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The Conspiracy - July 16, 2009 0 Comments

Remembering Dr. Atomic

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test at Trinity, a desert site sixty miles west of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Conducted in the early morning of July 16, 1945, the “gadget” was a success: producing a “burst of light of a brilliance beyond any …

The Conspiracy - July 14, 2009 5 Comments

Kids these days…

It’s a personal relief to see so many Jewish innovators and new Jewish organizations really giving a lot of thought to the Jewish experience, which is something I feel was left out too often in my Jewish day school and Young Israel synagogue experience. But I’m confused about one …

The Conspiracy - July 14, 2009 2 Comments

Z Street: this is for real

And you thought Commentary Magazine would be J Street’s biggest critic. Think again. A group of pro-Greater Israel nationalists has taken it upon themselves to create Z Street, a right-wing organization formed to combat the “great danger to the Jewish State of Israel and, increasingly, …

The Conspiracy - July 14, 2009 1 Comment

From East of the Bank: Christain, Notzrim, Missihi

From the start of my home-stay in Amman, I made it clear that I was a practicing and self identifying Jew. I felt that this was an important first step in building an open relationship with my host family, as well as in exploring how my sense of identity could co-exist within an Arab household. I …

The Conspiracy - July 12, 2009 1 Comment

Military and Society in Israel

In his blog post from June 18, Aryeh Roskies wrote that in Israel “it is possible to construct a concrete secular Jewish identity.” His column focused on the struggle of preserving an authentic and vibrant Jewish culture in the absence of religious uniformity, and he mentioned Israel …

The Conspiracy - July 9, 2009 4 Comments

Taking Jewish Guilt Global

Where does our moral responsibility end? That was the question I confronted at Campus Progress‘s national conference yesterday in Washington, DC. Campus Progress, a division of the liberal flagship Center for American Progress, is a group dedicated to bringing the concerns of college students …

The Conspiracy - July 6, 2009 1 Comment

Worth a thousand words? You decide.

It’s hard to look. The Boston Globe’s photo blog, The Big Picture, advertises itself as “news stories in photographs.” The photojournalism is breathaking. The images are sharp and focused. They tell a story, and often, quite a moving one. But bear in mind that photojournalism …

The Conspiracy - July 3, 2009 1 Comment

Born on the 4th of July (Bris scheduled for the 12th)

It would have been nice if, in honor of July 4th, U. S. Independence Day, I wrote a sweeping, lyrical tribute to my American Jewish heritage. But as hard as I tried to come up with something awe-inspiring – combing through anecdotes about the Alamo and the text of “New Colossus” …

The Conspiracy - July 3, 2009 0 Comments

Nostalgia and Identity

Last week, the ultra-Orthodox yeshiva high school where I teach marked the end of the year with a siyum, a celebration in honor of the completion of a tractate of the Talmud. Almost every male there wore a black hat, but I wore a crocheted kippah. It was clear that they were ultra-Orthodox and that …

The Conspiracy - July 2, 2009 1 Comment

The Death of the Jewish Cultural Vanguard

I was about to write a blog post about a giant Israeli cucumber, but then I decided to check my email. And what happens? First I see a JTA piece by Ben Harris about Jewish Hipsters, then I read a Tablet article by Wesley Yang about how Jews invented Rock n’ Roll. Yang’s argument …

The Conspiracy - July 1, 2009 3 Comments

Serving Justice, or Just Serving Jews

Yesterday, the Forward published this article on restitution for property confiscated from Jews by the Nazis and the Soviet Union. “In a significant gesture this week, 46 countries signed a declaration at the close of a Holocaust Era Assets Conference in Prague aimed at easing the restitution …

The Conspiracy - June 30, 2009 1 Comment

Congratulations, Judaism! Reality TV has chosen you to teach the most spoiled, hostile, and disrespectful teenagers a lesson. According to a recent article in Haaretz, BBC’s “The World’s Strictest Parents” recently filmed an episode in the Orthodox-only Israeli village of …

The Conspiracy - June 30, 2009 2 Comments

From East of the Bank: Meat, Basar, Lahem

I have found that I lack the necessary Arabic words to adequately describe the concept of “keeping kosher.” While the notion of vegetarianism may be generally accepted in Amman, for my home-stay mother, Madame Basma, such a lifestyle remains as foreign… as the …

The Conspiracy - June 29, 2009 0 Comments

Our Jewish Cadillac

On a Hillel-sponsored trip to Israel three and a half years ago I sat in a crowd of 45 students listening to Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, speak about the challenges facing the PR operation of the Jewish State. After detailing strategy, obstacles and key issues Regev dismissed …

The Conspiracy - June 26, 2009 1 Comment

Judaism, On Demand

If your family is anything like mine, you already have Judaism on demand. Kugel recipes; memories of the Lower East Side; updates on the Brandeis art museum – I have it all push of a button: speed-dial to my 98-year-old great aunt, Jay, in Pompano Beach. But for folks without an on-call …

The Conspiracy - June 25, 2009 1 Comment

From East of the Bank: Wind, Ruach, Reh

I had never expected Amman to be such a windy city. Back home, as I packed my single duffle bag for my seven-week trip, I fretted over how I would balance modest dressing amid the inevitable, unbearable heat. I was headed to Amman to study Modern Standard Arabic (Fus-ha) and colloquial Jordanian …

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