Israel’s ministry of religious services, headed by economics minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party, has created a new Jewish Identity Administration in an “effort to increase national awareness of Jewish identity,” says a report in Yeshiva World News. Haaretz says its job is to “instill Jewish values” in the general public. The administration will be headed by reserve Brig. Gen. Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, former chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces. Rontzki is stepping down as head of the yeshiva of Itamar, a settlement overlooking Nablus in Samaria-northern West Bank.
Neoconservatives can espouse Jewish values as much as progressives can. Judaism is too broad a term to be of use in political philosophy, Jay Michaelson writes.
Over the course of my few months of farm life, I’ve thought about “The Little Red Hen” more times than I have since early childhood, and each recurrence leaves me with a new lesson. In the story, the hen decides to bake a loaf of bread from scratch, starting with planting wheat. At each step she asks her friends and neighbors for help, but nobody wants to offer assistance until the time comes to eat the bread, at which point the Little Red Hen dismisses her compatriots and keeps everything for herself. Jewish lessons abound from this text on all levels — the story could be the starting point for a discussion on blessings or how to treat others, and I could even see it as the basis for a Talmud class: Does it matter if the hen harvested her wheat before or after Passover? If the hen is Jewish and her friends are not, was it appropriate for her to ask them to complete steps of the bread making process? But I digress.