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My Very Unorthodox Kabbalist

Jewish-Books - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By Sigal Samuel for Jewish Book Council


To study Kabbalah, you’re supposed to be (a) forty years old, (b) married, and (c) a man. I am none of these things. Luckily, I grew up with a dad who was a professor of Jewish mysticism and was willing to share its secrets with me.
Raised in Montreal’s Orthodox community, I attended a school with strict gender norms. I was expected to obey all of Judaism’s 613 commandments. But, as a girl, I wasn’t allowed to take an interest in the religion’s more esoteric branches.

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How Israel Became a Television Powerhouse

Israeli-News - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By HANNAH BROWN for Commentary


The unlikely rise of a pop-culture leader


You don’t often see perfectly chilled martinis served at conferences in Israel, but the TLV Formats Conference was an event that was out of the ordinary. It was held for the second time in September 2017, and hundreds of buyers from television networks around the world came to Tel Aviv to snatch up new Israeli shows—scrambling to get ahead of the huge international TV convention called MIPCOM the following month in Cannes. Over the past decade, Israel has become one of the world’s most prolific exporters of “formats”—industry jargon for concepts and programs. 

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My Jewish Encounter With Hinduism

Interfaith - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
By Alon Goshen-Gottstein


How I came to an intellectual and spiritual connection with Swami Chidananda Saraswati


Religions are complex realities. They are constituted by systems of beliefs and rituals. They are embedded in particular cultures. They involve communities and they are mediated to a large extent through teachers and living spiritual exemplars.

In what follows I describe a process of encountering Hinduism that has been in the making for nearly forty years. It has gone through the various stages described below, a high-point of which is certainly the encounter with living spiritual masters, one in particular.

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Shehechiyanu: A Meditation on this Moment

Celebrating-Judaism - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
BY RABBI SHEFA GOLD for myjewishlearning.com 


This blessing, traditionally recited for firsts, can be said anytime -- since every moment is new and unprecedented.


The Shehechiyanu blessing is said whenever we realize the miracle of the present moment. Traditionally, it is recited when we do something for the first time that year — such as lighting Hanukkah candles, hearing the shofar, or shaking a lulav and etrog — as well as at the start of most Jewish holidays. The blessing honors and expresses the wonder of having arrived.

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In this country, charging a small fee for plastic grocery bags is working

Going-Green-Jewishly - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
by Jaime Bender for FromtheGrapevine


Plastic bag use has dropped 80 percent as a result. Is this the model for the rest of the world?


On Jan. 1, 2017, Israel began requiring its supermarket chains to charge 3 cents for plastic bags. Since then, plastic bag use has dropped 80 percent, according to the country's Environmental Protection Ministry.

If that's not enough of a reason to cheer, consider this: That 80 percent reduction is equal to almost 8,000 tons of plastic. Know what else weighs 8,000 tons? About 400 buses.

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Mahler’s Niece & the Auschwitz Women’s Orchestra

Feature-Article - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 12:00am
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller for aish.com


A century ago, one of Europe's great musicians tried to erase her Jewish heritage. Instead, she heroically saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust.


Alma Rose, one of Europe’s greatest and least known musicians, led a women’s orchestra in the Auschwitz death camp. The details of her extraordinary life are not all known, though current research is beginning to shed more light on her remarkable story.

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IsraAID sends US dentists to treat refugees in Kenya

News-in-the-Jewish-World - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
By Rebecca Stadlen Amir for Israel21c


The joint Israeli-American mission aims to treat thousands of residents at Kakuma Refugee Camp, some of whom have never before received dental care.


Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID set up a mobile dental clinic for one week in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, home to over 190,000 refugees from across the region, the majority escaping violence and instability in neighboring South Sudan.


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Eikev

Weekly-Torah-Portion - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am

DEUTERONOMY 7:12–11:25


By RABBI PROFESSOR MARC SAPERSTEIN for ReformJudaism.org


Not by Bread Alone: Strange Food from the Sky


Several years ago, I saw in London an extraordinary play entitled “Not by Bread Alone.” The eleven actors, from an Israeli company called Nalaga’at (meaning “please touch”), were all deaf and blind. As the audience entered, they were sitting at a long table on the stage, each one kneading dough that would be baked during the course of the performance. At the end, the audience was invited to come to the stage to taste the bread. But the main purpose was not for us to eat the delicious warm bread, but to communicate on some level, by touch, with the actors who could not hear our applause or see our smiles.  


Deuteronomy 8:3, a long and rather complex verse near the beginning of our parashah, Eikev, contains one of the most familiar phrases of the Bible: “Lo al halechem l’vado yich’yeh ha-adam ... ”


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Q&A for Teens: Teens & Respect

Young-Adults - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
by Lauren Roth for aish.com


Practical advice for parents and teenagers to feel respected by each other.


Dear Lauren,

I'm a mother of two teens, ages 11 and 14, and lately I'm so desperate to join a weekly parenting group, because things constantly come up and I'm always double-guessing if I handled situations the best way possible. For example: I find my kids do almost nothing around the house for chores: do I ignore? Or implement something?

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At the Intersection of Queer and Jewish: A Reflection

LGBTQ - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
BY MARQUES HOLLIE for ReformJudaism.org


I first knew I was queer around the age of 12 and came out sometime between the ages of 13 and 14; that was almost 20 years ago. For as long as I can remember, Pride has always sparked conflicting feelings inside me. On one hand, yes, the notion of Pride is a revelation and we should continue to celebrate the hard-won battles we’ve fought in our quest for equality.


