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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    • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
    • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
    • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
    • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
    • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
    • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
    • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
    • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
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