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The Jewish Preview of Books—August 2018

jewish-books - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:00am
By Rachel Scheinerman for Jewish Review of Books


Here at the Jewish Review of Books we receive 40-50 books a week. These are some of the books coming out in August that we’re looking forward to reading and—who knows?—maybe reviewing.

 

If book publishing is any measure, this is a good month for the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary. JTS professor Jack Wertheimer’s latest contribution, The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today (Princeton), is due at the end of the month. You can start with Allan Arkush’s discussion in his cover article “In the Melting Pot” from our Summer issue. Wertheimer’s colleague Alan Mittleman’s new book answers the question Does Judaism Condone Violence? Holiness and Ethics in the Jewish Tradition (Princeton). (Does the title give away Mittleman’s answer?)

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Liberman warns Assad planning to rebuild large Syrian army after civil war

israeil-news - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:00am
By JACOB MAGID for The Times of Israel


Defense minister also praises Trump's reimposition of Iran sanctions, saying Tehran was using relief provided by nuke deal not to support its economy but rather to fund terror


Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad “is not satisfied” with regaining control of southern Syria and plans to rebuild the Syrian military into an even larger force than it was on the eve of the civil war.


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InterfaithFamily Rabbi Survey Results

interfaith - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:00am
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 


The results are in, and make for an interesting read. We wanted to share some of the high-level findings with you.

We focused our analysis specifically on CCAR and RRA members who responded so that we could compare results to the last known publicly available survey on officiation practices of clergy, which focused on that group. Of CCAR and RRA members who responded:

More than 85 percent said that they officiate at the weddings of interfaith couples. Of those who officiate:

 

For the full report, click below.

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Elul Started Yesterday: Hello eScapegoat!

celebrating-judaism - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:00am
from bimbam.com


A web app to help you atone. Like in Bible Times, only nerdier.


The eScapegoat roams the Internet collecting sins before Yom Kippur. This web app is inspired by the Yom Kippur rituals from the time of the Temple in which a goat is symbolically burdened with the sins of the Jewish people. In the app, this action is symbolized by a whimsical animated goat receiving the sins that users share with it. 

 

Watch video. 

Ingenious upcycling turns discarded medical device into water filter

green-living - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:00am
By Brian Blum for Israel21c


Israeli startup repurposes discarded kidney dialysis filters to make pure water in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Every year across the world, more than 250 million dialysis filters are thrown away after only a single use cleansing a kidney patient’s blood of toxins. What if those filters could be recycled for a new use, wondered Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine Prof. Yoram Lass.

Could a medical filter that can remove even the slightest unwanted particle from human blood also work for, say, water purification?

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How to Combat the Left’s ‘Alternative’ Israel Brainwashing

featured-articles - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:00am
By ARDIE GELDMAN for Commentary


My time among the propagandists


Excluding drive-time traffic, a car ride from the southern end of Jerusalem to the West Bank community of Efrat takes about 15 minutes. One travels along Israel’s Route 60 on the segment known as the “Tunnels Road” because its construction necessitated the first two tunnels in Israel to be cut through mountainside. The road was opened in 1996 to let commuters bypass the Arab towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala, but mostly to avoid the Deheisha refugee camp. Cars driving on this road displaying yellow Israeli license plates had often been the targets of rocks and occasionally Molotov cocktails and gunfire.

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How Israel Became a Television Powerhouse

jewish-arts-and-media - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 8:00am
By  HANNAH BROWN for Commentary


The unlikely rise of a pop-culture leader


You don’t often see perfectly chilled martinis served at conferences in Israel, but the TLV Formats Conference was an event that was out of the ordinary. It was held for the second time in September 2017, and hundreds of buyers from television networks around the world came to Tel Aviv to snatch up new Israeli shows—scrambling to get ahead of the huge international TV convention called MIPCOM the following month in Cannes. Over the past decade, Israel has become one of the world’s most prolific exporters of “formats”—industry jargon for concepts and programs. 

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Re'eh - Rosh Chodesh Elul

weekly-torah-portion - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 7:20am

DEUTERONOMY 11:26–16:17 


BY MALKA STRASBERG, ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR IN BIBLE, JTS


To Know or Not to Know


The centralization of cultic worship is one of the major themes in the book of Deuteronomy. However, the place of that worship, the Temple, is described as “the place that God will choose,” with no mention of where that place is to exist. This week’s parashah, parashat Re’eh, introduces the theme that once in the Land of Israel, the Israelites are to worship their God in “hamakom asher yivhar Hashem” (the place that God will choose). This vague phraseology, which only alludes to a specific place but does not specify where that place is, is repeated 21 times throughout the book of Deuteronomy, with 16 of those occurrences in our parashah alone.

Read & Listen

Israeli fruit-fly lure helps save Togo’s mango crop

news-in-the-jewish-world - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c


Hung on trees, Biofeed lures decreased infestation of two strains of flies by up to 95% in a recently completed initiation phase in Togo.

 

In the Central Valley of Togo, a mango grower named Yacuobuo started killing his trees due to fruit-fly infestation that has decimated his crop over the past three years.

In this main mango-growing region of Africa, many other small farmers face the same dilemma. And their loss extends to the “mango women” who sell the fruit at market.

