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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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JTA News

From the Archive: Cuban Jews under the embargo

Gabe Friedman While Fidel Castro’s 1959 ascent to power had a catastrophic effect on Cuba’s once friendly relationship with the U.S., the revolution’s impact on the island’s Jewish population — an... [Link]

‘Ida’ makes Oscars shortlist

Gabrielle Birkner The Israeli entry, ‘Gett,’ is out of the running, but a Polish film about a would-be nun who discovers her parents were killed in the Holocaust was among the nine foreign films that advanc... [Link]

Tampa-area agency head dead in murder-suicide

Anthony Weiss A Florida Jewish agency head who had been deeply involved with caring for migrant children was found dead with her longtime partner in what police are calling an apparent murder-suicide. ... [Link]

A military miracle: Hanukkah care for U.S. armed forces personnel

Raffi Wineburg For the last seven years, Kosher Troops has been sending care packages to American-Jewish servicemen and women across the globe. ... [Link]

Behind every great ‘Serial’ podcast host, a Jewish studies professor

Gabrielle Birkner In the series finale of the podcast sensation “Serial,” a certain Jewish studies professor got a shout out. It was Sarah Koenig’s husband, who directs the Jewish Studies program at P... [Link]

French far-right mayor’s city hall menorah sparks controversy

Cnaan Liphshiz National Front candiate also placed a nativity scene in public space despite concerns this violate church-state separation. ... [Link]

Jesus comes to the Hanukkah party

Ron Kampeas The Christian savior keeps insinuating himself into Hanukkah festivities. ... [Link]

For Cuban Jews in U.S., rapprochement with Castro regime cause for concern

Uriel Heilman For those old enough to remember the most brutal years of the Castro regime, there is deep concern that rapprochement with Washington will extend the life of a dictatorship whose crimes can be neither... [Link]

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