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At the Death Camps, Muslim Leaders Grapple With Jews’ Pain

"We pray to God that this will not happen to the Jewish people or to any people anymore." -- a group of American imams visits Dauchau and Auschwitz.
posted by empath on Aug 15, 2010 - 38 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

Poetry in Hell

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 - 9 comments

I Will Survive

Dancing Auschwitz
"Jewish artist defends YouTube video 'Dancing Auschwitz'"
posted by andoatnp on Jul 10, 2010 - 28 comments

People of the (face)book

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 - 77 comments

Judaism is a science fiction religion

Why there is no Jewish Narnia. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Mar 3, 2010 - 136 comments

Holy Night

The little-known Jewish holiday of Christmas Eve. Seriously.
posted by andoatnp on Dec 23, 2009 - 38 comments

Jewish Exorcisms

“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 - 11 comments

The Diaspora in Big Sky Country

In Montana, a rabbi is an unusual sight. So when a Hasidic one walked into the State Capitol last December, with his long beard, black hat and long black coat, a police officer grabbed his bomb-sniffing German shepherd and went to ask the exotic visitor a few questions. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 7, 2009 - 45 comments

Kotel everybody?

A women's prayer group was expelled from the area of Jerusalem's Western Wall on Wednesday for wearing tallitot and reading from the Torah, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that restricts these activities to men in the area directly in front of the wall. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the majority of non-Orthodox rabbinical students are female, with the Reform movement being the most female-dominated, leaving some communities struggling to revitalize men's participation in the religion.
posted by albrecht on Nov 20, 2009 - 51 comments

Der ewige Jude

The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 1, 2009 - 11 comments

Open Source Religion

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 - 54 comments

Without Paul

We declare the man Paul of Tarsus [non-ebonite link], the false teacher against the mark of Covenant and God's Torah, to be outside of the Way taught by Yeshua, the anointed, son of Maria and Yosef.
posted by bigmusic on Jun 2, 2009 - 183 comments

Bimah Me Up

"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 Spock

Leonard 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 - 47 comments

Solar Prayers

Once every month, Jews bless the moon. Once every 28 years, they bless the sun! This custom dates back to the Talmud, but is also found in other sacred Jewish texts, such as The New York Times. Sometimes, there are misunderstandings. [pdf] Previously reserved to a pious handful of observant Jews, it's on the mainstream media radar this time around, possibly because of its environmental implications. Here's an interesting depiction of the ritual in modern American history, which explicitly deals with its connection to solar power.
posted by ericbop on Apr 8, 2009 - 16 comments

Attack on Gaza creates rift with overseas Jews.

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 - 181 comments

Religious takes on the global financial crisis

The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality. Hindus blame it on greed. Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, blames the crisis on ignoring God's rules. Jewish scholars say we could have avoided a crisis by following Talmudic traditions. Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." Is it right to pray for the economy? (a Christian perspective). A Malaysian conference brings together Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, and Sikhs to discuss the crisis.
posted by desjardins on Jan 14, 2009 - 93 comments

The True Story of Chanukkah

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 - 66 comments

Some Jewish Humor

Sadie tells Maurice, "You’re a schmuck! You always were a schmuck and you always will be a schmuck! You look, act and dress like a schmuck! You’ll be a schmuck until the day you die! And if they ran a world-wide competition for schmucks, you would be the world’s second biggest schmuck!" "Why only second place?" Maurice asks. "Because you’re a schmuck!" Sadie screams. Some Jewish humor.
posted by serazin on Dec 7, 2008 - 27 comments

Constantine's Sword

Constantine's Sword (google video) A former priest's personal journey through the tangled and sometimes violent history between Christians and Jews.
posted by empath on Oct 2, 2008 - 14 comments

Birthright Israel

Birthright Israel, funded by the Israeli government and Jewish philanthropists, provides free all-inclusive 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults. The program's goal is to promote Israel along with general Jewish unity and engagement. The blog Jewlicious has a category about these trips. (Scroll down past many promotional entries for the interesting stuff.) Some question its efficacy and results, while some Jews subvert the program. The trips end with a "Mega Rally" featuring entertainment, giant inflatable Stars of David, and speeches by dignitaries including PM Ehud Olmert. Here is video coverage (FLV) of the most recent rally. There is also a satirical Something Awful report.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Jun 26, 2008 - 43 comments

Yachatz!

Nationwide matzo shortage! Competing theories offer possible explanations. If you get desperate, make your own. (Gratuitous youtube matzo themed video.)
posted by serazin on Apr 20, 2008 - 15 comments

Blogging the Qur'an.

