liberal movements.
As social attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people have undergone a sea change in North America, Western Europe and Israel, official Jewish views, among the liberal denominations at least, have changed along with them.
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — The City of Malmo in Sweden is working with the local Jewish community to resume the sale of kosher meat there following its suspension for technical and food safety reasons, municipal officials said.
The suspension was ordered Sept. 20 during a municipal inspection at the ICA Kvantum Malmborgs Limhamn shop, which had sold frozen kosher meat per an agreement with the leaders of Malmo’s Jewish community of several hundred people.
By Seth Rogovoy for The Forward
Like the cicadas that spend most of their lives underground, emerging only every 13 or 17 years (and how they decide is for you to know and me to find out), the movie musical “A Star Is Born” gets remade every few decades or so. The latest incarnation, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, is scheduled to open on October 5, having premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August and at festivals in Toronto and San Sebastian in September.
By Flora Tsapovsky for Tablet Magazine
Once a staple of street kiosks in Tel Aviv, the sparkling, fruity soft drink is gaining new popularity in Israel and around the world
This past summer, Prince William made a historic visit to Israel. The programming included many highlights, but none as social media-forward as a Tel Avivian encounter with the 2018 Eurovision winner, Netta Barzilai. The two met at a kiosk on the corners of Herzl and Rothschild streets, where, according to historic data, Israel’s very first kiosk was established in 1911, and were documented drinking colorful mason jars of gazoz, described on the Kensington Palace official Instagram account as “a fizzy soft drink.”
Imbuing a ritual with meaning distinguishes it from routine or habit.
Cindy Kaplan of Newton is raising a daughter with significant special needs. Now 16 years old, Mira has become a driving force behind her family’s Shabbat observance. It’s a celebration infused with ritual that Mira has embraced through her participation at Boston-based Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. As a student in the organization’s Sunday school over the past 10 years, Mira has become a bat mitzvah and thriving member of the Jewish community. Like Mira, all of Gateways’ students are nurtured to become full-fledged participants in Judaism.