Tag Judaism

The Many Gods of Ancient Monotheism

Paula Fredriksen— How is the ancient Jew—and, later, the ancient Christian—distinguished from his contemporary neighbor, the pagan? Biblical communities were monotheist, many people will answer; pagan communities were polytheist. For majority culture, many divinities populated the heavens. Biblical religions, more austere, clung to belief in a single god. Belief that

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American and Israeli Jews Tell Different Truths About the Holocaust

Hannah Pollin-Galay— “The End of the Jewish People is Here.” This is not a headline from the 1940’s but from June 2018. It appeared as one of many articles reporting on a survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee, which polled American and Israeli Jews on a range of contemporary

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Two Rocks in the Holy Land

Gabriel Said Reynolds— A traveler walking along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem could be forgiven for missing the ruins of the Kathisma Church. The ruins, found just past a gas station and just before the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Elias, are overgrown with weeds and strewn with rubble,

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What is Religion?

Richard Holloway— As with many useful words, symbol comes from Greek. It means to bring together things that had come apart, the way you might glue the bits of a broken plate together. Then a symbol became an object that stood for or represented something else. It still had the idea of

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Bound Together by Law

Jessica M. Marglin— Terrorism; attacks on a kosher supermarket in Paris; fights over who can pray on the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as the Haram al-Sharif. When we juxtapose Jews and Muslims today, these are the sorts of associations that usually come to mind. The conflict in Israel/Palestine, and

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Catholic Anxiety and Jewish Protest in the Age of Revolutions

Kenneth Stow— In 1749, a young Jewish girl of Rome, the eighteen-year-old Anna del Monte, was kidnapped and taken to the Catecumeni, the Roman House of Converts. She had been accused of expressing a desire to convert to Catholicism by one Sabato Cohen, who had himself converted in the hopes of

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The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization: An Interview with Felix Posen

The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization will be a ten-volume collection of 3,000 years of Jewish literature, artwork, and artifacts. We sat down with Felix Posen, who conceived the project, to ask about his hopes for the anthology, his perspective on secularism, and his thoughts on technology and preservation.

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Hymnals and Haggadot: Six Books for Easter and Passover

This weekend is an important one for many as Jews give thanks for their freedom from slavery and Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you’re attending a Seder, going to church, enjoying both religions’ traditions, or skipping the observances entirely, you might enjoy reading up on the histories

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Albert Einstein: Scientist, Pacifist, Zionist

Steven Gimbel— When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint meeting of the US Congress, one could almost see the ghost of Albert Einstein in the room. Netanyahu was urging a tough stance in negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program, citing its existence as an existential threat

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David and Moses: The Men, the Myths, the Legends

David Wolpe— David represents one strand of the Jewish tradition, one that these days causes so much pride and angst and generates so much news. Jewish religious history is divided, in some senses, between Moses and David: Moses is the desert, wandering, and Mt Sinai. David is the land, government,

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