Sarah Rindner for Tablet Magazine
In her demure immediacy, she links the modern Jewish nation to its roots both in the land and in the foundational text of the Bible.
In his essay on the poet Raḥel, Hillel Halkin offers a fascinating study of her too-brief life (1890-1931), her poetics, and the unique place she occupies in the Hebrew literary landscape. Certainly, against the background of the pioneering Zionist ethos of her time—nationalistic, idealistic, and collectivist—the intense individualism of Raḥel’s verse stands out. No less deeply committed to the Zionist enterprise than other poets cited by Halkin, notably Uri Tsvi Grinberg and Avraham Shlonsky, she devoted herself mainly to the exploration of such seemingly inward emotions as sadness, longing, humility, and self-doubt.
BY BENJAMIN D. SOMMER, JTS
Upgrading the Torah—and the World
Is God’s law perfect? Most of us would assume that anything created by an omniscient and omnipotent being must have no flaws. But a story in today’s parashah suggests otherwise—in a manner that shows a surprising similarity to a key concept of Jewish mysticism.
At the end of the reading for this Shabbat (Num. 36:1–9) and in four other passages in the Torah (Lev. 24:10–23, Num. 9:1–14, 15:32–36, and 27:1–11), the Israelites and Moses confront a situation in which the law is unclear, or in which some Israelites seem dissatisfied with the existing law. Moses asks God to clarify the law relating to the situation, and God responds to Moses’s request.
by Jessica Sawyer for aish.com
Being the only Jew most of my students had ever met forced me to confront my Jewish identity.
“No other religion speaks about themselves with the same lack of commitment as Jews do,” the Birthright speaker, whose name escapes me, said to our group. “You've never heard someone say that they are Catholic-ish or Protestant-ish. They are Catholics. They are Protestants. We are Jews. It's not a derogatory term and we shouldn't be afraid to use it.”
By Helene Meyers for Tablet Magazine
Lillian Faderman’s new biography of Harvey Milk re-centers much of his activism on lessons he learned from his Jewishness
Harvey Milk, whose dramatic political career was cut tragically short by an assassin’s bullets, was born on May 22, 1930. Lillian Faderman’s new biography Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death (a volume in Yale’s Jewish Lives series) is not a hagiography but nonetheless celebrates the complex gay man who didn’t get to see his 50th birthday, let alone his 88th. This elegantly written and well-researched book recovers the Jewishness that has too often been erased or glossed over in the mythologizing of a gay icon.
BY JONATHAN WEBER ROSEN for JPost.com
Not only is Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo the first Jew, but she is also the first woman to be elected as mayor of Mexico City.
Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, running on the slogan "Together we will make history," broke tradition, being elected on Sunday as the first Jewish mayor of Mexico City, the largest city in North America, before New York City.
From the Milken Archive of Jewish Music
The question, "what do a rabbi, Jesus and Darius Milhaud have in common?" may sound like the setup to a joke. The punchline, in this case is both fascinating and revealing: they were Dave Brubeck's three most influential teachers. They were also Jewish, which may at least partially explain why the non-Jewish jazz icon was comfortable working with Jewish ideas and themes in his music.
Newly available on our website today is the complete oral history the Milken Archive conducted with Dave and Iola Brubeck in 2003 (an excerpt was available previously). Divided into three sections, the Brubecks discuss how they saw and used music, jazz in particular, as a way to unite people from all walks of life, all religions and all parts of the world.
by SONYA SANFORD for The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
The power of food, and cottage cheese, is strong.
Did Little Miss Muffet have an Israeli savta?
What makes Israeli cottage cheese so good? Is it the quality of the dairy in the “land of milk and honey”? Is it its creamy and smooth consistency?
By Lela Casey for Kveller
As I sit here watching my kids get on the bus for the last time until September, I feel a panic rising in my chest. Gone are my leisurely breakfasts, my early afternoon work/writing sessions, my lunches with friends.
By Amy Newman Smith for Jewish Review of Books
"We won’t need to die . . . and when the day comes, the boys will turn into green crowned date palms and next to them their girls will petrify into statues of white marble,” wrote the young spy Avshalom Feinberg. While the letter’s recipient, Rivka Aaronsohn, would live until 1981, Feinberg, along with Rivka’s sister Sarah, would die violently within a few years. Some 100 years after the destruction of the Nili spy ring, to which they belonged, two new books tell their story. (Nili was a password taken from Samuel I 15:29, “Netzach Yisrael lo y’shaker,” roughly translatable as “The Eternal One of Israel does not lie.”)
