BY MARC GARY for JTSA
Striking Out or Stepping Up: A Leadership Model for Our Times
“Moses entered the stage of Jewish history by striking (the Egyptian) and exited from the stage of Jewish history by striking (the rock).” This startling observation by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin in his commentary on the Book of Numbers (Torah Lights: Bemidbar, 169) causes us to reflect deeply on the subject of Jewish leadership.
Narrative symmetry, of course, is a characteristic of both biblical literature and rabbinic interpretation. It suggests purpose over randomness—a meaningful connection between beginnings and endings. Here, however, the symmetry is ironic, even disquieting. Moses’s entry onto the stage of Jewish history is through killing another human being; his forced exit is the result of hitting an inanimate object.
BY HANNAH BERNSTEIN for newvoices.org
When Jonathan Taubes was in high school, he read a lot of Noam Chomsky – so much so that Taubes and his friends jokingly refer to him as the Rebbe, or teacher. Chomsky, an American historian and social critic, writes about a diverse array of topics: Zionism, anti-Zionism, socialism and every other –ism imaginable.
By Rebecca Stadlen Amir for Israel21c
US-based organization coordinates romantic Israel trips for young couples, including mixed-religion, LGBTQ and non-religious Jews.
It has long been rumored that couples who meet on Birthright trips receive a free honeymoon to Israel. This is just hearsay, but there is a way for newly married couples to enjoy a highly subsidized trip to the Holy Land.
By Maher Chmaytelli, Jeffrey Heller and Stephen Farrell, Reuters Staff
BAGHDAD/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Behind the high concrete walls of Baghdad’s Jewish cemetery, Violette Saul lies at rest under a weathered and cracked tombstone, one of the last memorials to an ancient community that is now all but extinct.
The Iraqi nurse was buried a decade ago alongside thousands of others in the sands of a country where her community thrived for more than 2,500 years.
MATTI FRIEDMAN, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
An article about Israel on the occasion of the country’s 70th birthday seems to demand some or all of the following words: Trump, war, Iran, Gaza, Netanyahu, Palestinians, Syria, Jerusalem. But Israel isn’t a geopolitical problem – it’s a country, and the tendency to limit discussion of this country to those terms renders invisible much of what makes it interesting. What I find most remarkable, having lived here for the past 23 years, is Israel’s bewildering and fast-moving society, the complexities of which are usually overlooked by observers. The question of what “Israeli” means in 2018, and how that’s changing and why, are particularly important ones at this anniversary. One good way to answer is to listen to pop music.
by Jaime Bender for FromtheGrapevine
Sweeten the BBQ deal with some brilliant recipes that put fruit front and center.
As a society, we’ve got grilling meat and veggies down to a science. But grilling fruit? That takes a little getting used to. Luckily, there are plenty of fruits that hold up well when cooked this way, along with some lovely recipes from our Israeli Kitchen that showcase grilled fruit in all the right ways. So what are you waiting for? Time to put something a little sweeter on the barbie.
From JvillageNetwork's Pinterest Board
With school out, or just about, you may be looking for some crafty, outdoorsy, gaming, or other fun activities to do with the kids.
Look no further than Pinterest. Jvillage Network's Crafts board has hundreds of activities, from making 'snow' to making slime; making colorful bubbles and rainbow ice water; weird science experiments and outdoor lawn games. You can even learn creative napkin folding techniques or make jellyfish in a bottle.
What are you waiting for? Find a fun activity now!
By Curt Schleier for Hadassah Magazine
In real life, the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, has successfully secured the safety of the State of Israel. In a less covert but still dramatic way, the Mossad has also had an impact on the genre of spy literature. Spies no longer have to be a thin-lipped James Bond type or a George Smiley, as this trio of books demonstrates with varying degrees of success.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
In the midst of a rash of fires in Israeli border communities ignited by incendiary kites from Gaza, kids in Sderot fly handmade ‘kites of life.’
Hundreds of helium balloons and kites bearing flammable materials have been launched from Gaza since March 30, killing wildlife and incinerating thousands of acres of forests and agricultural fields in Israeli border communities.
By Unorthodox, Tablet Magazine
Unorthodox, Tablet’s weekly podcast, takes questions from its listeners about all aspects of Jewish life, from the religiously profound to the utterly inconsequential. Every week, we discuss one of these questions online in “Ask Unorthodox.” If you have a question, please send it to [email protected].
This week, we got a question from a listener who’s preparing for her daughter’s wedding next month. She raised her daughter as a secular Jew, just as she was raised. Her daughter’s fiance is the son of Episcopal priests, and though he was raised in a religious household, he now lives a completely secular life. Their wedding ceremony will be a non-religious one, performed by a friend, with no mention of God. In a concession to his family, his father will be giving a blessing—to be vetted in advance—and our listener’s daughter has asked her to give a blessing as well, “to kind of represent the Jewish side.”
