TanakhCast #54: The Nina and A113 Edition


tumblr_m22oqu20PD1rpe27fo1_500In this week’s episode: Joshua 12-15.  In the shortest TanakhCast episode to date, we catch up with an old friend from the Spying days (and his nephew) as we uncover an easter egg omelet in Joshua 15.

And here are some samples of Al Hirschfeld’s work and the list of A113 references in every Pixar film – as promised.

TanakhCast #53: The War is Hell Edition


MTE1ODA0OTcxNzg0NjM1OTE3In this week’s episode: Joshua 8-11.  We explore life during wartime and conquest in Kena’an and consider how William Tecumseh Sherman and Yehoshua sought to make the best of a bad situation.  And when I say “best”, I mean “best” for the winning side and utter annihilation for the losers.

And, as promised, a link to the top ten battles in history, compliments of historian and retired Lt. Colonel Michael Lee Lanning.

TanakhCast #52: The WMD and AAH Edition


Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-indiana-jones-23709035-843-366In this week’s episode: Joshua 4-7.  We explore how the Ark of the Covenant, which inspired Jewish warriors, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, also functioned as a weapon of mass distraction – and how, perhaps, it could have been inspired by extraterrestrial technology.

The ever-compelling Radiolab episode on the walls of Jericho can be found here.

As well as the piece I came across from io9 about how mainstream Christian theology would react to extraterrestrial life. 

In a word, BADLY.

End Of The Jews in the News, Part 23

In case you haven’t seen this piece shared dozens of time in your Twitter feed, the New York Times reports that many rabbis will not speak out about Israel because of the divisive nature of the topic.

The handful of examples brought up in the piece, however, represent a larger trend which has been building up steam for years.

I know of at least two congregations in TO where all sermons and d’var torahs have to be vetted before delivery in fear of roiling the laity.  I am sure there are more with more informal “arrangements”.

Although many folks are only now tsk-tsking this unfortunate trend because it is has steamrolled over a handful of beloved congregational rabbis, as I wrote in Chapter 9 of End Of The Jews, Israel has stopped serving as a rallying point for the Jewish community for years.

Coupled with the flailing of the right-tilting establishment who try to force the dichotomous “Either you’re with us or against us” party line (especially in times of trouble in Israel), what we are seeing in the mainstream media (finally) is a bubbling up of that ubiquitous disaffection and perhaps a little soul-searching.

Nonetheless, no one likes being presented with ultimatums, but if forced to choose, many fair-minded folks who cherish Jewish values might sadly choose the door.  Some, like suburban Chicago’s Rabbi Brant Rosen, have already hit the bricks.

TanakhCast #51: The Meaningful Echo Edition


In this week’s episode: Joshua 1-3.  We launch the “Prophetic” middle section of the Tanakh and pick up right where things left off at the end of the Torah.  We consider the use of the meaningful echo and the ironic echo as Yehoshua prepares the Jews for crossing the Jordan River … and boy, are their arms going to be tired!

And here’s that piece by Jesse David Fox about Mad Men’s comedic side.


TanakhCast #50: The Siyum Special Edition!


Jewish-Coloring-Pages-for-Kids-Simchat-Torah-_30In this week’s episode: a special Siyum – or “completion”- where we celebrate TanakhCast’s conclusion of the Torah.  I look back with great nostalgia on all those good times in the Five Books with raconteur and amateur Torah nerd Dan Friedman and a “Best of…” listicle-a-ganza. 

I would say “Remove thy earbuds for the sound which you hear is holy!” but then you would miss all the outrageous merrymaking.

Also, the compendium of “completist” pieces at Slate can be found here.


TanakhCast: The Taxonomy of Endings Edition!


hqdefaultIn this week’s episode: Deuteronomy 32–34.  We look at how television series wrap things up and consider whether Moshe’s departure from the people proves to be a fitting end to the Torah.

And here’s the piece by Jason Mittell about The Wire and Lost.

And here are the endings for Newhart, St. Elsewhere, Cheers and Six Feet Under.

TanakhCast: The I’ma Get Medieval on Your Ass Edition!


movie-jerks-Marsellus-WallaceIn this week’s episode: Deuteronomy 28-31. We consider the blessing and the curse in light of choice architecture and wonder what might have happened if Moshe did a little more nudging instead of threatening people’s tushies with harsh medieval treatments. 

The paper by Thaler, Sunstein and Balz about “choice architecture” is here and the Nudge blog is here.

Next Judaism at its Best: The Third Temple Indiegogo Campaign

In Chapter 1 of End Of The Jews, I wrote about the Temple Institute and their drive to rebuild the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moriah.  As part of their state of constant vigilance, Institute artisans have prepared all the vestments, implements and ritual objects so when the time comes, members of the organization will be ready to assume all the duties, responsibilities and functions of that institution – including animal sacrifice.   Though calling back to a Judaism that predates the common era, the folks at the Temple Institute also employ 21st century tools, namely the internet and the power of social media.

In other words, even the Temple Institute folks are NEXT JEWS!

And like many a thoughtful Next Jew in need of financial support for their project (see also Jewcer), the folks over at the Temple Institute have launched an Indiegogo campaign.

This piece in the Forward brought a smile to my face almost as wide as the old man’s at the end of the YouTube clip below.

You can read the details of the campaign here.

My favourite: If you donate $1,800, you get an autographed headshot of the Kohein Gadol!

Okay, that was a joke.  But for $5,000 you can get a VIP tour of the Temple Mount and the Temple Institute led by the Institute’s director!

I wonder what will happen if they reach their modest goal.  Will they have to build the Third Temple within a set period of time or merely break ground or… ?

And I also wonder: Was Kickstarter not mehadrin enough for this campaign?  …Because going with Indiegogo makes a definite statement about taste and affiliation.

What remains now is the ol’ “wait and see” until September 25, Rosh HaShanah 5775 which, if the campaign launches, could be a really interesting year.

TanakhCast: The Remembering and the Telling Episode!


53fbae97d4f430b7f97d53d93c86c742b7c237462281a14ea0cb25f633236bbcIn this week’s episode: Deuteronomy 24-27.  We examine (once again) remembrance and how memory is mustered and bolstered through the simple act of recitation.  Listen closely then repeat after me.

And you can find the most excellent Radiolab podcast about weights and measures here.

%d bloggers like this: