By Amy Kalmanofsky, JTS
Kept by Shabbat
Ahad Ha’am famously said: “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” Pretty remarkable coming from the founder of cultural Zionism!
Parashat Ki Tissa either supports or challenges Ha’am’s words. This week’s parashah relates one of the lowest moments in Israel’s story—the sin of the golden calf—in which Israel dances before a god of their own making. Coming down Mount Sinai with the stone tablets inscribed by God’s finger (Exod. 31:18), Moses sees Israel’s frenzy and smashes the tablets. Moses spends the rest of the parashah picking up the pieces and working to restore Israel’s relationship with God. The parashah ends with God giving a new set of tablets to Moses. The holy covenant between God and Israel is restored.
By Zibby Owens for Kveller
I think the iPhone should come with an instruction manual that’s required reading. It isn’t enough to know how to connect to Wifi or how to Facetime five people at once — it’s equally important to understand how to communicate with other humans in a decent, which isn’t intuitive to new users (i.e., tweens).
A Wider Bridge
A Wider Bridge is deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has reinstated President Trump’s partial ban on transgender people in the United States Military.
Transgender Americans who wish to serve their country deserve the same respect and decency from their representative government as cisgender people. The administration’s proposed policies, which would strip trans people of their dignity, are rooted in bigotry and fear. These policies echo similar efforts throughout history to discriminate against gays and lesbians, immigrants, people of color, Muslims and Jews.
Tonny Onyulo for The Forward
During a recent Shabbat service here, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu led dozens of worshippers in a prayer for unity. Women sang psalms. Children clapped. Men wearing yarmulkes played drums and guitars.
Locally known in Uganda as Abayudaya or “the people of Judah,” they practice Conservative Judaism with an African flair — and right now, need exactly that prayer. A conflict is now splitting the community, which is almost a century old.
By NoCamels Team
The bible has for centuries been a source of inspiration and influence for art in all its forms. The canonical collection of texts sacred to Abrahamic religions has indeed inspired some of the world’s greatest known works of art.
Israeli photographer Dikla Laor has worked for six years to bring the stories of female biblical figures to life through the camera lens, embarking on a unique project to imagine these characters’ appearances, dress, and demeanor against breathtaking backdrops. Her “Biblical Women Series” includes the “first woman,” Eve, the Jewish matriarchs – Sarah, Rivka (Rebecca), Leah and Rachel – Lot’s wife, the Queen of Sheba, the prophetess Deborah, and Jezebel, among over 40 such photographs.
by Josh Lew for FromtheGrapevine
These hearty dishes will make you forget about the cold weather.
A good soup can warm your body from the inside. When winter begins, so too do people's cravings for steamy bowls of broth. The cuisine of every country that experiences cold weather has at least a few trademark soups and stews. The best of these recipes are often exported to other four-season places around the globe.
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine
Unveiled at CES, the Coral Manta camera keeps a watchful eye at residential swimming pools.
Eyal Golan, an Israeli entrepreneur with three young children, built a swimming pool at his home about five years ago. At the time, he was looking for safety features to give him some peace of mind. "But there was nothing that works like a lifeguard," he said. "Something that always watches the pool and does not depend on the child's behavior – like whether he wears the device or forgot to wear it."
By Adam Kirsch for Tablet Magazine
In a landmark new translation, Robert Alter revives the literary power of a Hebrew masterpiece
The Bible is a refractory book, never behaving quite as we expect it to. Indeed, much of the creativity of Jewish tradition has been devoted to harmonizing the actual Bible with Judaism’s changing expectations of what it should be. The rabbinic genre of midrash tries to make sense of the text’s many narrative contradictions and ethical perplexities. The Talmud assumes that every word in the Torah is there to teach a point of halacha, while Maimonides insisted that the Bible actually teaches the same truths as Greek philosophy, though it uses an allegorical method that can easily mislead the ignorant. And the mystical Zohar, written in medieval Spain, says that if all there were to the Torah were its surface meaning, it would be easy to write a better book: It is only the hidden, esoteric content of the Torah that makes it sacred.
By Lesléa Newman for Jewish Book Council
“The world is made of stories, / Not of atoms” the poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote. All of us are made of stories: stories we’ve heard, stories we’ve read, stories we’ve made up, stories we’ve experienced, stories that come to us in dreams. Like Russian matryoshka dolls, there are stories and stories and stories nesting inside each of us just waiting to be born.
by Adi Pick / CTech From the algemeiner.com
CTech – Ever chose “X-ray vision” as your choice of a hypothetical superpower? Israel-based Augmedics Ltd. has developed a set of goggles giving surgeons X-ray-like visualization capabilities.
