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Ruth-less society

WHEN we read the Book of Ruth next week on the holiday of Shavuot, we are reminded that all Jews are in essence converts. Some of us go back further than others, literally to Mount Sinai, when a mass conversion of the Jewish people took place. Others of us trace our Jewish heritage and identity to more recent times.

As a people, we cherish Ruth so much. Our love for her unexpected act of kindness, a game changer in the Book of Ruth, is real.

Yet in our daily Jewish life sometimes there is cognitive dissonance between our love and reverence for Ruth — the “Ima shel Malchut, the Mother of the Davidic Monarchy” — and our attitude to real life converts.

We are supposed to treat the convert to our community with extra kindness, but instead we often feel suspicious, forever regarding them as The Outsider.

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View From Denver

‘And they established their genealogy’

‘And they established their genealogy’G-D counts the Jewish people because he loves them. Each person is important to Him. Each census has a more specific reason, too. The census at the start of the portion — and book — of Numbers is for military purposes, writes Nachmanides. The Jews were on the threshold of entering the Land of Israel. It would need to be conquered. It would need to be known how many fighters in each tribe were available. After the conquest, the land would be divided by tribe, and the population of each tr...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 May 2014 01:34 )

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View from Central Park

Numbers

Numbers have been on my mind lately. This coming week’s Torah portion inaugurates the reading of the next book of the Torah, Bamidbar, literally, “in the desert.” However, it is known as the book of Numbers. Rabbinic Judaism refers to the book as such, “Sefer Ha-Pikudim,” the book of censuses of the Jewish people. In fact, the census is commanded twice, the first time in the beginning of Bamidbar. Since Passover, we have been counting the Omer. A meditation assigns a theme to each p...
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Conservative Lens

Dealing with bad economic news

MOST conservatives, and just about all independents, have a huge misperception of the left. They think that the gulf between conservatism and leftism is primarily about means, not goals. This perception is wrong. It is the goals that are irreconcilable. And until conservatives, independents and the Republican Party understand this, it will not be possible to defeat the left. Take economic indicators. Most conservatives talk and act as if bad economic news disturbs the left as much as it distur...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 May 2014 01:17 )

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Liberal Lens

Is journalism losing its nerve?

WHEN I went into journalism, one of the first things I was told as a freshman is that journalism is different from stenography. It is supposed to be — or at least has been — about using rights granted under the First Amendment to be a check on government and corporate power. Yet, the hedge in that last sentence is deliberate — and appropriate. That’s because a new survey from the Indiana University suggests things are fast changing in the news industry — and not for the better. The l...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 May 2014 01:49 )

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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Obama defends FAA’s temporary ban on Israel flights (video)

Ami Eden The FAA lifted its ban on flights to Israel late Wednesday. But on Thursday President Obama was still facing questions on the issue. Check out his comments to CNBC: ... [Link]

Almost 80 years after ordination, the first woman rabbi finally gets her due

Julie Wiener Forgotten for almost half a century, Rabbi Regina Jonas inspires a tour and tribute featuring America’s first female Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox rabbis. ... [Link]

First female rabbi, Regina Jonas, commemorated at Terezin site

mbrodsky A memorial plaque to Regina Jonas, the first female rabbi, was unveiled at the former Nazi concentration camp Terezin in the Czech Republic. ... [Link]

Two Palestinians killed in mass protest north of Jerusalem

Ron Kampeas At least two Palestinians were killed at a mass demonstration at a crossing north of Jerusalem being held against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. ... [Link]

Israeli soccer team attacked in Austria

Marcy Oster Members of the Maccabi Haifa soccer team were attacked on the field in Austria by pro-Palestinian protesters. ... [Link]

West Bank Rabbi Dov Lior: Jewish law permits destruction of Gaza

Marcy Oster Rabbi Dov Lior, a leading West Bank rabbi who endorsed a book justifying the killing of non-Jews, issued a religious ruling saying that Jewish law permits the destruction of Gaza to keep southern Isra... [Link]

Presidents Conference convening national solidarity day for Israel

Ron Kampeas The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is convening an Israel solidarity event in Washington for Jewish leaders. ... [Link]

IDF soldiers arrested for leaking casualty information on WhatsApp

Marcy Oster Three Israeli soldiers were arrested for using the text-messaging service WhatsApp to leak information on Gaza casualties. ... [Link]

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