BY RABBI DAVID GOLINKIN for myjewishlearning.com
Why this central part of the Torah is not in our daily liturgy
At one time, during the Second Temple period, the Ten Commandments were read daily as part of the liturgy. Find out why it is no longer part of our daily prayers.
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine
State is following in the footsteps of California and Nevada, which are already working with the Mediterranean country.
When you think of Wisconsin, several things might come to mind: delicious cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and "Laverne & Shirley." Soon, you may be able to add another item to that list: water expertise.
Wisconsin – which is home to two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior – has invited Israeli startups that focus on water technology to test their products in the Midwestern state. The collaboration is the result of a trip to Israel taken by delegates from the state along with Gov. Scott Walker.
Jane Eisner for The Forward
In late April, my sister and I returned to Yorkshire, in the north of England, for a brief visit to explore what we could of our mother’s roots. She died nearly 13 years ago, and for almost a decade prior, Alzheimer’s disease had progressively clouded her ability to recall much about her life. I regret that I wasn’t prescient enough to put everything down before it was lost, so this trip was a reclamation project of sorts.
BY ALAN MITTLEMAN, JTS
Korah: Democrat or Demagogue?
Korah is the first left oppositionist in the history of radical politics.
–Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (111)
How shall we read the Korah story? What is his rebellion about? Is Korah the first left-wing radical? He seems to want to level the distinction between leaders and masses. All of the people are holy, he claims. There is no need for a priestly caste which, in the wilderness setting, is a governance class. This view relies on the Midrash’s framing of Korah’s claim: “It is not you alone who have heard at Sinai, ‘I am the LORD your God.’ All of the people heard it” (Tanhuma Korah 4). From Korah’s point of view, the promise of Exodus 19:6, that Israel will be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” has been fulfilled. Mass reception of the divine word means equal standing in holiness. Korah, on this view, is something of a hero, a tribune of egalitarianism before its time.
This year, Israel celebrates its 70th year of independence, where everyone who is somewhat touched by Israel’s culture, history, or religiosity can come together and share their own personal reflections and experiences with Israel.
My own experience of Israel, started in a small town called Ramat Sharet, in Jeruselam, where I was born and raised for 5 years, along with my sister. When I turned 5, Jerusalem resembled a battlefield, where Israeli citizens feared for their lives, on what I later found out was referred to as the period of the second Intefada, or the second Palestinian uprising.
By Danielle Neuwirth, THE CONSPIRACY, newvoices.org
In the spring semester of my junior year, Jose* started hanging out with my friend group. The problem was he also hung out with local gang members.
Jose was from south of Worcester, Massachusetts. As a fellow Puerto Rican, he came to me for assistance when he was kicked out of his home, hoping to change course. And as a Worcester State University student, he knew my school offers help to college students struggling with gangs. Jose tried to get help from my professors, but he was too far into gang life to make his way out. While trying to help Jose, I met his friend Pablo*, who wanted assistance, as well. This is how I began working with students involved in gang activity – and embarked on hopefully a lifelong career of social work.
BY BENJAMIN WEINTHAL for jpost.com
The Bank for Social Economy holds numerous accounts that wage boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) activity against Israel.
The Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation – named after a gay German-Jewish scientist who was persecuted by the Nazis – has terminated its account with the Bank for Social Economy over the financial institution’s enabling of organizations that advocate a boycott of Israel.
by Irina Tsukerman for the algemeiner.com
The 30 imams who have signed a letter against antisemitism and extremism in France are graduates of a special training program for imams in Morocco. Created in 2005, the Institute Mohammed VI de la Formation des Imams Mourchidens et Mourchidates now boasts of approximately 1,600 graduates — more than 1,000 male, and 800 female imams.
By Dina Kraft for Hadassah Magazine
Eden Saadon was a design student in Tel Aviv studying textiles when she came across a television ad for a pen that could be used to create material to build small 3-D printed structures. Intrigued, she ordered it and spent the next year working to perfect what began as a hunch: The pen could be used to print clothing.
By Sarah F. Berkowitz for FromtheGrapevine
All you need is a mug to prepare these delicious, protein-packed falafel balls.
Today, we present to you the impossible: delicious, protein-rich Mediterranean falafel balls, made in under two minutes in your microwave!
I honestly thought it couldn’t be done, but I’m game to try just about anything. And look at that – it worked. I’m not a fan of fried food, but I’ve tried baked falafel balls and they were just too dry. And I can honestly say now that I’ll take my falafel microwaved any day. This falafel hack worked for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with anyone who wants to avoid fried foods, or is limited to microwave cooking.