Monthly Archives: August 2007

Armenian Genocide: The Fallout

This entry was posted in History on by .

Jewcy is rallying the troops for a boycott of Abe Foxman’s speech at the 92nd Street Y next week to further their public outcry over his previous refusal to label the Armenian genocide “genocide.” They, and others, are still criticizing Foxman for failing to endorse a proposed congressional resolution to recognize the genocide.

I will not defend Foxman for punting on the genocide question, but I do urge my rabble-rousing friends to keep in mind that in the world of realpolitik, it’s not always easy to work out the balance sheet between morality and diplomacy.

The Forward is reporting the extent to which the ADL’s reversal has created rifts with Turkish government officials (particularly vis-a-vis Israel), but what gave me a jolt this week was something else. A journalist who has been following this story very closely, has little sympathy for Foxman, and was disgusted with his initial approach to the genocide question, told me he was now genuinely fearful for Turkish Jewry.

The well-being of Turkish Jews has always been a concern for those who opposed the “genocide” label, and my journalist friend was starting to think this was a legitimate worry now.

So while I’m all for speaking truth to power, let’s make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons — and with a clear head about our risks and responsibilities.

Posted on August 31, 2007

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The New Development Towns

This entry was posted in History on by .

Israel is working on making the Negev bloom, again:

Development in the northern Negev received a boost on Tuesday from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who approved the creation of a new rural settlement district in eastern Lachish, consisting of seven new communities. (MORE)

Call me crazy, but the last time a concerted effort was made to house families moving from another location (this time it’s from Gaza), Israel ended up with development towns. Mizrachi Jews were isolated in rural areas of the country and given little economic, educational, and organizational resources. As a result, development towns today still suffer from gang violence, poverty, and inadequate health and school services.

While I know that the circumstances are extremely different than in the 1950s, I hope that the government will be mindful of the needs of its citizens on the periphery, both physically and socially.

Posted on August 31, 2007

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JewWalking

This entry was posted in General on by .

Check out this hilarious video from the National Jewish Outreach Program.

When I saw the title–a take-off of The Tonight Show’s “JayWalking,” a segment devoted to mocking the so-called ignorance of the masses–I was all poised to feel over-educated and intellectually superior. But the truth is, even with my day school education and year in yeshiva, there were more than a few answers that were nowhere near the tip of my tongue.

So either I’m not as smart as I think I am (shocking!) or I’ve lost some of the hard-won Jewish knowledge I gained along the way because I took too much of my learning for granted. In any case, I think it’s time to go review my Aleph Bet

Posted on August 31, 2007

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Job at Campus J

This entry was posted in General on by .

Our friends at CampusJ.com are looking for an associate editor. Here are the deets:

At CampusJ.com, we have two goals: providing comprehensive coverage of Jewish news on campus, as well as training and opportunities for the next generation of Jewish journalists.

Last semester, we had a staff or 26 beat reporters located at campuses across the United States and Canada, and we hope to significantly increase that number for the coming year. The associate editor position is an extremely rewarding one that gives you the opportunity to watch these students grow as writers and reporters, and turn them from aspiring journalists into professional journalists.

In an associate editor, we’re seeking an extremely strong writer and editor with at least 3-5 years’ professional journalism experience and an ability and willingness to learn — if not actual experience with — Web publishing. Applicants should be good teachers of the craft, and patient with young writers. Familiarity with Jewish life on campus is necessary.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and relevant work samples to mail@campusj.com.

More here.

Posted on August 31, 2007

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Pickled

This entry was posted in Culture, General on by .

Here at MJL, we love food. We have a monthly recipe e-letter as well as a whole section devoted to it. We also tend to eat it every day.
So we’re excited that Jewcy has launched an entire blog about food–Pickled:

There’s something a-rye in the world of Jewish cuisine. Few can name Jewish dishes outside the realm of matzah ball soup and latkes. Yet Jewish cuisine, stemming from Eastern European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern origins, is as richly varied as, say, American nouveau. You won’t find it as often on menus because the culinary nouveau love affair has circumvented Jewish food—which is why Jewish delis are falling like dominoes and the cuisine as a whole feels less and less in touch with the needs of modern diners.

But Jewish food should be more relevant than ever because there’s so much to rediscover and reinvent, which is what Pickled is all about. Pickled will go beyond matzah balls, pastrami sandwiches, and kosher dietary laws (though we’ll blog plenty about these, too) to bring you fresh twists of old-fashioned recipes. We’ll interview purveyors of nouveau Jewish noshes, from chefs to restaurateurs to hosts of the best neighborhood block parties. (MORE)

Posted on August 30, 2007

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Today’s Jewel of Elul — The Sign

This entry was posted in Holidays on by .

Today’s Jewel of Elul from Craig and Co. is by Harriet Rossetto, the founder of Beit T’shuvah, the first and only residential Jewish addiction and rehabilitation program in the United States.

