Arts & Culture


Dwelling Among Them

After the action-packed stories of the first one-and-a-half books of the Torah — all of Genesis and the first part of Exodus — the main narrative abruptly changes course in the middle of the book of Exodus. Stories such as the creation of the world, the flood, the lives of the patriarchs, the slavery in Egypt, the plagues, the Exodus and theRead More


Plaut Redux: Reforming the Reform Commentary

By Eric J. Greenberg

Since its release nearly a quarter-century ago, the Reform movement’s first biblical commentary has sold 250,000 copies and helped fuel a revolution in Torah study. But, as more and more congregations in recent years began placing a greater emphasis on Hebrew and Torah reading during Sabbath services, the tome essentially fell out of step withRead More


From The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern

Last summer, the Forward dipped its toes into the world of fiction by co-sponsoring a monthly literary series in New York called “Novel Jews.” The series has become an enormous success, with one drawback: It is not available to the majority of our readers, who live outside New York. In an effort to include them, this month we initiate theRead More


He Wandered the Earth as an Exiled Man

By Jay Michaelson

Chronicles: Volume One By Bob Dylan Simon & Schuster, 304 pages, $24. * * *Toward the end of last year’s rambling, barely coherent film “Masked and Anonymous,” Bob Dylan, its masked and anonymous star, spoke in voice-over one of his most direct and self-revelatory addresses. Fittingly, it was about the limits of whatRead More


The Fate of Slaves in Ancient Israel

By Gary A. Rendsburg

With this week’s Torah reading, called Mishpatim or “Rules,” the presentation of the laws of ancient Israel formally commences. Earlier sections of the Torah have occasional laws imbedded in them, such as the law of circumcision in Genesis 17 or the laws pertaining to Passover in Exodus 12. But these items are few in number and areRead More


God’s Dream of a Holy Nation

By Lore Segal

The week’s portion relates two events, a pleasant one between a man and a man, and the one central between the godhead and mankind.There is a charm in reading about an ancient iconic figure in human trouble to which there is a sensible human solution. Father-in-law Jethro tells young Moses he is overdoing it which is bad not only for his ownRead More


Controversial Priests Tapped for Jerusalem Center

By Jason Berry

Pope John Paul II has awarded control of an important Catholic cultural center in Jerusalem to a controversial, right-wing priestly order whose founder has been accused of sexual abuse.The order, the Legionaries of Christ, received the administrative keys to the Jerusalem landmark, the Notre Dame Center, in a festive ceremony at the Vatican onRead More


Bush Marches Into a Second Term, His Agenda Set by Mideast Foes

By Michael Rubin

Last week, George W. Bush took the oath of office and began his second term. With 150,000 troops still in Iraq, Iran developing nuclear weapons and new leadership in the Palestinian Authority, the Middle East will continue to dominate White House attention.To what extent will Bush’s second term be different from his first? For better or worse,Read More


Ancient Woes Resurfacing As Dean Eyes Top Dem Post

By E.J. Kessler

As the Democratic National Committee gets set to pick a new chairman, the party is experiencing déjà vu all over again.Like a replay of the Democrats’ 2004 presidential primary season, the early frontrunner in the DNC race is former Vermont governor Howard Dean. Then as now, a number of other candidates of varying attractiveness have linedRead More


Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation Is Commemorated Around the World

By Eric J. Greenberg

Sixty years after the liberation of Auschwitz by Russian soldiers, leaders of more than 100 nations joined this week for a string of tributes in America, Europe, and at the death camp itself to honor victims and vow that the Nazi horrors never would be repeated.Hanging over the events, though, was a palpable sense that in places likeRead More





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  • 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.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
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  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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