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Posts tagged "Judaism"

The Rabbi and the KKK: What We Can Learn

The Rabbi and the KKK: What We Can Learn

According to the latest findings from Brookings, over half of all American Christians believe that they are being discriminated against. While this is not something I can say I’ve personally experienced, it is certainly an issue worth addressing, as the numbers involved are staggering.

To be honest, I’m not really invested in figuring out why people feel this way, or whether they should or shouldn’t feel this way.

What I am interested in, however, is how American Christians collectively respond to feeling discriminated against. Do we meet vitriol with vitriol? Do we justify ourselves to those who wish to do us harm?…

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A Brief Parenting Lesson from Mr. Spock

Like many people, I’m a huge fan of the original Star Trek. And I loved Spock. I loved his pointy ears and his earnestness. He was exotic, smart, and thoughtful. And my goodness, was he cool under pressure.

And so when I heard of Leonard Nimoy’s death, I knew that it was important to talk about how his Jewish Orthodox tradition impacted his boyhood and later informed the character of Spock. It is a wonderful story. I’ll let Nimoy speak for himself:

Sometimes, as religious people, we lose sight of how beautiful our traditions really are. We forget that they seep into our bones and show themselves at the least expected moments.

But Nimoy’s most important lesson here speaks to me as a mother. During worship I can often get caught up in what my children should be doing. And I forget that God is so present to them, regardless of if they are quiet or still. Despite my anxieties, my kids are getting exactly what they need. So thanks for this story, Mr. Spock. Let’s here it for the tiny rule breakers in our midst.

Halloween/Reformation Day Linkathon: Equal Opportunity Holidays, Fat Letters, Midnight Coteries, The Returned and more Lou Reed

Halloween/Reformation Day Linkathon: Equal Opportunity Holidays, Fat Letters, Midnight Coteries, The Returned and more Lou Reed

A quick grab bag in honor of the day:

1. Over at Liberate Nick Lannon reflects on the gratuity of Halloween relative to Christmas, stating from the outset that “Halloween has become more Christian than Christmas”. He’s not wrong:

“Consider the theological implications of Halloween. Halloween is the ultimate equal opportunity holiday. EVERYONE gets candy. On the surface, it’s the picture of the Gospel!  There is no checking of qualifications at the door. You come, you receive. Christmas, on the other hand… well, you know the song:  ‘He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. Santa…

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Another Week Ends: Jewish Anxiety, Christian Juvenilia, Male Demise, Cheap Law, Underachievement and Imperfection, Bearded Brooklyn, Ram and Beach Boys

Another Week Ends: Jewish Anxiety, Christian Juvenilia, Male Demise, Cheap Law, Underachievement and Imperfection, Bearded Brooklyn, Ram and Beach Boys

1. “Do The Jews Own Anxiety?” asked Daniel Smith in The NY Times last week, and his answer may surprise you. A member of the tribe himself, Smith traces the public (gentile) perception of Jewish neurosis, as well as how its poster-boys (Woody Allen, Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy, etc) have almost gleefully perpetuated the stereotype, and managed to eclipse such once well-known non-Jewish neurotics such as Soren Kierkegaard, Emily Dickinson, Ingmar Bergman and William James in anxious notoriety — to say nothing of our favorite “patient of great significance,” Dr. Luther! My own experience would be that those whose neuroses…

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Another Week Ends: Of Gods and Men, Unitarian Boundaries, pi Haters, Pinksy on Cowper, Jayhawks, Wilco, Morrissey, FNL, Falling Skies and Brad Bird

Another Week Ends: Of Gods and Men, Unitarian Boundaries, pi Haters, Pinksy on Cowper, Jayhawks, Wilco, Morrissey, FNL, Falling Skies and Brad Bird

1. No doubt you’re familiar with the martyrdom of the monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, who were assassinated in 1996 by Jihadists. It is, without question, one of the most inspirational true stories of the past twenty years – regardless of where you’re coming from on the religious spectrum. You may have even heard that the recent film based on the events, Of Gods and Men, was Grand Prix winner at Cannes last year. If that weren’t high enough praise for it shoot to the top of your Netflix queue (when it becomes available on Tuesday 7/5), Andrew Sullivan’s stirring…

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Frannie Lebowitz on Revenge, Forgiveness and Christianity

Frannie Lebowitz on Revenge, Forgiveness and Christianity

It’s hard to say whether Martin Scorsese’s documentary about writer/humorist/public intellectual Frannie Lebowitz, Public Speaking, was the best documentary of 2010, or whether Frannie was simply the most interesting documentary subject of 2010. And I’m not sure it matters. The film is a non-stop delight because she is a non-stop delight, spewing witticism after witticism, the vast majority of which are deceptively profound, for example, “Any white, Gentile straight man who is not President has failed.” Or to the question, “do you prefer to be in the company of happy or embittered people?” she answers, “As soon as I meet…

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PZ's Podcast: Aaron Jastrow

PZ’s Podcast: Aaron Jastrow

EPISODE 47

This third talk on characters from Herman Wouk’s 1985 novel War and Remembrance (for part one go here, part two here) concerns the actual hero of the book, Professor Aaron Jastrow. Aaron Jastrow is a humanist secular Jew, who has written a well-known book on Jesus — even FDR’s read it, and likes it — and whose “life’s work” is a biography of Martin Luther. He regards himself as thoroughly assimilated, and is unable to see — as the gentile Leslie Slote does see — the oncoming Holocaust of European Jewry. Jastrow is fussy, needling,…

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