Rethinking the Exodus Story

A Curmudgeonly, Skeptical Look by Bennett Muraskin   THE PASSOVER HAGODE celebrates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt, but provides few details. Its source document is the Book of Exodus — which on this holiday deserves a closer look. Because Pharaoh fears that the burgeoning Israelite population will become a threat to his rule, he […]

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Why Be Anything? Why Be Jewish?

THE JEWISH-UNIVERSALIST DILEMMA by Adam Chalom from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   ONE HUNDRED and thirty years ago, a new language was born. It had regular rules and simple grammar, and could be learned in one tenth the time it takes to learn English. The inventor of Esperanto was a Polish Jewish doctor […]

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Jewish Identity Without “Otherness”

RESISTING THE LURE OF “WHITENESS” by Michael Mirer From the Spring 2017 issue of Jewish Currents TO DEFINE Jewish American identity is to invite disagreement. Each definition threatens to efface or minimize some aspect of the American Jewish experience that may be essential to someone else. Religious Jews, perhaps, can agree to a narrow definition: Jews […]

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Annette T. Rubinstein and Progressive Secular Jewishness

by Gerald Meyer For information about a forum on Saturday, March 4 at the Vito Marcantonio Forum in New York, “Beloved Comrades: The Political and Personal Partnership of Annette T. Rubinstein and Vito Marcantonio,” with Gerald Meyer and Stephen Siciliano, click here. ANNETTE T. RUBINSTEIN, teacher, writer, and political activist, spent her entire life on […]

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Publications for Secular Jewish Kids: A History

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Raising Secular Jews: Yiddish Schools and Their Periodicals for American Children, 1917-1950 by Naomi Prawer Kadar. Brandeis University Press, 2017, 282 pages. READERS of Jewish Currents should already know something about the history of secular Jewish/Yiddish education in the U.S. from Barnett Zumoff’s review in Jewish Currents of […]

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Going Solo for the Autumn Holidays

Text and Illustrations by Lawrence Bush From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents This is the first of a series of essays about the Jewish calendar and life-cycle observances, created as part of our new Schappes Center for Cultural Jewish Life, a school-without-walls for families interested in non-theistic participation in Jewish holidays, rituals, and […]

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The Talmud’s Atheist

by Lawrence Bush ONE SABBATH AFTERNOON, some two thousand years ago, Rabbi Elisha ben Avuyah was studying Torah when he looked up and saw a man climbing a palm tree. The fellow had apparently spotted some birds’ nests and was breaking the sabbath law to raid them. He seized both a fledgling and its mother […]

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