Melanie Weiss


A General Guide to a Specific Kind of Judaism

By Melanie Weiss

A General Guide to a Specific Kind of Judaism
The general thesis of Rebecca Alpert’s new book, “Whose Torah? A Concise Guide to Progressive Judaism,” is that the old saying about two Jews and three opinions contains more than a seed of truth. Alpert cycles back to this aphorism regularly, using it as an organizing principle for her guide — but all the while acknowledging that there are more kinds of Jews, more kinds of Judaisms and thus many more opinions than ever before.Read More


The Yiddishe Mame of Feminism

By Melanie Weiss

That the great foremothers of feminism, the first wave of the movement, included in their midst an outspoken Polish Jew is not a fact often revealed in what meager suffragist history is passed along. Amid the large-looming names of the women’s suffrage movement in America, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and the Grimké sisters, Ernestine L. Rose is a figure far less known, despite having worked with all these women and with many of the big names of the free-thought, abolitionist and feminist movements. Rose was unusual for both her time and place, but she was firm in her beliefs, blunt with her opinions and, most important, a fiery public speaker.Read More


Faced With Death, an Unlikely Heroine Emerges

By Melanie Weiss

Faced With Death, an Unlikely Heroine Emerges
It sounds almost like the beginning of a terrible joke: What happens when a 29-year-old who has wasted much of her life gets a brain tumor? Except that instead of a joke, this is the premise of Elisa Albert’s new novel, “The Book of Dahlia”. Albert, author of the short-story collection “How This Night Is Different,” has taken on one of the most essential and universal questions: How do you face the end of your own life?Read More






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    • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
    • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
    • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
    • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
    • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
    • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
    • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
    • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
    • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
    • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
    • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
    • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
    • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
    • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
    • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
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