David Levy

Engaging With the Days of Awe: A Personal Writing Ritual in Five Questions

September 30, 2014

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the whole repentance thing over the years, and I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it. The enormity of the ideas behind Yom Kippur is tough for me. If you look at the language of the prayers themselves, they’re more than a little scary.

The Internet Confessional Goes to the Goats

September 30, 2014

How sharing our sins, one Tweet at a time, can remind us that we are all human, flawed, and susceptible to daily corruptions. In the age of (public) guilt, a Jewish season to revisit our bad decisions, and make better choices in the days and months ahead.

Morning Jew: Genetics, Intermarriage, and Guest “Screaming Latke” Lisa Brown

September 28, 2014

Special guest author-illustrator Lisa BrownThe Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming and Baby, Make Me a Drink — rejoins Morning Jew comic duo Katie Halper and Heather Gold.

Morning Jew: Brands Behaving Badly, “Shtetl Booty” & More, with Guest Lisa Brown

September 23, 2014

This week, special guest illustrator-author Lisa Brown joins Morning Jew comic duo Katie Halper and Heather Gold on brands behaving badly, embracing zaftig, and more.

How Is This Rosh Hashanah Different from All Other Rosh Hashanahs?

September 18, 2014

At the religious and spiritual level, 5775 will be a seventh year according to the ancient counting, a Sabbatical Year of Shmita (“release” or “non-attachment”). In such a year, Torah (Leviticus 25) commands that the earth be allowed to rest. This will be the first Sabbatical/Shmita Year since the dispersion and exile of Jews from the land of Israel about 2,000 years ago.

At the political and activist level, we are entering Rosh Hashanah with a major leap in involvement of the American Jewish community in addressing the climate crisis that is bringing global scorching upon the world — unprecedented droughts, floods, famines, with worse to come.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of ZEEK’s series on Jews and climate justice.

Poetry: Facing the Mark

September 16, 2014

Original, new poetry from Alissa Romanow.

The Truth About the “Border Crisis”: How Partisan Politics Hurt Children

September 8, 2014

This weekend, the White House announced that President Obama will not seek to fix our broken immigration system before the November elections. These children are fleeing peril and seeking safety in the US, yet their stories are quickly muddled with political rhetoric. This is a letdown for Americans and aspiring Americans alike.

On Despair and Hope: A Jewish Call for Climate Action

September 7, 2014

It’s an unusually cool late July night in Philadelphia. I’ve just returned home from a planning meeting with a group of Jews organizing to join the upcoming People’s Climate March, taking place September 21 in New York City. The march is expected to be historic, and coincides with the latest UN Climate Summit. Though I’m not much of an organizer, and tend to get impatient at committee meetings, I left that meeting feeling something I haven’t felt in a long time when it comes to climate change: hope.

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Morning Jew: The Joan Rivers, Ben Stein & Elvis Edition

September 7, 2014

This week, comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper tackle Ben Stein’s racism, Elvis’ Judaism, and Joan Rivers’ legacy!

Labor Day: Who Steps Up for Justice in the Death of Maria Fernandes & Too Many Other Innocent Workers

August 29, 2014

Maria Fernandes was a hard worker. Not just at her job. At her three jobs, including shifts at three different Dunkin’ Donuts. Our sacred text is clear: “measure the distance to the cities which are around him who is slain.” Measure the distance. The cities of the slain are our cities. The responsibility is on our elders. On our judges. On our leaders. On us. Who will step forward?

Morning Jew: Lady Parts, Princesses & Funerals

August 29, 2014

Get behind the headlines with comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper. This week, the comic duo talk about women’s bodies and take a fresh look at that super-loaded ‘80s-girl stereotype: The Jewish American Princess, but also their male counterparts.

Should Rabbis Proselytize Non-Jewish Spouses? A Response to JTSA Chancellor Arnold Eisen

August 20, 2014

Responding to “Wanted: Converts to Judaism,” Shaul Magid proposes an alternative to proselytizing, calling for creativity in crafting a new Jewish strategy for inclusive liturgy and rituals in a “post-ethnic” America.

Morning Jew: Tackling Rhetoric (and Anti-Semitism)

August 19, 2014

Get behind the headlines with comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper. This week, how American Jews talk about the Middle East and the Eggshell Walk, including acronyms like PEP, short for “progressive except on Palestine.”

Hey You, Are You Confronting Jewish Racism? Ferguson, Race & Public Space

August 15, 2014

As the civil unrest in Ferguson re-launches much-needed conversations about race — and racism — US Jews must see this as a call to action on injustice broadly as well as a time to kickstart difficult conversations within the Jewish community. And not just around the kind of explicit, hate-filled racism we heard from Donald Sterling this spring, but pressingly, around the more subtle undercurrent that enables more explicit racism but often goes, unnoticed, unremarked upon, and thus, unchecked.

In Memory of Leonard Fein: Social Justice Again....

August 14, 2014

Editor’s Note: Our hearts are heavy with this morning’s passing of Leonard “Leibl” Fein. In his honor, we republish this 2008 ZEEK essay, “Social Justice Again…” “The question that the heirs to a tradition of rachmanut, compassion, must in every generation answer,” he writes, “is whether they, in turn, will be the compassionate parents of compassionate children.” He was. And, speaking for my own generation, we shall try. –-Erica Brody

Social Justice Again… By Leonard Fein

SOCIAL JUSTICE, AGAIN? No. Social justice still.

The current talk of the American Jewish community’s abandonment of its traditional passion for social justice is exactly that–talk. Read More

Morning Jew: Heather Gold, Katie Halper & Special Guest Josh Gondelman

August 8, 2014

The Morning Jew duo is joined by Josh Gondelman (‪Last Week Tonight with John Oliver & ‪@SeinfeldToday), taking a brave stand against apologia.

The verdict? This week’s news is bad for the Jews: Israel bombs another UN school, infant herpes, Woody Allen, genocide talk & more.

A Conversation: Why Fiction Matters in an Unjust World

July 30, 2014

A conversation between Sarah Seltzer and Chanel Dubofsky launching ZEEK’s Summer Fiction series.

Fiction: Angels Out of America

July 30, 2014

As he leaned on the banister, breathing unevenly, shifting his weight to his forearms, marveling that he had walked sixty blocks, the tree exploded into flames.

Hellish light distorted the faces of the ice skaters and the tourists, carving jack-o-lanterns of them. Jay told himself to keep calm even as a low frightened moan slipped out of him and he knew he could never keep calm; howling fire stripped the word calm of meaning.

Fiction: Sholem Wrestles an Angel

July 30, 2014

To a man with hearing loss, the world can present some strange playlists. For instance, the intolerable screech of the BART car on its tracks can approach the sublime. Wind across the brushed aluminum surface of the car can sound like a choir singing a note and its minor third simultaneously, moving up and down a ghostly atonal scale as the car speeds up and slows down. The symphony is released into the atmosphere when the train moves on elevated track, and then strangulated within tunnels where it is forced to ever higher pitches.

Towards a New Tzniut

July 25, 2014

My third day of rabbinical school, a male colleague ran his finger slowly up my arm to my shoulder and said, in a voice that was somewhere between flirtatious and downright creepy, “You’ll be wanting to cover up, then.”

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