Jewish Journal

Tag: Philosophy

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  • Yogi Berra’s passing thoughts on Middle East peace

    October 22, 2015 | 2:53 pm

    Jerusalem -- Yogi Berra’s death failed to make the news here, which is understandable, because he wasn’t known to Israelis. Except for the Americans who have moved here, Israelis don’t follow baseball, and care not a whit about Yogi’s playing career or his place in American lore as...

  • The Frankfurt Exchange, Part 1: On the Jewish origins of Critical Theory

    By Shmuel Rosner

    April 8, 2015 | 4:19 am

    Jack Jacobs is a professor of political science at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of On Socialists and 'the Jewish Question' after Marx (1992) and Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland (2009), and the editor of Jewish...

  • Contemplating Death vs Life as a Focus

    March 18, 2015 | 4:00 am

    If one walks into the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan (a five minute stroll from our home) and makes a right turn from the central Atrium, one comes face to face with the exhibit on the religions of Egypt which glorified death, with mortuary artifacts over 4000 years old....

  • Doheny Meats owner said to be involved in previous kosher controversy

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    April 1, 2013 | 5:03 pm

    Thirty years ago, in 1983, Rabbi Pinchas Gruman, an esteemed scholar of Jewish texts who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, was the chair of the Rabbinical Council of California’s (RCC) committee dedicated to enforcing Jewish dietary law at establishments under its supervision.

  • Is Buddhism a Religion?

    By Beit T'shuvah

    February 25, 2013 | 2:00 pm

    By Yeshaia Blakeney

    Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in the west.  One of the features of this religion that can help to account for its growth is that many don't consider Buddhism a religion at all.  Is Buddhism a Religion?  Many would say it is not, as it is...

  • Rabbi David Hartman, Jewish philosopher, dies at 81

    February 11, 2013 | 3:18 pm

    Rabbi David Hartman, one of the great Jewish philosophers of his generation and the founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute, died on Feb. 10, 2013, at 81. Hartman is considered one of the leaders of liberal Orthodoxy, and his philosophy influenced Jews both in Israel and around the...

  • Psychotherapy and philosophy intersect in ‘Spinoza problem’

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    March 7, 2012 | 2:54 pm

    Around our house, Irvin D. Yalom is a familiar name, and for more than one reason.

    I first heard about Yalom, author of “Love’s Executioner,” from my wife, Ann, who explained where he fits in the pantheon of theorists and practitioners in her field of psychotherapy.  Then I...

  • Q & A With George Nolfi of “The Adjustment Bureau,” Coming Soon to DVD

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 26, 2011 | 3:25 pm

    One of the best films of 2011 is still “The Adjustment Bureau,” George Nolfi’s sci-fi romantic thriller that has at its core a boggling theological question:  How much are our lives predetermined by a higher power, and how much comes about as a result of free will?  The movie,...

  • Dangerous memes: When ideas can kill [VIDEO]

    By The Web Guy

    January 4, 2009 | 3:51 am

    Philosopher Daniel Dennett says ideas can live and evolve just like living organisms—for better or for worse.  (Dennett is the author of one of my favorite books “Conciousness Explained.”)

    These living, evolving ideas are called memes.

    Some memes turn into dangerous ideological...

  • Pub theology, topless bars and the basis for mental breakthroughs

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    July 28, 2008 | 1:03 pm

    Pub theology has a newfound place in the modern Christian church. But the intersection of alcohol and divine revelation goes much further back.

    There was, of course, the wedding at Cana. Martin Luther was reportedly a fan of his home-brewed German hops. And it was over the daily...

  • Religion as a figment of human imagination?

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    May 7, 2008 | 10:35 am

    Ever wondered why animals don’t practice religion? It’s a fair question, especially when considering the multitude of beliefs humans have held. The answer, according to economist Maurice Bloch is that animals didn’t evolve the proper mechanics to imagine a universal order.


  • Coming soon—a Jewish liberal arts college

    By  Orit Arfa

    February 28, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    This is one in a series of articles on myriad topics related to Israel that will run weekly as we approach the Jewish State's 60th anniversary on Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, in May.

    Dr. Daniel Gordis At a time when most Israeli university professors were on strike, Dr. Yoram Hazony,...

  • Politics of liberal and conservative Jews reverse

    By Arnold Steinberg

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Recently, I spoke to Reform rabbinical students in their class on "Jewish Political Tradition." Which is, exactly, what?

    My expertise, I told them, is politics, not theology. Here was my dilemma: to talk reality or defer to the orthodoxy of Reform Jews, which is to say, political...

