Archive for 'Israel'

Creating a Pathway toward Reconciliation

The Middle East has often been synonymous with the metaphors of despair and angst. This story began about six years ago, when a young Israeli Arab law student and musician named George Khoury, was accidentally killed by a drive-by Palestinian terrorist, while jogging in East Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood. The terrorists exclaimed afterward, “Oops, we thought your son was Jewish. Sorry . . .”

To most people, a victim of terrorism is just a statistic–unless you happen to personally know who ...

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Haredi Rabbis “declare war” on the Internet (Part 2)

Understanding the “Real” War Against the Internet

Strangely, Rosenblum neglects to mention the most important aspect about the  Haredi war against the Internet–they fear its self critiquing and self-examination much more than the erotic websites.  Banning the Internet promotes the conspiracy of silence it desires.  Ynet news uncovered a document where the rabbis denounce the websites – the majority of which are daily news publications unsanctioned by the ultra-Orthodox ...

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A Halachic Reductio ad absurdum

One of my favorite concepts in logic is the reductio ad absurdum (Latin: “reduction to the absurd”)  argument, which is a logical method of argument that proves the falsity of a premise  by following its implications to a logical but absurd conclusion.

“Fortifying the Walls of Conversion” ?

Today, at a conference dedicated to “fortifying walls of conversion,”  the Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger expressed moral support for Rabbi Sherman, who annulled thousands of conversions carried out by Rabbi Chaim Druckman, ...

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What Inspired the Rabbis to say, “Thank God for not making me a woman!”? (Part 2)

A Greek Should be Thankful for Three Things . . .

At this point one could ask: What sort of teachings might have inspired Rabbi Judah to formulate these three blessings? There may be two possible sources: Greek or early Christian writings. Of the two choices, I believe the Greek influence is more dominant. However, as we shall soon see, the liturgical texts found in the Cairo Geniza  suggest that the early medieval liturgical scholars may have had Christianity in mind, ...

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A Short History of the Sabbatical Year in Late Antiquity

Sometimes even the most obvious biblical passages can be perplexing. One interesting verse is a case in point:

“Therefore, do not say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we do not then sow or reap our crop?’ I will bestow such blessings on you in the sixth year that there will then be crop enough for three years. When you sow in the eighth year, you will continue to eat from the old crop; and even into ...

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