Augmedics is creating an augmented reality headset for surgical procedures. Called xvision, the headset projects X-ray-like 3D visualization of the patient in real time, allowing surgeons to “see” through the patient’s skin, muscle tissue, and bone.
How the Hebrew calendar works.
The rhythm of Jewish time is determined both by the sun and by the moon. The basic unit of time is naturally enough the day, which is a unit of time determined by the amount of sunlight reaching the earth as it rotates on its axis.
By Naama Barak for Israel21c
First-of-its-kind sweet basil cultivar is resistant to downy mildew, a severe global epidemic affecting basil plants.
Italy without tomatoes, Ireland without potatoes and the United States without filter coffee – these are all unimaginable culinary nightmares.
To these scenarios we can add a world devoid of basil, meaning no pesto, no Caprese salad and no yummy fresh leaves mixed into our salad or melted with butter onto steaming hot garlic bread. The horror!
By Hillel Halkin for Mosaic
Finished after decades of labor, this one-man English translation is a stupendous achievement. How does it hold up against the masterpieces (and follies) that have come before?
However you look at it, Robert Alter’s The Hebrew Bible is a stupendous achievement. The result of decades of work, consisting of over 3,000 pages of translated text and commentary, it includes every one of the 35 books from Genesis to Chronicles that constitute Jewish scripture. One might call it the translator’s equivalent of a solo circumnavigation of the globe were it not that sailing a boat around the globe takes far less time.
By Lilly Kaufman for JTS
The Jewelry of a Master Teacher
Without using alchemy, the 16th-century Italian commentator Seforno (1470–1550) turned gems into gold. Writing a few short words about the gemstones that adorned the clothing of the High Priest, described in Parashat Tetzavveh, Seforno shares a truly fine insight about achieving greatness as an educator.
We read in Exodus 28:2, “And you shall make sacred garments for Aaron your brother, for honor and for glory.” On the word tiferet (glory), Seforno asserts that the High Priest will be a kohen-moreh norah, an awesome priest-teacher. He explains, שהם תלמידיו החקוקים על לבו וכתפיו, “for they are his students who are engraved on his heart and shoulders.”
By Abigail Yadegar, Fresh Ink for Teens, in the Jewish Week
Even in challenging moments, my love for singing has never wavered
When I was younger, I never considered myself a singer. I attended weekly lessons in Shotokan at Karate Kids and would often crack open my art suitcase to doodle on colored construction paper with scented Mr. Sketch markers. It was not until my parents joined the congregation at Wilshire Boulevard Temple and enrolled me in religious school that I truly fell in love with the art of singing.
By Vladislav Davidzon for Tablet Magazine
Artist Yevgeniy Fiks believes in a future of Yiddish-speaking space colonies
One morose and rainy Sunday afternoon in late November, the kind that presages the final days of a New York autumn, a motley group of intellectuals and connoisseurs of Yiddish gathered on the Lower East Side. The Russian-American conceptual artist Yevgeniy Fiks was on hand to deliver an artist talk and personalized tour of his charming exhibition “Yiddish Cosmos” (through Dec. 16), a playful historical jaunt through the history of the Jewish aspects of the Soviet space program. The exhibition was arranged on the second floor of the Stanton Street Shul, one of the last functioning Orthodox synagogues in the neighborhood. Beneath stylish prints of the Soviet cosmonaut Boris Volynov—who was the first Jew in space, and would have been one of the very first men in space if his historical flight along with Yuri Gagarin on the first Voskhod rocket mission had not been bumped because of his ethnicity—were futurist Yiddish slogans.
By Hannah Jannol for The Jewish Week
For many in the Jewish community, the concept of intersectionality — and the politics it has spawned — is associated with the demonization of Israel, Zionism, pro-Israel college students and Jewish women. Women’s March co-leader Linda Sarsour famously went so far as to claim that, in the spirit of intersectionality, feminism must exclude Zionism.
By Lior Zaltzman for Kveller
OK, OK. I really don’t know much about football. (And I *know* I’m not the only one, right?) But I know that Super Bowl parties usually have really good snacks, and the televised event is full of very expensive, sometimes moving and sometimes hilarious commercials. And yes, I know that there are some pretty good reasons to feel icky about supporting the NFL.
This rich, creamy, and totally dreamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce recipe is 100% dairy-free. You'll be amazed at how delicious vegan can be!
You guys, cauliflower alfredo sauce is E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G! Seriously, it's become my life. I know we're all on that get-healthy-in-January train right now (all aboard!) but I swear this cauliflower alfredo is going to see us through the whole year.