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Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

May 2009 Archives

On Shavuot, Thinking of Converso Jews

posted by David Klinghoffer

This blog entry is being published automatically. I’m off Friday and Saturday for Shavuot, when Jews around the world observe the two-day festival that recalls the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai and the associated mass conversion of […]

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Childlessness and Liberalism

posted by David Klinghoffer

My post on childless Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor provoked some interesting misunderstandings among commenters. I argued that the experience of raising kids potentially confers traits you’d want in a judge, more so than merely being Hispanic and female. Remember […]

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Why We Were Better Off Before the Internet

posted by David Klinghoffer

Somebody should write a book with that title. Reason 142? Wikipedia. For all that I make use of this Web resource every day, I often get a queasy feeling about it. Many “facts” I’ve come across I know to be […]

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A Fog Over the Intelligent Design Debate

posted by David Klinghoffer

A pair of dueling websites, one that just went live, are engaged in an important argument over whether religious believers should continue to be fed the “opium of the people.” That’s the famous phrase Marx Karl used to deride all […]

A Childless Supreme Court Justice?

posted by David Klinghoffer

A reader, Professor Joshua Berman at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, writes to me with a brilliant insight about President Obama’s Supreme Court pick. Berman’s new book, by the way, is Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought: Obama is […]

The Jewish Case for Christian Patriotism

posted by David Klinghoffer

Over at Crunchy Con, Rod points us to a fascinating Christianity Today review of a new Bible version with a commentary promoting American patriotism on Biblical grounds. Rod is unimpressed by the concept behind The American Patriot’s Bible: “To the extent that this […]

Erasing Shavuot

posted by David Klinghoffer

I’m in Southern California visiting with family and noted something fascinating in the current yearly calendar published by the Reform Jewish temple where I grew up and had my bar mitzvah. The Jewish festival of Shavuot is this coming Friday […]

What Is Torah?

posted by David Klinghoffer

This coming Friday and Saturday, Jews around the world will recall and celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments are the briefest possible distillation of the 613 Biblical commandments — or alternatively, of the […]

The Joker, a Lonely Face in the Atheist Crowd

posted by David Klinghoffer

A friend responds perceptively to my dialogue with atheists, pointing out how reluctant many people are to honestly confront the unhappier consequences of their world view. Only a few atheists who wrote to me on this blog were willing to […]

My Dialogue with Atheists Continues

posted by David Klinghoffer

Earlier this month I challenged believers in atheism to tell me how or if they find there to be meaning in life. Also, without a transcendent reality outside our own physical world that gives an objective definition to moral ideas, […]

The Toughest Thing about Judaism

posted by David Klinghoffer

“Gee, I think the toughest thing about being Orthodox would be the kosher food,” my dad has occasionally said to me. He’s always enjoyed a good restaurant meal and, in truth, fine dining is not among the Orthodox community’s top […]

A Jaundiced Eye on Ida

posted by David Klinghoffer

You’ll forgive me if I cast a somewhat jaundiced eye on Ida, evolution’s latest supposed missing link. Yet when the old girl is found gracing even the front page of Google, you know it’s a phenomenon that at least deserves […]

Alternative Medicine, Alternative Religion, Alternative Nation

posted by David Klinghoffer

So far this week I have heard the following from various friends: One is having shoulder surgery but wants to stay away from pain medications. He is consulting a homeopathic practitioner instead. Another couple we know has a child with […]

Why Intelligent Design is Jewish

posted by David Klinghoffer

In responding to Christianity, Jews historically have objected that the other faith gives too human a picture of God. Needless to say, as a Jew I’d have to agree. Yet nowadays from many Jews I find much less strenuous objection […]

Where Theistic Evolution Leads

posted by David Klinghoffer

Some readers thought I was unfair in a previous entry explaining the difference between my perspective on evolution and that of my fellow Beliefnet blogger Dr. Francis Collins over at Science and the Sacred. Am I really not being fair? […]

Charmed by the First Black Woman Rabbi

posted by David Klinghoffer

Though I find Reform Judaism to be massively deluded about Torah and Jewish faith, it also has its good points. For example, I’m charmed and cheered by the news that the first female African-American rabbi will receive ordination from the […]

