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The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology

13 Heshvan 5773 – October 28, 2012
The Nation of Islam's historic role as a bridge between American blacks and Islam ended in 1975 when W. Deen Mohammed followed his father, Elijah Muhammad, as leader of the Nation and immediately disavowed his father's folk religion, bringing his followers to normative Islam, the Islam of the Middle East. From then on, despite the theatrics of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation has been in a long downward trajectory. Now comes evidence, thanks to Tony Ortega in the Village Voice and Eliza Gray in The New Republic, of a jaw-dropping turn by Farrakhan, 79, to Scientology; as Gray's subtitle puts it, "America's two weirdest sects join forces."

The Downside of Religious Idealism

19 Tishri 5773 – October 5, 2012
Why is there so much animosity between Charedi and Dati Leumi/Religious Zionist factions? I can't fully answer the question. But I do have some thoughts about it. I think it is because Israelis are far more idealistic about their religious values - especially those who make Aliyah.

Outreach, Regrets and the Wrong Man for the Job

13 Tishri 5773 – September 28, 2012
There are many people who are born frum that have issues that are similar to ba'alei teshuva. We shouldn’'t be singling them out. But then the Rav went right into bashing Modern Orthodoxy Although he didn't label them outright it was clear from the context that the Modern Orthodox Jew is, according to him, the one with the real problem.

The Post-Structuralist Version of the Sermon on the Mount

24 Elul 5772 – September 11, 2012
We need to understand that a universalist civilization will not survive a contest with a tribalist one. If we don’t value our civilization, who will?

Universal Education or Universal Competence?

22 Elul 5772 – September 9, 2012
Politicians take for granted that education is the road to empowerment and equality. Obama has read poems off his teleprompter about the wonders of education as the only means of ensuring "our" children's future. There is nothing revolutionary about that. Every politician takes it for granted that education means empowerment. But does it really?

The World of Tomorrow

1 Elul 5772 – August 19, 2012
The slogan under which Obama hopes to win the next four years is "Forward". "Forward" is the quintessential progressive slogan, progressives being people who are so forward-thinking that they want to remake the 21st Century in line with their 19th Century ideas. Progressivism, like so many other flavors of futurism, is so new it's old.

The Moderate Paradox

26 Av 5772 – August 14, 2012
Our current political grammar, which leans heavily on ideas such as moderation and extremism, was crafted by the left. Like Orwell's Newspeak, the meaning of such words is relative and varies unpredictably. That relativism has given us the moderate Taliban and the moderate Muslim Brotherhood. Before long, it might give us the moderate Al-Qaeda member.

US Jewish Peace Group Calling Romney Racist over Palestinian Culture Comment

20 Av 5772 – August 7, 2012
Jewish Voice for Peace invited other haters of Israel to sign a letter to Mitt Romney, lambasting him for his "racist" and "ignorant" statements about Palestinians.

Romney Lays It Out: Progress and Success Versus Name-Calling And Bragging...

13 Av 5772 – August 1, 2012
Since Palestinian Authority leaders want to discuss culture, here’s one out of thousands of examples. Recently, at a cultural performance whose audience included the PA minister of culture, the songs and poetry spoke of how the main priority of raising children is to make sure they were ready to use guns—not computers—against you-know-who.

The ‘Culture’ Remark

So today there is a Palestinian culture which defines itself by opposition to Israel and Jews. Its heroes are Arabs who kill Jews because that is the culture’s highest value. It can express itself in religious terms, as in the Hamas charter‘s inclusion of a Islamic injunction to kill Jews “wherever you find them,” or in pan-Arab or Palestinian nationalist ones.

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match!”

27 Tammuz 5772 – July 17, 2012
Doing my best to copy Sholom Aleichem’s gifted portrayal, and adding a bit on my own, I transformed the downtrodden Jew of galut into a proud pioneer in the Holy Land and a brave fighter for Jewish freedom. It’s a saga that I am sure you and your children will love. And now, thanks to The Jewish Press, it’s free!

The Messiah Ain’t JeZeus, That’s for Sure!

21 Tammuz 5772 – July 11, 2012
The task of the Mashiach is to save the Jews from its enemies and rebuild the Nation of Israel, yet the followers of Jezeus have slaughtered millions and millions of Jews and done everything in their power to keep Israel lowly and weak.

Equus Opportunity

7 Tammuz 5772 – June 26, 2012
Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

Everybody’s Doing It

25 Iyyar 5772 – May 16, 2012
When we are on our own land we are commanded to keep every seventh year as the shemittah year, and at the completion of seven shemittahs to add an additional shemittah year – the yovel. During this year, all land lays fallow. Homesteads return to their original owners, and all Jewish slaves are freed.

Discovering the Holy Land, Hollywood Style

Omar Epps, on his second visit to Israel with America's Voices in Israel, explained that it was the country's "rich history, culture, people and energies" that drew him back. "For me personally, the spiritual significance of this place hits me to the core. The fact that the world's three ancient religions meet in one place makes the holiness of this land so unique," said Epps. "I'm bringing my kids here next time to experience this land together with my wife."

Mordechai Kedar: The Frustrated Intellectual – Tariq Hagi

22 Iyyar 5772 – May 14, 2012
Egyptian intellectual Tariq Hagi speaks frankly and openly about the many deep flaws that exist in Arab cultures. His message is different from that of most Arab spokesmen, because most Arab spokesmen strive to cover up the flaws in their societies, to conceal them and repress them - mainly because of the shame and the feeling of inferiority that these flaws arouse in them.

Hashgachah Pratis: Readers Respond (Continued from Last Week)

21 Nisan 5772 – April 12, 2012
For the past several weeks I have been focusing on hashgachah pratis – personal, individual and national guidance that comes from heaven. Sadly, in our secular, high pressured, very often decadent society, many voices assail us and we have difficulty hearing the still small voice of G-d leading and prodding us.

Video: Under the Prayer Shawl – Secrets of the Priestly Blessing

18 Nisan 5772 – April 10, 2012
"Under the Prayer Shawl - Secrets of the Priestly Blessing", was shot on location at the 2011 annual massive blessing by the Jewish Priests...
The beginning of the end? Ultra orthodox Jews watching a computer screen, perhaps for the first time in their lives.

‘The Unchosen Ones,’ New Reality TV Show, Will Follow Dropout Hasidim

This reality show we'll watch. Producer Noah Scheinmann has been pitching to the networks (with some early interest) a new reality TV show with the working title "The Unchosen Ones." He says it's less about religion and more about the culture shock that the main characters—two men and two women—face after leaving the insular Ultra Orthodox Jewish community.

Bird’s Head Haggadah Revealed – The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative &...

7 Nisan 5772 – March 29, 2012
Bird’s Head Haggadah Revealed The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative & Religious Imagination By Marc Michael Epstein, Yale University Press, New Haven and London 2011

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