"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools."
Also see: A District Divided
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 24, 2013 -
"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay
- "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
posted by flex
on Nov 15, 2012 -
What was Of Grammatology about? When Madeleine, the heroine of Jeffrey Eugenides's campus novel The Marriage Plot, asks a young theory-head this question, she is immediately set straight: 'If it was "about" anything, then it was about the need to stop thinking of books as being about things.' That's not so far off. In all three books, Derrida's argument was that Western thought from Plato to Rousseau to Lévi-Strauss had been hopelessly entangled in the illusion that language might provide us with access to a reality beyond language, beyond metaphor: an unmediated experience of truth and being which he called 'presence'.
—Not in the Mood
by Adam Shatz is an essay in The London Review of Books about a new biography
of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. The review does a good job of explaining Derrida's theories in simple language and putting it in the context of his life, from his childhood as French Jew in Vichy-controlled Algeria to his later years as a globetrotting academic star. For a complimentary perspective on Derrida, you can do worse than starting with these thoughts on his relevance for historians and progressives
posted by Kattullus
on Nov 14, 2012 -
The Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem houses the Aleppo Codex
, considered the oldest and most authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible. Written in the 10th century AD and annotated by Maimonides himself, it was safeguarded by the Jewish diaspora and revered for its linguistic precision and its beauty. "The story of how some 200 pages of the codex went missing — and to this day remain the object of searches carried out around the globe by biblical scholars, private investigators, shadowy businessmen and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency — is one of the great mysteries in Jewish history
." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 25, 2012 -
is a new Israeli crime comedy, released here this weekend. The poster
features the film's central players sitting around a table loaded with booze, weed, bongs, joints and other drug paraphernalia. For the stricter populace of Jerusalem, a modified version of the poster
was prepared, one which removes all trace of...
You guessed it: Women.
The pot and booze? Untouched. [more inside]
posted by Silky Slim
on Jul 22, 2012 -
Almost immediately upon my arrival in my first teaching job, I became the go-to guy for the Holocaust. Of course, this was partly due to my dissertation, but in larger part, I suspect, because of my Jewishness. This was fine with me for a number of reasons. First, as a junior faculty member, this identification, though merely professional, could only help in my quest for tenure. An expert on the Holocaust carried infinitely greater weight, I thought, than an expert on ministerial instability during the French Third Republic.
: My life as an accidental Holocaust expert—and why I decided to quit
posted by timshel
on Feb 25, 2012 -
Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips
on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist
, Marty the Mormon
, Jenna the Jew
, Sid the Satanist
, Mo the Muslim
and Willow the Wiccan
. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles
on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones
, Halo 3
, Brokeback Mountain
, Kung Fu Panda
and The X Files
posted by jardinier
on Apr 8, 2011 -
In May 2010, New Zealand introduced a new Animal Welfare Code
effectively banning the kosher slaughter
of animals, or “shechita”
. Agriculture Minister, David Carter, rejected a recommendation from advisers
that Jewish ritual slaughter of livestock be exempted from animal welfare rules under the Bill of Rights - which provides for freedom of religious practice. The new welfare code had a requirement that all commercially slaughtered animals first be stunned, and forbade the importation of raw kosher poultry. Carter argued the Code was required on humane grounds, citing a study that said the animals suffered pain. A study which Dr Temple Grandin
has subsequently criticised
. Jewish law prevents stunning on the basis that this is, in fact, cruel to animals
. Halal meat in New Zealand is stunned prior to slaughter. The Jewish community contested the Code through the courts as a direct attack on the freedom to practise Judaism in New Zealand
. Bans on ritual slaughter inevitably raise the ugly spectre of anti-Semitism
. In November, immediately before the case was due to be heard, Carter made an abrupt u-turn
. The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed. The reversal raised the ire of animal rights groups
, and raised questions about Carter's motivations
in considering the ban.
