In the Negev, Religion Is Making the Desert Bloom

April 10 2019

Both in and out of office, one of David Ben-Gurion’s enduring passions was settling the Negev, the vast desert in southern Israel, and turning it into an agricultural powerhouse. Reviewing two recent books about this part of the Jewish state, Allan Arkush notes that “while development has not taken place on the scale or in the way that Ben-Gurion imagined, Israel has, in fact, made a large swath of the desert bloom.” Arkush begins with Yael Zerubavel’s Desert in the Promised Land:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: David Ben-Gurion, Judaism in Israel, Mizrahi Jewry, Negev

 

Is American Jewish Liberalism Dying?

June 30 2022

In the 1930s, a Republic Jewish judge, observing his coreligionists’ commitment to the Democratic party, quipped, in Yiddish, that Jews have three velt (worlds): di velt (this world), yene velt (the next world), and Roosevelt. Since then, Jewish devotion has attenuated somewhat, although Jews still overwhelmingly lean Democratic. Most American Jews, however, are unfamiliar with the terms “this world” or “the next world” in any language. Carefully examining a wealth of statistical data, Samuel J. Abrams and Jack Wertheimer argue that the sort of robust Jewish liberalism that characterized U.S. Jewry a few decades ago is in steep decline. Jews, they explain, are undergoing their own version of what political scientists call the “great sort,” whereby politics, religion, and place of residence increasingly align:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry, Liberalism, U.S. Politics