Three Great Reads from the Jewish Journal

Check out these fantastic new offerings from Jewish Journal writers on the topics that matter most to our readers:

The massacre brought Jewish history back into our lives, while also making us a part of Jewish history. It infused the hardships of the Jewish people into us, welding us with hellfire in the historical continuum of Jewish suffering.

With the buzz over Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress building and the America-Israel relationship continuing to play an outsized role on the presidential campaign trail, it’s worth revisiting how the Jewish state was reborn thanks in part to the advocacy of an Israeli statesman to an American president.

A couple of weeks ago, nearly 300 Jewish “influencers” descended upon New York City. They weren’t here to stop the violent riots, remove Islamist propaganda from our schools, or even to get the media to stop lying about Israel. No, they were here to celebrate themselves, a skill they excel at.

Three Great Reads from Around the Web

Every week, we scour the web for the best takes to feature in the Roundtable. Here are some of the most interesting articles that we found along the way:

Many modern-day practitioners come to ancient Greek religion through neo-paganism, which has been on the rise for decades, with followers numbering around 1.5 million in the U.S. at present. Although it is almost impossible to collect numbers on how many practitioners are active in the United States, anecdotally this subgroup represents a small portion of that 1.5 million.

Death by strangulation, decapitation, exsanguination. Buried alive, burned on pyres, crushed by stones, thrown off cliffs.

Homo sapiens in nearly every part of the world has practiced human sacrifice at some point over at least five millennia…

Olivia Laing presents gardens as an expression of utopian ideals, including one that’s at the core of the fight to save the Elizabeth Street Garden: the belief that people’s lives are enriched with access to land they can use freely.

Commentary on Parashat Chukat

Parashat Chukat features the death of Aaron and Miriam, brother and sister of Moses, and the story of Moses striking the stone, a sin for which God will condemn him to die without ever entering the holy land.

We often call those who try to force the hand of the messiah religious extremists, but it seems to me that they are actually in the grips of a great crisis of faith.

Addled by an increasing certainty that the messiah is not going to show up after all, they decide to make redemption happen on their own.

The Talmud notes that the well disappearing after her death demonstrates the well’s presence only due to Miriam. Miriam being a righteous person impacts not only herself but everyone. This demonstrates the imprint that someone can have.

Aaron’s death is recalled with additional details about him including the resonant phrase also used to describe the death of Moses: he died al pi Adonai—at the command of Adonai. The literal meaning of this phrase, “at (or by) the mouth of God,” generated the beautiful midrash that both Aaron and Moses died by means of God’s kiss, suggesting a life ending with the same gentle and loving intimacy by which God began human life in our original creation—“God blew into [the human’s] nostrils the breath of life and the human became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)

Three New Jewish Podcasts

Just in time for the weekend, three new podcasts about Judaism, Jewish culture, and Israel.

Rena Yehuda Newman (They/Them) is a Jewish, transgender writer, educator, independent publisher, and illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Rena Yehuda is also the new Director of the UnYeshiva Certificate Program. They join Lex on the podcast for a conversation about the UnYeshiva Certificate Program and how creative, collaborative learning environments can help us envision emergent Jewish futures.

Rav Nagen teaches Talmud, Kabbalah, and Jewish philosophy as a senior educator at Yeshiva Otniel. He is an extensive writer with four books and hundreds of articles. His latest book on peace and universalism in Jewish Messianic thought, U-Shmo Echad (God Shall Be One), will be released in English this summer.

Now, he sits down with us to answer 18 questions on Israel, including Israeli democracy, non-Jewish citizens in a Jewish state, whether Messianism is helpful or harmful, and so much more.

How close is Israel to reaching a hostage deal with Hamas and – with that – a temporary ceasefire that could possibly become a permanent ceasefire? And why does this negotiations process have direct implications for Israel’s Northern border, between Hezbollah and Israel? Could a Gaza ceasefire result in a de-escalation on Israel’s Northern border?

Today’s Hot Issues

Three Great Reads from the Jewish Journal Three Great Reads from Around the Web Commentary on Parashat Chukat Three New Jewish Podcasts