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Sundown: What’s the Deal With Jews?

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• Writer and historian Tony Judt asks the big post-Holocaust Jewish Question: “Jews in America are more successful, integrated, respected, and influential than at any place or time in the history of the community. Why then is contemporary Jewish identity in the US so obsessively attached to the recollection—and anticipation—of its own disappearance?” [NYRB]

• Josh Nathan-Kazis responds to a letter written by 13 Jewish organizations trying to secure protection for American college students faced with anti-Semitism with an even bigger, older Jewish question: “Are Jews an ethnic or a religious group?” [Haaretz]

• The minutes from the first meeting of Israel’s provisional government on May 16, 1948, have just been made public. The gathered focused on what to call the officials now known as “ministers”; also in the running was “governor,” about which future Prime Minister Moshe Sharrett said: “This word may have the connotation of bragging, but it is a nice Hebrew word with a pleasant sound to it.” [Ynet]

• On the eve of its 62nd birthday, Israel’s population is 7,587,000—137,000 more than last year—made up of 75 percent Jews. [Ynet]

• The New York Times profiles Eddie Feibusch, a zipper merchant who “overcame not just the Nazis but also Velcro” (hyuk!) and once filled an order for Bernard Madoff in prison. [NYT]

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Why is Tony Judt, a respected, influential historian, endorsing a tendentious, ahistorical fabrication like Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People.” Accumulating genetic evidence, which a responsible writer would be compelled to reference, attests to the remarkable continuity of Jewish genetic heritage, and yet Sands, an expert in European history, spins a tale out of whole cloth, that Judt provides with a fulsome jacket-cover blurb.

Why does Tony Judt hate Jews so much that he is willing to cynically disregard the most fundamental principles of academic integrity and historical inquiry to undermine the legitimacy of Israel?

Why does this surprise you? Let’s face it Judt hates Israel. Look into his biography. In his youth he was a very active advocate for Israel. When he actually came to Israel and saw that it isn’t Manhattan on the Mediterranean, that there are (shudder) spheradim in Israel, and people who are racists and curse like in every other country he became disillusioned.
His latest shtick (which shows that he is a poor historian)is pushing the bi-national state idea which could only be proposed by someone who is ignorant of middle east history (See Lebanon as an example), and ignorant of the suffering of Jews in Arab countries.

Judt’s statement “Had Hitler never happened, Judaism might indeed have fallen into deliquescence,” is questionable at the least. As to what European Jewery would have looked like if not for the Holocaust, it is important to remember that a large percentage, possibly a majority, of the Jews killed in Eastern Europe were orthodox in some form. However, it does show the perspective which Judt comes from, an anti-religious one which sees assimilation as a natural progressive process, rather than one of many options, and one which seems to have waned even in America. Orthodox and other forms of religious Judaism have been growing faster than other segments of the Jewish population; of course their high birth rate is one factor but there are others, including the increased attractiveness and nurturing of religious and spiritual life. Judt has found an alternative to that, his political and ideological life, as well as his academic identification. Therefor, it makes sense that Judt says, “Being Jewish largely consists of remembering what it once meant to be Jewish.” That is all it is to him. He has little idea of what living a Jewish life might be, and seems to have never had much aside from his left-wing Zionist political identification. So naturally he seems to not be able to identify with or empathize with those for whom it is an alive experience. And therefore his anti-Israeli attitudes seem natural to him and he can not see how others can hold different perspectives and still be intelligent, modern and a source of self-identification or pride.

Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

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Sundown: What’s the Deal With Jews?

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