Friday, November 28, 2014 Kislev 6, 5775

Rachel Silverman

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As the Muslim world, and now Iran, make increasingly hostile overtures toward Israel, it's hard to imagine that relations between Jews and Arabs were ever harmonious. But as biblical scholar Elsie Stern pointed out, during the pinnacle of Islamic power, Jews and Muslims often had a "really fertile" relationship -- one based on shared religious convictions and intellectual and cultural...
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There are some weeks when Fred Siegel severs his arm three, four times on average. While blood oozes out across the stage, Siegel, playing a mad scientist named Dr. Zombini, hums a little "dismemberment music" -- the Frank Sinatra hit "I've Got You Under My Skin." Pretty unusual schtik for a university professor. But Siegel, 46, has plenty of tricks...
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As a biblical scholar, Ellen Frankel sees the Torah as a sacred, absolute text. But when it comes to issues of gender, Frankel -- the author of a women's commentary on the Torah, among other books -- feels that the work of God could stand for a little revision. As the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Publication Society explained it, "I...
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Halacah, the Jewish code of law, operates as a legal framework like any other. There are complex, often very nuanced, rules to uphold, and hundreds of interpretations on how those rules should be applied. That's why there are jobs for people to translate that legal jargon into laymen's terms. For Orthodox Jewish women, these translators are called yoatzot halachah ,...
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Arnold Soslow wasn't amused when he read an editorial cartoon in a recent edition of the Northeast Times . In fact, Soslow, 68, of Northeast Philadelphia, said he was appalled. "To me, it was anti-Semitic," said Soslow, calling the cartoonist's spoof of the recent Seattle Christmas tree debacle "offensive and inaccurate." He added, "That just hit home a little bit."...
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