The term postmodernism refers loosely to the ideas of various thinkers of the second half of the 20th century who critically interrogated the philosophical foundations of modernity. Included in this group are Jews such as Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas; the latter, in fact, received a traditional education and wrote works about the Talmud. But postmodernity also refers to a description of the present era. Thus, Miriam Feldmann-Kaye contends, even those who reject various arguments advanced by postmodern writers must contend with how Judaism can answer the questions they raise. In conversation with J.J. Kimche, she explores what these problems are, and how some postmodern ideas can be fruitfully applied to Jewish texts, citing the example of such thinkers as Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg. Feldmann-Kaye and Kimche conclude by discussing the thought of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who rejected postmodernism while sharing its criticism of the Enlightenment.
What Judaism Can, and Can’t, Learn from Postmodernism
Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy
Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:
Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.
Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.
In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.