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 very notion of antisemitism must be delegitimized as a Zionist conspiracy, another nefarious Jewish attempt to shut down critics and control events.

Why has the term become such a growing threat to progressives?

Is the nation of Israel special? The Torah seems to say that it is. Most Jews in the State of Israel agree. Nearly half of them believe that Segula means “that the people of Israel have a special role in the world.” A minority (16%) think it means that the people of Israel “have obligations that other nations do not have.” A very small minority (2%) believes that “the people of Israel have rights that other nations do not have.”

Blaming Israel at this point has become second nature. Palestinian death tolls are reported without scrutiny and without distinguishing combatants from civilians and are then instantly interpreted as a barometer of Israel’s guilt.

We are well-accustomed to these dynamics, but this latest incident clarifies something, which is that for Israel’s haters, nothing Israel does will ever be legitimate.

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:

Anyone who survived eighth-grade gym class believes that the worst is over, that it will all be downhill from that peak of vulnerability and mortification.

And then you get old.

Early Zionists saw their mission as creating a state of existence for the Jewish people which would prevent them from becoming victims again. They aimed to create a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael with its own army to protect its people. That mission took on a sense of urgency with the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis in Germany. In the space of just a few short years, 10 million Jews desperately needed a place of refuge.

…five months after her death, I corralled my strength to compose an email to my rabbi. Jewish leaders disagree over whether one should attend Yizkor during the first year of mourning; some feel it is too difficult. I was a devout cultural Jew who had never before approached clergy for halachic guidance, but now I asked: Should I enter the room?

Commentary on Parashat Naso

This week, Parashat Naso is under discussion. Parashat Naso begins with the completion of the census of the people of Israel. God then gives Moses instructions concerning the purification of the camp, ‘wayward wives’ (wives which are suspected of being unfaithful to their husbands), and Nazirites (Jewish ascetics who take a vow to devote themselves to God).

In Jewish prayer, we speak as a plural entity. We speak to God, the eternal Thou, as a people, not as individuals. We say “return us to your Torah” or “pardon us our sins” or “heal us.”

When God speaks back in the priestly blessing, however, he addresses each of us individually as a singular You. Perhaps this is part of the blessing’s enduring appeal and forcefulness.

Being born holy is wonderful, but we need to make ourselves holy, too, and not just rely on our parents’ and grandparents’ pedigree, status or yichus. To try and bring upon oneself additional holiness, like the Nazirite, is praiseworthy and honorable—provided it is done with humility and not arrogance.

This week’s parashah contains a detailed account of the gifts that the twelve Princes brought to mark the dedication of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The Torah does not waste words, yet the exact same paragraph is repeated 12 times, filling several columns. Why not just put parentheses around the whole section and say “Each of the twelve tribes gave”?

The classic answer is that the Torah wants to teach us that although on the surface the gifts appear the same, they are not.

Three New Jewish Podcasts

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

Chef Amy Jurist, Amy’s Culinary Adventures, has had a passion for cooking since she was a child.

In recent days, there have been a lot of war-related developments that have taken place in Israel and outside of Israel. So it was good that we had the opportunity to catch up with Haviv Rettig Gur as Shavuot came to a close in Israel.

This week on the show, we’re marking Father’s Day and Shavuot with reflections on fatherhood, loss, and collective Jewish responsibility.

Today’s Hot Issues

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