“Twenty years ago, political identity did not demarcate our intellectual or social horizons. Today, however, in contrast to the Talmudic ideal of nurturing an intellectual world wider than one’s practice, our intellectual world has shrunk to fit the narrower dimensions of policy and practice. The books we read, the lectures we hear, and the videos we watch are all produced by people in our own camp. In short, we have sunk into an anti-Talmudic world.”

“We can no longer rely on silver-bullet trips to Auschwitz or Tel Aviv to emotionally shock people into feeling Jewish. For a culture to thrive, people need to truly know what that culture encompasses. To feel part of a historical continuum, people need to learn that history. To find comfort in rituals (regularly and at life’s key moments), people need to understand the ritual. To be guided by wisdom in ancient sources, people need to be able to navigate their structure and content beyond a handful of cherry-picked quotes. This requires sustained engagement with meaningful Jewish content.”

“What would it look like for employees’ vacation days used in service of the Jewish communal good to be matched by their employers? In other words, employees choosing to devote their time off to summer camps, social services, staffing Israel trips (someday!), social services or similar work would effectively contribute half of the allotted paid time off (PTO), while their employers would match those days with additional PTO.”

“JERUSALEM — For years, ultra-Orthodox Jewish women in Israel have been on the leading edge of change inside their traditional, highly insular communities.
But they have recently been opening a new frontier, taking their quiet revolution to a nondescript building in a Jerusalem industrial area where, as students at an offshoot branch of a prominent art school, they are encountering both the secular world and fine arts in new ways.”

“Jewish camps are one of the most effective ways of connecting kids to their Jewish heritage and Jewish identity,” Fingerman said. “So we had to find a way to get these camps reopened [in 2021] because camp shapes the community of today and it’s the glue that keeps it together tomorrow.”

“Without fundamental changes, the institutions that shape American Jewish life will not only fail to thrive – they may close their doors entirely. The future of Jewish life in America depends on our ability to confront the weakness of our system honestly and to invest in and incentivize organizational change in whatever ways we can.”

“Given that humans are hard-wired to respond reflexively to certain kinds of difference with fear, and given that human psychology is unlikely to change anytime soon, what can we do as citizens, teachers, parents, community leaders, board members, rabbis, trustees, and dialogue partners to turn sites of anti-social fear and confrontation into sites of pro-social encounter and conversation?”

“Many of the Sapir authors offer different perspectives on the complexity and nuances of Jewish power, recognizing that power is deeply flawed and requires self-critique, while reminding us that possessing power and agency is essential to human, and Jewish dignity and self-determination….
So how do we make sense of the paradox of power?. . .Perhaps the theology of the High Holidays has something to teach us.”

Maimonides Fund is thrilled to announce some exciting personnel changes: Felicia Herman, current President of the Natan Fund, will join Maimonides Fund as Chief Operating Officer based in New York, starting in October; Daniel Gamulka will be promoted to Senior Director, Maimonides Fund, in addition to continuing in his current role as Managing Director of Maimonides Fund, Israel; and Nechemia Steinberger will begin as Program Officer, based in Jerusalem, with a focus on grantmaking in the Haredi community.

“What does it mean to be a Jew investing in social change? For me, it is not about repurposing tikkun ha’olam, to mean being charitable. Investing in social change from a Jewish perspective means operating from a framework of commandedness. Tzedakah givers can be influenced by the tax code and by contemporary challenges in the civic square, but they are ultimately directed and regulated by an eternal framework, and not a human, voluntary, ephemeral one.”

“How do you navigate a Bible lesson with 30 students from different backgrounds? How do you make enough space for 30 unique relationships with religion, some of which are diametrically opposed to one another? . . . I humbly present two strategies for navigating sensitive issues of belief in heterogeneous settings, each for a different stage in the process of study.”

“When there is a Jewish actor playing a Jew, Hollywood effectively demands said actor to express at least slight moral disdain and psychological discomfort with one’s Jewishness. The edgy, neurotic misfit Jew has become synonymous with Jews in film and TV…Because, God forbid, Jews like being Jewish. Far more fashionable to be a little self-hating.”