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The Orthodoxies of the University Are Far More Dogmatic Than Those of the Faithful

Oct. 26 2017

Growing up in an Orthodox Jewish community, Celeste Marcus thought she knew something about dogmatism. Then she went to college:

College students, whether they are secular or religious, . . . have dogmas, cults, temples, scriptures, prooftexts, prophets, and methods of excommunication. Their loyalty to the group and its doctrine is often about the reward of belonging to a culture and a community. But inside their institutions of faith and ritual, they pursue the good life that their gods prescribe. . . .

I was raised in an Orthodox community, and so I recognized the religiosity and the piety. But I must note a significant difference. My denomination of Judaism, which calls itself Modern Orthodoxy, allowed for students to ask why we think what we think and why we do what we do. We were permitted to speak skeptically and express doubt. . . . (Granted, we still had to keep performing the practices, despite the overwhelming stream of underwhelming answers). The spiritual leaders—the good ones, anyway—are trained in a dialectical tradition, and they must show that they have mastered the vast and quarrelsome literature of the rabbis before they can claim, and are given, authority. They are trained to hold long, complicated conversations about hard questions.

So it was surprising for me to discover secular orthodoxies that are even more insular and disciplined than religious ones. The secular faiths that I see on campus demand certainty about questions that are too complex and too broad for certainty to be possible. They do not allow for questioning.

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Read more at Daily Pennsylvanian

More about: American politics, Modern Orthodoxy, Religion & Holidays, University

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