Monthly Archives: August 2008

War is Assur

Commonly, the laws of war in Judaism are understood through the categories of milchemet mitzvah (commanded or holy war) and milchemet r’shut (optional war). These two categories-supplemented at times by the category of milchemet hovah (obligatory war), are helpful in … Read More

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What’s the Difference Between an American Life and an Ultra-Orthodox One?

Joel Teitelbaum, the Rebbe of Satmar and the most coercive of all modern day ultra-Orthodox leaders, passed away 29 years ago this month.  A vociferous anti-Zionist, Teitelbaum is known for having exhorted his followers to stay in Europe.  Later, as … Read More

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The Protocols: How the Jews of Europe Became Mascots and Souvenirs

Hello Semites and anti-Semites! (Is that like matter and antimatter? Kind of, except instead of totally and mutually annihilating each other they seem to have maintained an antagonistic, yet symbiotic relationship for centuries, deathless and regenerating, occupying the others mind … Read More

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Žižek For Jews

Slavoj Žižek declares in his latest opus, In Defense of Lost Causes (Verso), that while postmodernism has caused (or allowed) every other kind of racial, social, and cultural identity to be in flux, Jewish identity appears to have become fixed … Read More

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Sammy Harkham Stands Accused

Even if you're not a comic aficionado, the work of Sammy Harkham makes it easy to see why Paul Buhle of Zeek sums him up in one word: genius.  Not yet 30 years old, Harkham has worn many hats in … Read More

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Is Alejandro Springall the Mexican Woody Allen?

Mexican director Alejandro Springall describes My Mexican Shivah as a film "about existence" and "acquiring the tools to continue living and re-organizing the family after a loss." While it does deal with such serious themes, don’t let the gravity fool … Read More

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Putting a Face on Iran

I played basketball with my Iranian next-door neighbors lots of summer nights when I was growing up. The smallest one – Hafez – stood about 4’6”. He embarrassed us all over the court with moves that made the basketball–which was … Read More

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Hip-Hop Heeb Jumps the Shark

Never has so much been invested in being a hip Heeb, both financially and culturally. For those outside the New York metropolitan area, though, the specific patterns and emphases of that hipness may not have been made clear over the … Read More

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