Monthly Archives: June 2008

Hey Jews, Click HERE!

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So you’ve read my blog post. Where do you go next in the great wide world of the Web?

Apparently to plan your wedding, or so claims Gawker’s scientifically questionable survey of the most “Jewiest” Web sites. Both TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com are at the top of the list.

Gawker makes the bold statement that they are able to rank sites using the number of Jewish readers they have versus the number that would be expected from Jew’s percentage of the Web population. For example, a Web site that scores 300 has 3 times more Jewish readers than expected.

I have no idea how they figure this out. I generally don’t use my Jews-only version of Firefox or click the “No thanks, I’m a Jew and I don’t want to be added to your email list” button.

Nonetheless, I’m inclined to belief these numbers to some extent.

The list, after all, is heavy on sites related to New York, food, and finance… (MORE)

chosenpeople.png

Posted on June 5, 2008

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Immigrants, Lamed Vavniks, and Charedi Mocking

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Why do so many Anglo immigrants end up in ethnic enclaves?
The longer North American immigrants deliberate about moving to Israel before taking the plunge, the likelier they are to settle in areas which are heavily populated by other Anglos. (Haaretz)

Why is it that, in Jewish legend, the number of hidden tsadikim — or just men on whom the world depends for its existence — is, in every generation, 36? (Forward)

Why is Charedi mocking an acceptable past-time for liberals? Rabbi Levi Brackman exclaims: “If one is to be considered open-minded and non-judgmental, one must respect people who practice religion, no matter how crazy their customs seem” (YNet)

Posted on June 5, 2008

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Learning Network for Educators

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From our friends at Darim Online:

The Darim Learning Network for Educators is a new program for congregational and complementary educators who work with middle and high school students. It builds on the success of Darim Online’s Learning Network for Synagogues, a two year old program which attracts executive directors, communications professionals and lay leadership of synagogues to learn how to use their web site and email tools most effectively.

  • Are you looking for opportunities to integrate educational technologies and new media like blogs, wikis, and social networking into your work?
  • Are you a creative, curious, risk-taking educator in a Jewish congregational or other complementary Jewish educational setting?
  • Do you work with middle school and/or high school students?
  • Do you have a really great idea for using educational technology that you’ve wanted to test out?
  • Are you interested in joining a community of like-minded educators for a year of intensive professional development and collaborative learning?

Yes?! We invite you to apply to membership in the new Darim Online Learning Network for Educators.

We are seeking individuals who are passionate about their work as Jewish educators, who are willing to take risks to integrate innovative 21st century learning skills, strategies, and technologies into their Jewish learning and teaching experiences, and who are excited about working collaboratively with other educators. Participants are not required to be proficient in the use of these technologies, but they must be willing to experiment and reflect on their work within a community of like-minded educators.

Applications are available here and must be submitted by June 13.

Posted on June 4, 2008

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

Obama the Talmudist

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I often find secular references to the Talmud interesting — and usually off base. The most recent example comes from today’s New York Times profile of Barack Obama by Michael Powell.

Friends talk of his sixth sense for career timing as if there were a Barack-the-immaculate-pol quality to his rise. But he is no accidental political tourist.

He studies his chosen world like a Talmudist, charting trends and noting which rivals are strong and which weak.

What does Powell think studying Talmud is all about?

To some extent this depends on where the simile ends.

If it’s before the comma, Powell is merely using “Talmudist” to connote some vague sense of intense analysis. This would be superficial, of course — and I’d say — a poor choice of wording. But it’s better than the other option: reading the sentence’s parenthetical as an elucidation of “Talmudist,” which would mean that Powell thinks studying Talmud has something to do with analyzing trends.

Either way, one gets the sense that Powell doesn’t know much about Talmud. Nor is he the only writer I’ve seen use the word in this ambiguous sort of way, which is a curious phenomenon.

Where does the secular image of the Talmudist come from?

