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Fracturing or Furthering Jewish Identity?

Playlist Judaism

Debra Rubin, The Times of Israel, July 7, 2012

Jews are increasingly taking control over how they identify Jewishly, often eschewing the traditional categorizations and creating their own - or simply refusing to be categorized at all. Increasing numbers of Jews are selecting from the milieu of identities embedded within the broader term "Jewish." Many now choose to identify as cultural, ethnic or "just Jewish" rather than the traditional reform, conservative and orthodox labels. How should the Jewish community approach this phenomenon?

Some regard the ability to choose from a suite of Jewish practices, characteristics and identities as a fracturing of Jewish identity. Others disagree and point to new forms of Jewish engagement and identification as a kind of reformation and renewal of American Jewishness. Often overlooked, however, is that much of the internal dialogue about "playlist Judiasm" is not a uniquely Jewish phenomenon at all. Younger generations of Americans are freely self-defining who they are and how they express their identities. Why would younger Jews be any different? It is also fair to ask whether this is really a new phenomenon at all or whether what we are seeing is simply a new way of expressing a diversity of belief, practice, and identity that has defined Jews for millennia.

Perhaps the most important question is how traditional Jewish organizational structures engage and serve the growing constituency of Jews who are reframing their Jewish identity. Much of the evidence shows that, while there seem to be increasing efforts on the part of major Jewish organizations, there is still a great deal of work to do in order to keep up with the dynamic nature of Jewish identity.

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Opinion Makers
Israeli OlympiansRemember my brother and the other murdered Israeli Olympians
Barbara Berger, Haaretz, August 1, 2012

A moment of silence may not seem like much. Indeed, to a grieving parent or sibling or friend, to a nation too often beset by terror, no ceremony can ease the pain of a lost loved one or end the period of mourning for a life cut short. No moment of silent recognition can drown out the terrifying echoes of an unwarranted massacre nor can it erase memories of horror and loss.

Crying GirlWill the far left learn from the Toulouse murders?
Yves Coleman, Workers' Liberty, March 28, 2012

On 19 March, Mohammed Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent and a self-described member of al Qaeda, killed three Jewish children and an adult at a Jewish school in Toulouse; the previous week he had shot dead three French soldiers of North African origin. Yves Coleman, of the journal Ni patrie, ni frontières, discusses and criticises the reaction of the left to Merah’s killings.

NazisWe’re not racist, we just hate Jews
Julie Nathan, The Jerusalem Post, July 4, 2012

Anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian individuals and organizations often make the claim that they are simply anti-Israel and not anti-Jewish. However, many of these people and organizations cross the line from legitimate criticism of the State of Israel into outright anti-Semitism.


Women VolunteeringWomen changing the face of philanthropy

Bruce DeBoskey, The Denver Post, July 22, 2012

Women are flexing their individual and collective muscles, searching for deeper, sustainable solutions to pressing problems, giving more thoughtfully and strategically, and achieving greater outcomes with philanthropy than ever before.

Mikhail FridmanThe Man Behind The ‘Jewish Nobel Prize’

Gary Rosenblatt, The Jewish New York Week, July 24, 2012

Don’t be surprised if the individual most responsible for the creation of the prize, and funding for it — Russian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Mikhail Fridman — takes a low-key role at the Jerusalem ceremony.


Luciana BergerWhy I had to resign 

Luciana Berger, The Guardian, April 14, 2005

Last week I resigned from my position as a National Executive Committee member, because of a continued apathy within the National Union of Students to Jewish student suffering. In the words of a report distributed by NUS: "Anti-semitism is a very light sleeper indeed."

Achim RohdeGerman Center on Anti-Semitism Appoints Edward Said Wannabe, Achim Rohde

Clemens Heni, The Algemainer, July 31, 2012  


European anti-Semitism scholars are in an uproar over the appointment of Achim Rohde, an Islamic studies scholar in the mold of the late Columbia Professor Edward Said, to the Berlin-based Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA), which is now branching out into a seemingly incongruous research project: the “Islamophobia in European Societies.”

University of CaliforniaFighting anti-Semitism at the U of California

Kenneth L. Marcus, The Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2012  


For several years, the University of California has faced some of the most serious charges of anti- Semitism in North American higher education. New developments provide hope that the University will turn this situation around.


Richard PrasquierToulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah’s brother declares he’s ‘fought against anti-Semitism’
Agence France-Presse and European Jewish Press, European Jewish Press, July 12, 2012  

The older brother of Mohamed Merah, the French islamist who committed the March massacres in Toulouse and Montauban insisted in a one-on-one conversation with French Jewish umbrella organisation CRIF president Richard Prasquier that he has “fought against anti-Semitism for the last 18 years”.

Boy CryingHungarian lawmaker resigns from anti-Semitic Jobbik Party after revealing Jewish origins
JTA, August 1, 2012

A Hungarian far-right lawmaker who recently declared he was Jewish has resigned from most of his positions within the Jobbik Party. Csanad Szegedi stepped down last week at the request of the party’s leaders, according to Jobbik’s official website.

Old Man at CemetaryThe Circumcision Debate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Veli Sirin, Gatestone Institute, July 30, 2012  


Germany would do well to examine thoroughly, respectfully and seriously, the beliefs of its Jewish and Muslim citizens about the circumcision of their sons, not to mention the unquestionable medical advantages. In favoring the freedom of parents to choose circumcision, Germany will rid itself of an absurd and unnecessary diversion at a time of much greater political and financial responsibilities both in Europe and the world.

EU LogoRahm Emmanuel: Christian Chick-fil-A bad, anti-semitic Nation of Islam good
Joe Newby,, July 26, 2012  

After supporting a call to block Chick-fil-A over the religious views of its management, the Chicago mayor welcomed an army of men dispatched to his streets by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the Chicago Sun Times reported Wednesday.

Anti-Israel SignPro-Palestinian ads at Metro-North stations spark alarm from Jewish leaders
Rob Ryser, The Journal News, July 11, 2012  

Provocative poster advertisements showing shrinking Palestinian land in Israel that are on display at Metro-North train platforms have alarmed leaders in the Jewish community who are concerned they could lead to acts of hate.

Elmo being arrestedIsrael Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial attack: Three held
BBC, June 26, 2012  

One of the slogans daubed in paint on the walls of the memorial read: "If Hitler had not existed, the Zionists would have invented him."



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