Israel celebrated its 60th this week with a giant gab fest hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres that featured not only President Bush, but many prominent Jewish intellectuals, philanthropists, writers and policy makers. Two blog entries had markedly different reactions to a panel on Jewish identity that featured Leon Wieseltier. Mixed Multitudes appreciated Wieseltier’s comments on Jewish identity for which he drew on Pirkei Avot and stated, “Jewish identity is precisely what is not inherited.” Meanwhile, Mobius, the Orthodox Anarchist reacted to the (presumably) same panel, calling it “infuriating” and that it “further concretized my belief that Jewish leadership is completely out of touch with the greater Jewish public.” I am curious if there is audio or video from this panel discussion anywhere online?
Meanwhile, the fur is still flying in Postville, IA where the big kosher slaughterhouse was raided earlier this week. Rabbi Moses Weissmandel, the supervising Rabbi at the plant reached out to the JTA’s blog to tamp down rumors that workers at the plant were producing drugs and that other rabbis on-site were abusing the workers. The Jew & the Carrot posted information and an appeal to help the families of the detained workers who are suddenly without means of support. They make the case for helping quite clear, “Anyone who has ever eaten kosher meat in this country has benefited from the hard, poorly compensated work these people have done, and now that they are in desperate need it is our turn to help.”
On the much lighter side, Jeffrey Goldberg followed up his very serious interview with Barack Obama with a riff on one of the more curious comments that Obama made:
I always joke that my intellectual formation was through Jewish scholars and writers, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Whether it was theologians or Philip Roth who helped shape my sensibility, or some of the more popular writers like Leon Uris.
Finally, a call has been put out for essays and scholarly articles from queer Jewish women about the interesection of their queer-Jewish identity.
Filed under: Shabbat Surfing