I was addicted to despair. What’s the point? Why bother? Life is hard, and then you die. In those days I called it existentialism, which cloaked the despair with a veneer of intellectual superiority. I balanced thoughts of suicide with flights of fantasy. The “right” man, the “perfect” guru, the current cause or psychological panacea would give my life meaning, patch the “hole in the soul.” When it didn’t, I wanted to die. At the bottom, I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in. “Show me the way to my mission; what is the purpose of my life?”

The “sign” soon appeared in the L.A. Times Classified: ‘…person of Jewish background to work with Jewish criminal offenders.’ The hairs on both arms stood up. Who better than I? I knew I had a choice, coincidence or divine guidance. I chose to believe, to put my faith in divine wisdom, in the miracle of revelation.

God’s gift to me has been staying power and the willingness to plow through my doubts and fears when the giants loom and I feel like a “grasshopper.” My faith in being God’s partner in healing has sustained me when I wanted to give up and, for the past 20 years, has empowered me to put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing.

I have found all the things I thought I would never find: a life partner who shares my passion for healing troubled souls, a reason to get out of bed every morning, and the blessing of being witness to the healing power of transformation.

Craig n’ Co. will be posting a new Jewel every day of Elul. To read them all or to order a free booklet of this year’s Jewels, click here or on the banner below.

Jewels of Elul

Posted on August 30, 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

Eat Your Plov

This entry was posted in Culture on by .

What is plov? And why is it an Uzbeki favorite?

Find out the answers to all these questions and more in the latest installment of Adeena Sussman’s MJL food column, “The Inspired Kitchen.”

Posted on August 30, 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

Trembling Before Allah

This entry was posted in Culture on by .

Sandi Dubowski, director of Trembling Before God, the remarkable documentary about gay Orthodox Jews, has just announced the premier of a similarly-themed film, which he produced: A Jihad For Love, directed by Parvez Sharma.

In a time when Islam is under tremendous attack – from within and without -‘A Jihad for Love’ is a daring documentary filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is strongest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option. A Jihad for Love is the first-ever feature-length documentary to explore the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality. With unprecedented access and depth, Sharma brings to light the hidden lives of gay and lesbian Muslims from countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, France, India, and South Africa. (MORE)

The film will premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, which begins next week. Interestingly, the film’s original working title was In the Name of Allah.

Posted on August 30, 2007

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Passing the Collection Plate (Tzedakah Box)

This entry was posted in General on by .

For the upcoming High Holiday season, we’ve made a special arrangement with everyone’s favorite Jewish newspaper, The Forward.

If you donate $36 to MJL today, you can receive a free six-month subscription to The Forward.

If you donate $72 or more, you can receive a free one-year subscription to The Forward.

If you’re already a subscriber, your donation can renew your subscription.

So, please make a donation to MJL today to help us keep bringing you high-quality Jewish content.

Posted on August 29, 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

Conservative Judaism’s Future

This entry was posted in History, Practices on by .

I still haven’t had time to fully digest an intriguing piece from the Forward today, but I figured I’d throw it out for discussion to our readers:

Next week Arnold Eisen will be officially installed as the seventh chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Conservative Judaism’s flagship educational institution. While Eisen’s appointment as Conservative Judaism’s new de facto head has sparked a great deal of excitement, he will be inheriting a movement widely perceived as being adrift.

Conservative Judaism, once America’s largest Jewish denomination, is now second in size to the Reform movement. According to the National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01, only 33% of congregationally affiliated American Jews identified with Conservative Judaism, down from 43% a decade earlier. Indeed, JTS’s outgoing chancellor, Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, described Conservative Judaism in his 2006 commencement address as suffering from “malaise� and a “grievous failure of nerve.�

Is Conservative Judaism suffering from malaise? If so, what is the nature of the problem? And how should Conservative Jews steer their ship into the future? The Forward invited prominent Conservative leaders and some outside observers to weigh in on these questions.(MORE)

The respondents cover a range of clergy, academic, and writers. It includes some “old school” names like Harold Kushner and David Wolpe as well as emerging leaders including Elie Kaunfer and Elliot Cosgrove. Females and the LGBT community as represented as well.

I’m looking forward to delving into the answers, but already discord found in the answers jumps out at me.

For example Alan Silverstein, a past president of the Rabbinic Assembly advocates:

Restoring the perception of being a pluralistic (“big tent�) movement in which creativity is welcome both on the left and on the right of the centrist component of the Jewish religious spectrum.

On the other hand, Eli Kaunfer of Mechon Hadar and Kehilat Hadar tells people:

Don’t fear “splitting the movement.� No use pretending Conservative Judaism is unified, so why encourage everyone to share a big-box tag? Differentiation will allow Jews to make clearer choices about which organizations to connect to.

Posted on August 29, 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

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