General Topics

Nationalism

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote that Jewish nationalism versus Jewish liberalism is the crucial issue facing American Jewry today.┬áHe wondered how we can reconcile liberal politics, universal, humanist values, with the nationalism of Jewish identity? This is the fault-line that is troubling readers of the New York Times. He says and concludes with a question: If these two…

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Words

Languages are amazingly varied and flexible, despite all academic attempts to reduce them to simple formulae. We have always struggled to explain why almost every tribe had its own language, why we or God could not have made do with one. It would have made life and international relations so much easier. There are a range of stories and myths…

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Jeremy Corbyn the Zionist

Yes, I really do think Corbyn qualifies as a Zionist! By now I think everyone is aware of the situation in the UK where the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has a serious problem with anti-Semitism. No Jew, however removed from his or her Jewish identity, feels comfortable with the antagonistic and abusive atmosphere that pervades the Labour Party hierarchy,…

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Wine & Racism

Last month there was a huge fuss in Israel over wine. It was known as the Barkan Affair. Barkan Wines, one of many relatively recent Israeli expansions into the quality wine trade, was seeking certification from the most Orthodox of religious supervisory agencies, the Edah Haredis, which incidentally is known for its very anti-Zionist positions. But hey, money is money.…

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Goyim

Here is a thought for the 9th of Av and, more importantly, for life afterwards, as many of us venture forth into a different, holiday world. The term Goy is biblical. It applies to any nation, including the Israelites. Only much later did it come to have pejorative associations. But recently I have heard that there are those who disapprove…

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Season of Fasts

We are now in the season of fasts. What actually happened on the fasts of the 17th day of Tammuz and the 9th of Av? Well, my dears, it depends whom you ask. According to the Mishna (Taanit 4:6) five things happened on the 17th of Tammuz. It is the anniversary of when Moses smashed the first set of stone…

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