Fond Dreams of BioLogos

posted by David Klinghoffer

Astute readers will have noticed that Beliefnet runs two blogs that deal with evolution on a more or less frequent basis but in very different ways: this blog and Science and the Sacred, where former Human Genome Project head Francis Collins […]

A Gentile Torah-Believer’s Testimony

posted by David Klinghoffer

Recently a particularly thoughtful commenter on this blog mentioned in passing that he identifies as a Noachide, that is, a Gentile believer in Torah. I was so interested to hear this that I wrote to him and asked for his […]

Rush Limbaugh’s Kidneys

posted by David Klinghoffer

Were you puzzled at all, as I was, over “comedian” Wanda Sykes’s stand-up routine at the White House Correspondents dinner and her curious choice of a medical image in assailing Rush Limbaugh? As President Obama smiled fondly and guffawed behind […]

Dancing with Other Men — and Liking It!

posted by David Klinghoffer

I attended a Chasidic wedding Tuesday night and came away with a thought about religion generally, sparked also by an insight on economics, not my own.  On Monday I heard a great lecture by my friend Jay Richards at the […]

Abuses by Clergy? A Note of Skepticism

posted by David Klinghoffer

I confess to having contrarian instincts. When the hounds are baying for someone’s blood, my inclination is to wonder if just perhaps the problem is with the hounds. I’ve never had an occasion to write about sexual and financial abuses committed by […]

The Pope in Jerusalem III

posted by David Klinghoffer

Perhaps as an antidote to Jewish histrionics in the context of the Pope’s Jerusalem visit, the Jerusalem Post carries a refreshing interview with Rabbi Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University, a prominent personality in centrist Orthodoxy. Rabbi Lamm has always struck […]

The Pope in Jerusalem II

posted by David Klinghoffer

Now the criticism of Pope Benedict is that in speaking in memory of Holocaust victims at Yad Vashem, he was “restrained, almost cold.” Can anyone direct me to a video link where the former Cardinal Ratzinger appears unrestrained and full […]

The Pope in Jerusalem

posted by David Klinghoffer

Would Pope Benedict accept an invitation to edit the next speech given by Israeli former chief rabbi Israel Meir Lau? No, I don’t think he would. It would be beneath his dignity.  Yet when Benedict comes to Israel and speaks at […]

A Mothers’ Conspiracy

posted by David Klinghoffer

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’m busy appreciating the Mothers’ Conspiracy that’s been responsible for my own children’s having a fighting chance of passing on Jewish values to their children and grandchildren. I call it a Jewish conspiracy because a spiritual chain […]

A Challenge to Religious Liberals

posted by David Klinghoffer

Over at the interesting website Beyond Teshuva, devoted to issues raised by Jews returning from secularism to Judaism, Kressel Housman comes “out of the closet” as…a liberal. As someone “raised on liberal values,” she reflects: I know liberalism is unpopular in frum […]

Correcting Jewish Views on Stem Cell Research

posted by David Klinghoffer

A function of this blog is correcting mistaken views about Judaism held by Jews. The same reader comment that prompted me to declare myself guilty of being “Christian-friendly” also castigated Eric Cohen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center for having […]

Chabad is Amazing

posted by David Klinghoffer

The JTA reports — a mikveh in Montana of all places, can you imagine? Kosher Jewish marriage is impossible without one. Chabad is sniped at a lot in Jewish life, quite unfairly. Yet who else would accomplish such a thing? No […]

Why I’m “Christian-Friendly”

posted by David Klinghoffer

Jews are funny. Responding to my post on a certain strain even in Orthodox Judaism that resists accepting the implications of our being in exile, galut, a reader shot back that I must be some kind of Uncle Tom since […]

We Are All Marranos Now

posted by David Klinghoffer

Miriam Shaviv has a fascinating book review in the Forward on the Spanish “Jewish Christians” or “Marranos” who, up until the expulsion from Spain in 1492, accepted baptism and outward life as Christians while maintaining a secret, internal loyalty to Judaism. They […]

Hey, Maimonides School, Ever Hear of “Exile”?

posted by David Klinghoffer

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the team of Orthodox Jewish high school students who are suing to compete in a national mock trial competition. The team from the Maimonides School in Brookline, Mass., won their state […]

