Saturday, June 25, 2011

Resolution on Anti-Circumcision Initiatives - URJ

Thank you URJ for taking a strong stance against San Francisco's anti-circumcision bill.

Bob Dylan: Admirer of Israel and Secular Rebbe?

A Special Place in Hell-Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News source.

"My rebbe held a tisch this week. A gathering of his followers. Like many sages of Israel, he lives abroad. Like many followers of sages, I knew that there was every risk that if I came to the tisch, it might be unsettling in tone, disappointing in content, even, at times, infuriating.

Or it might be as it turned out to be. Perfect."

Added Jason Miller's blog to the blogroll

Just added Rabbi Jason Miller's blog to the blogroll. Go check it out, if only to hear a mashup of Pink Floyd and Adon Olam (and no, not by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes)

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Delta takes issue with discrimination claims -

And an interesting update...

Rabbi Jason Miller: Delta Adopts Saudi Arabian Airlines' No Jew Policy

Um, what? Really? Is this where we are now, that airlines (and corporations in general) can discriminate and simply insist that they aren't, while hiding behind some shpiel about cooperating with foreign governments etc.? For shame, Delta. For shame.

Rabbi Jason Miller: Delta Adopts Saudi Arabian Airlines' No Jew Policy:

"I know I'm not the only one who finds it troubling that Delta would go along with Saudi Arabia's policy of not allowing Jews on their flights. While I'm not planning a vacation to Riyadh any time soon, I would have a hard time flying with Delta knowing they are collaborating with the discriminatory government of Saudi Arabia."

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Future of the Sefer By Gil Student - Jewish Action - OU.ORG

While we're on the subject of literature, this article on the future of the sefer (that is, the book, or more accurately, books of sacred writings and rabbinic interpretation) is worth a read. Lawrence Hoffman argued several years ago (just pre-iphone) that we were entering a phase similar to the time before the printing press, where you had a literate population but there wasn't the need for books per se, with worship being more fluid. Perhaps we're starting to see that with Jewish learning now, with mroe and more material available online, with running commentary (both traditional as well as the more typical internet forum discussion etc.). And if so, that's not necessarily a bad thing; though it will radically change the way we study (would chevruta now not just be 'in person' or between people in real time, but over internet discussion) and the way we process information. No surprises there, I suppose. Perhaps we should all go back and read Talmud and the Internet?

Israelites in the Anglo-Saxon Sea - Jewish Ideas Daily

As y'all know, I'm not a fan of translation. Or, rather, I like using MULTIPLE translations when we do text study, and have the original Hebrew handy, lest we fall into the trap of seeing the English rendering--really a whole new piece of literature--as definitive of the Biblical Text. A translation is a filter, and the act of translation is the act of interpretation. Having said that, much richness can be found in translation, with all kinds of interesting insights and the like. This article on Anglo-Saxon/Early English translations of the Bible is, therefore, fascinating to me (especially having studied English at Oberlin, especially Chaucer and Old English with Robert Longsworth. Still regret not taking his course on the Bible as seen through the literature of the Middle Ages).

So check out the article. Here's a sample--Harvey Shapiro's translation of Genesis 1:1. You can really tell a lot about the literary culture and assumptions made by the writers based on this retelling...
The Lord looked on an abyss, deep and dim,
empty and unused, strange to His sight . . .
Then bright with glory, the guardian of heaven
lay His spirit over the deep.
God of the angels, giver of life
decreed light shine on all that black surface.
The High King's bidding was quickly done.
Holy light hovered over the nothingness . . .
First light, bright with beauty, the Life-Giver called day . ..
as the dark shadow slid from the vast abyss.
Israelites in the Anglo-Saxon Sea - Jewish Ideas Daily

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Jewish Chronicle - Reform movement building demo for e prayer book

Friends from Shir Ami will recall that I often talked about the idea of having a fully interactive siddur on your 'palmpilot' (we didn't have fancypants phones then) or other handheld device. It's only a matter of time, and I thank Dan Medwin for that. But the question of what happens to communal prayer with it'fillah is a worthwhile question, both in the positive and the negative. Does it contract the circle of communal prayer? Does an e-siddur expand the circle? We'll find out soon!