Monthly Archives: May 2007

Cheesecake Roundup

This entry was posted in Culture, Holidays on by .

For one holiday out of the year, we take a break from feasting on meat and move over to the other side of the cow.

The most popular Shavuot dessert is, of course, the cheesecake.

You can buy one ready made–most supermarkets have several tasty options–but where’s the fun in that?

Instead, dive right in and embrace the creamy rich goodness.

Here are some tools to help you on your way:

Kraft Foods provides a terrific how-to video.

MJL offers a classic cheesecake recipe from Joan Nathan.

Check out these sites for creative and delicious variations on the original:

And finally, we answer the question on everybody’s minds: Why dairy?

Posted on May 21, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

The Impact of Day School

This entry was posted in General on by .

Last week, PEJE (Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education) released its long-awaited study “What Difference Does Day School Make?”.

The study was produced by Fern Chertok and Len Saxe (and friends) from Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies.

According to the authors:

This is the first national study designed to determine the near-term effects of day schools on the academic, social, and Jewish trajectories of former students during their college years. Conducted during the winter of 2006-07, this research drew over 3,300 Jewish respondents from college and university campuses in the top quartile of ranked schools in the United States. Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study contextualizes the experiences of students from day schools through comparison with Jewish undergraduates from private and public school backgrounds.

Here are some highlights from the study. I will post some general questions/comments about it a little later.

- Alumni of Jewish high schools gain admittance to colleges and universities that represent the full spectrum of institutions of higher education including the most highly selective.

- Jewish high school alumni from a non-Orthodox background are the most positive about the level of intellectual challenge and engagement fostered by teachers in classes.

- In math, science, and computer literacy, Jewish high school alumni from both Orthodox and non-Orthodox backgrounds perceive that they were significantly less well prepared as compared with both public and private high school peers.

- There are no significant differences in the self-reported GPAs of those who attended public, private, or day schools.

- Former day school students, especially those with extensive day school experience, have shown themselves to be more resistant than their public school peers to social pressures for the type of heavy drinking that leads to other risky situations and behaviors.

- Those with extensive day school experience are also more likely to restrict their dating to Jewish peers.

- Day schools, especially those that attract students from non-Orthodox backgrounds, succeed at imparting an orientation of civic and social responsibility to their students.

The full study is available as a PDF here.

Posted on May 21, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Religion in the Public Square

This entry was posted in Beliefs on by .

Rabbi Debra Landsberg has posted a thoughtful reply to a comment I posted on her blog about a comment she posted about my blog post about Meir Soloveichik’s Commentary article on interfaith theological dialogue.

Follow that?

Anyways, you can check it out here.

Posted on May 18, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

AJWS Writers’ Fellowship

This entry was posted in General, Texts on by .

American Jewish World Service just announced a new writers’ fellowship that they’re launching. Here are the details:

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is delighted to announce the launch of the AJWS Dvar Tzedek Torah Commentary-Lisa Goldberg Memorial Writers’ Fellowship. This Fellowship will provide five individuals with the opportunity to write for the AJWS Dvar Tzedek, a commentary on the week’s Torah portion that relates to the Jewish imperative for social justice. By using traditional and contemporary exegesis, Fellows will craft each Dvar Tzedek to inspire Jewish engagement in global justice efforts. The Dvar Tzedek is published on the AJWS Web site and sent via e-mail to supporters across the country. It is also syndicated on other Web sites, including MyJewishLearning.com.

Each Fellow will write approximately 10 Dvar Tzedek commentaries between September 2007 and September 2008 and will receive an award of $2,000 as well as a one-day training seminar and ongoing guidance from the education and communications staff at AJWS.

Please visit www.ajws.org/parshah to download the application and view previous Dvar Tzedek commentaries. The application deadline is July 1, 2007. Please direct all questions to Sarah Margles at sarahmargles@ajws.org.

Posted on May 18, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

The Inspired Kitchen

This entry was posted in Culture on by .

The latest installment of Adeena Sussman’s MJL food column “The Inspired Kitchen� is now available. The newest recipe: Sour Cherry Soup. Try this sweet and refreshing Hungarian dairy favorite this Shavuot!

Posted on May 17, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

High Culture (Brian Schwartz, Super Jew)

This entry was posted in Culture on by .

Wait. Did I say high culture? I meant…whatever Porky’s is. Seriously. I just saw Porky’s for the first time since teenagedom and the movie surprised me.

Of course I remembered the girl’s locker-room scene for which the movie is best known (by its perennially 15 year-old boy fan base), but what I didn’t remember is that Porky’s may be the most philosemitic movie of all time.

The movie follows a group of randy high school boys at Angel Beach High in the 1950s, particularly their troubles with a local “nightclub” owner named Porky. After Porky nearly beats one of the boys to death, the boys are hot to get revenge. They’re prepared to jump in the car and head right over to Porky’s, but cooler heads prevail.

