The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration

Posted on June 19th, 2017
Martin Kramer for Mosaic
For 100 years the British statement, which inaugurated Zionism’s legitimation in the eyes of the world, has been seen as the isolated act of a single nation. The truth is much different.

On November 2, 1917, a century ago, Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, conveyed the following pledge in a public letter to a prominent British Zionist, Lord Walter Rothschild:

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

At the time, as World War I raged, British forces were fighting deep in Palestine against the Ottomans, and were poised to take Jerusalem.

Continue reading.

Are smart Jews too cool for shul?

Posted on June 19th, 2017
By Jeffrey Salkin on Martini Judaism

I was a college freshman, and I was in a psychology class. The subject of religion came up, and I publicly admitted that I believed in God and was a committed Jew.

The professor grew pale. I will never forget what he said to me. “This makes me very sad. I am hoping that as you become more educated, you will, at the very least, question your faith.”

I had not thought of that professor (who was Jewish) and that experience for several decades – until this week with the release of a Pew study on the correlation between religious attachment and educational levels.

Continue reading.

10 Photos to Remind You That Jews Don't Fit Into a Stereotype (And Never Have)

Posted on June 12th, 2017
by ELAD NEHORAI for PopChassid


Okay, let’s be real.  Most of the world, and especially America, when it imagines what Jews look like, usually has an image like this sticking out in their mind: (picture of Woody Allen)

Yep, thanks to Woody Allen, Hollywood, and plenty of other reasons that have no connection to reality, the majority of the world likes to think Jews are all white, nerdy, and short.  And have been like that since day one.

Continue reading.

50 years after the Six Day War, we shouldn't lament Israel's power to protect itself

Posted on June 5th, 2017
By Rabbi Jonathan Miller, Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham, Alabama

In May of 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, who had joined in a military alliance with Syrian President Hafez el Assad, began to give speeches which galvanized the Arab world. Daily, he proclaimed to the Arab world that he promised to "drive Israel into the sea". He expelled the United Nations' Peacekeepers from the Sinai Peninsula. Syrian armies advanced on the Golan ready to attack Israel from their commanding heights.

Continue reading.

How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller in South Korea

Posted on May 29th, 2017
By Ross Arbes for The New Yorker

About an hour’s drive north of Seoul, in the Gwangju Mountains, nearly fifty South Korean children pore over a book. The text is an unlikely choice: the Talmud, the fifteen-hundred-year-old book of Jewish laws. The students are not Jewish, nor are their teachers, and they have no interest in converting. Most have never met a Jew before. But, according to the founder of their school, the students enrolled with the goal of receiving a “Jewish education” in addition to a Korean one.

Continue reading.