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“Jat Mahibathi” (“My Love is Coming”)

Jewish-Arts-and-Media - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
From American Sephardi Federation


Members of the Israeli World Music sensation, Yemen Blues, including Yemenite-Israeli vocalist Ravid Kahlani, visited an Arab coffee house in Jerusalem’s Old City to perform “Jat Mahibathi” (“My Love is Coming”) a song from their first album, Yemen Blues.  

Watch video. 

What's With The Cheese

Jewish-Food - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
From Jewish Treats


There are few types of food with as many variations as cheese. Like all dairy products, only cheese that has been made with the milk of a kosher animal can be kosher. (For those celebrating August’s National Goat Cheese Month, that’s good news, since goats are kosher animals.)

Unlike milk or butter, however, the qualifications for kashrut are a bit more complicated than simply the source of the dairy. In fact, there is a specific prohibition in the Talmud against the consumption of gvinat akum, literally the cheese of heathens.

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Baked Asian-Inspired Meatballs Are an Easy Kid-Friendly Dinner

Children-and-Familes - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
by Shannon Sarna for Kveller


As a parent, there are basically three things I am constantly doing: buying new shoes, picking up toys from the floor, and looking for new dinner ideas that my kids will actually eat (something other than mac & cheese or chicken fingers).

 

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Torah and the Thermodynamics of Life: An Interview with Jeremy England

Jewish-Books - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
By Rachel Scheinerman for Jewish Review of Books
 

We frequently hear from theologians who reckon with the relationship between religion and science, but it is less common to hear from accomplished scientists on the subject. I spoke with Jeremy England, a research scientist whose work on the origins of life has led some to speculate he might be the next Darwin. This acclaim has resulted in England being described in a recent Dan Brown novel as “the toast of Boston academia, having caused a global stir,” though as England, who is an observant Jew, was quick to point out in The Wall Street Journal Brown misunderstood the implications of his research for religion. I had an opportunity to ask him about his work as a scientist, his Jewish commitment, and how those two reinforce one another.

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Soul-Searching After a Rabbi Was Detained in Israel

Israeli-News - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
By Daniel Gordis for Bloomberg.com


Is this the sort of nation Israelis want?


Almost a decade ago, shortly before their wedding, my daughter and her fiancé decided that the ceremony would not be performed by a rabbi associated with Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Both religiously observant, they found the Chief Rabbinate’s attitude to women and to non-Orthodox streams of Judaism reprehensible; they were determined to use the occasion of their wedding, at which numerous politically and socially prominent Israelis would be present, to make that point.

They asked me to perform the wedding. As a Conservative rabbi ordained in the U.S. (and thus not recognized by the Israeli Rabbinate), I technically violated Israel’s 1953 Marriage and Divorce Law. This can be punished with a two-year prison sentence. We made the occasional quip about my getting arrested for performing my own daughter’s wedding, but we were never worried. Many rabbis had done this before, and none had ever been arrested.

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In Europe, religious minorities face mounting hostility, harassment

Interfaith - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
By Tom Heneghan for Religion News Service

 

PARIS (RNS) — A decade ago, Austria was a European country where Muslims felt they could live in peace. Islam was a recognized religion since 1912, the population seemed tolerant and the government maintained a constructive dialogue with community leaders.


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What's With The Cheese

Celebrating-Judaism - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
From Jewish Treats


There are few types of food with as many variations as cheese. Like all dairy products, only cheese that has been made with the milk of a kosher animal can be kosher. (For those celebrating August’s National Goat Cheese Month, that’s good news, since goats are kosher animals.)

Unlike milk or butter, however, the qualifications for kashrut are a bit more complicated than simply the source of the dairy. In fact, there is a specific prohibition in the Talmud against the consumption of gvinat akum, literally the cheese of heathens.

Continue reading.

Israeli salt company saves water fowl, opens birdwatching

Going-Green-Jewishly - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
By Brian Blum for Israel21c


Seagulls and little terns saved from extinction by ecological islands, and other feathered friends, can be observed from new birdwatching stations.


Salt extraction and sustainability don’t instinctively go together. But executives at the Israeli company Salt of the Earth, which has extracted salt from the Red Sea and Mediterranean since 1922, noticed that many migratory birds were using Israel’s salt ponds as nesting areas as they pass through the region every fall and spring.

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Can American and Israeli Jews Stay Together as One People?

Feature-Article - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:00am
NATAN SHARANSKY AND GIL TROY for Mosaic


Long-festering strains between the world’s two largest communities jeopardize the prospects of a shared Jewish future. Here’s how to alleviate the impasse and show a way forward.


In its recently released survey comparing Jewish opinion in the U.S. and Israel, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) once again confirmed the growing gulf between the world’s two largest Jewish communities. In key areas ranging from politics to public prayer, from prime ministers to presidents, from peoplehood to peace processing, large gaps separate American Jews from their Israeli counterparts. Worried stories in the press followed the report’s release, with one essay ominously concluding: “The End of the Jewish People Is Here.”

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An Israeli wrestler calls himself ‘The Chutzpah,’ and Europe loves to hate him

News-in-the-Jewish-World - Mon, 07/23/2018 - 12:00am
By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ for The Times of Israel from JTA


Whether dealing a 'krav maga kick' to challenger's groin, or patented 'Chosen People's elbow,' Leeor Brooks plays up Jewish stereotypes as a wrestling villain -- and it's working


Like many Israelis visiting Europe, Leeor Brooks is keenly aware of his compatriots’ reputation abroad for rudeness.


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