Three Great Jewish Journal Reads

Where do we find G-d in tough times?

What can educators learn from Gen Z?

Have the Abraham Accords succeeded?

For eighteen months, we’ve struggled with isolation and disruption. We know the fear and reality of illness and loss. We’re uneasy about getting close to one another, accustomed to distancing from our loved ones, friends, and communities. We may feel distanced from God as well.

When we get older, we tend to think we’re more mature and more serious. Too often we can have a disposition of looking down on the values and choices of generations that come after us. But, we can avoid falling into this trap. We can remember that there is always something we can learn from the new generation.

It is worth reflecting on how Bennett’s visit to Egypt was both a legacy of the Israel-Egypt peace agreement and an effort to move beyond it. When Israel and Egypt signed their peace treaty in March 1979, it garnered a different reaction than the Abraham Accords did four decades later.

Three Great Reads from Around the Web

Is it possible to be self-aware?

Do animals have a concept of mortality?

Is the simplest solution always the best?

One of the most unsettling findings of modern psychology is that we often don’t know why we do what we do. You can ask somebody: Why’d you choose that house? Or why’d you marry that person? Or why’d you go to graduate school? People will concoct some plausible story, but often they really have no idea why they chose what they did.

Despite the persuasive performance of death, no one would assume that the opossum herself believes that she’s playing dead. Her behaviour is most likely automatic, and the opossum no more knows that she’s disguising as a corpse than a stick-insect knows that she looks like a stick. While this presupposition is probably right, it would nevertheless be wrong of us to assume that there’s nothing to learn about animals’ concept of death from the opossum’s display.

Occam’s razor is like a country we can’t quite place on the map; we know it’s something to do with simplicity, but we’re not sure exactly what… At its heart is the idea that simplicity can in some way help us decide between competing theories, all else being equal… Perhaps the most persistent of the confusions is that this means simpler wins every time, against any alternative.

Commentary on Parashat Ha’azinu

This week at the Jewish Journal, Parashat Ha’azinu is under discussion. In Parashat Ha’azinu, Moses delivers a parting poem to the Israelites, and is told by G-d that the time for him to die has arrived.

We most often think of Moses in terms of his relationship to the people. He delivered us, he brought us the Torah, he led us through the wilderness. In Parashat Haazinu, we remember that he also had a relationship with himself, which we see play out through his development as speaker.

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth! My lesson will drip like rain; my word will flow like dew; like storm winds on vegetation and like raindrops on grass…

-Deut. 32:1-2

Rabbi Elliot Dorff: The Torah’s image of Moses’ lesson being like rain seems especially poignant for us in the West as we live through a serious drought. We deeply crave rain to put out the many fires that are destroying forests, homes, and full communities and also to nurture nature back to life.

Moses advises the people of Israel that, in times of difficulty, shirah (song) will bear witness [to] the covenant with Israel…

Some suggest that the song referenced here is limited to Ha’azinu while others insist it is more encompassing, as the whole of Torah is a song. Either way, the characteristic of being a song insures that it “shall not be forgotten.” What is the power of song that is so unique?

Three New Jewish Podcasts

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

Shmuel Rosner and Donald M.Lewis discuss his book: “A Short History of Christian Zionism: From the Reformation to the Twenty-First Century.”

Dan and Lex dive into a brand new Judaism Unbound initiative called The UnYeshiva. The UnYeshiva is a brand-new, digital-first, center for Jewish learning (and unlearning, hence the name UnYeshiva!), offering a mixture of synchronous (in-real-time) and asynchronous (at your own pace) courses.

Intelligence analyst and military veteran Michael Pregent joins JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan S. Tobin to discuss the debacle in Afghanistan and the implications of the Taliban’s triumph for American security and for its allies.

Today’s Hot Issues

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