Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Problem of Slavery, the Problem of Peace – by Peter Eisenstadt

The Problem of Slavery, the Problem of Peace
Peter Eisenstadt

I have been reading, with much admiration, the recently published final volume of David Brion Davis’s magnificent trilogy on slavery (which took half a century to complete), The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation. And of course, like anything I read these days, it made me think a lot about the current situation of Israel.

This isn’t hard, actually. Davis is Jewish, and the volume is filled with analogies, reflections, and musings on various aspects of Jewish history. Davis devotes four large chapters to the colonization movement, the effort, primarily by whites, starting around 1820, to settle free blacks outside of the United States; in Africa, in Haiti, in Central America, anywhere else but home. read more

Soldiers of the Yom Kippur War for Peace in 2014 – by Ayala Emmett

Soldiers of the Yom Kippur War for Peace in 2014
Ayala Emmett

We are soldiers of the Yom Kippur War of a wide political spectrum who want to support the government to achieve a decent agreement with Palestinians to separate the two nations. We call on friends who support our mission to support us.

Several days ago I received an e-mail from a soldier of the Yom Kippur War. The e-mail has been circulating a petition among soldiers and commanders of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The circulated petition from which I quote in the epigraph and bellow has been sent to soldiers to join the Million Hands for Peace to support the government of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu to achieve a peace treaty with Palestinians and a two states solution. read more


Ayala Emmett

“149,585 Israelis have already signed up to deliver a strong message to the Israeli government—the people expect a peace treaty in Spring 2014”

A strong demand for a peace treaty in 2014 is expressed by Israelis these days and offers us here in Jewish America an opportunity to support their efforts.

For many years it was tough to be a pro-Israel pro-peace Jew in America. J Street has changed the political monopoly of AIPAC and has insisted on the right of Jewish pluralism, that is the right have a peace and two-states treaty on the American political map. read more

David Ben-Gurion: Abraham the Father of the Hebrew Nation – by Matia Kam

David Ben-Gurion: Abraham the Father of the Hebrew Nation
Matia Kam

The topic of David Ben-Gurion’s lecture at the 10th TANACH Conference was Abraham, the father of the nation, the father of the faithful, and the one who loved God. In his lecture Ben-Gurion emphasized that, “it was natural in an independent Israel that young Jews would feel closer to the time of TANACH than to a shtetel in the diaspora.” Ben-Gurion explored the relationship between the state and the diaspora in terms of a relationship to TANACH, more meaningful in life on the land, and more specifically a strong connection to the life of Abraham, the father of the nation. read more

Banning “Bossy” and Banishing Women’s Clinics: Between Privileged and Low-income Women – by Ayala Emmett

Banning “Bossy” and Banishing Women’s Clinics
Between Privileged and Low-income Women
Ayala Emmett

Privileged and low-income women have reasons to confront discrimination. While privileged women want to ban the word “Bossy” as detrimental to female leadership, governors like Rick Perry of Texas, banish Whole Woman’s Health clinics that provide services and abortion to low-income women in underserved rural communities.

Sheryl Sandberg, Condoleezza Rice and Anna Maria Chávez want to ban “Bossy,” as a word used to mock women. “Bossy,” they argue, is demeaning, meant to cast women as out of the bounds of femininity, and unseemly aggressive. The three successful women, Sandberg, Rice, and Chavez claim that ‘Bossy’ deters girls from striving to become leaders. To open the gate of success for girls they are launching a project “Ban ‘BOSSY.’ read more

“12 Years a Slave” Meets Pesach – by Rabbi Sarah Friedson-King

“12 Years a Slave” Meets Pesach
By Rabbi Sarah Freidson-King

The movie “12 Years a Slave” took home three Academy Awards on March 2 nd , including “Best Picture.” The film tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in Upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. He remained a slave for twelve years, enduring back-breaking labor and horrific abuse. The film captures the atrocities of slavery: harsh labor, physical pain, merciless beatings, sexual abuse, and extreme degradation. read more



Please join us for this three-day series of events, March 18-20th

Eleana Kim (Anthropology) and the SBAI
University of Rochester

Post/Feminism/Media offers an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to participate in a dialogue about the state of media and reporting on women in a “postfeminist” age. For media scholars, postfeminism emerged in the early 2000s in tandem with critiques of neoliberalization as a way to underscore the deep contradictions and confusing appropriations of feminist discourses and ideologies in mainstream media. read more

Jews and Orchestras – by Peter Eisenstadt

Jews and Orchestras
Peter Eisenstadt

My friend Doug Gallant has posted on The Jewish Pluralist an interesting d’var torah on Parasha Vayakhel. It says many instructive things, but I want to

focus on one sentence, “Today we [the Jewish people] compose an orchestra with no redundant parts, no instrument more vital than another. A healthy Jewish people is one big caring family where each individual is as concerned for the other as for own self.” Doug uses this as a metaphor for the necessary unity of the Jewish People, the need to avoid divisions, factions, and strife, to learn how to play together from the same score. read more

Purim 1994 + 20: The Goldstein Massacre: Why is God’s Name Absent from the Scroll of Esther? – by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Purim 1994 + 20: The Goldstein Massacre
Why is God’s Name Absent from the Scroll of Esther?
Rabbi Arthur Waskow*

[On Purim morning in 1994, “Baruch” [“Blessed”] Goldstein, an American-born Israeli Jew who lived in an Israeli settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron — part of the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian lands on the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem — took a machine gun into the mosque at the Tomb of Abraham. He murdered 29 Muslims prostrate in prayer in the place revered by both Jews and Muslims as the burial-site of the forefather of both Judaism and Islam, Jews and Arabs. read more

International Women’s Day : The World is Busy Right Now – by Ayala Emett

International Women’s Day : The World is Busy Right Now
Ayala Emmett

These are busy days for international politics. Putin’s move in Crimea and Ukraine and the European and American responses take up all of the media’s attention. Tomorrow, Saturday March 8 is International Women’s Day. But this is not a good week to promote women’s rights and safety.

It is not exactly surprising that there has been little attention to International Women’s day. There is a history of silencing or ignoring women’s rights or ignoring women who took active part in revolutions and wars and expected to be included. During times of social upheaval women have been told that their equal rights would have to wait for the revolution to be over, or for the war to come to an end. The promise to remember women’s participation in the public sphere (the economy, politics, military) did not materialize. When wars and revolutions were over, women who had been fully engaged were promptly reassigned to traditional domestic roles in places like the Soviet Union, China, and Algeria; in the United States women like Rosie the Riveter were sent home when the men came back from the war. read more