The Bible as (Not!) History

by Bennett Muraskin PEOPLE OFTEN CLAIM that the history of the Jews dates back 4,000 years. Actually, it is closer to 3,000 years, but that’s still a long time, in human terms. Certainly, few non-fundamentalists take the Adam and Eve or Noah stories literally, but many people do insist, on no firmer historical basis, that […]

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April 10: Big Sister

Miriam, the sister who safeguarded the baby Moses during his journey in a basket along the Nile, and then led freed Hebrew women slaves in song and dance after they crossed the Red Sea, died at 126 on this date in 1274 BCE, according to Jewish biblical calculations (which count the Earth as 5,774 years […]

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Daughters and Fathers at Passover Time

by Susan Reimer-Torn A watercolor entitled Father and Daughter, painted in Poland in 1876, fills me with bittersweet longing. It was painted by a 21-year-old Maurycy Gottlieb just two years before the promising young man’s untimely death. (I wonder if that accounts for its intimation of inevitable parting.) A bearded patriarch is embracing a pre-adolescent […]

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Does Judaism Have Essential Beliefs?

by Rabbi Reba Carmel Discussed in this essay: The Basic Beliefs of Judaism: A Twenty first Century Guide to a Timeless Tradition, by Lawrence J. Epstein, Jason Aronson, 2013, 226 pages, and Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah, edited By Roger Bennett, Workman Publishers, 2013, 384 pages.   In 12th-century Egypt, the […]

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June 9: Joseph’s Tomb

By Jewish calendrical reckoning, today (1 Tammuz, 5773) is both the birthdate (in 1562 BCE) and death date (110 years later) of Joseph, the favored child among the twelve sons and one daughter of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers at age 17, according to both the Torah […]

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April 1: The Red Sea Splits

The Red Sea miraculously split on this date in 1313 BCE, allowing the fleeing Hebrew slaves, seven days gone from Egypt, to rush across before the waters closed up and drowned Pharaoh’s pursuing cavalry — this according to the Biblical schedule of time as calculated by the Lubavitcher hasidic movement. According to the Midrash, Nachshon, […]

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The Prophetic Tradition: Is It Ours?

by Bennett Muraskin MORRIS U. SCHAPPES WAS of the long-time editor Jewish Currents and an American Jewish historian. A progressive secular Jew from the old school of Jewish communists and socialists who came of age before World War Two, he once wrote about the prophetic tradition: There are… two traditions in Jewish life and history. […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Jews Against Islamophobia

Remember our friend (I use that word as sarcastically as possible) Pamela Geller? You know, the one who put up the ads in the transit systems of several cities that read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad.” Well, she’s at it again, this […]

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December 16: Malina's Jewish Anarchist Play

Judith Malina, co-founder with Julian Beck of the Living Theater in 1947, premiered what she described as “my Jewish anarchist play,” Korach, on this date in 2010. “In retelling the familiar story of Korach as it unfolds through a handful of verses in the Book of Numbers,” wrote the Jewish Week, “Malina plumbed Jewish sacred […]

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