Up from Secularism

posted by David Klinghoffer

I love a really good teshuva (repentance) story, telling how a Jew found his way up from secularism to Judaism. One of the most fascinating I’ve read is posted on the First Things website today, by David P. Goldman (a/k/a […]

Deciding When to Delete Comments

posted by David Klinghoffer

It can be a bit of a dilemma. I take down defamatory comments when I catch them — e.g., from the guy who hides behind religious-sounding pseudonyms but wants to use the combox to defame other people by name and […]

Lost Jews of Los Angeles

posted by David Klinghoffer

Here’s a poignant footnote to our discussion of whether, for atheists, there can be meaning in life without reference to a transcendent reality.  Jewlicious praises a rebranding campaign by the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, quoting in turn a Jewish Telegraphic […]

A “Secular Inquisition” on Behalf of Darwinism

posted by David Klinghoffer

Melanie Phillips has another terrific post about the “Secular Inquisition” being waged on behalf of Darwinism. When will they start stoning Intelligent Design advocates? She begins this way: The response to my post below on Intelligent Design has provided illuminating […]

What About Stoning Adulterers, Then?

posted by David Klinghoffer

From Iran comes news that a 30-year-old man convicted of adultery has been stoned to death while his partner in “crime” was spared on account of her having repented. The Reuters story notes: According to Iran’s Islamic penal code, men […]

A Challenge to Atheists and Agnostics

posted by David Klinghoffer

Something that’s surprised me about blogging on Beliefnet is how many atheists seem drawn to a website devoted specifically to spiritual expression. One commenter told me to “Go away!” A little bit ironic, don’t you think? Anyway, I have a […]

Where Torah’s Philosophy Comes From

posted by David Klinghoffer

Over the Sabbath, my wife and my mother-in-law and I had the chance to hear a Torah discussion by Rabbi David Lapin, visiting from Toronto. A very understated and informal lecture on Jewish marriage law, but what charisma! You can hear him […]

Intelligent Design or the Dreaded “Creationism”?

posted by David Klinghoffer

On the Darwin debate, minds are opening in England in some very prominent places. First, A.N. Wilson affirmed the Darwin-Hitler connection. Now at the London Spectator, Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, rebukes Darwinists for deceiving the public by persistently conflating intelligent […]

My Source on Same-Sex Marriage in Ancient Canaan

posted by David Klinghoffer

A number of readers asked for it. My source is a midrash (that is, a work of Biblical interpolation) called Sifra that elaborates on Leviticus. The reference to same-sex marriage is unmistakable. Coincidentally, this particular note on the text comes in […]

Sex in the Bible Is Always Troubled. Why?

posted by David Klinghoffer

This started with a query from my Beliefnet editor, noting that Bnet readers have been searching for an answer to the question “Which book in the Bible is the most erotic?” The easy answer is the Song of Songs, but […]

Arguing with Jesus

posted by David Klinghoffer

Jay Michaelson has an interesting column in the Forward about the flood of recent books by Jews seeking to argue with Jesus and Christianity: [T]hese past few years have seen a small mountain of Jesus books arrive on my desk, […]

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posted 11:24:22am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Animal Wisdom: The Voice of the Serpent
Our family watched Jaws together the other evening -- which, in case you're wondering, I regard as responsible parenting since our kids are basically too young to be genuinely scared by the film. The whole rest of the next day, two-year-old Saul ...

posted 3:56:33pm Mar. 16, 2010 | read full post »

Reading Wesley Smith: Why the Darwin Debate Matters
If the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate doesn't receive the support you might expect from people who should be allies, that may be because they haven't grasped why the whole thing matters so urgently. I got an email recently from ...

posted 5:07:12pm Mar. 15, 2010 | read full post »

The Mission of the Jews
Don't miss my essay over at First Things on the mission of the Jews to the world. This, I think, the key idea that the Jewish community needs to absorb at this very unusual cultural moment, for the time is so, so right. Non-Jews are waiting for ...

posted 6:14:16pm Mar. 05, 2010 | read full post »

Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult
Of all the regrettable cultural forces that Darwinism helped unleash, perhaps the most surprising and seemingly unlikely is its role in sparking the creation of modern occultism. Charles Darwin himself could not have been less interested in the ...

posted 2:04:11pm Mar. 04, 2010 | read full post »

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