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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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Northeastern U. reinstates Students for Justice in Palestine chapter

Marcy Oster Northeastern University has provisionally reinstated the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on campus. ... [Link]

Israel formally suspends talks with Palestinians

Ron Kampeas Israel formally suspended peace talks with the Palestinian Authority over the P.A.’s national unity accord signed with the Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip. ... [Link]

For Daniel Rosenthal, magic-induced laughter is the best cure

Julie Wiener Daniel Rosenthal’s nonprofit matches professional magicians with volunteer opportunities. ... [Link]

New Holocaust curriculum in Israel to begin in kingergarten

Marcy Oster Israel will teach the Holocaust in the country’s schools beginning in kindergarten under a planned curriculum released by the Education Ministry. ... [Link]

Jews for Jesus video shows Jesus being sent to Nazi gas chambers

Marcy Oster A Jews for Jesus video showing Jesus in the selection line at a Nazi concentration camp has spurred criticism “as a cynical abuse of the Holocaust.” ... [Link]

Report: Starbucks to buy 10% stake in SodaStream

Marcy Oster Starbucks is in advanced talks to buy 10 percent of the Israeli home soda machine company SodaStream. ... [Link]

Separatists confirm hostage-taking of American-Israeli journalist Simon Ostrovsky

Marcy Oster Pro-Russian separatists from Ukraine confirmed that they are holding American-Israeli journalist Simon Ostrovsky hostage. ... [Link]

Tunisian lawmakers summon tourism minister over Israeli passports

Marcy Oster The Tunisian parliament summoned its tourism minister to explain why she is allowing Israelis to enter the country with their passports for a religious festival. ... [Link]

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