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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

Fleeing Europe’s darkness, filmmakers took refuge in California sun

Anthony Weiss A new exhibit in Los Angeles explores the roots and rise of film noir, and the generation of filmmakers who left the Nazi occupation and reinvented Hollywood. ... [Link]

Ashkelon mayor decides against ban on Arab workers

Marcy Oster Itamar Shimoni agreed to allow the Arab workers to complete the work, scheduled to take a week, and relocate the preschool students to the local community center. ... [Link]

Kipah-clad New Zealand boy, 4, smacked on head

Marcy Oster The boy was said to be traumatized by the apparent anti-Semitic incident, which was witnessed by his mother. ... [Link]

Wellesley College drops Hillel director, Jewish chaplain posts

Marcy Oster The decision comes as tensions have mounted on campus between the Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities. ... [Link]

Jordan’s parliament holds moment of silence for synagogue killers

Marcy Oster The gesture was held a day after the Jerusalem attack, which killed five, though the Jordanian government condemned the slayings. ... [Link]

Italian aliyah expected to double in ’14

Marcy Oster Several Italian Jewish leaders said economic distress figured strongly for the move, with Jews feeling that “they can lead a better life in Israel.” ... [Link]

From the Archive: Synagogues under fire

Raffi Wineburg Last week’s deadly attack in Jerusalem was not the first time terrorists targeted a synagogue. ... [Link]

Controversial Jewish nation-state bill passes Israeli Cabinet vote

Marcy Oster The Cabinet’s closed-door discussion on the bill, which moves to the full Knesset, reportedly degenerated into a shouting match. ... [Link]

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