  • The New Nostradamus predicts the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    November 9, 2007 | 3:33 pm

    Imagine you could predict the future. With precision. And all you were doing was using a beefed up version of John Nash’s game theory formula. Well, GOOD magazine (whose founder I profiled for an article in next week’s JJ) has a cover story on a guy who can.

    His name is a mouthful—...

  • God’s not dead, but is religion?

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    September 25, 2007 | 3:46 pm

    My copy of UCLA Magazine, with my story about the intersection of God and grades on the cover, finally arrived in the mail today. Flipping through my story—the first thing all journalists do is turn to their story—I noticed a nugget from a sidebar that was worth discussion.


  • Jesus the social philosopher

    By Brad A. Greenberg

    July 20, 2007 | 8:53 am

    One would imagine that two millennia would provide ample occasion for exhaustive study of Jesus of Nazareth, and yet somehow every generation seems to find some new way to think about him. Our own age is no exception. For more than a century now, believers and skeptics alike have...

  • Controversial bioethicist pounces on animals in art

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    May 17, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Bioethicist Peter Singer has received death threats for his views on incendiary topics such as infanticide and animals rights.

    A human life is not intrinsically sacred because it is human, he contends. Affluent people who do not give most of their income to charity are "murderers";...
  • I challenged karma, but did the karma win?

    By Amy Klein

    December 21, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Contrary to what the polls say, California must be the most religious state in the union. Now that Pluto's gone, it should be classified as its own planet.

    I remember when I first realized this. I'd been living here for less than a year, and I was in a car with three other women.


  • One woman’s search for the meaning of life, the universe, and everything

    By Amy Klein

    September 21, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Why are we here? What's life all about?/Is God really real, or is there some doubt? Well, tonight, we're going to sort it all out,/For, tonight, it's 'The Meaning of Life.' What's the point of all this hoax?/Is it the chicken and the egg time? Are we just yolks? Or, perhaps,...
  • The Spin on Spinoza—Rebel or Traitor?

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    May 25, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity" by Rebecca Goldstein (Schoken, $19.95).

    In high school, I read and reread two fluent, erudite surveys of philosophy until the pages of the books fell to pieces. By the time the glue bindings cracked on Will Durant's "The...

  • Touring With Lévy a Dizzying Experience

    By Marc Ballon

    April 27, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville," by Bernard-Henri Lévy (Random House).

    Date: Saturday, April 8, 2006.
    Time: 9 a.m.
    Place: The Beverly Hills Hotel lobby.

    I have come to this palace of privilege to meet Bernard-Henri Lévy,...

  • Punk Princesses:  Jews With Attitude

    By George Robinson

    December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    There were always Jews in punk, even before there was punk.

    "It really begins with Lenny Bruce," says Steven Beeber, whose new book "The Heebie Jeebies at CBGBs: A Secret History of Jewish Punk," will be published next year by A Capella Books. "Bruce sort of epitomizes the attitude,...

  • Meow With a French Accent

    May 26, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Comic books aren't just for kids anymore. In both the United States and France, they've been enjoying a popular explosion among readers of all ages.

    One of the stars of the explosion in France is Joann Sfar, an enfant terrible whose work has become so popular, that it can be found on...

  • Spectator - The Geffen’s Great Escape

    By Tom Tugend

    May 19, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In the 1930s, with the Great Depression at home and Hitler saber-rattling overseas, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, two sharp-witted Jewish lads, kept Broadway and the nation laughing.

    Together, they wrote such comedic classics as "Once in a Lifetime," "The Man Who Came to Dinner,"...

  • Rambamalama

    By Tom Teicholz

    July 29, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Put down your "Da Vinci Code." Set aside your "South Beach Diet." Let your kaballah red string drop off your wrist. I'm here to alert you to the next pop cultural phenom: a 12th-century philosopher popularly known as the Rambam.

    Just a few weeks ago, I attended the "Aloud" reading...

  • For Heaven’s Sake

    By Rabbi Gershon Johnson

    June 17, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Torah portion for this Shabbat is Korach, which details a disastrous mutiny led by Korach, a first cousin of Moses and Aaron. Korach says to Moses, who is leading the Jewish people through the Sinai desert on the way to Canaan: "You take too much upon you, seeing all the...

  • Coalition Lesson

    By Raphael J. Sonenshein

    March 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Community activist Karen Bass' victory in the 47th Assembly District's Democratic primary provides a valuable opening for coalition efforts between the Jewish community and a new generation of African American and Latino activists.

    Los Angeles has a long and distinguished history of...

  • The Core of Judaism

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    June 12, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Each year, Rabbi Leib Saras made a pilgrimage to see Rebbe Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezrich. When asked what Torah he went to learn, Leib Saras answered: "I do not go to learn interpretations of Torah. I go to watch the way he ties his shoes."

    Try this experiment: Put your hands in...