BY ALAN MITTLEMAN, JTS
Korah: Democrat or Demagogue?
Korah is the first left oppositionist in the history of radical politics.
–Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (111)
How shall we read the Korah story? What is his rebellion about? Is Korah the first left-wing radical? He seems to want to level the distinction between leaders and masses. All of the people are holy, he claims. There is no need for a priestly caste which, in the wilderness setting, is a governance class. This view relies on the Midrash’s framing of Korah’s claim: “It is not you alone who have heard at Sinai, ‘I am the LORD your God.’ All of the people heard it” (Tanhuma Korah 4). From Korah’s point of view, the promise of Exodus 19:6, that Israel will be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” has been fulfilled. Mass reception of the divine word means equal standing in holiness. Korah, on this view, is something of a hero, a tribune of egalitarianism before its time.
This year, Israel celebrates its 70th year of independence, where everyone who is somewhat touched by Israel’s culture, history, or religiosity can come together and share their own personal reflections and experiences with Israel.
My own experience of Israel, started in a small town called Ramat Sharet, in Jeruselam, where I was born and raised for 5 years, along with my sister. When I turned 5, Jerusalem resembled a battlefield, where Israeli citizens feared for their lives, on what I later found out was referred to as the period of the second Intefada, or the second Palestinian uprising.
By Danielle Neuwirth, THE CONSPIRACY, newvoices.org
In the spring semester of my junior year, Jose* started hanging out with my friend group. The problem was he also hung out with local gang members.
Jose was from south of Worcester, Massachusetts. As a fellow Puerto Rican, he came to me for assistance when he was kicked out of his home, hoping to change course. And as a Worcester State University student, he knew my school offers help to college students struggling with gangs. Jose tried to get help from my professors, but he was too far into gang life to make his way out. While trying to help Jose, I met his friend Pablo*, who wanted assistance, as well. This is how I began working with students involved in gang activity – and embarked on hopefully a lifelong career of social work.
BY BENJAMIN WEINTHAL for jpost.com
The Bank for Social Economy holds numerous accounts that wage boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) activity against Israel.
The Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation – named after a gay German-Jewish scientist who was persecuted by the Nazis – has terminated its account with the Bank for Social Economy over the financial institution’s enabling of organizations that advocate a boycott of Israel.
by Irina Tsukerman for the algemeiner.com
The 30 imams who have signed a letter against antisemitism and extremism in France are graduates of a special training program for imams in Morocco. Created in 2005, the Institute Mohammed VI de la Formation des Imams Mourchidens et Mourchidates now boasts of approximately 1,600 graduates — more than 1,000 male, and 800 female imams.
By Dina Kraft for Hadassah Magazine
Eden Saadon was a design student in Tel Aviv studying textiles when she came across a television ad for a pen that could be used to create material to build small 3-D printed structures. Intrigued, she ordered it and spent the next year working to perfect what began as a hunch: The pen could be used to print clothing.
By Sarah F. Berkowitz for FromtheGrapevine
All you need is a mug to prepare these delicious, protein-packed falafel balls.
Today, we present to you the impossible: delicious, protein-rich Mediterranean falafel balls, made in under two minutes in your microwave!
I honestly thought it couldn’t be done, but I’m game to try just about anything. And look at that – it worked. I’m not a fan of fried food, but I’ve tried baked falafel balls and they were just too dry. And I can honestly say now that I’ll take my falafel microwaved any day. This falafel hack worked for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with anyone who wants to avoid fried foods, or is limited to microwave cooking.
Papa Plony is obsessed with beating the Baloney family in the annual relay race. But when Yasmin flakes out on practice, and a new team member shows up with an unexpected physical difference – he panics. SHABOOM! The Sparks come to the rescue with incredible upsie-downie magic, including an upside-down rainbow ramp, a giant stuffie and a lesson in showing kavod, or respect. Tune in and find out who wins the race. Kol hakavod!
A vibrant, propulsive literary thriller that charts the high-stakes journey of a young man trying to find his place in a country that has lost its way
As the 1980s draw to a close, South Africa is a maelstrom of political violence with the apartheid regime in its death throes. Young Martin Helger is the struggling odd duck at an elite private boys school in Johannesburg, with his father a rough-handed scrap dealer and his brother a mysterious legend.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Agrotop is a one-stop shop for farm projects, from financing and business plan to design, logistics, construction, management and training.
The classic chicken-or-egg conundrum does not keep poultry farm designers from the Israeli firm Agrotop awake at night.
