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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

Israel reportedly strikes Syrian car, killing 5 militants

Julie Wiener The attack near the Israeli border was said to be targeting a terrorist released from an Israeli prison in a 2008 swap with Hezbollah, but it was not known if he was killed. ... [Link]

Vatican opens exhibit on ties between Pope John Paul II and Jews

Marcy Oster At the opening, the chief rabbi of Rome recalled the pope’s historic 1986 visit to the city’s Great Synagogue. ... [Link]

Ukraine fiscal crisis leads to major setback for homegrown Jewish philanthropy

Cnaan Liphshiz The economic crisis, in light of the military conflict against Russian-backed rebels, has diminished a growing donor class and returned the Jewish community to a reliance on Western aid. ... [Link]

Munich upholds ban on Holocaust street memorials

Marcy Oster The City Council ignored a petition signed by 100,000 people calling for a lifting of the prohibition on the memorials known as stumbling blocks. ... [Link]

Jewish egg donations are hot commodity, but are they ‘kosher’?

Andrew Tobin While some Jews seek out Jewish eggs to ensure that their babies are “kosher” with rabbinic authorities, most just want their offspring to be like them, officials at egg banks agreed. ... [Link]

Patriots owner Robert Kraft: NFL suspension of Tom Brady ‘unfathomable’

Marcy Oster After the four-game ban on his quarterback was upheld in the “Deflategate” controversy, the Jewish owner apologized to his team’s fans for not taking the matter to court earlier. ... [Link]

What Huckabee could learn from Bibi about Holocaust analogies

Ben Sales A guide to the do’s and don’ts of invoking the Holocaust to describe Israel’s predicament. ... [Link]

Pollard’s wait not over: Fight to bring him to Israel will outlast his release

Ron Kampeas The convicted spy for Israel in 1995 was granted Israeli citizenship, in part because he hoped to travel to Israel as soon as he was released. But travel restrictions may make that impossible. ... [Link]

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