posted by szechuan
on Dec 12, 2010 -
"'What are the laws?' he
to adhere to the Orthodox level of observance. 'I want to know the laws. I don’t want to know the leniencies. I never look for the leniencies because of all of the terrible things I’ve done in my life, all of the mistakes I’ve made.
posted by griphus
on Nov 10, 2010 -
has a long history of trying to make Jewish observance fun for children, a tactic well-documented in a recent book
about the history of the movement. Comic strips played a major role, and for more than twenty-five years now, one of the most popular characters has been Shpy, a detective who solves crimes and resolves holiday mysteries. His arch-nemesis is Yetzer Hora
, and his assistants include Agent 613. Until now, the strip's author was unknown to the wider world. Turns out
, it's Al Jaffee of Mad Magazine.
posted by gabrielsamoza
on Oct 5, 2010 -
“There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety among religious traditionalists that when you take one step toward egalitarianism, the floodgates are open and everything that seemed self-evident will no longer be. Men go to work, and women raise children. If you undermine that, you have lost your whole universe.”
The Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism have been ordaining women as rabbis for decades, but the religion's most traditional sect, the Orthodox, remains a lone, minority holdout against egalitarianism. Last year, Orthodox Rabbi Avraham "Avi" Weiss (political activist
and founder of the controversial
, liberal, "Open Orthodox" Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshiva in New York) tried to shake things up by ordaining the first female American Orthodox rabbi
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 31, 2010 -
Poetry in Hell
contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives
. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 23, 2010 -
Is Facebook chametz?
An interview with two rabbis about their Facebook group
, encouraging Jews to consider giving up Facebook for Passover next week
. While the word "chametz"
strictly refers only to leavened bread, which is prohibited during Passover, the group is inspired by a Chassidic interpretation that connects the leavening of bread to an "over-inflated sense of self."
posted by albrecht
on Mar 24, 2010 -
“We got a bit excited because we realized that people have collected
lots of dybbuk
stories, but our fragment
describes a real event, where you see how they come together and pray in order to exorcise the ghost from a widow,” [more inside]
posted by ServSci
on Dec 21, 2009 -
Open to Revisions.
"Some religious entrepreneurs have adopted an 'open source' model, where rituals and doctrines can be rewritten as easily as computer code."
posted by homunculus
on Jun 11, 2009 -
"The special moment when the Kohanim blessed the assembly moved me deeply, for it possessed a great sense of magic and theatricality... I had heard that this indwelling Spirit of God was too powerful, too beautiful, too awesome for any mortal to look upon and survive, and so I obediently covered my face with my hands. But of course, I had to peek."
--Leonard Nimoy, I Am SpockLeonard Nimoy
discusses his inspiration
for the Vulcan "live long and prosper" hand gesture. Rabbi Yonassan Gershom explains its Jewish origins,
and discusses Jewish themes in Star Trek. Via Laughing Squid.
posted by mattdidthat
on May 21, 2009 -
The End of the Affair.
Like many followers of Judaism around the world, Sir Gerald Kaufman, a British MP and friend of Golda Meir, has gone through an internal battle over their views regarding the State of Israel. Kaufman rejected the Sharon government and later made a remarkably prescient 2002 documentary
(.ram) on Israel. Though he has been targeted by zionist webistes
, and has repeatedly received death threats, hate mail, and has even been harassed during worship
, Kaufman remains outspoken about Israel's attack on Gaza:
"My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszów. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. Madam Deputy Speaker, My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza . . . they're not simply war criminals, they're fools."
posted by markkraft
on Jan 19, 2009 -
Chanukkah is the story of a group of warriors (the Maccabees, later the Hasmoneans
, led by Mattathias) who rose up against the Greeks (the Seleucids
), united the Jews, reclaimed the Temple (Beit HaMikdash
), and then lit one day's supply of oil which miraculously lasted for eight days, started a brand new holiday called Chanukkah, and brought Jewish sovereignty and peace to the land of Israel. Except that almost every part of that story is either wrong or completely misleading. [more inside]
posted by andoatnp
on Dec 21, 2008 -