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33 Vegetarian Recipes Perfect for Summer

jewish-food - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
by Shannon Sarna for The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com 


Summertime is all about the barbecues and indulgent vacation eating, right? But it’s also about an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables finally in season.
 
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I Parented Like the Dad in ‘The Chosen’ and This Is What Happened

children-and-families - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
BY ALINA ADAMS for Kveller


The Chosen, the novel by Chaim Potok, was first published in 1967, and has been a staple of middle-school reading lists ever since.

It tells the story of two unlikely friends, Reuven and Danny, who are growing up in Brooklyn during World War II and through the creation of the state of Israel.

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My Very Unorthodox Kabbalist

jewish-books - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By Sigal Samuel for Jewish Book Council


To study Kabbalah, you’re supposed to be (a) forty years old, (b) married, and (c) a man. I am none of these things. Luckily, I grew up with a dad who was a professor of Jewish mysticism and was willing to share its secrets with me.
Raised in Montreal’s Orthodox community, I attended a school with strict gender norms. I was expected to obey all of Judaism’s 613 commandments. But, as a girl, I wasn’t allowed to take an interest in the religion’s more esoteric branches.

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My Jewish Encounter With Hinduism

interfaith - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By Alon Goshen-Gottstein


How I came to an intellectual and spiritual connection with Swami Chidananda Saraswati


Religions are complex realities. They are constituted by systems of beliefs and rituals. They are embedded in particular cultures. They involve communities and they are mediated to a large extent through teachers and living spiritual exemplars.

In what follows I describe a process of encountering Hinduism that has been in the making for nearly forty years. It has gone through the various stages described below, a high-point of which is certainly the encounter with living spiritual masters, one in particular.

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In this country, charging a small fee for plastic grocery bags is working

green-living - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
by Jaime Bender for FromtheGrapevine


Plastic bag use has dropped 80 percent as a result. Is this the model for the rest of the world?


On Jan. 1, 2017, Israel began requiring its supermarket chains to charge 3 cents for plastic bags. Since then, plastic bag use has dropped 80 percent, according to the country's Environmental Protection Ministry.

If that's not enough of a reason to cheer, consider this: That 80 percent reduction is equal to almost 8,000 tons of plastic. Know what else weighs 8,000 tons? About 400 buses.

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Mahler’s Niece & the Auschwitz Women’s Orchestra

featured-articles - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller for aish.com


A century ago, one of Europe's great musicians tried to erase her Jewish heritage. Instead, she heroically saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust.


Alma Rose, one of Europe’s greatest and least known musicians, led a women’s orchestra in the Auschwitz death camp. The details of her extraordinary life are not all known, though current research is beginning to shed more light on her remarkable story.

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Top Ten Jewish Jokes about Rabbis

young-adults - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
by Jewlarious.com Staff for aish.com


Rabbis teach us. They inspire us. They lead us. So what better way to say thank you than to tell jokes about them. That’s just what Jews do. So without further ado, here are 10 of our favorite jokes about Rabbis.

1. A Rabbi’s Dozen
A Rabbi and his wife were cleaning up the house. The Rabbi came across a box he didn't recognize. His wife told him to leave it alone, it was personal.

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Gay and African-American rabbi wants to shatter stereotypes of what a Jew looks like

LGBTQ - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By Josefin Dolsten for JTA


As a Jew of color, Rabbi Georgette Kennebrae has had her fair share of experiences that have made her feel less than welcome in the Jewish community. People sometimes assume that she is a member of the synagogue janitorial staff rather than the rabbi. Sometimes when visiting a synagogue, she’ll be asked if she’s lost.

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How Israel Became a Television Powerhouse

israeil-news - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By HANNAH BROWN for Commentary


The unlikely rise of a pop-culture leader


You don’t often see perfectly chilled martinis served at conferences in Israel, but the TLV Formats Conference was an event that was out of the ordinary. It was held for the second time in September 2017, and hundreds of buyers from television networks around the world came to Tel Aviv to snatch up new Israeli shows—scrambling to get ahead of the huge international TV convention called MIPCOM the following month in Cannes. Over the past decade, Israel has become one of the world’s most prolific exporters of “formats”—industry jargon for concepts and programs. 

Continue reading.

Shehechiyanu: A Meditation on this Moment

celebrating-judaism - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
BY RABBI SHEFA GOLD for myjewishlearning.com 


This blessing, traditionally recited for firsts, can be said anytime -- since every moment is new and unprecedented.


The Shehechiyanu blessing is said whenever we realize the miracle of the present moment. Traditionally, it is recited when we do something for the first time that year — such as lighting Hanukkah candles, hearing the shofar, or shaking a lulav and etrog — as well as at the start of most Jewish holidays. The blessing honors and expresses the wonder of having arrived.

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IsraAID sends US dentists to treat refugees in Kenya

news-in-the-jewish-world - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
By Rebecca Stadlen Amir for Israel21c


The joint Israeli-American mission aims to treat thousands of residents at Kakuma Refugee Camp, some of whom have never before received dental care.


Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID set up a mobile dental clinic for one week in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, home to over 190,000 refugees from across the region, the majority escaping violence and instability in neighboring South Sudan.


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