Composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died recently, may be the last of the Broadway-Hollywood composers with a Hassidic soul. Hamlisch wasn't Hassidic of course -- he grew up in a Reform Temple and didn't appear to be particularly observant. But at its core, Hamlisch's search for the perfect melody calls up the emotional and connective power of a good tune that the Hassidic tradition knows so much about.
Mira Sucharov is Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa. She is the author of The International Self: Psychoanalysis and the Search for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, and is a frequent media commentator on Middle East affairs.
It is with great fascination that I have been watching the latest round of the Israel "pinkwashing" debate unfold -- whereby the Israeli army supposedly draws attention to its relative openness to gays to conceal its continuing violation of Palestinians' human rights.
06/19/2012 08:02 EDT
If you aren't sure whether you are part of the "Jewish establishment," I submit to you: Do you belong to a synagogue? Do you send your kids to Jewish camp? Jewish school? Do you work out at the JCC? Do you donate to the Jewish Federation?
06/01/2012 11:20 EDT
If relative silence on morally indefensible Israeli policies like the settlements is indeed because liberal Zionism is becoming less popular, I hereby urge my fellow Diaspora Jews to come clean: If you believe in Israel, what kind of Israel do you believe in? And if you have stopped believing in Israel, what would it take to get your Israel back?
05/05/2012 09:47 EDT
Peter Beinart's recent New York Times op-ed calling for a boycott of settlement products is predictably generating much pushback. But boycotting the settlements might allow those of us who oppose the occupation a new and more finely honed expression of our Jewish identity.
03/28/2012 08:05 EDT
As Khader Adnan, the Palestinian prisoner held in Israeli administrative detention, ends his 66-day hunger strike, the conversation during these last few days (especially on Twitter) was made all the more tense by the fact that Adnan's death seemed imminent.
02/26/2012 12:05 EST
Recently the Jerusalem District Court issued a long-awaited ruling: What remains of Lifta, the last undestroyed Palestinian village, will stay untouched. It was on a visit last June to Lifta where I encountered a random mix of individuals, one that represented to me the fissures of conflict while revealing some possible compromises.
02/19/2012 01:23 EST
When we think about artistic expressions that are not directly tethered to the demands of the commercial market, something amazing can occur. As we know, in politics, hearts and minds matter, suggesting important potential links between collective longings and policy directions.
01/20/2012 05:33 EST
By way of bidding farewell to 2011, I'm reflecting on the people I've encountered this year. If Jewish ethics through Pirkei Avot instructs us to "make for yourself a teacher, and acquire for yourself a friend," I am all the richer because of the people I have met.
12/31/2011 09:45 EST
Whether to pull a seat up to the table and evoke change from within or protest and try to bring change from the outside is something we should all regularly be asking ourselves in whatever capacities we operate communally. It is also a question with which I personally and frequently grapple.
12/29/2011 07:30 EST
Instead of a person's values coming to carefully inform one's opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what I'm seeing is the reflexive taking of sides. What could be a very fruitful discussion about values, ethics and policy instead comes to resemble a boxing ring, with everyone in their corners primed to fight.
11/23/2011 12:25 EST
Why, when I see other cultures being critiqued, I sometimes bristle, while at other times I welcome it as thoughtful analysis? Because employing a measure of tastefulness and mindfulness and listening to others makes all the difference.
11/08/2011 09:18 EST
When "we" stop congratulating ourselves for how much we honour and value human life, so much so that we are willing to risk future soldier abductions and terrorist attacks for bringing the captured Jewish boy home, can we try to think more deeply and honestly about how best to honour those values?
10/26/2011 09:08 EDT
Simple game theory shows that the drive for perceived "fairness" in outcomes can leave players much worse off than they would otherwise be if they could swallow some of their pride.
10/10/2011 12:35 EDT
With the Palestinian bid for statehood looming at the U.N., how we deploy laughter -- or avoid it altogether -- can serve as a barometer for the willingness of societies to consider change.
09/23/2011 09:09 EDT
While we are enjoying the dog days of summer, we are also in Elul, the final month of the Jewish calendar -- one of traditional personal reflection. One synagogue asks on Twitter: WDSCU2D?
09/12/2011 12:25 EDT
Today I declare to the Twitterati and the literati -- and everyone else -- that everyone should be a Zionist. But that's not all. Everyone should also be a Palestinian nationalist.
09/03/2011 09:53 EDT
In my opinion, the Israeli cost-of-living tent protests are not necessarily about the broadest reaches of social justice. They are confined to how Israelis want their own society to be ordered. And whatever the borders of the Jewish state, Israel must not sacrifice democracy on the altar of ethnicity.
08/08/2011 06:55 EDT
Tragically, we all know what happens when a particularist worldview is pushed to the unthinkable extreme.
07/16/2011 09:13 EDT
Isn't there some claim that diaspora Jews have on Israel (and its policies) that grants them a certain moral right to be part of the national conversation?
06/29/2011 09:00 EDT
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