They’re too busy solving other challenges, like how to build a chicken house on the steep Himalayan slopes of Nepal. Or how to construct a 60,000-layer egg house in the Canary Islands on a narrow footprint (half the levels were built underground with a sophisticated ventilation system).
JOSEPH EPSTEIN for Commentary
The life and art of Heinrich Heine
Friendship, Love, the Philosopher’s Stone,
These three things are ranked alone;
These I sought from sun to sun,
And I found—not even one.
— Heinrich Heine
Heinrich Heine was one of those writers, rare at any time, welcome always, who found it impossible to be dull. In everything he wrote, he captivated, sometimes infuriated, often dazzled. Heine, who was born in 1797 and died in 1856, wrote poetry, plays, criticism, essays, fiction, travel books, and journalism. All of it was marked by passion and wit, not a standard combination. “I hate ambiguous words,” he noted, “hypocritical flowers, cowardly fig-leaves, from the depth of my soul.”
A Convert's Observance Checklist
One of my main goals with this blog is to promote practicality and clarity in the conversion process. I made this checklist for myself, but since converts LOVE checking things off lists, I decided to share and expand it. This list does presume a certain level of knowledge. If you are unfamiliar with a term, check the Glossary or Google it if it's not located there. Also, this does not talk about Jewish ideas or beliefs. Those are presumed parts of your study. This list will focus on the practical observances you will take on as part of your conversion process. I think it's comprehensive, but that is no guarantee that it is!
by Jaime Bender for FromtheGrapevine
That’s one of the many findings from the most comprehensive global census of living organisms ever done.
There are 7.6 billion people in the world, but we humans are no match for bacteria, fungi and, in the biggest way, plants.
That's one fascinating takeaway from a massive, comprehensive study of all life forms on Earth, conducted by researchers at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science and the California Institute of Technology.
BY KRISTA TIPPETT for ReformJudaism.org
When Derek Black was 11, he designed the kids’ page for the first major Internet hate site, Stormfront, which his father created and still leads. After Derek was outed in his freshman year at New College in Florida as a white nationalist, one of the few Orthodox Jews on campus, Matthew Stevenson, invited him to Shabbat dinner in his dorm room.
BY DAVID HOFFMAN, JTS
Intermarriage and the Desert
In light of the recent work of colleagues and friends regarding the boundaries of the Jewish people and how that impacts the weddings that should or should not be performed, I cannot but help to read this Shabbat’s parashah in terms of boundaries.
The midbar—the desert as a metaphor—is a wild, boundaryless place. As the Talmud famously states, “midbar mufkar lakol”: the desert is free and will always remain ownerless. It will always be a space without walls or structure. It’s a place where we wandered aimlessly for 40 years between where we had to leave and where we wanted to go.
By Amichai Atali for Ynetnews
Ovadia Cohen, grandson of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former chief rabbi, Shas Party spiritual leader and foremost Sephardic Halachic authority in recent times, will marry his partner at a ceremony led by a religious gay woman.
An unusual wedding is set to take place this coming week as Ovadia Cohen, named for his grandfather former Chief Rabbi of Israel, spiritual leader of the Shas Party and the most influential Sephardic rabbi in his generation, Ovadia Yosef, will tie the knot with his boyfriend Amichai Landsman.
BY JTA, The Jewish Week/Times of Israel
JERUSALEM — An internal correspondence document written by a senior member of Israel’s Rabbinical Courts rejects the authority of all rabbis who receive their ordination from a yeshiva located in New York.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller for aish.com
What we can take from ABC’s abrupt cancellation of Roseanne Barr’s hit show.
ABC has cancelled Roseanne Barr’s popular hit comedy series after she tweeted an offensive racist message about former President Barack Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, May 28, Roseanne issued the tweet, then tweeted several other offensive and incorrect messages concerning Ms. Jarrett. ABC’s response was swift: it cancelled the show despite its success, earning the network an estimated $45 million this past year.
Tablet Magazine writers, and famous Jews (Yotam Ottolenghi, Michael Wex, Daphne Merkin, Joan Nathan, and many more), tell their favorite Jewish foods. See why Liel Leibovitz says Sabich is #1. For schmaltz fans, it's up there. Babka, Bagels, Blintzes, Bialys, Borscht, Bristket (and that's just the B's), Sofritos, Seltzer, Did your favorite Jewish food* make the list?
Editorial note from JVN's Judy: Yes, my 3 favorites, Chopped Liver, Brisket, and Black & Whites, made the cut.