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Pussy Riot

What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
posted by homunculus on Feb 7, 2014 - 57 comments

The Wars Over Christian Beards

To shave or not to shave? That is the question which has divided the Christian Church for 2000 years.
posted by cthuljew on Jan 26, 2014 - 40 comments

Points for creativity?

"In a bizarre case involving threats of kidnapping, beatings and physical torture — including the use of an electric cattle prod— two rabbis were charged in New Jersey on Wednesday in a scheme to force men to grant their wives religious divorces." [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Oct 10, 2013 - 131 comments

Ruth Calderon: "The Time Has Come To Re-appropriate What Is Ours"

"Every new member of Israel’s Knesset gives a debut speech, and this year, with 48 rookies, the docket was full, with parliamentarians introducing their résumés, their proposed policies, and their hopes for the coming four-year term. One decided to ignore convention altogether. This member of Knesset used the allotted time to teach Talmud. A full third of the 19th Knesset are observant Jews, but it wasn’t any of them. It was a woman named Ruth Calderon, a Talmud scholar and the founder of two Jewish houses of study. She was elected to Knesset as No. 13 on the list of Yesh Atid, a new party headed by former journalist Yair Lapid that swept the recent elections, earning 19 seats on a promise to bring about a more equal Israel..." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 26, 2013 - 21 comments

"family, nationhood, verbal imperative, and accountability"

"Trading Faith for Wonder: On Judaism's Literary Legacy". The LARB reviews Jews And Words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 29, 2013 - 6 comments

The Old Believers

Alaska is home to two small villages of Russian Orthodox "Old Believers," whose ancestors left the church and their home in Siberia in 1666 in the face of state-issued church reforms. They have traveled more than 20,000 miles over five centuries in the search for the perfect place to protect their traditions from outside influences. Now, assimilation into American culture is slowly overtaking them. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 5, 2013 - 49 comments

"You don’t like it? Find another place to live."

"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 - 168 comments

An Unorthodox Controversy

In February, author Deborah Feldman spoke with xoJane's (and Metafilter's own) hermitosis about the backlash she experienced from the Hasidic community in the days leading up the release of her tell-all memoir "Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots." Today xoJane granted another Hasidic woman from the interview post her own rebuttal to the original article, "What Women's Media Needs to Know About Chassidic Women," in which she defends her religion against feminists and "poor Deborah Feldman" sympathizers. Metafilter's own hermitosis responds in the comments.
posted by Avenger on May 22, 2012 - 214 comments

Daily Life in the Holy Land

Gil Cohen-Magen takes pictures of daily life among Hassidic and Holy Land communities.
posted by thirteenkiller on Mar 16, 2012 - 3 comments

Won’t Be Silenced

Chaim Levin appeared in a video as part of the It Gets Better project (previously). A staff reporter for the Jewish Press criticised Chaim (referred to as "Dovid") in an op-ed; Chaim's response led to threats against the paper, which has now supported Chaim and declared that it "won't be silenced". [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Feb 1, 2012 - 34 comments

Israel is closing the books on a rare millennia-old Jewish tradition.

Nearly three decades after Israel began airlifting Ethiopia's ancient Jewish community out of the Horn of Africa, Israel's rabbis are now working to phase out the community's white-turbaned clergy, the kessoch, whose unusual religious practices are at odds with the rabbinate's Orthodox Judaism. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 21, 2012 - 31 comments

זו הכלכלה, טמבל

Over the past three weeks, Israel has experienced what may perhaps be the largest, spontaneous / grass roots social protest of the secular middle class that it has witnessed in decades. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns throughout the country have been protesting cuts in government funding to health care and education, and massive, exorbitant rises in taxes and housing costs -- and demanding change. Tent cities have sprung up in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in public gardens and parks throughout the country. And they may not be going anywhere: polls indicate Israeli support is "exceptionally high". [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 3, 2011 - 58 comments

"But I am angry, even though I cannot always explain who I am angry at."

