"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 -
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 -
(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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
"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 -
"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 -
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 -
"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
, Raul Hilberg
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Feb 17, 2006 -
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.
- 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 -
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 -
Mentioned in this post
in the context of a "good or evil" algorithm, gematria (גימטריה) is actually Jewish numerology, assigning values to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and establishing mystical correspondences. It's basic to kabbalistic works like the Zohar
, and you can get detailed analysis here
. But we both know what you really want to do is plug words into a text box and get the result instantly, right? Here you go
. And to start you off, METAFILTER = 299 [מטאילטר] according to the traditional system; according to The Gematria of Nothing
, it's 31. Take your pick.
posted by languagehat
on Aug 1, 2005 -
Are evolution's advocates giving fire to creationists?
So says Michael Ruse
, "philosopher of biology (especially Darwinism)", who claims that outspoken evolutionists (e.g. Richard Dawkins
) should do more to make evolution compatible with religion, rather than touting it as a worldview of its own.
Tell that to Nosson Slifkin
(NYTimes, login required), an Orthodox rabbi whose books were banned by a number of eminent rabbis for "seek[ing] to reconcile, rather than to contrast, sacred texts with modern knowledge of the natural world."
That said, will those like Slifkin and Rev. Dr. Arthur Peacocke
be able to make a difference, or will they be ignored and scorned?
posted by greatgefilte
on May 3, 2005 -
THE PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH BUDDHISM
-- 12. To Find the Buddha, look within. Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.
And there's even a term now: Jubu
posted by amberglow
on Mar 5, 2005 -
The European Union abandoned a plan
to ban Nazi symbols throughout it's member nations. The ban was strongly supported by German Ministers of Parliament
after British Prince Harry wore Nazi insignia to a costume party. Among those opposed to the ban was the Hindu Forum of Britain
(press release) who launched a campaign to reclaim the Swastika. The symbol its self was in Frequent popular use
before WWII. Anti-Communists in former Soviet Block countries sought to expand the ban
to communist emblems. Searching for different points of views on this came up with an earlier story
of interfaith conflict over meaning, and a parallel to the European debate going on in New Zealand
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Feb 24, 2005 -
Genes and Jews.
And you thought Spock
came up with that part of the shtick. It turns out that despite the racial and ethnic diversity of the Tribe, there are genetic markers that identify Cohanim, or the priestly descendants of Aaron (know any Cohens?). These markers help identify jewish identity in the most distant reaches of the diaspora.
The fascinating intersection of anthropology, genetics, and religion.
(btw first fpp)
posted by Kifer85
on Feb 14, 2005 -