- ItemWant to Fight Antisemitism? Embrace Jewish Traditions(New York Times, 2023-09-14) Lipstadt, Deborah E.An opinion column in the New York Times by Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University, and currently serves as special envoy to the State Department charged with combating antisemitism abroad. In this column, Lipstadt contends that the fight against antisemitism is most effective when, rather than reacting to an antisemitic attack, Jews fully and openly embrace Judaism's values of ethics and justice. Written as Jews prepared to observe the High Holy Days, just prior to Rosh Hashannah, she exhorts Jews to celebrate their own culture and demonstrate solidarity with all persecuted groups and to focus on "how Jews, and anyone confronting persecution, live rather than how they suffer." Click on the link above to read the column.
- Item“You’re So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah” Exudes Jewish Pride(Jew in the City, 2023-08-30) Josephs, AllisonAn article about the Netflix film by Adam Sandler, "You're So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah." The author notes that what distinguishes this film from so many others about Jews, is that it portrayed a positive image of Judaism and conveyed a sense of pride in being Jewish and recognition that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is about Torah and about the Jewish faith and tradition, rather than simply the party. The film is also distinguished by the fact that--unusual in many films with Jewish characters--the Jewish characters were played by Jewish actors. Click on the link above to read the article.
- ItemJewish Initiative for Animals(2023) Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA)JIFA describes its mission as being to support "innovative programs to turn the Jewish value of compassion for animals into action while building ethical and sustainable Jewish American communities in the process." JIFA explores ways of aligning traditional, ancient Jewish values with racial and food justice and the climate crisis. They provide educational support non-profit groups such as camps, synagogues, community centers, and schools on integrating Jewish ethical values in our interaction with animals. An area of critical importance for JIFA is food. They interrogate the meaning of the term "kosher," which identifies food fit for the consumption of the Jewish community, by looking at how animals slaughtered according to kosher laws are subject to the same farming industrial processes as those not slaughtered according to kosher laws. JIFA seeks to end industrial farming, claiming that it is antithetical to Jewish values. Click on the link to see the web site.
- ItemA Jewish Farmers Movement: Revolutionary or Ridiculous?(The Forward, 2016-02-16) Friedman, DanAn article about a Jewish farmers conference in San Diego--their “second annual convening.” A niche within the niche of the sustainable farming movement, the group sees itself as instantiating the traditional values of Judaism. As a member, Aaron Gross said, in describing the connection between farming and Judaism, “the Judaism of the Bible and the ancient rabbis is quintessentially agrarian — a religion of herding and harvesting, of seed and soil.” Attendees, who came from different locations in the United States, Canada and Israel shared a "commitment to three intersecting areas: Jewish values, social justice and environmental sustainability" and the goal of creating a"world in which each generation gives the next an earth renewed by a care that is guided by ancient Jewish values." Click on the link to read the article.
- ItemJewish Vacation Guide:: Hotels, Boarding and Rooming Houses where Jews are Welcome(Federation of Jewish Farmers of America, 1917) Federation of Jewish Farmers of AmericaPublished as part of the annual "Farm Almanac and Buyers' Guide," "The Jewish Vacation Guide," provided in both a Yiddish and an English version, was a guide to services and facilities where Jews would be welcome and could vacation safely. While antisemitism is not explicitly mentioned, the Foreward to the Almanac describes the Vacation Guide as "...the first time in the history of Jewish farming that attention is called to hundreds of up-to-date Jewish boarding houses all over the country where all classes of Jews seeking a vacation will find places suitable to their needs." "The Jewish Vacation Guide" is widely considered to be the inspiration behind the "Negro Motorists Green Book," which served as a guide for African Americans to restaurants, hotels and other facilities that would serve them. Click on the links to see the cover and Foreward to the English Vacation Guide as well as the Foreward to the Almanac, and the cover to the Yiddish version.