Blogging the Qur'an The Guardian's Madeleine Bunting and cultural critic Ziauddin Sardar will blog a different verse or theme of the Qur'an each week. Bunting says its one of the most difficult books she's ever read, which is what a lot of non-muslims tend to think. The idea has been mooted before by those of a very similar political hue. Others are already blogging the the Bible.
posted by MrMerlot on Jan 9, 2008 - 22 comments

Meet the Nazi Cowboy

Billy Jenkins was "The Nazi Cowboy." One of the most popular German western stars of the 1930s, Jenkins (real name Erich Rudolf Otto Rosenthal) was a card-carrying member of the Nazi party. Pre-war Germany was crazy for cowboys, with Jenkins starring in pulp fiction books with titles like "Texasfieber" and "Aufruhr in Laredo" that were influenced by the works of Karl May. The only problem? Under Nazi Germany's racial laws, Jenkins was considered half-Jewish.
posted by huskerdont on Jan 3, 2008 - 6 comments

Merry Christmas, Rabbi!

Inspired by this article, I thought Christmas would be the perfect (huh?) day to introduce the late poet, author, spiritual leader, thinker, and civil rights activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
posted by bassjump on Dec 25, 2007 - 7 comments

Jew - Not a Jew.

Know your musical Jews!
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Dec 10, 2007 - 49 comments

Fiddler on the Prairie

Fiddler on the prairie. The story of a 1970s high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. The school was in Billings, Montana.
posted by joseph_elmhurst on Oct 11, 2007 - 10 comments

... in keeping with the Reform movement's tradition of liberal positions on human sexuality.

Official transgender blessings -- Kulanu -- the newly-revised manual for LGBT issues and ceremonies put out by the Union for Reform Judaism (1.5 million US Jews are Reform) now includes 2 blessings (written by a Rabbi now male) for those transitioning and who have completed the change, alongside the already existing same sex marriage liturgy and other documents and procedures. A first? (blessings text inside)
posted by amberglow on Aug 9, 2007 - 50 comments

Hitler's record collection

Know who else liked tunes by "subhuman" Jewish and Russian musicians? That's right.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 7, 2007 - 36 comments

JewTube

JewTube. It's exactly what it sounds like.
posted by jeremy b on Aug 1, 2007 - 59 comments

Dove of Brutality!

Bible Fight [Flash game]
posted by thirteenkiller on May 7, 2007 - 24 comments

When Ask MetaFilter isn't enough

Got a spiritual question? Ask an Islamic scholar. Or ask a Trappist monk. Or ask a Catholic priest. Or a Lutheran pastor. Jewish? Ask a Rabbi. Jewish and like firearms? Ask a rabbi with a gun.
posted by escabeche on Mar 14, 2007 - 25 comments

Early Zionist propaganda posters

Beautiful early Zionist propaganda posters, courtesy of the Swann Galleries. The first 73 items in this large batch of vintage posters up for auction are related to Israel, Jews or anti-Semitism. [via Paperholic]
posted by mediareport on Feb 6, 2007 - 6 comments

Masada: The Musical

Masada: The Musical.
posted by tranquileye on Dec 13, 2006 - 9 comments

They Saved Hitler's Self-Hating Jewish Sea Monkeys

Hitler and the Sea Monkeys. When Harold von Braunhut "discovered" a new species of brine shrimp, artemia nyos, he made millions marketing them as Sea Monkeys. Using profits from that and his other inventions (such as X-Ray Specs), von Braunhut funded anti-Semitic groups, including the Aryan Nations, despite being Jewish himself.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 25, 2006 - 55 comments

... And a bathing suit because you never know.

"Excuse me," Schwartzman said to the Home Depot man, "can you tell me where to find tar?" "Tar?" asked the Home Depot man. "What're you using tar for?" "I'm building an ark," said Schwartzman. If there was anything that two years of completing God's preposterous homework assignments had taught Schwartzman it was that there was absolutely nothing you could tell Home Depot Man you were building that would surprise him, that would get any reaction from him at all, for that matter, aside from the usual skepticism about your choice of building materials.
Shalom Auslander recasts Jewish history in short story form. Start with the aforementioned "Prophet's Dilemma," and work your way backwards to "Plagued." [more inside]
posted by anjamu on Jul 24, 2006 - 19 comments

G-d hates (smoking of) fags

Jewsfilter: Rabbinic Council of America bans smoking for all Orthodox Jews "Jewish law is fully able to incorporate new realities, recognize new and reliable scientific findings, and embrace the need to change heretofore acceptable behavior." Read the full technical legal opinion here. [pdf] Now if only the Orthodox Union would stand up for the LBGT community in same the way that it has for Darfur, stem cell research, heck, even global warming...
posted by ericbop on Jul 7, 2006 - 44 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

