Ruth Calderon's Speech, Yair Lapid's Religion, the Temple Mount, and Tattoos

Events in Israel and around the Jewish world remain as interesting as ever, and I've tried to contribute a bit by writing when I have the opportunity (i.e., when I'm paid to write; can't afford the lucrative work-for-free opportunities).

Having been inspired by Ruth Calderon's inaugural Knesset speech, I contacted several Jewish media outlets about translating the speech, and the New York Jewish Week agreed that it would be important to get this remarkable speech in front of the English-speaking Jewish world. The translation, like the speech, was shared far and wide and was adapted as subtitles on the original speech. Here is a link to my translation:

Yesterday's events at the Kotel have drawn, as usual, a global audience, but as many of you know I have long advocated viewing the struggle for women at the Kotel and for Jews on the Temple Mount as fundamentally linked. So in addition to the standard articles, we have this from Matti Friedman, exploring the increasing relevance of Har Habayit. He quotes me at the end of the article and links back to a blog post I wrote on the subject last year. Here's hoping that attitudes continue to deepen, soften, and converge.

Elsewhere on the Israeli scene, I analyzed Yair Lapid's well-known Ono College speech from over a year ago, in which he "conceded defeat" to the Haredim. It was a remarkable speech, which articulated a vision for a new type of Israeli secularism. In his tone, Lapid has certainly distanced himself from his father. But is that change merely tactical? Check it out:

Finally, on a different note, I explore, in the New York Jewish Week, the ancient Jewish ban on tattoos. There is a talmudic argument about whether the ban is due to the perception of tattoos as a pagan practice or is simply not rational - whether as a taboo or divine fiat. I contend that this ancient argument continued through the medieval debate and continues to frame the contemporary debate as well. This was a fun article - it combines quotes from the Torah, Tanakh, Talmud, and Maimonides with references to Lenny Bruce, Amy Winehouse, Drew Barrymore, The Nanny, and Curb your Enthusiasm. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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