Three Great Weekend Reads

In case you missed them…

Are we forgetting the strangeness of history?

Has “realness” become a way to brag on Instagram?

Would Salinger be famous if he was writing today?

Philosophy, Aristotle tells us in his Metaphysics, begins with wonder.1 History does too. It starts with obvious perplexities but also with our realisation of the strangeness of the everyday, making our head swim like Plato’s Theaetetus.2 History works to make sense of things via our crossings from the present to the past, and from the physical world to the spiritual world.

This is the paradox women face on social media: Share enough highs to seem well adjusted but not braggy, share enough lows to seem down to earth but not suicidal, and share enough unfiltered moments to seem human but not unattractive.

J.D. Salinger wanted to be a man, not a persona. But the fact that he published so little (one novel, a short story collection, a book containing two short stories, and a book containing two pretty awful novellas) got tangled up with his desire for some ideal, artistic purity. The guy burnished mystique into legend. He hated performing as a writer, but the role of J.D. Salinger was still a decades-long performance, one so wholly inhabited it’s actually shocking to see snapshots of the author playing with his grandkids.

The Great Jewish Reads

In case you missed them…

How is Cystic Fibrosis affecting Jewish communities?

Is it OK to be exhausted by religion?

Should “Brit Mila” be re-imagined as a symbolic act?

By 2020, medications that correct the basic defect are expected to benefit 90% of the CF population (using modulator drugs that target the defective CFTR protein caused by the most common CF mutation, Delta F508). However, the remaining 10% will be left behind, because they have different mutations not targeted by the treatment. One of these mutations belongs to a class called nonsense mutations, which disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews.

I’m not proud of this, but I would dislike Shemini Atzeret because it adds another day of observance to an overwhelmed month, if not for the fact that deeper Jewish sources allege our judgment is sealed on this day. Now I’m just scared of it.

Imagine what a relief it would be for mothers to attend a metaphorical ritual circumcision that would represent the biblical binding of Isaac, in which Abraham demonstrated his devotion to God by being willing to sacrifice his son, before being stopped by an angel.

Commentary on Parashat Lech Lecha

This week at the Jewish Journal, Parashat Lech Lecha is under discussion. Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27) – features Abram’s Journey to the land of Canaan, his forced departure to Egypt, his covenant with God, the birth of Ishmael, Abram’s circumcision, and the changing of his name to Abraham.

“There’s a passage that is so often translated as ‘You will be a blessing,’ but it’s a command. ‘Be a blessing!’ This is nothing short of a revolution.”

Click to hear the whole discussion.

“And I will bless those who bless you, [Abram], and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” –Genesis 12:3

Rabbi Aryeh Markman: The Jews will now forever be the vehicles upon which God’s blessings flow into this world. We are part of God’s distribution system.

Click to read the whole discussion.

[Abraham] is commanded by God in a voice any of us with a job is familiar with — he is volun-told to do it. Pack your stuff, this situation is not working. Get off your parents’ couch. Where you’re going, we’ll figure out later. Just go, and go now. It’s the biggest day of his life.

Many of the biggest days of my life, too, have involved decisions to go.

Three New Jewish Podcasts

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

Glen Yago, leading authority on financial innovation explains the fascination and emotional attachment to the Start Up Nation.

David: You brought some people from around the world to take advantage of Israeli know-how and to be trained in skills that can be used in their countries, like Nigeria.

Glenn Yago: One of the powerhouse things about Israel is developing climate-smart agriculture and low water seeds and extending growing seasons.

“Some of the biggest global companies stem from this region… Of course there’s also the dark side of the Israeli startup scene, which today can sum up in two words: we work…

“Born in New York City, living now in Gush Etzion, and consulting for some of Israel’s fastest-growing startups, Hillel Fuld is one of the most Influential tech vloggers in Israel and even in the world. “

“We’re taking this week off, but we wanted to bring you an unedited look into a conversation Mark was desperate to set up between two of his friends, Liel Leibovitz and Jay Michaelson. These are two Jews who are very in sync in some ways, but extremely different in others. Come explore with them as they talk about some of the most important issues we’re all facing.”

Today’s Hot Issues

Three Great Weekend Reads The Great Jewish Reads Commentary on Parashat Lech Lecha Three New Jewish Podcasts