By Brian Blum for Israel21c
Israeli invention for remote imaging of smuggling tunnels leads to spin-off product for more comfortable, less expensive lower bowel imaging.
A promising new technology for improving colonoscopies got its start as a way to remotely explore smuggling tunnels.
When a tunnel is discovered, homeland security or military personnel need to quickly and safely determine what’s inside. Beersheva-based startup IBEX Technologies developed a thin inflatable “sleeve” that can be robotically piloted into a dark tunnel. A camera attached to the front end of the sleeve transmits real-time live video and high-resolution images.
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
by Anna Keller
I was never a princess. In my favorite childhood photo I have short brown hair and a leather jacket covered in zippers – a gift I had begged my Grandfather to buy me–it was a Michael Jackson special. In that same photo, my brother has his hair combed neatly to one side and he sports a NY Mets jacket. As an adult looking at that photo I realize a few things. First of all, I spent most of my life thinking that my brother was the “cool one.” One look at that photograph and it’s clear it was the other way around.
We are now in a period known as the Three Weeks, beginning with the 17th of Tammuz (June 30) and culminating with Tisha b'Av (July 21, although the fast is observed on the 22nd due to the 21st being Shabbat)
Tisha B’Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, marking the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem and other countless tragedies. Leading up to Tisha B’Av is a mourning period is called the Three Weeks, beginning with a fast on the 17th of Tammuz. The mourning intensifies during the Nine Days, beginning with the first of Av, culminating with the fast on the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av.
The Three Weeks
The Three Weeks is a period of mourning on the Jewish calendar, commemorating the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem. The Three Weeks begin with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, Shiva Asar B’Tammuz, and end with the fast of the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av (July 25th- 26th, 2015). Both fasts commemorate events surrounding the destruction of the Temples and the subsequent exile of the Israelites from the land of Israel. The First Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BCE and the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Unique full-scale educational farm in northern Israel to test and show local and international agronomists the latest Israeli ag-tech advances.
Starting with wheat fields and an almond grove, a full-scale sustainable educational farm now taking root in Israel’s Jezreel Valley will be an international showcase for cutting-edge Israeli technologies in precision agriculture, high-yield growth with less water, and preventing soil erosion and infestation.
What you need to know about the world's oldest hatred.
Anti-Semitism is the term used to refer to prejudice or discrimination directed against Jews. Learn about its roots, all the way back to the killing of Jesus, and what it means in contemporary times.
BY JONATHAN MILGRAM, JTS
Law as Response to Its Context
What social and economic criteria demand a reevaluation—or perhaps even redefinition—of divine law? How does Jewish legal development through the ages illustrate the interrelationship between God and the Jewish people that results in new and relevant Jewish laws? The analysis of one element in parashat Pinehas—inheritance by daughters—teaches that, at times, the Jewish people’s response to the divine call may be determined by the social and economic contexts, resulting in a reframing of the divine message for a new age.
This video was produced with the Bar and Bat Mitzvah class at Jvillage Network member, B'nai Jeshurun Congregation, of Pepper Pike, OH.
Being intentional with our actions is hard work! BimBam and B’nai Jeshurun worked together to create this animation with the synagogue’s 2015 B’nai Mitzvah class. In it we look at mindfulness and how it relates to living life with Jewish values always in front you. Keeping this mindset is important in everything from the botched sacrifices of Nadav and Avihu to everyday decisions like not talking on a cell phone while driving or eating (turkey) bacon and eggs. For more films produced with community, check out these videos.
Technology partnerships between the UK and Israel is estimated to impact Britain’s economy by hundreds of millions of dollars, and help Israeli companies gain more access to global markets, according to a new report.
By Matthew Wolfson for Tablet Magazine
A Bravo series starring Israeli actress Inbar Lavi is a con game masking something real
I first came across Imposters, the Bravo series that’s playing five nights out of seven on Israeli television, scrolling through Netflix this past March. The picture showed a woman on a bed, the label said dark comedy, the slug described a con artist marrying men and stealing their money. Sex, cruelty, the suggestion of the absurd: It looked designed—overdesigned—to allure. But after a minute I thought, “Why Not?” and tried the first episode.
Jamie Geller, The Joy of Kosher
Crispy, savory mushrooms are a delicious palate opener. This salad can be served in smaller portions as a starter or in larger portions as a main dish for warm summer nights.