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Ruth’s leap, Jethro’s ambivalence

In the post-Shavuot spirit, in contrast to Ruth who was so singleminded in her famous testimony of devotion, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro stands as a contrasting Biblical convert.

From the outset, Jethro is complex and possibly even ambivalent. It is not immediately clear exactly what his role vis a vis the Jewish people is.

In fact, it is not exactly clear who he even is. The famous Rashi quotes Jethro as having seven names, again suggesting complexity and possibly ambiguity in his very identity.

Last Updated ( Friday, 06 June 2014 02:00 )

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View From Denver

The personality of Miriam

The personality of MiriamJUST when you thought that a burst of creativity in Biblical exegesis became the final word in the field, a subterranean paradigm shift unfolds. With its development the earlier creativity is seen as encased within a certain methodology, such that the new burst in creativity is not a departure from, or a quarrel with, the earlier mode. It is simply something new. Given that the Hebrew Bible is the eternal book, its layers of meaning accumulate not just one layer upon the other. Not just anot...

Last Updated ( Friday, 06 June 2014 01:46 )

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Liberal Lens

Big money behind a big merger

THERE are plenty of reasons to worry about the proposal to combine Comcast, America’s largest cable and broadband company, with Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable firm and third-largest broadband provider. For one, there’s ever more consolidated control over content. There’s also the possibility of certain types of content being given special (or worse) treatment based on the provider’s relationship with Comcast and Time Warner Cable. And there’s the prospect of even higher p...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 June 2014 13:06 )

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View from Central Park

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 cogn...
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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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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Manhattan’s Ramaz school clarifies advice on concealing kippahs

Uriel Heilman The principal of an Orthodox day school in New York who suggested that students might want to conceal signs of their Jewishness while walking around the neighborhood disagrees — with himself. ... [Link]

Why the U.S. and Israel are not getting along

Uriel Heilman The Obama administration and the Israeli government are looking at the same war but seeing things much differently. ... [Link]

Stan Goldberg, superhero of comic-book illustration, dies at 82

Julie Wiener Comic-book artist Stan Goldberg, the color designer for Marvel Comics’ classic superheroes, has died. ... [Link]

Polish city marks first rabbinic ordination since World War II

Julie Wiener The Polish city of Wroclaw had its first rabbinic ordination since before World War II in its only synagogue to survive the Holocaust. ... [Link]

ISIS video purports to show beheading of Steven Sotloff

Marcy Oster The Islamist ISIS organization has released a video that apparently shows the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff. ... [Link]

Obama administration calls on Israel to reverse land appropriation

Ron Kampeas The Obama administration formally called on Israel to reverse its appropriation of West Bank land for settlement building, saying it was counterproductive to peace efforts. ... [Link]

Palestinian driver killed attempting to run West Bank checkpoint

Marcy Oster A Palestinian driver was killed as he tried to run over Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint. ... [Link]

Thousands rally in Frankfurt against anti-Semitism

Marcy Oster Some 3,500 demonstrators rallied in Frankfurt to protest a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany. ... [Link]

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