“And a Merry Christmas to You, Mr. Netanyahu!”

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University American Jews have long struggled with the Christmas Season. It may not be our holiday, many Jews have felt, but it is after all a great American holiday. How then are we to relate to it? For more traditional Jews, the national Christmas celebration generates anxiety about their place in the American religious landscape. In the second half of the 20th century, as Jews became more assimilated to American society, that anxiety was reduced in two ways: by … [Read more...]

The Real Mistake Behind “Mistaken Identity”

By Harleen Kaur This past Saturday, a man that I look up to and respect deeply was attacked while going for a walk with a friend in Harlem. I met Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a professor at Columbia University, and his family this summer while I was interning in New York City. Although I was only there for a couple months, the love and compassion with which he and his wife treated me was moving. The two of them were always focused on giving back to the community, as well as accepting newcomers like … [Read more...]

Johnny Cash Is In the Promised Land

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University Johnny Cash died on September 12, 2003, and as we approach the tenth anniversary of his death, his reputation as an American musical master seems only to grow. His recordings continue to sell briskly, particularly the Bootleg items released by Columbia Records. When I mentioned him to the college freshmen in my classes, who were born in 1994-5, they all knew Cash’s music. Many had seen the 2005 film about Cash, Walk the Line. That film was very good at … [Read more...]

Religion, State, and Soccer in Israel

Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem

by Shalom Goldman, Duke University Throughout the world sports fans can be roused to emotional extremes of enthusiasm, euphoria, and despair that seem almost religious in nature. The only other public manifestation of emotion that comes close to sports in its intensity is at rock and roll concerts—and these concerts are increasingly held in sports stadiums. Also, more and more American sports greats are willing and eager to speak publicly about their Evangelical Christian commitments. These … [Read more...]

“Judaism” or “Jewishness”?

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University Earlier this month the pop star Madonna, accompanied by her ex-husband film director Guy Ritchie, celebrated her son Rocco's Bar Mitzvah at the Kabbalah center in NYC. That neither parent, nor their 13-year-old son, was Jewish, didn't disturb the celebrity journalists and paparazzi who covered the story, and the fact was not made much of in US Weekly, the celebrity magazine that broke the story. Within Israel, where Madonna is a frequent visitor, the … [Read more...]

God Speed: “Race Cars for Peace” in the Holy City

Formula One Scuderia Ferrari team driver Giancarlo Fisichella drives a Ferrari F60 past The Tower of David and the ancient walls of Jerusalem's Old City, during the second day of the Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University In the US, spectator sports and religious conviction often go hand in hand. Americans are used to players, and teams, who pray and play, invoking Jesus before, during, and after games. This happens on the basketball court, in baseball stadiums, and on football fields. And it is most notable on stock car racetracks, where prayers, along with game results, are often heard over the public address  systems. The tone and style of this sports religiosity is … [Read more...]

Tedx Talk: The Numbers of Religious Freedom

By Brian J. Grim This TEDx talk* provides an overview of Pew Research findings on the rising tide of restrictions on religion around the world coming from governments as well as groups in society. For more, see the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. The Pew Research study finds approximately three-quarters of the world's population live in countries with high or very high restrictions on religion coming either from governments or groups in … [Read more...]

Clerical Sexual Abuse Among Catholics and Jews: Comparisons and Contrasts

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University   Many Catholics in the US and overseas are hoping that the new Pope, Francis I, will help heal the wounds inflicted on the Church by the sexual abuse scandals of the past few decades. And many Catholic victims of clerical sexual abuse, while reminding us that their wounds are deep and permanent, see a healing of the Church as a necessary component of their individual recoveries. Moral outrage about clerical abuse is directed not only at the … [Read more...]

Attacks on Kathy Boudin Are Attempts at Vigilante Justice – Op Ed from Julien Hawthorne

justice

Editor's Note: The following is an opinion piece from Julien Hawthorne, currently a student at Columbia University, regarding controversial Columbia professor Kathy Boudin. Boudin's participation in the Weather Underground and especially the 1981 Brinks Robbery has led many to criticize her appointment to a teaching position at an elite university.  * Media Attacks on Kathy Boudin Are Attempts at Vigilante Justice By Julien Hawthorne For the most part, Kathy Boudin, Adjunct Assistant … [Read more...]

Why Jews Don’t Elect a Pope, and What Might Happen if They Did

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University While the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics eagerly awaited the decision of the Cardinals who were sequestered in the Sistine Chapel, members of the world’s other religions, among them many of the world’s 14 million Jews, were also closely following developments in Rome. But as is often the case, there was no Jewish consensus on this issue, or on any other. As the well-known maxim has it, “one Jew, three opinions.” Behind the differences between … [Read more...]


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