Three Great Reads from the Jewish Journal

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

September 2023 marks 30 years since the signing of the Oslo Peace Agreement between Israel and the PLO. Dozens of pundits are authoring scholarly articles on “Why the Oslo Peace Process failed to bring peace.” To these I would like to add my own opinion: It failed because it never started. The Palestinians never intended to follow the agreement and certainly not to pursue a process toward peace.

Jews believe that the source of all our success comes from Hashem. We are supposed to work hard and put in our hishtadlut, our effort, but we are also not supposed to push ourselves so much that we have trouble fulfilling other mitzvot like learning Torah, observing Shabbat and taking care of our families and ourselves. We aren’t supposed to suffer when making a living.

I love sharing challah on Fridays and hosting Hanukkah parties and seders. Some of my fondest memories include my mom introducing latkes to my preschool classmates in the early ‘90s and dragging my friends to Sunday bagel brunch at our college Hillel. These moments celebrating together have always brought me joy, but as an adult, the weight of frequent explanations of our nuanced traditions has become heavier. I’ll always know about Santa and December 25, but it’s tiring having to be a keeper of our holiest days and customs.

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:

It’s now official: America is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness. That’s not a metaphor—it is, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a major public health crisis. On May 3, Murthy formally announced a “National Strategy to Advance Social Connection” geared toward reducing the emotional isolation that is damaging our psyches and our bodies.

Shelby Foote (1916-2005) was one the greatest American writers—one of the greatest Jewish American writers. His trilogy The Civil War: A Narrative, published between 1958 and 1974, is to history what Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (Foote’s favorite and most-read book) is to the novel, masterful in its staggering scope, architectonic sentences, and dazzling reversals of perspective and characterization.

Americans are sick of business as usual. This year alone, more than 275 strikes have broken out across the country, and last week, nearly 13,000 members of the United Auto Workers joined the picket line to demand a better deal with their employers.

So what’s going on with work in America?

Commentary on Parashat Ha’Azinu

Parashat Ha’azinu features a prophetic poem which foretells the future of the Jewish people. Moses begins the poem by calling upon the sky and the earth to listen to his prophetic warnings.

Just like Moses suggests in our parashah, there are patterns that repeat themselves over and over. We should at least be conscious of the fact that if we do fall into the trap of complacency, there is a rope with which to pull ourselves out.

Our focus this week centers on dissecting a single verse from this intricate poem.

Notably, even Rashi, the renowned commentator, offers multifaceted explanations for certain concepts within this verse, such as the word “kanecha” (קנך), which typically means “acquired,” but also carries connotations of “nest” and “fixing.”

The Ramban teaches that Ha’azinu is a Divine song fusing Israel’s past, present and future. It recognizes and expresses the total harmony of Creation to the extent that there become no conflicts or contradictions. Through this prophetic song, Israel is exposed to the ideal vision with which to look at the world – how events in our personal, communal, national and global lives come to fully clarify and enhance one another when viewed through the proper holistic lens.

Three New Jewish Podcasts

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

On this episode of Taste Buds with Deb, I speak with Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard, Executive Director ofJewish Initiative For Animals (JIFA). JIFA’s mission is to help align people’s food choices with their stated Jewish values. Bernhard shares his food journey, tips for eating and cooking a plant-based diet and his thoughts on the essential role of food. He also shares his wife’s recipe for Shabbat Treat Scones.

Danya Ruttenberg, the Scholar-in-Residence for the National Council of Jewish Women – and also (unofficially) the “Rabbi of Twitter” according to many – joins Dan and Lex for a special Yom Kippur episode of Judaism Unbound! Together they explore her book, On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World, considering what it has to teach us about the process of making amends, and asking how its lessons could help us create deeper and more meaningful forms of Yom Kippur experience.

In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to psychologist Dr. Joshua Coleman, about the nuances of familial estrangement and reconciliation. Then, we hear from mindset coach Jason Blau and translator Izzy Posen about how these issues play out within the Jewish community.

Today’s Hot Issues

Three Great Reads from the Jewish Journal Three Great Reads from Around the Web Commentary on Parashat Ha’Azinu Three New Jewish Podcasts