Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Every month, we open the doors of our campus to the world—at least online— via the Reflections newsletter and share with you some of the ideas that have been percolating in the Kogod Research Center for Contemporary Jewish Thought think tank.

In Reflections #10 , SHI scholars bring into focus ideas, traditions, and texts that are centuries old, while highlighting their relevance to Judaism today.

  • What do adultery and Messianism have in common? SHI fellow Dr. Yair Eldan introduces a new way of interpreting the Mishnah in “The Larger Reading,” showing how seemingly unrelated Mishnahs in each tractate are connected by important overarching, themes. In Tractate Sotah, the adulterous woman is depicted in parallel with the metaphorical “adultery” of the Jewish people whose zealous pursuit of the Messianic idea leads them to forget about God.
  • A dragon, a warrior, a king, three thieves, and a simple cook are just some of the characters who populate the pages of “Self-Denial and Temptation” by Prof. Rella Kushelevsky, a collection of Hebrew stories from 13th century France. Now in print for the first time, these stories defy expectations of Jewish literature of the period, and show that medieval Jewish texts are not limited to rabbinic writings but also included fairy tales—with a uniquely Jewish twist. Check these out in the sneak peek that SHI fellow Avital Davidovich presents in her book review
  • From relaxing river jaunt to religious ritual, the unlikely entry of Tashlich into Jewish practice turns out to be much more about enjoyment than about sin. Dr. Eli Freiman reveals the surprising origins of the ritual of Tashlich in “Tashlich: A Leisure Pastime that Became a Mitzvah

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On Tuesday, August 24, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman and Dr. Tal Becker of the Shalom Hartman Institute  “Engaging Israel” project team participated in a symposium entitled “The De-legitimization of Israel: Threats, Challenges and Responses”  at the IDC Herzliya.  Tony Blair was the symposium keynote speaker and participants included Members of Knesset Tzipi Livni and Nahman Shai.

Donniel Hartman focused on the necessity of changing the Zionist narrative for Jews worldwide. “Our challenge is to create a new Zionist narrative that is not built on the Holocaust or any other threat,” he said at the conference. “The new Zionist narrative has to be built on Jewish values that are relevant to Jews around the world.”

In the keynote speech, Tony Blair proposed 5 steps to combating the de-legitimization of Israel:


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On Tuesday, August 24, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman and Dr. Tal Becker of the Shalom Hartman Institute Engaging Israel project team will participate in a symposium entitled “The De-legitimization of Israel: Threats, Challenges and Responses”  at the IDC Herzliya. The symposium keynote speaker will be Tony Blair and participants will include Members of Knesset Tzipi Livni and Nahman Shai.

The segments of the symposium noted below will be live-Tweeted from the Shalom Hartman Institute Twitter account. Simply follow Hartman_Inst and watch for updates under #EngagingIsrael.

4:30pm Israel time (GMT+2)

Panel II:  Possible Responses

Chair: MK Dr. Nachman Shai, Former IDF Spokesman and member of Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset

Mr. Gidi Grinstein, Founder and President, The Reut Institute

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, President, Shalom Hartman Institute

Irit Kohn, Former Head of the International Department General Attorney, Deputy

President of The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

Dr. Noam Lemelshtrich-Latar, Dean of the Sammy Ofer School of

Communications, IDC Herzliya

6:15pm Israel time (GMT+2)

Round-Table Discussion with Ambassadors Stationed in Israel

Chair: Dr. Tal Becker, Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and  Senior Associate at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman

Shalom Hartman Institute president Donniel Hartman will participate in a symposium entitled “The De-legitimization of Israel: Threats, Challenges and Responses.” The Institute’s own Tal Becker, of the “Engaging Israel” team, will also participate.

Other participants will include Tony Blair, Tzipi Livni, and Nahman Shai. The event will take place on Tuesday, August 24, in IDC Herzliya.

For more information, visit the site. Want to attend? It’s easy to register.

Watch this space for more updates as new information becomes available.

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From our colleague Rabbi Jonah Layman:

So I just hung up and I must say that President Obama is quite impressive. He framed his presentation around the “unetaneh tokef” prayer quoting who shall live and who shall die, etc. and the shofar blast. This season he says prompts serious reflection and debate about matters of life and death and that’s what the health care issue is. Reforming health care is essential especially for the 46 million Americans without health insurance. Everyone knows the system is broken and we need to trust each other to fix the system. We need to take bold steps to do that.

Background: NY Times article that mentions the conference call. NY Times blog on the overall debate.

BETTER: NY Times blog on the call with rabbis.

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This came in a few days ago – OK, we were out for Sukkot: Haaretz reports that American rabbis are coming out publicly for the two U.S. presidential candidates in record numbers this year – the early ones for Barack Obama, with a Rabbis for McCain coming soon, as well.

Rabbi Sam Gordon, Hartman Institute Rabbinic Leadership Initiative

Rabbi Sam Gordon, Hartman Institute Rabbinic Leadership Initiative

One of the Hartman Institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative members, Sam Gordon of Congregation Sukkat Shalom, Wilmette, Illinois, was a founder of Rabbis for Obama. Gordon told Haaretz he has known Obama from the beginning of his public career, which makes sense, as Wilmette is in metropolitan Chicago, Obama’s home territory.

And a follow-up article in the same newspaper rates Gordon as one of the 36 (get it?) most influential Jews in the U.S. election cycle for that effort.

Gordon says the group includes rabbis from all streams of Judaism: (more…)

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Wednesday afternoon (Israel time), July 16, 2008, update: IDF statement about the identification of the fallen soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev: “This painful process exemplifies Israel’s moral commitment to secure the return of all of their soldiers sent out on operational missions. It demonstrates a compelling moral strength which stems from Judaism, Israeli societal values and from the Spirit of the IDF.”

Wednesday morning (Israel time), July 16, 2008, update: Heart-wrenching stories and video of the prisoner swap.

As both Israel and Hizbullah-controlled southern Lebanon prepared in their own ways for the upcoming swap of Lebanese prisoners for the remains of Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, the debate continues over whether the swap itself was the right move for Israel. (more…)

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