the jewish week

Jews and Affirmative Action: What the CUNY Diversity Plan Gets Wrong

The logic that recently led CUNY to carve a specific category for Jewish faculty members—“White/Jewish”—for its new Diversity Actions Plan makes sense.  Apparently many Jewish faculty members felt that “White/Caucasian” didn’t adequately define their sense of ethnic affiliation.  But in the past two weeks since the news broke—the New York Post, true to from, put it on everyone’s agenda with its klieg-lit

So Much For Remembering: On Israel Forgetting Its History, and Expelling African Refugees

So much for remembering our history; farewell to compassion. Those were my thoughts after reading the news this week that Israel officially began its plan to expel thousands of African immigrants, many of whom claim to be seeking political asylum.  On Monday, 115 Africans—mostly from South Sudan, which came into being only recently, after the horrors of Darfur—were arrested by the Israeli police. Another 73 were detained at the Israeli border.

Was Vatican II All That Good For The Jews? A Berkeley Historian Takes Up the Issue

Vatican II—the Catholic Church’s commission that liberalized many Catholic practices—was a watershed for Jews, too.  The most famous Jewish-related doctrine to come out of it, “Nostra Aetate,” bluntly denounced anti-Semitism, and perhaps most significantly, said that Jews today, and throughout history, should not be held responsible for Jesus’ death.  Most often, Vatican II is celebrated by Jews as a great turning-point for Catholics, and something of a mea culpa for the Church’s problematic relationship with the Nazis.  But

The Crisis of Peter Beinart: On New York Magazine's New Profile

What Peter Beinart doesn’t lack is attention—what he lacks is friends.  That’s the conclusion you can draw from New York magazine’s lengthy profile of Beinart, the fiery liberal Jewish journalist who recently published his jeremiad warning of Israel’s imminent demise.  In “The Crisis of Zionism,” Beinart’s much bally-hooed new book, he argues that if the state continues to hold

Obama on Jews and American History: A Speech Worth Remembering

Shame on me for not knowing that May was Jewish American Heritage Month.  To be sure, it lacks the profile of Black History Month, but apparently in Washington it’s a big deal.  I was reminded of that when I read about Obama’s closing remarks at the White House on Wednesday, when he took pains to highlight the central anecdote of historian Jonathan Sarna’s new book, “When General Grant Expelled the Jews.”

Caligula and the Jews

The tales of Caligula’s reign over Rome are so rich with gore, sadism and opulence that few bother even to check if they’re true.  That blithe disregard for factual accuracy is hard not to excuse, what with stories like this: one contemporary, writing in the first century A.D., wrote that the Caligula once had the father of a man he was executing watch his son die. Then, he had the father eat with him at dinner.  Other contemporary sources tell of Caligula’s alleged madness: he is said to have talked to horses, and insist that his own be installed in the Senate.

No, the Jews Don't Own Anxiety -- What The New York Times Essay Got Right

In this Sunday’s New York Times, you may have seen the Week in Review front-cover essay by Daniel Smith.  With the header, “Do the Jews Own Anxiety?” it was low-hanging fruit for the paper’s editors to play up on the page 1, given that anything with Jews in the title is almost guaranteed to make the “Most Emailed” list. (Sure enough, on Monday, it broke the Top 10.)

Hofesh Shechter Takes on New York: Israeli Choreography and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Hofesh Shechter often gets annoyed when people only see Jewish or Israeli references in his choreography. “It’s a very interesting, conflicted way the world sees Jews,” he told me a while back. “People [in England] refer to me as Jewish rather than Israeli. There’s this pigeonhole, this file that says ‘Jewish’ on it.” 

Is Israel's National Anthem, 'Hatikva,' Racist? A New Debate Gains Steam

Jews have a long history revising liturgy they find offensive.  The Reform movement has often led that charge, doing away with, for the most part, patrilineal prayers they think should be gender-neutral, and thus more inclusive.

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