Three Great Reads from the Jewish Journal

On Jewish weddings, creative aging, and “OG Jews.”

…the combined share of secular Israelis who’d choose a Jewish wedding, Rabbinate or not, is less than 50%. In other words, more than half of the seculars in Israel would not choose a Jewish wedding… A Jewish wedding ought to be something that we all want — an uncontroversial and happy celebration that mixes the personal and the communal.

This series is about creative aging, and inherent in aging with creativity is courage, coupled with a more urgent responsibility to speak up against injustice. I was compelled by last week’s story about the USC School of Social Work, issuing an edict that the word “field” is to be excised from the lexicon of their professional terminology.

These are the “OG Jews”, the “original gangsters” (an internet slang to describe an extraordinary person) whose old-school attitudes and personal experiences made them acutely sensitive to the old story of the Jewish diaspora and how it always unfolds, even in the United States. While most of American Jewry floated along in a dreamlike haze of social action pseudo-religion and dangerously and naively attached itself wholly to one political party, these old-fashioned communities of “OG Jews” stood apart.

Three Great Reads from Around the Web

On people who don’t read books, the power of pleasure, and “spiritual psychotics.”

It is one thing in practice not to read books, or not to read them as much as one might wish. But it is something else entirely to despise the act in principle. Identifying as someone who categorically rejects books suggests a much larger deficiency of character.

…does the joy we get from two glasses of wine, over dinner with friends, offset the physiological drawbacks in any way? (And if we’re keeping it real, parents, especially, might want a glass of wine.) Does the pleasure from a rich meal, one you lovingly prepared for your family, nourish your soul even if it raises your cholesterol?

I open up TikTok. The first video on my For You page, TikTok’s algorithmically customized landing screen, begins with a woman speaking into her phone, determined: “When your partner is saying things you don’t want to hear, and you want to use manifestation to fix it, you tune them out, respectfully, of course.” She continues, “You stop listening, and what you start doing instead is saying in your head what you want them to be saying.”

Commentary on Parashat Bo

This week at the Jewish Journal, Parashat Bo is under discussion. Parashat Bo features the final three plagues of Egypt, the people of Israel’s departure from Egypt, and the first Pesach celebration.

“This is how you shall eat it,” God says of the Passover sacrifice, “your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly” (12:11).

In other words, they are being told that the sacrifice will be eaten in costume—and that the costume is that of an Israelite fleeing Egyptian bondage. This commandment, however, is being addressed to actual Israelites as they flee Egyptian bondage. They are thus being commanded to pitch themselves forward to a time in the future when they will be looking back at the exodus as a story.

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you. – Exodus 12:1-2

Judy Gruen: We’ve all seen at least 100 variations of the call, “30 Days to a New You!” It is a truth universally acknowledged through self-help books, articles, and training programs that if you want to develop a new habit, retrain your brain to think differently or make any other lasting change, doing it for 30 days usually hits the sweet spot.

After the seventh plague, Pharaoh gives the Israelites permission to leave, and then belatedly asks who Moses is intending to bring. According to the commentators, Pharaoh imagines that just the religious and political leadership will travel to offer sacrifices in the desert, leaving behind those most vulnerable, as a guarantee that all will return.

Three New Jewish Podcasts

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

Shefa Gold is an educator, composer, and spiritual leader whose music, teachings, and spiritual methodologies have influenced clergy, lay-leaders, and seekers around the world — she joins Dan Libenson and Lex Rofeberg for the 5th episode in an ongoing series on Jewish spirituality. Together they explore the transformative potential of the Song of Songs (a biblical book whose central theme is love), and they immerse in forms of Jewish sacred-chant. Gold brings some of those chants to our podcast in real time, and she also outlines why chant plays a key role in her methodology of transmitting Jewish wisdom.

In this week’s “Top Story,” JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin takes a deep dive into the controversy over the new Israeli government’s efforts to reform its judiciary. The proposed legislation has been blasted as an attack on democracy by Israel’s opposition parties and left-wing American pundits. But few of those commenting on the issue seem to understand the problem created by an out-of-control Israeli Supreme Court, or why cutting back on its almost unlimited power is necessary.

This week on Unorthodox, stories of survival and Jewish pride in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Today’s Hot Issues

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