Nice Jewish Girl is an unmarried orthodox Jew. She started a blog six years ago. She wrote about being Shomer Negiah (not allowing herself physical contact with men other than relatives or a husband) and being a woman in her mid-thirties that has never kissed a man. Over the run of the blog, she decided to stop being Shomer Negiah while still looking for an Orthodox husband, kissed a man, and then broke up with him. For the last three years, she has been silent. Recently, she has returned to discuss the effect of Jewish law on her view of sex.
posted by ignignokt on Feb 28, 2011 - 154 comments

They call him the "Rabbah Rouser"

“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 - 35 comments

Tzvia Greenfield

Tzvia Greenfield is the first ultra-Orthodox woman to serve in Knesset, the Israeli legislature, representing the left-wing party Meretz. Her 2001 book Hem Mefahadim ("They are afraid,") an attack on rightism and insularity among the ultra-Orthodox, drew death threats. Despite her sharp criticism of the religious community ("The big issue here is a very delicate one. That is children. Large families thirty years ago was six children; now there's 13 or 14 - from one wife. I believes the glorification of bringing as many children as possible is a definite way of ensuring women can't bring their advantages into effect - subjugation.") she still lives an observant life in the ultra-Orthodox community of Har Nof. "They disagree with my ideas but they know me as religious and halachic person. They cannot see any blemish in my practice except for one thing- we have a dog." At least one haredi denies that Greenfield is Orthodox at all. (The dog comes up.)
posted by escabeche on May 11, 2010 - 56 comments

Walk Like a Russian (oh whey oh)

This year alone, over 20,000 Russian Orthodox pilgrims followed an icon of St. Nicholas from Kirov to Velikoretskoye on foot. The 180km-long pilgrimage through the Russian countryside dates back to the 14th century. Sergey Kozmin's photos. Some extra info here.
posted by ersatz on Aug 15, 2008 - 6 comments

Rapture ready, underground

Russian sect says world ends May 2008. And no, you can't borrow their cave. [more inside]
posted by Artw on Nov 15, 2007 - 43 comments

Portraits of rural Russians by Pavel Bezrukov

Portraits of rural Russians by the photojournalist Pavel Bezrukov. He is born in 1962, and started with photography as a hobby. Currently freelancing as a photo correspondent for the Moscow-based Orthodox magazine Foma. Some more samples of his work can be found at Orthodoxy Photo.
posted by Harald74 on Aug 7, 2007 - 22 comments

In Praise Of Loopholes, Part II

For Orthodox Jewish mothers with small children, the Shabbat can be challenging. The answer, for many communities, is the establishment of an eruv (discussed previously here, in passing). This San Francisco Chronicle article details the history behind Berkeley, California's unique instance. This isn't the first time an eruv has been attempted in the Bay Area: the failed effort to create one in Palo Alto was covered by the Chronicle, as well as the Jewish News Weekly. Berkeley isn't the only United States city with an eruv—the Boston eruv maintains a large list of domestic and international eruvim—nor is it the city with the most unusual eruv, or even the largest. Inevitably, perhaps, there's a blog entirely dedicated to the subject of eruvim, and vigorous commentary on the subject from several others.
posted by scrump on Jul 7, 2006 - 60 comments

Oh, the YUmanity!

When tradition and modernity clash. "While Yeshiva University is officially a nonsectarian institution except for its Orthodox rabbinical school, it is the oldest and largest American university under Jewish auspices. Although commonly thought of as an Orthodox institution, Yeshiva University has been chartered since 1969 as nonsectarian, enabling it to receive state and federal funding." Which is all fine and dandy, except that YU has a history of confrontation with its gay and lesbian students. There was major opposition to the funding of gay and lesbian student organizations. Gay couples sued Yeshiva over apparent housing discrimination. And now, a gay medical student claims he was expelled because of his sexual orientation, and he has a memo that he claims proves his case. Oy.
posted by greatgefilte on Mar 18, 2006 - 12 comments

I'd never sell an idolatrous wig, madam...

"A hair-raising fear of idols" - Orthodox hair crisis ".....The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair" (Ha'aretz, Friday, May 14 2004)
posted by troutfishing on May 16, 2004 - 50 comments

Ethiopian Icons

Ethiopian Icons: Faith and Science. Richly hued religious art from an African Christian culture.
posted by plep on Apr 15, 2003 - 11 comments

Egyptian Coptic Christians

"Please accept these as a Christmas gift, for I too am a Christian!" Then you added apologetically "But please don't mention this outside my shop, I could lose all if my neighbors found out."
Coptic Christians in Saudi Arabia, and The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt, and why the Embattled Coptic Christians Are Fleeing Egypt.
posted by hama7 on Jan 24, 2003 - 13 comments

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