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Why Won’t American Jews Learn Hebrew? Because They Don’t Want to.

May 17 2016

The novelist Dara Horn recently chided American Jews for their reluctance to learn their ancestral tongue, arguing that they are daunted by an unspoken assumption that it is somehow unlearnable. Responding, Michael Weingrad takes a different tack:

American Jews are hardly known for their lack of confidence, certainly when it comes to intellectual pursuits. We are surrounded by American Jews who learn languages and expect their children to learn languages: Spanish, Mandarin, JavaScript. . . .

The stubborn American Jewish refusal—even by many Jews who are active in Jewish life, and who mouth Hebrew words as sounds week after week in the synagogue—to treat Hebrew as a language that can be learned, spoken, and used is nothing short of bizarre.

What we see in this is not an absence . . . of confidence or resources. It is a presence: the active pressure of the American Jewish psyche. American Jewish identity is based on feeling outside, on the threshold knocking at the door but never quite entering. Knocking at the door of Jewish identity, knocking at the door of American identity. To enter fully would be to lose one’s identity and become something different, unthinkable for most American Jews. For them, the front stoop has become home.

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Read more at Stroum Center for Jewish Studies

More about: American Jewry, Hebrew, Jewish education, Religion & Holidays

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations