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Warning: Irrationality

BUT RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS AREN’T THE ONLY PROBLEM By Alan Rutkowski   AN UNAPPRECIATED but dangerous consequence of the Trump era is widespread liberal/secular oversimplification of the emerging danger. In their attacks on religion, for example, the so-called New Atheists — Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens (RIP), and Sam Harris — have fostered the notion that […]

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The Familiar Unease of Khanike

by Jesse A. Myerson   OY, IT’S KHANIKE again, and a familiar unease has come creeping into my kishkes. To some extent, I’m annoyed about the overemphasis on a minor holiday in order to compensate ourselves for our exclusion from Christmastime cheer. Mostly, though, my discomfort stems from the troubling legacy of the historical events Khanike commemorates. […]

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Erich Fromm’s Humanistic Judaism

THE MODERN MEANING OF IDOLATRY by Sam K. Rodin From the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   FOR THE GREAT humanist thinker Erich Fromm, the Hebrew Bible was a revolutionary book. “Its theme,” he wrote (in You Shall Be As Gods, 1966), “is the liberation of [humanity] from the incestuous ties to blood and soil, […]

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The Uncivil Servant: The Fantasy of “Fantasyland”

IS AMERICA EXCEPTIONALLY ECCENTRIC? by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, by Kurt Andersen. Random House, 2017, 462 pages.   THE FANTASYLAND that is the subject of Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland is, of course, America. And not just today’s alternative-fact America and its truth-challenged president, but America since its foundation. As Andersen writes: […]

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The Oppression of Women in Israel

by Norman Epstein Discussed in this essay: The War on Women in Israel: A Story of Religious Radicalism and the Women Fighting for Freedom, by Elana Maryles Sztokman. 2014, Sourcebooks, Inc., 352 pages. AT THE HEAD of the gigantic Charlie Hebdo march in Paris in mid-January stood German Chancellor Angela Merkel, surrounded by several male heads […]

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O My America: The Jewish Taliban

THE MACCABEES of ancient Jewish history were the Jewish Taliban, the Hebrew ISIS. They were fighting, in the name of religious orthodoxy and cultural purity, against a foreign culture (Hellenism) that had seduced their people — and when the army of that foreign culture became overbearing (the Syrian Greeks, or Seleucids), the Maccabees took up […]

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OpEdge: Carson’s Alternative Reality

by Marc Jampole EVERY DAY we’re learning more about the fantasy world that presidential candidate Ben Carson inhabits. Carson believes in a curious hodgepodge of fantasies, discredited myths, false ideas, and inaccuracies, all of which he seems to have determined a priori, that is, before he considered any evidence outside his own longings or those […]

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OpEdge: A Christian Nation?

by Marc Jampole Reviewed in this essay: One Nation Under God, by Kevin M. Kruse. Basic Books, 2015, 384 pages. IN ONE NATION UNDER GOD, Kevin M. Kruse, a Princeton history professor, reconstructs the story of the growth of the twin ideas that the United States is a Christian nation and that a free-market, deregulated, […]

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August 6: More Popular than Jesus

On this date in 1966, the Beatles’ Jewish manager Brian Epstein cut short a vacation to fly to New York and defend John Lennon for making his infamous remark that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” The remark had inflamed Christian true-believers, especially in the American South, but also in Mexico, South Africa, and […]

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