Three Great Reads from the Jewish Journal

Why the news can’t make us happy; a closer look at the Buffalo Massacre; and a look at Bob Dylan’s Jewish identity.

Many of us have a disconnect in our lives: we claim to seek happiness, but we can’t stop looking at the last thing that will make us happy — the news, especially the bad news.

The Buffalo Massacre is the third major, multi-victim crime this year in which antisemitic conspiracy theory played a central role. In all three cases, the antisemitic element has been ignored, downplayed or misunderstood.

Clearly, “Neighborhood Bully” is a Zionist anthem. Every line, the vast majority of which I cannot include in this column, waxes poetically on the Jewish-Israeli experience, blurring the lines between how one perceives the Jewish people as a unit and how one views Israel as a state.

Three Great Reads from Around the Web

Why mindfulness works; how the new language police operate; and a Jewish blessing for finding lost objects.

If mindfulness is so great, then, why aren’t all of us practicing it every day? Why are we still spending our time romanticizing or regretting the past and anticipating the future? I think the answer is that mindfulness is not very natural, and actually quite hard.

A certain type of language policing is on the rise. It begins with a familiar word or phrase and ends with the writer, editor, consultant, or mental health expert telling us it is offensive or even dangerous.

Jewish people have many segulos, actions we perform to invite blessings from God. One of the oldest is intended to help someone find a lost object. Sourced very loosely on a story from the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 18a-b), a person who has lost an item is directed to donate charity in the merit of the tanna Rabbi Meir.

Commentary on Parashat Behar

This week at the Jewish Journal, Parashat Behar is under discussion. Parashat Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) – contains the laws of the Sabbatical year and the Jubilee year, during which work on the land ceases, servants are set free, and land reverts to its original owners.

If your brother becomes destitute and his hand falters beside you, you shall support him [whether] a convert or a resident, so that he can live with you.

–Lev. 25:35

Bracha Goetz: Our Torah’s directives are deeply embedded within us. We continue to respond to the pain of faltering family members, no matter how far away they may be, since we are, in truth, one single entity.

The Torah tells us to have reverence for the “sanctuary” in the final verse of the sidrah. This command seems to appear out of place in a portion which deals mainly with laws governing financial relations among people that are aimed at limiting the degree to which the wealthy can exert control over the less privileged.

The Torah itself is regarded as a gift that we were given only after our own efforts. It is similar to the Jubilee Year that is also earned after seven cycles of seven years.

We are currently in the midst of the count up to Shavuot on June 4. Now would be the perfect time put in that effort.

Three New Jewish Podcasts

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

Shmuel Rosner and Ben-Tsiyon Klibansky discuss his book: The Golden Age of the Lithuanian Yeshivas.
Ben-Tsiyon Klibansky is a lecturer at Efrata College in Jerusalem. A native of Lithuania, a senior electronics engineer, and formerly an innovative technology–intensive projects manager, he is an editor and researcher in the history of the Lithuanian Jewry.

We are honored to have the comedy legend Dom Irrera join the podcast this week. An old friend of Mark’s, he and Dom go way back to their start in the 1970’s NYC comedy scene.

Andrew Tobolowsky, author of a new book entitled The Myth of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, joins Dan and Lex to talk about what the Twelve Tribes of Israel myth is, and why it matters. They explore the ways in which groups have mobilized it — all around the world — for a few thousand years, and how that conversation across the millennia can help us better understand how people (and communities) continually construct and reinvent their identities.

Today’s Hot Issues

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