Or rather: Brian Schwartz prevails. Brian, the token Yid, cooks up a wily (Jewish?) scheme to take down Porky. The detailed plan (which involves dynamite and underwater wiring) works to perfection, and Brian is the hero of the film.

But Brian isn’t only the only thinker/strategist of the bunch. He’s also a mentsch. AND he’s physically gifted enough to play on the basketball team and beat the Irish bully Cavanaugh in a fist fight.

In a movie populated by crude Gentile kids made stupid (but funny, of course) by their sex-starved existences, Brian Schwartz serves an almost messianic role.

But is the movie really as philosemitic as it initially seems? Perhaps not. Brian Schwartz is, ultimately, embraced by the cool kids, but he still doesn’t get to have fun. And he still doesn’t get the girls.

Posted on May 16, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Yom Yerushalayim

This entry was posted in History, Holidays on by .

Today is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), which celebrates the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem. Click here to listen to the actual radio broadcast of the liberation of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Thanks to Isracast for making this available.

Below is a transcript of this historic victory:

Colonel Motta Gur [on loudspeaker]: All company commanders, we’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City. Eitan’s tanks will advance on the left and will enter the Lion’s Gate. The final rendezvous will be on the open square above.

[The open square of the Temple Mount.]

[ Sound of applause by the soldiers.]

Yossi Ronen: We are now walking on one of the main streets of Jerusalem towards the Old City. The head of the force is about to enter the Old City.

[Gunfire.]

Yossi Ronen: There is still shooting from all directions; we’re advancing towards the entrance of the Old City.

[Sound of gunfire and soldiers' footsteps.]

[Yelling of commands to soldiers.]

[More soldiers' footsteps.]

The soldiers are keeping a distance of approximately 5 meters between them. It’s still dangerous to walk around here; there is still sniper shooting here and there.

[Gunfire.]

We’re all told to stop; we’re advancing towards the mountainside; on our left is the Mount of Olives; we’re now in the Old City opposite the Russian church. I’m right now lowering my head; we’re running next to the mountainside. We can see the stone walls. They’re still shooting at us. The Israeli tanks are at the entrance to the Old City, and ahead we go, through the Lion’s Gate. I’m with the first unit to break through into the Old City. There is a Jordanian bus next to me, totally burnt; it is very hot here. We’re about to enter the Old City itself. We’re standing below the Lion’s Gate, the Gate is about to come crashing down, probably because of the previous shelling. Soldiers are taking cover next to the palm trees; I’m also staying close to one of the trees. We’re getting further and further into the City.

[Gunfire.]

Colonel Motta Gur announces on the army wireless: The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!

Read More…

Posted on May 16, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jerry Falwell, Dead at 73

This entry was posted in General on by .

This just in:

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73.

MORE…

Posted on May 15, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Karaites Revisited

This entry was posted in Beliefs, History on by .

Back in November, I blogged about the Karaite representation at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly.

I wrote:

But perhaps most fascinating is the fact that representatives of American Karaism were at the GA at all. It wouldn’t have been at all obvious to me that the GA would allow the Karaites to have a booth. Nothing is more “mainstream� or “establishment� than the GA, and back in the day, the Karaites were the ultimate “other.�

Sure, they’re not terribly threatening now, but in the 10th century the Karaites were exponentially more of a threat to Rabbinic Judaism than Jews for Jesus could ever be. In many ways, the Karaites were the prototypical Jewish heresy.

I bring this up now to highlight a thoughtful and fascinating comment that post just received from one of the founders of the Karaite Jewish University.

As to the GA allowing Karaite Jews at their meeting, I would like to point out that it has allowed Reform Jews, Humanist Jews, Reconstructionist Jews, Renewal Jews, etc. all of whose movements do not accept that the Torah was divinely authored.

It was reported to me by Shawn Lichaa, the Dean of Academics of KJU, that we were generally well received. There were a few minor problems like one group who thought we were affiliated with Jews for Jesus and another who sought to have us don tefillin, which we view as a metaphor. (MORE)

Posted on May 15, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

David Grossman Mourns, Writes

This entry was posted in Culture, History on by .

Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine contained a heartbreaking essay by Israeli novelist David Grossman about writing after his son Uri was killed in last summer’s Lebanon war.

I write. In wake of the death of my son Uri last summer in the war between Israel and Lebanon, the awareness of what happened has sunk into every cell of mine. The power of memory is indeed enormous and heavy, and at times has a paralyzing quality to it. Nevertheless, the act of writing itself at this time creates for me a type of “space,� a mental territory that I’ve never experienced before, where death is not only the absolute and one-dimensional negation of life.

MORE…

Posted on May 14, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy