Halakhah Provides a Uniquely Rabbinic Way of Analyzing the Human Condition

Dec. 13 2018

In his recent book, Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law, Chaim Saiman asks why Judaism has traditionally seen the study of the intricacies of tort law, or the minutiae of long-defunct sacrificial rituals, as the highest form of religious devotion. Saiman argues that halakhah in fact provided ancient rabbis with a rubric for discussing the profoundest questions about God and the human condition in a way that never departs from concrete reality. He discusses these ideas, the future of talmudic education, and the meaning of Jewish law in the state of Israel in conversation with Mark Gottlieb. (Audio, 46 minuntes.)

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More about: Halakhah, Jewish education, Judaism in Israel, Religion & Holidays


The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media