A quiet revolution is taking place in the second generation of women's Torah study. Originally women's Talmud learning was modeled after the male yeshiva: students were detached from the surrounding world and were expected to confine themselves to the Beit Midrash in order to achieve a total absorption into the world of Torah. There was also methodological aping: analyses that required a thumb stirring the air and intellectual hair splitting of the Talmudic topics dominated.
We are relieved that congressional Republicans and the Obama administration were able to avert a government shutdown last week that would have hurt the U.S. economy and disrupted countless services. But there was something deeply disturbing about the process that led the nation to the brink of a shutdown — a politics-plagued process that is only likely to accelerate as Congress turns next to the issues of raising the nation's debt limit and next year’s federal budget.
Gilad Shalit will be getting a visitor next Monday night — Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah). In the comfort of our own homes, the rest of us can and should remember this Fifth Son — wise and able to ask but unable to be heard. At the seder on this night of memory, with its promises of Redemption, it would be appropriate to remember Shalit, a slave awaiting a miracle all his own.
Alexander Machkevitch, 57, is a Jewish billionaire little known in America, and from a country virtually unknown in the West — Kyrgyzstan, a Muslim republic of the former Soviet Union. He was in the U.S. last week, seeking a higher profile in announcing his plan to launch an international news network that would rival Al Jazeera and “deliver true information all over the world.”
During the 20th century, Jews suffered terribly under right-wing, chauvinistic and nationalist governments, whether in Romania, Poland, Hungary between the two world wars or in Germany after 1933. Historically speaking, Jews have flourished and achieved success under liberal democratic regimes.
As Steve and Cokie Roberts, the journalists and authors, have crisscrossed the country promoting their new interfaith Haggadah and celebrating interfaith marriage as “the new normal,” I’ve been thinking back on my encounter with Steve in 2008.
Forty-three years ago this month, our nation watched the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. The images were seared into our minds, along with the sense that our nation had lost a beacon of hope in the ongoing struggle for racial and economic justice. Though he had lived to see many important advances and constitutional guarantees for all Americans regardless of race or creed, Dr. King was murdered before he had made much progress toward another vitally important goal: economic justice.