Posted on June 4, 2008

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Blogging Avot: Pillars of the Earth

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First off, let me apologize for my weak blogging lately and, particularly, my sporadic posting about Pirkei Avot, which it is customary to read between Passover and Shavuot — and which I’ve been trying to write about during this time.

Work is busy as usual, of course. But I am also getting married in a week and a half and have been desperately trying to find the right cuff links.

But I did want to make sure to get to the final mishnah in Chapter 1:

1:18 – Rabban Simon ben Gamaliel said: On three things the world is sustained: on truth, on judgment, and on peace, as it is it says (Zechariah 8:16): “Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.”

This, of course, has echoes of the beginning of Chapter 1. In the second mishnah — and the first one with an obvious ethical teaching — Simon the Righteous had opined: “On three things the world is sustained: on the Torah, on the (Temple) service, and on deeds of loving kindness.”

This translation makes it sound like Simon I and Simon II are contradicting each other. This is possible, but not obvious from the original Hebrew. According to this translation, both Simon I and Simon II believe that three things “sustain” the world, but actually, Mishnah 2 uses the word “omed” and Mishnah 18 uses the word “kayam.”

Omed literally means “stands,” whereas kayam does seem to imply ongoing sustenance. Torah-Service-Kindness, then, are the pillars of the world, whereas truth, judgment (din — perhaps “law” is another translation), and peace perpetuate it.

So which is more important?

Well, the world would whither away without either, one would think. But are there any practical differences? What do you think?

Posted on June 3, 2008

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Body and Dress

This entry was posted in Practices on by .

Judy Oppenheimer says: Keep that big Jewish Nose! (Forward)

World Health Organization estimates 35-40% of Israeli girls 11-16 suffer from an eating disorder, a percentage higher than in any other country (includes English-language video). (Haaretz)

Six Haredi women talk about their attitudes toward dress: (Haaretz)
Lea Golda Holterman

Miri Schneerson

Rivka Zilberschlag

Rivka DavidOrly Spitzer Zilberschlag

Shari Mondrovitz

Posted on June 3, 2008

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

A Blog After My Own Heart

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I don’t post here as often as I’d like, mostly because I spend the lion’s share of my time at MJL trying to make sure we have the resources to accomplish all of the big things we have planned for today and for the future.

Anything that makes it easier to find out what the Jewish funder world is up to is always welcome, which is why I was happy to find out today that the always-informative Jacob Berkman at JTA has launched The Fundermentalist, a new blog covering happenings in Jewish philanthropy.

Today, Jacob fills us in on the disputed origins of Birthright Israel:

Conventional philanthropic wisdom has held that it was some combination of Steinhardt and Bronfman and that essentially Bronfman had the idea to take as many North American young adults as possible to Israel, while Steinhardt came up with the idea to make the trips free – and argued vehemently with Bronfman until Bronfman acquiesced.

That’s only about a quarter right, according to Israeli MK Yossi Beilin.

Beilin told the Fundermentalist in unequivocal terms that Birthright, widely accepted as the most significant Jewish philanthropic endeavor of this generation, after sending some 180,000 Jewish kids to Israel over the past eight years for free, was in fact HIS idea.

Read more

And while I’m on the topic, if you like what you read on MJL and Mixed Multitudes, why don’t you drop a dollar in our pushka?

Posted on June 3, 2008

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

Duchifat…Gesundheit

This entry was posted in History on by .

If you see a Duchifat in Israel, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the Hebrew word for a Hoopoe, the new national bird:

President Shimon Peres declared the pink, black and white-crested bird the winner of a competition timed to coincide with Israel’s 60th anniversary. It beat out rivals such as the Yellow-vented Bulbul and the Palestine Sunbird.

bird.jpg

The Book of Leviticus groups the Hoopoe with birds such as the eagle, vulture and pelican that are “abhorrent, not to be eaten.” (MORE)

(HT: Blogs of Zion)

Posted on June 2, 2008

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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