Contrary to Stereotypes, Vibrant Intellectual Life Can Be Found in Hasidic Communities

In general, ḥasidic Jews tend to look askance at academic Jewish studies, even when its practitioners are pious Jews. Thus Joshua Berman, an Orthodox rabbi and professor of Bible, was taken aback when a small group of Satmar Ḥasidim approached him to give an online seminar on his recent book on biblical criticism and Jewish faith (an extract can be read here, and Berman discussed the book on our podcast here). The five participants were not heretics-in-the-making, but simply eager to expand their intellectual horizons:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Allan Bloom, Biblical criticism, Biblical scholarship, Hasidism, Satmar

Hamas Is Winning the War for Palestinian, and Israeli Arab, Hearts and Minds

While many in the West seem to think the current fighting in Israel is about housing policy, or human rights, or the selective blockade of the Gaza Strip, the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders and on Palestinian social media makes clear that it is in fact about al-Aqsa mosque. This should come as no surprise: fabricated claims that “al-Aqsa is in danger” have been used to provoke anti-Jewish violence for a hundred years. In this particular case, explains Haviv Rettig Gur, both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party exploited the claim in their rivalry for Palestinian hearts and minds:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas, Israeli Arabs, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict