MJL has been nominated for a Jewish and Israeli Blog Award for Best New Blog.
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Congratulations to MJL contributor Saul Austerlitz on the publications of his first book, Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes (Continuum).
You can purchase Saul’s book here.
“Sadly, there are some Orthodox Christians who propagate disgusting anti-Semitism under the banner of Orthodoxy, which is incompatible with Christianity,” said Rev. Innokenty Pavlov, professor of theology at Moscow’s Biblical Theological Institute….
Unlike the Catholic and Protestant churches, the Orthodox Church has never removed anti-Semitic passages from its liturgy, which still refers to Jews as Christ killers, said Dr. Dmitry Radyehsvky, director of the Jerusalem Summit, a conservative Israeli think tank that co-sponsored the visit.
He said the anti-Semitic passages were most conspicuous during Easter services, and included statements such as “the Jewish tribe which condemned you to crucifixion, repay them, Oh Lord,” which is repeated half a dozen times, and “Christ has risen but the Jewish seed has perished,” as well as references to Jews as “God-killers.”
It’s hard not to respond to every item that the uber-conservative Klinghoffer writes — but if someone else is doing it, I can take the week off — along with a deep breath.
I will say that LastTrumpet is on the money in finding Klinghoffer’s critique of Gershom Scholem’s Zohar research to be the most unfortunate.
Stern takes a similar approach to me, arguing that we must be allowed to criticize another person’s theology if that theology can potentially inspire hatred and violence. Stern tells the fascinating story of Abraham Joshua Heschel meeting with the Pope in 1964 on the eve of Yom Kippur to try to persuade him to make changes to Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Churchâ€™s post-Holocaust statement regarding interfaith relations.
The church ultimately did make these changes, which paved the way for the interfaith reconciliation that flourished between Catholics and Jews in the last third of the 20th century.
Stern also coins a fascinating and appropriate term for those who believe we must stay out each other’s theological business: Fundamentalist Relativists.
These fundamentalist relativists, writes Stern, believe that:
Religious people are meant to live in an eternal state of cognitive dissonance where they are suppose to befriend, live alongside and work with those whom they passionately and absolutely believe are going to burn in hell.
Only 60 years after the Holocaust these religious figures portray theologically oriented interfaith dialogue as some â€œliberalâ€? experiment undermining the uniqueness of each religious experience. I am sincerely sorry to disappoint them but Rabbi Heschelâ€™s concern was far more simple, sober and practical: He, like Rabbi Greenberg, did not want to see the death of six million more Jews or, for that matter, any other people. The issue is not about being Orthodox, Reform, Conservative or Liberal, itâ€™s about cherishing human life.
A must read.
Like Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, Chabon’s novel has a counterfactual premise: The Jews in Palestine lost the 1948 war, and to mitigate this tragic event, they were given a homeland — for 60 years — in Alaska. The book takes place in 2008, at the end of this lease, and it is also a murder mystery/detective novel of sorts, focusing on an alcoholic Jewish cop, Meyer Landsman.
For the most part, Oppenheimer raves about the book:
The Yiddish Policemenâ€™s Unionâ€? is all things to one people. Itâ€™s a noir homage; itâ€™s a work of literary realism; itâ€™s an allegory; itâ€™s a very funny satire. It manages to be thematically Jewish â€” concerned with questions of religious observance, historical rootlessness and internecine battles over authority â€” while deftly moving among genres that wouldnâ€™t ordinarily lend themselves to what is, in the end, just another story about some poor, defeated Jews. â€œThe Yiddish Policemenâ€™s Unionâ€? is a funny, sad, tough, totally compelling book, but above all, it is the least artistically parochial novel I have read in a long time. It positively disdains categories and generic boundaries.
Okay. This has nothing to do with anything Jewish, but it’s a great story, so here goes.
A friend of mine, in from England, was visiting her aunt in Washington DC the other night. They went to a Thai restaurant for dinner, and in walked none other than George W. Bush.
The funny part?
The President dined with a table full of company — but was the only one who used a fork instead of chopsticks.
A lot has been written about the independent minyan movement, but most of that writing isn’t so funny. Not that it’s supposed to be.
But this review of Kehilat Romemu — New York’s self-described inspirational, Kabbalistic, transdenominational, integral congregation — on David Kelsey’s blog is beautifully hilarious — and helpfully evocative at the same time:
First of all, they have a minhag that everyone has to be touching the bread, by touching someone who is touching the bread. This was perhaps the goofiest things I have witnessed at a minyan ever (and I have been to K.O.E.). But then they go and pass the bread not in a plate, but by their hands. One to the other. I was at the end of the table. Itâ€™s really disgusting. THAT was stupid. They should stop that. Itâ€™s not spiritual, itâ€™s not apikorsus. Itâ€™s narishkeit that does nothing for anyone.
But Iâ€™ll probably go back, though not on a regular basis. But I have friends who go there, and like being with them, and met some nice new people as well, like this one girl who told me she fell of a cliff and her dormitory burned down, and thatâ€™s why she was wearing a sweatshirt.
If you want a sneak preview, you can hear the first single — “Digital Monkey” — here.