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Jewish on Earth

G-d is in the summer camp

TO those who say we never see miracles or talk directly with G-d anymore, I say, “Nonsense.”

We constantly stand in their presence; we just fail to appreciate them.  We fill our lives with distractions, and only notice miracles that hit us over the head, like tornadoes, volcanoes and earthquakes, or childbirth, infatuation and skydiving.

It’s like Mel Brooks describing how the concept of G-d originated (in “The 2,000 Year Old Man”): after lightening killed the terrifying tyrant Phil, Brooks says, “We looked up at the sky and said, “There’s something bigger than Phil.”

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 July 2011 11:35 )

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Everything is local

The primary emphasis of Western religions is to celebrate events that occurred in one place — the Land of Canaan (a.k.a. The Land of Milk and Honey, Judea & Samaria, Roman Palestine, etc.). That focus on one locale provides a counterintuitive lesson for our now-globalized world: everything is still local. It’s where we live, work, politic, make policy, educate ourselves, shop, gather, sleep and practice our religions. Yes, much of what we do today is linked to, or depends on regional, ...
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Making Earth Day meaningful

THIS year Earth Day fell on the Friday of Pesach. It was successful: the earth is still here. Of course, the earth was here before humans arrived, and will be here long after they’re gone. However, I vote for delaying our exit. How about you? When I wrote this column, most of us were complaining about eating the bread of affliction. Complaining is good — it’s the first step toward creating change. At the seder, we celebrated our progress since leaving poverty and affliction in ancient Eg...
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Three commandments of environmentalism

WE skeptical humans have always greeted novelty with suspicion. We prefer what makes us feel safe and comfortable, not what challenges us. That’s why concepts like global climate change, carbon trading, waste-free business and social equity confound us. It’s easier and more comforting to believe that climate change is a hoax, carbon cap and trade hurts business, we’ll always create waste, and some people deserve (a lot) more than others. But imagine 3,300 years ago when we Hebrews were ...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 April 2011 11:21 )

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Appreciating what we have

PERHAPS Israel should change its national anthem from “Hatikva” to “Dayenu.” For the Jewish State, so dependent on the support of powerful allies, a song that expresses thanks and delight for every new blessing seems more appropriate than a patriotic, historical, sentimental national anthem. But as the Middle East is all about chest pounding and historical pedigree, Hatikva may fit the bill better. It’s solemn, and people take it seriously. The problem is, no country’s national anth...
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Shabbat Times

JTA News

As Israeli Rabbinate targets West Bank rabbi, battle lines take shape

Ben Sales Rabbi Shlomo Riskin believes Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is challenging his job because his decisions on women and conversions question the Rabbinate’s hard lines on Jewish law. ... [Link]

This new website wants to prevent pro-Palestinian activists from getting jobs

Gabe Friedman Canary Mission blacklists activists while keeping its founders’ identities hidden. ... [Link]

Indian ice cream cones named for Adolf Hitler

Marcy Oster The boxes of Hitler ice cream cones available throughout India bear the unsmiling image of the Nazi leader, dressed in a military uniform. ... [Link]

Hasidic sect in Britain bans women from driving

Marcy Oster A letter sent out by the Belz sect’s rabbinic leaders said that allowing women to drive goes against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp.” ... [Link]

Germany halts investigation into dementia-afflicted Nazi war criminal

Marcy Oster Nazi SS company commander Gerhard Sommer is accused of involvement in the murder of about 560 Italian civilians in the village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany in 1944. ... [Link]

Google, AMIA put history of Argentina’s Jews online

Marcy Oster The exhibition is online in the “Historic Moments” section of the Google Cultural Institute and is available in English and Spanish. ... [Link]

GWU cancels suspension of student who displayed swastika

Marcy Oster The student said he had hung the swastika in order to educate his fellow students about the symbol’s meaning of auspiciousness and good fortune, which he learned about during a trip to India. ... [Link]

Natalie Portman speaks to Harvard seniors

Marcy Oster Actress Natalie Portman, a graduate of Harvard University, told students at Harvard Class Day to use their inexperience as an asset in their future endeavors, ... [Link]

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