Category Archives: The Times of Israel

Who Is Your Enemy?

Who is your enemy? One of my friends said that she must have done something right this year, because she had acquired more enemies. Winston Churchill, who was Britain’s prime minister during World War II, would have agreed: “You have enemies? … Continue reading

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In Praise of Sloppy Thinking

By holding the handles, we can manipulate large amounts of information to solve problems, but we avoid getting bogged down in irrelevant details. Even if the underlying details are incomprehensible or inaccurate, the handle can still work. Continue reading

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Natalie Portman, Loyalty, and the Holocaust

My new blog post for The Times of Israel: By N.S. Palmer Israeli actress Natalie Portman received harsh criticism for suggesting last week that the Holocaust was not unique and that it should be less emphasized in Jewish education. Actually, … Continue reading

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What Must We Believe?

By N.S. Palmer Are certain beliefs required to be a Jew in good standing? Moses Maimonides says yes. Moses Mendelssohn says no. (And yes. And no. Mendelssohn was all over the map on that issue.) Among religious Jews, Maimonides is … Continue reading

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Maimonides and Keeping the Commandments

By N.S. Palmer “God rewards those who perform the commandments of the Torah and punishes those who transgress its admonitions.”1 The Jewish sage Maimonides called that an essential tenet of our faith. But there’s something a little odd about it. … Continue reading

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How We Failed Faigy Mayer

We failed Faigy Mayer. Ms. Mayer, an ex-Chasidic Jew, committed suicide by leaping from a rooftop in Manhattan. After leaving the close-knit Chasidic community, she felt alienated from her family and former friends. She struggled with depression, as almost anyone … Continue reading

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