A special history lesson in time for the holidays.
Today is Christmas, but it's also Hanukkah — the Jewish festival of lights. With its emphasis on present-giving, dreidel games and sweet treats, the holiday seems to be oriented towards kids. Even the story of Hanukkah has had its edges shaved down over time. Ostensibly, the holiday is a celebration of a victory against an oppressive Greek regime in Palestine over two thousand years ago, the miracle of oil that lit Jerusalem's holy temple for 8 days and nights, and the perseverance of the Jewish faith against all odds.
According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. In 2018, he and Brooke discussed how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people. We're re-releasing it today in time for the holidays.
Listened to Lecture 5 and the first several minutes of 6 today while cooking in the kitchen.
There’s some interesting history about the ideas of law, ligatures, and links. He also has an interesting history of the words ‘apocalypse’ and ‘revelation’ which ultimately mean the same thing. Apocalypse essentially means to ‘take away the cover’. He doesn’t go into it, but this word also has historical relation to the removal of the curtain within the holy of holies, or in the New Testament the rending of said curtain at the death of Jesus. Subsequently there has obviously been a lot of semantic shift to create our modern day meaning of apocalypse.
Midge's limited edition Haggadah is free with any purchase of participating Maxwell House Coffee products.
Presidential eulogizing, special counsel speculation, immigration coverage, and forgotten Hanukkah history.
The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history.
1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen.
2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen.
Masha Gessen’s story makes me wish we had many more Masha Gessens.
I particularly liked the story and history of Hanukkah given here. Definitely something to think about.
If you like quantum, complexity, etc., then please read to the end! I’ve gotten a bunch of emails lately of the form “why haven’t you ever blogged about such-and-such?,” when it turned out that I damn well did blog about it; it was just somewhere down in a multi-item post.
One Protestant group wants the federal government to sponsor discrimination.
The Internet of 2010 contained many things, and free of charge. It had the full works of Shakespeare. It had robust English translations of classical Greek philosophy. It had just about every Miley Cyrus lyric. But when Joshua Foer, author of “Moonwalking With Einstein” and creator of the travel website Atlas Obscura, sat down one day to find a modern, complete English translation online of the Talmud, or Jewish Oral Law, he came up mostly empty, save for some pirated PDFs and a host of anti-Semitic sites.
Browse 1,000s of Jewish texts in the Sefaria Library by category and title.
Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, Halakah, Kabbalah
Sefaria is a free online resource for Jewish texts, specifically the Talmud, which (amazingly) wasn't previously easily availabl
The practice of sucking blood from a baby’s incision is defended by ultra-Orthodox rabbis, and the Bloomberg administration requirement that parents sign a consent form has been largely ignored.
Directed by Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady. With Etty, Chani Getter, Ari Hershkowitz, Luzer Twersky. Penetrating the insular world of New York's Hasidic community, focusing on three individuals driven to break away despite threats of retaliation.