A Film about a Rabbi-Turned-Transgender Theologian Exposes What Happens When Self-Discovery Takes Precedence over Obligations to Others

July 27 2020

Set to premier in the U.S. in January, the Israeli film I Was Not Born a Mistake tells the story of Yiscah (né Jeffrey, formerly Yaakov) Smith, from secular American Jew to Chabad rabbi to secular gay man to a transsexual, religiously observant teacher of Judaism. Smith, drawing on various bits of kabbalah and ḥasidic thought, has even created a Jewish transgender theology, which, Sarah Rindner writes, is “not . . . much different from what many self-styled self-help gurus offer spiritually hungry audiences.” But, to Rindner, the “emptiness” of this theology is not “the most urgent question the film raises.”

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Read more at First Things

More about: Film, Judaism, Transsexuals

In Yemen, Iran Is Preparing for Its Next War with Israel

Sept. 20 2021

In the past few weeks, Houthi rebels backed by Iran have escalated their attacks on Saudi and Emirati positions in Yemen. On September 4, they also launched multiple ballistic-missile and drone attacks on several Aramco facilities within Saudi Arabia. The U.S. removed some of its anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia a week later, rendering the kingdom even more vulnerable. The Houthis—who mark every missile and drone launch by chanting their slogan, “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam!”—are part of the network of militias and proxy groups Tehran dubs the “axis of resistance,” which also operate in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. Michael Segall writes:

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza Strip, Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Yemen