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Journal Watch

Special to the Jewish Week
04/28/2010

The Talmud — and everybody else — ponders the puzzling discrepancy between the two formulations in the Chumash with respect to the Sabbath. One iteration of the Ten Commandments (or “Articles”) in the Chumash uses the word shamor (“keep, guard”), while another uses zachor (“remember”) to describe the broad Sabbath requirement. These two locutions have been midrashically interpreted in different ways, in the broad range of halachic details that the Torah places under rubric of Shabbat.

Sports Nicknames And The Jews

04/29/2005
Special to the Jewish Week

When an ethnic group or race endearingly becomes the nickname for a sports team, does that signal their arrival or shame? Native Americans have long decried the way sports fans have adopted tomahawk chops and tribal chants as ways to either root for or ridicule the Indians, Braves, and Redskins. On the other hand, the Irish don't seem at all bothered by Notre Dame's celebration of the poetry to their more pugnacious side.

Rabbis’ Posse Closing In On Avi Weiss

The RCA doesn’t like the way Avi has been spinning things, he’s been talking too loudly and defiantly, saying that he came away with a victory – about anything. So now the word “maharat” has to go, not just “rabba.” Both the RCA and Agudah are in agreement that Hebrew Institute itself will now have to decide if it is Orthodox or not. This is no longer about Avi alone.
 

An 18-minute Pesach Preparation

03/11/2010

 

In the Torah, shmura matzah — watched or guarded matzah — is one of the primary mitzvot of Passover. “You shall guard the matzot” (Ex. 12:17) is the commandment that guides the production of unleavened bread, protected from harvesting to baking, to ensure that the combination of water and flour do not remain together beyond 18 minutes, when forbidden chametz forms.

Photo By Getty Image

The Kassam Diaries

03/05/2008
Israel Correspondent

Sderot, Israel — With a friendship confined to opposite poles of the Israel-Palestinian war zone — this southern border town and a Gaza refugee camp  — the two men have not seen each other in about a year because of an escalating cycle of violence.

But they have been reunited in the blogosphere, writing a joint diary to stave off their own despair and prove that a dialogue is still possible across their bloody divide.

Four-Way Tug Of War

01/30/2008
Israel Correspondent

Ramallah, West Bank — The crisis of Rafah’s open border morphed into a four-way diplomatic power struggle this week that reinforced Hamas’ ascendance in the rivalry against President Mahmoud Abbas’ weaker Palestinian Authority.

A Palestinian Authority official said Abbas wants the Egyptians to help him deploy some 200 to 300 of his presidential guard forces along the border in order to uphold the Palestinian commitments under a U.S.-brokered agreement with Israel that’s supposed to keep the passages open.

The True True Story

08/26/2009
Special To The Jewish Week

The two penguins, singing Hebrew songs, watched in awe as their magic sukkah took off from the zoo, flying high over the city and the countryside, their long journey to Israel interrupted by a quick stop at the ruins of Macchu Picchu....

My kids interrupt me. Lior, who is 4, asks me: “Are the penguins magic?” Aviv, my 7-year-old, waves off this old, tired question. Despite his inquisitive innocence, he goes for the ontological jugular: “Who told you the story? And how do you know it’s true?”

Iran Bombshell

12/07/2007

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which downplayed the immediacy of the Iranian nuclear threat and claimed that Tehran suspended its weapons program in 2003, exploded like a charge of TNT in Washington’s foreign policy establishment this week. On the left, there was a collective “I told you so” as analysts portrayed the report by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as “proof” that the Iranian threat was little more than a neo-con hallucination.

When Veterans Come Home

06/22/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

Much of the public thinks of a soldier’s return home as a joyous time for the veteran and his or her family, but the reality can be more complicated, said Jacob Remo, the commander of a Jewish War Veterans post near Boston and a member of JWV’s Health Initiatives Committee.

The transition from war to peace is often difficult as roles change within the family, as the soldier returns to work or looks for a new job and as civilian life begins anew, Remo said, adding that all members of the family feel the stress.

Sobibor Survivor Testifies In Demjanjuk Trial

01/22/2010

(JTA) — A survivor testifying at the war crimes trial of accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk said he did not recall seeing Demjanjuk at the camp.

The court heard Tuesday from Thomas Blatt, 82, one of the few remaining survivors of the Sobibor death camp. Blatt, who lost his family there, recounted many details about his months at the camp until he escaped during a prisoner uprising in October 1942. He said he could not remember seeing Demjanjuk there.

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