“As such, tikkun olam has devolved today to mean anything that fits into the categories of community service or helping the underdog. The focus on universalism has led to stripping the word ‘mitzvah’ of any sense of divine obligation, and instead understands ‘mitzvot’ to mean, simply, “good deeds.” And, to me, most problematic of all, the teaching of tikkun olam as it has evolved over the last several decades places greater emphasis on valuing the global human community over caring for our fellow Jews and for the continuity of Judaism.”
Source: Aaron Starr, “Time to Say Kaddish for ‘Tikkun Olam'” (Times of Israel)
(I can imagine that this piece–which reads as though it may have been given as a Rosh Hashanah sermon– is going to elicit some major pushback.)
Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
Let’s begin with some inspirational quotations from Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, who passed away this week.
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle is running a short story contest (and you don’t *have* to be from Wisconsin to enter it). No entry fee. Cash prize.
There’s a problematic new book for children on the market: Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf. Read Marjorie Ingall’s take over on Tablet and listen to this Book of Life podcast for the details.
I’m holding out for my print copy to get here, but the latest issue of the Jewish Review of Books is now online (limited free access for non-subscribers).
And last, but least: This week brought an extra-special edition of the Fig Tree Books newsletter, with all sorts of preview content from Abigail Pogrebin’s forthcoming My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. The perfect way to approach the forthcoming Jewish New Year!
Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Speaking of Rosh Hashanah–let me wish you all a Shanah Tovah–as well as a Shabbat Shalom.
“‘Please remember, don’t make us out to be political,’ the man said. ‘We just want recognition as Jews.'”
Source: Chris Buckley, “Chinese Jews of Ancient Lineage Huddle Under Pressure” (The New York Times)
Ah, when a pro-BDS* academic reviews Jonathan Safran Foer’s new novel for a literary website! Such…interesting…historical/political perspectives can result.
As it happens, the site posted another review of the same title on the same day—this one, by an author who actually focused on the book. Imagine that.
(*I don’t want to link to evidence about the reviewer’s pro-boycott position, because I don’t need the nuisance of a pingback. But you don’t really need me to do it: Google is our friend, friends.)