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Jewish on Earth

After 300 repetitive years, things can get boring

SABERS have been rattling in Persia for nearly 3000 years, so this latest Iran flare-up looks boringly repetitive.

Jews have spent most of their existence around warring empires — it’s where our “You tried to kill us/We survived/Let’s eat!” holidays all come from — beginning with Pesach, the celebration of our birth as a People, escaping from the Egyptian empire. Jewish visions of a better world (e.g., “Nation will not take up sword against a nation, nor will they train for war anymore”; Isaiah 2:4), haven’t stopped anyone from making war, or creating cultures that glorify it.

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Is the Earth approaching its doomsday?

If the world as we knew it was going to end, what would you tell your loved ones? Religious fundamentalists might find the End of Days prospect comforting: foretold in holy books, it promises a better scenario than earthly toil and woe. But if you’re not part of that group, you might not want to sit this one out — especially as you can do something to slow, stop or reverse the end. Survival is part of Jewish DNA. The Torah commands it:  “ . . . I have put before you life and death, bless...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 March 2012 10:02 )

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Purim: The Book on Renewable Energy

WHAT if everything you “knew” about something was wrong?  Would you cling to what you “knew” anyway, even in the face of new information? Here’s the news:  fossil fuels will be virtually obsolete by 2030. As of 2002, no significant, easily-accessible new oil has been discovered, and world oil production began declining. US oil demand has been dropping since 2006, the US has become a net fuel exporter, and analysts at Deutschebank and elsewhere predict that by 2030 in industrialized...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 March 2012 13:19 )

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Tu b’Shevat and the environment

It’s cheaper to buy local, organic foods than industrially produced ones — except the savings are invisible.  Invisible, that is, to anyone who doesn’t buy, handle or grow them.  Local and organic was all our ancestors ever knew — even up to our grandparents’ time. Then came farming’s “Green Revolution” of the 1950s, with “miracle” chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and “factory” farming.  And with it, a host of hidden costs that you don’t pay with local, ...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 March 2012 10:41 )

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Hey Buddy: Can you spare a zuz?

Next holiday season, you might consider buying your presents without US dollars. When you decide to buy something, you can also choose what you buy it with. It’s legal in the US to create our own currencies and exchange systems, and use them for trade — as long as no one confuses the created currency with US Federal Reserve Notes, and any taxes owed from transactions can be paid in US currency. There’s a historical precedent.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 March 2012 10:41 )

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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Netanyahu reportedly withdraws support for conversion bill

Marcy Oster Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has withdrawn his support for a bill that would allow local rabbis to oversee conversions. ... [Link]

Jerusalem elects two chief rabbis

Marcy Oster The Jerusalem City Council elected two new chief rabbis, including Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the former chief rabbi of Israel. ... [Link]

Converts say Freundel’s abuse of power extended beyond mikvah peeping

Uriel Heilman Rabbi Barry Freundel didn’t just make conversion candidates take practice dunks in the mikvah where he allegedly spied on them in the shower — he also compelled them to do clerical tasks a... [Link]

Assertion by Austrian official voids conviction on restitution fraud, Jewish author says

Cnaan Liphshiz Austria has no claims against a Jewish author who was convicted of defrauding the republic out of Holocaust restitution funds, a government official said. ... [Link]

‘Klinghoffer’ ticket holders talk back

Raffi Wineburg Many of those who braved the heckling of protesters to see “The Death of Klinghoffer” said they felt unfairly judged. ... [Link]

White House: Nazi war criminals should not be receiving Social Security

Marcy Oster Nazi war criminals should not be receiving Social Security benefits, a White House spokesman said. ... [Link]

‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ fails to live up to the controversy

Ami Eden JTA’s Ami Eden sees the controversial opera that inspired weeks of protests. And shrugs. ... [Link]

Op-Ed: What the Freundel scandal says about Orthodoxy

mbrodsky If the allegations against the prominent Washington rabbi are true, they confirm the worst suspicions about the status of women in Orthodox Judaism, Elana Sztokman writes. ... [Link]

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