The Astrological Origins of the Old and New Testaments

"The Naked Truth" This Google Video is a documentary (pack a lunch, it's nearly two hours long) that systematically eviscerates the purported origins of the Old and New Testaments. Turns out, it's really all about astrology. Who knew? The evidence is tremendously compelling, well documented, and sure to raise the ire of people whose minds are made up on the subject.
posted by wordswinker on Jul 4, 2006 - 45 comments

a religion magazine for people both hostile and drawn to talk of God

"Killing the Buddha is about finding a way to be religious when we're all so self-conscious and self-absorbed. Knowing more than ever about ourselves and the way the world works, we gain nothing through nostalgia for a time when belief was simple, and even less from insisting that now is such a time. Killing the Buddha will ask, How can we be religious without leaving part of ourselves at the church or temple door? How can we love God when we know it doesn't matter if we do? Call it God for the godless. Call it the search for a God we can believe in: A God that will not be an embarrassment in twelve-thousand years. A God we can talk about without qualifications." I particularly enjoyed The Temptation of Belief, by a Buddhist exploring evangelical Christianity, and My Holy Ghost People, by an unbelieving daughter in a praying-in-tongues family.
posted by heatherann on Apr 24, 2006 - 21 comments

Full Fathom Nine

Mahler performances were rare in Vienna in those days because Mahler's city had already been contaminated by the acolytes of Adolf Hitler. By their reckoning, Mahler's music was loathsome — a product of "Jewish decadence." To put Mahler's music on the program was therefore a political act. It was to protest and deny the hateful faith that blazed across the border from Germany. That much I understood quite clearly, even as a boy.
The New Yorker's Alex Ross reprints Hans Fantel's New York Times 1989 essay on Bruno Walter's 1938 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony -- the last performance of the Vienna Philharmonic before Hitler invaded Austria.
posted by matteo on Apr 10, 2006 - 7 comments

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit
posted by matteo on Mar 7, 2006 - 10 comments

The Mercy Seat. Mapping out a Multifaceted Iconography.

The Mercy Seat. Described in the book of Exodus, the throne of mercy has quite a variety of meanings. Some contemporary Christians are interested in "reconstructing" an image based on Egyptian and Phoenician culture. In Judaism, the kisei rachamim is part of the narrative of Yom Kippur, as God moves from the seat of justice to the seat of compassion. In medieval Europe, and especially in Germany, the Gnadenstuhl was a perfect representation of the trinity, combining the cruxification, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (usually a bird), into one image of mournful compassion. Nick Cave used the idea of the mercy seat as the frame for a song about murder, sin, capital punishment, and atonement/redemption, which was later covered by Johnny Cash (mp3 clip). The chair of mercy is even visually alluded to Jodorowsky's Montana Sacra, aka Holy Mountain. (Which have been inspired in part by the Ascended Masters of Mount Shasta, but that's technically another story - the bizarro California cultists story.)
posted by jann on Mar 3, 2006 - 25 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box) responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto). On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av, the "saddest day in Jewish history" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans). Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom", edited by one of the most prominent Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Shalom Synagogue

Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Shalom Synagogue - Cool photo essay about a beautiful building
posted by Afroblanco on Jan 28, 2006 - 20 comments

Herr Goering: Self-Hating Nazi?

Nazi's relative turns Israel lover. Matias Goering is a direct descendant of Hitler's right-hand man. He also keeps Shabbat, wears a kippa, and identifies with the Greater Israel vision of West Bank settlers. (via jewlicious)
posted by matteo on Jan 24, 2006 - 26 comments

...to help the Jewish people go home...

Philo-Semitism: Just another form of Anti-Semitism? Interesting Wash Post article on Evangelicals turning away from supersessionism -- the centuries-old belief that with the coming of Jesus, God ended his covenant with the Jews and transferred it to the Christian church, and the concerns it is raising. ..."That hope is felt and expressed by Christians as a kind, benevolent hope," ... "But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews." ... Is it that philosemitism is just as dehumanizing as antisemitism and, because it masquerades as its opposite, more insidious, or just the most recent manifestation of the longstanding appropriation of us Jews as symbols, whether it helps or hurts us?
posted by amberglow on Jan 8, 2006 - 138 comments

Go shorty. It's your bat mitzvah.

Concert of the century: 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith and others rock a bat mitzvah.
posted by ab'd al'Hazred on Nov 29, 2005 - 35 comments

"In the span of history, this is a not an altogether unfamiliar situation for us."

Quitting France: French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. They are moving to Israel, the United States, and increasingly, Montreal -- where the mostly English-speaking Jewish community is preparing for its greatest demographic change in decades. An interesting if slightly anecdotal look at the situation for Jewish people in France from Canada's National Post.

Part 1 - Barricaded in Paris, Part 2 - Taking leave of 'the fear', Part 3 tomorrow deals with the impact of the influx of French Jews in Montreal.
posted by loquax on Nov 21, 2005 - 67 comments

No, you're wrong! No, YOU'RE wrong!!

If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong - A rant over at the Huffington Post.
And let's be clear about this, it IS a rant, and a beaut at that. But it's a sentiment that's run through the head of everyone who isn't a member of the three mentioned groups. No one in the mainstream media says things like this, I wonder why?
The post is made. Let the emphatic agreements, and the vicious denials... begin!
posted by JHarris on Oct 23, 2005 - 259 comments

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