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The Conspiracy - November 10, 2014 2 Comments

On Dress Codes and the Abdication of Privilege

In middle school (thankfully not high school), “tzitzit checks” were a common feature of my morning. The boys in first period Judaics were required to prove to our teacher and anyone who might ask over the course of the day that that we were following the dress code by wearing tzitzit. Failure …

The Conspiracy - November 5, 2014 0 Comments

Embracing Uncertainty: Why You Don’t Need To Have Everything Figured Out

Do you ever get so overwhelmed about your future that you want to just stop what you’re doing, run out into a field and scream, “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE?!?” Yeah. That’s about where I am right now. I left Yellowstone National Park three weeks ago, where I was working seasonally. …

Opinion, The Conspiracy - November 3, 2014 0 Comments

Why I’m Tired of Hearing About Chickenshitgate (And Can We Please Not Make That a Thing?)

I’ll be the first in line to comment on the policies of the Israeli government, and the first in line to criticize those policies, be they negotiations or the stronghold that the religious right holds on social policies in Israel. I’ve openly stated that I believe that the Netanyahu …

New Voices Editorial, The Conspiracy - October 30, 2014 1 Comment

Collapsing Towers: Liveblogging my Quarrel with Haaretz

Though I don’t agree with them on everything (no one should agree with anything on everything), I ordinarily like Haaretz. I also normally find writing in to complain a bit gauche. Whether it’s about food, internet service, or editorial positions, I usually either don’t think …

The Conspiracy, Torah With Attitude - October 29, 2014 0 Comments

We Are All Images of God: How I Will Beat Anorexia

I grew up knowing that one of the most important values is to honor one’s body. I learned that I was made in the image of God and that made my body holy. I have never felt that way, though. I have always felt that my body is disgusting, something to be ashamed of, not worthy of being loved or …

The Conspiracy, Torah With Attitude - October 28, 2014 1 Comment

Take Back the Mikveh: The Need to Democratize Orthodox Judaism

This summer, I had the opportunity to do something that few other men my age do: immerse in the mikveh. Normally, my Jewish  rituals are public: I don my kippah wherever I go, I generally pray every morning with my tallit and tefillin in the presence of at least ten other people, and I light …

The Conspiracy - October 22, 2014 6 Comments

Learning to Undo Ashke-normativity – A Jew in the Motherland

Like most Jews with ties to South Africa, my heritage is extremely Ashkenazi. In fact, both sides of my family largely originate from the same region of what is now northeastern Lithuania and northern Belarus. Growing up in New York, most of what I was exposed to as “Jewish culture” was really …

Campus & Community, The Conspiracy - October 15, 2014 1 Comment

Live Blogging the Open Hillel Conference Day 2

On Monday, the final day of what Previous New Voices Rebbe David A.M. Wilensky calls “Liberal Jewish Comicon,” my first interaction was with Ali Kreigsman, who was attending in support of her and Jana Kozlowski’s upcoming documentary, Between the Lines, about Jewish day school students who …

Campus & Community, The Conspiracy - October 13, 2014 3 Comments

Live Blogging the Open Hillel Conference Day 1

Though If Not Now, When? An Open Hillel Conference began at Harvard Saturday night, I wasn’t able to arrive until Sunday afternoon. When I got there, the swarm of familiar black t-shirts seemed to indicate my worst suspicions would be confirmed: This is basically a student JVP conference in …

The Conspiracy, Torah With Attitude - October 6, 2014 0 Comments

Let’s Talk About How We Talk About Orthodoxy

“Orthodoxy’s greatest innovation was its decision to stop innovating.” These were the words of a friend of mine in high school, a non-Orthodox student at my Modern Orthodox high school, voicing his frustration at Orthodoxy’s seeming inability to develop and adapt to (post-)modern …

The Conspiracy - September 30, 2014 0 Comments

Continuing a Tradition of Activism at The People’s Climate March

Last weekend, I drove down from Burlington, Vermont with nine other activists from school to participate in the People’s Climate March. It’s hard to really explain how inspiring the march was. Maybe because it was the march finally showed a side of the environmental movement that we …

The Conspiracy, Torah With Attitude - September 29, 2014 0 Comments

Consulting the List: Discreet Judaism and British Kashrut – A Jew in the Motherland

In the US, those of us who keep kosher in any form (and yes, that means many things) are used to kashrut wars. Is Does said person keep to that seal? Is this food OK, or is it Star-K? Will a thousand demons eat me if I have a block of Triangle-K cheddar? In short, the wrong sort of seal can cause a …

The Conspiracy - September 16, 2014 4 Comments

When Will Orthodoxy be Ready for Me?

  I’ve written about the successes and shortcomings of my fourteen years of Modern Orthodox day school education before, from religious, secular, and Zionist perspectives. I’ve also written about the thought processes behind my decisions to leave the Modern Orthodox world and join — …

Campus & Community, New Voices Editorial, Opinion, The Conspiracy - September 15, 2014 2 Comments

First Results of the Jewish Student Survey are In!

  Preliminary results of the Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students 2014 are out. Started last spring by Drs. Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar at the Trinity College Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, this is the first comprehensive scientific survey …

Arts & Culture, Opinion, The Conspiracy - September 8, 2014 0 Comments

Why We Should and Shouldn’t Be Mourning Joan Rivers

I had an opportunity to meet Joan Rivers at the tail end of my senior year of high school. She told me I was a nice Jewish boy. She then moved along and continued to make some joke which was probably far too inappropriate to quote, then proceeded to flip off the photographer. What I expected to see …

Campus & Community, The Conspiracy - August 27, 2014 0 Comments

Why the Search for Aaron Sofer Matters

On Friday, August 22, Aaron Sofer was taking a shortcut through the Jerusalem Forest with his friend. The two became separated when his friend wanted to try hiking up a hill, and later that evening when the friend returned home, he discovered that Aaron was missing. When I came online Saturday …

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