Articles

Environment

Trusting the Water Again: Understanding the West Virginia Chemical Spill

On the morning of January 9, 2014, Charleston residents noticed that the air smelled like licorice and that the water tasted like it too. Inspectors soon traced the odor and taste to a chemical storage facility owned by a company called Freedom Industries. There, near the bank of the Elk River, inspectors discovered that a 48,000-gallon tank was leaking an industrial chemical called MCHM (methylcyclohexane methanol) used to cleanse coal.
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Judaism

The Tikkun Passover Supplement

The Jewish liberation holiday, Passover, has messages for anyone seeking to heal the world. This supplement expands on the Haggadah (Seder guide).
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Interfaith

The Tao of Torah

More than a decade ago I was invited to join a monthly Torah study group in the San Francisco Bay Area that met at the homes of the group members. All of the members were currently or had once been …
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Books

Very Much Present at the Creation: John Judis’s Book on American Jews and the Establishment of Israel

Judis’s history, which stresses the importance of American Jewish/Zionist activism and lobbying in persuading President Harry Truman to support the establishment of a Jewish state, is not that different from the received narrative. What is different is that Judis makes explicit that he doesn’t understand how American Jewish liberals could so completely forsake their liberal ideas when it came to opposing Palestinian efforts to retain their homeland.
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Israel/Palestine

“Our Nation Is Only a Nation in Its Torah”: On Haredi Refusal and Democratic Discourse

The Haredi community has always been a thorn in the side of secular Israelis because the Haredi community does not buy into the Zionist ideology or the militarist symbology of the state. To move forward, Israel has to make room for this political and religious voice in the conversation.
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LGBT

How Jews Brought America to the Tipping Point on Marriage Equality: Lessons for the Next Social Justice Issues

The story of Jews’ contributions has continuing political relevance. The campaign for marriage equality offers valuable lessons for how to break through public resistance on other issues that Jewish groups are now addressing, including economic justice initiatives like paid sick leave, rights for domestic workers, and raising the minimum wage.
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Politics & Society

Accounting for Egyptians’ Exuberance for Violence

It was very hard to come to grips with the fact that on the third anniversary of the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution, tens of thousands of Egyptians were chanting nationalist slogans while waving photos, placards, banners and posters of General Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, exhibiting a kind of hero worship and cult of personality that was unimaginable in the Mubarak era.
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Fiction

At the Gravesite

Had I become an academic only to disprove the myth that Jews are only interested in making money, or to confirm the stereotype that Jews are smart? Or did I honestly hope to influence the younger generation?
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Israel/Palestine

From Anti-Zionism to Settler Post-Zionism: What do the Settler Movement and Neturei Karta Have in Common?

There are arguably no two movements in Israel as disparate as the Settler Movement (known as Yesha) and Neturei Karta. Yesha represents the community of Israelis who live in the West Bank. It does not support a two-state solution and remains wed to a Greater Israel ideology that claims all of historic Erez Israel belongs to the Jews. Members of Neturei Karta are what we might call premillenialists. They are against a Jewish State in the Land of Israel claiming that tradition dictates that the messiah will come solely by divine fiat and the job of the Jews is to perform mitzvot and passively await his arrival.
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Judaism

Jacob, Joseph, and His Brothers: A Story of Child Abuse?

Almost no one wants to talk about the abuse of children, so it is understandable that almost no one wants to address Jacob’s abuse of Joseph–yet the text itself supports this reading.
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Poetry

Furlough

“I love to see those tall, lean, muscular men/with their clean-shaven heads and digital” a poem by Barbara Goldberg
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Books

Alona Kimhi’s Magical Brutalism

Lily La Tigresse is unsparing in its critique, but it’s also seminal in terms of launching its indictment of Israel—a society that, in Kimhi’s view, is no more generous or compassionate than the barbarous terrain of Europe, not to mention the U.S.S.R.
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Poetry

Winter Commute

Dear friend, asleep / upright in a seat / when I boarded the train / goat-stepping over / your legs outstretched / why didn’t I wake you / but instead watched / you sleep. A poem by Joshua Weiner.
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Books

Doing Justice in an Unjust World

Thad Williamson reviews Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation by Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda.
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Nonviolent Activism

Nelson Mandela: A Jewish Perspective

Jews love and loved Nelson Mandela. He inspired us with his insistence that the old regime of apartheid would crumble more quickly and fully when faced with revolutionary love and compassion than when faced with anger and violence. Mandela also challenged us to think deeply about whether the current situation in Israel/Palestine reflects the ethic of compassion that is so central to Judaism.
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