Thursday, December 2, 2010

Heads-up for 2 December 2010

El Salvador killings
The killing of 4 American churchwomen in December 1980, brought to light the extent of the violence in El Salvador, and the ruthless military tactics used against the liberation theology wing of the Catholic church.
(review, feed)

In Our Time
Melvyn Bragg explores the life of the last Egyptian pharaoh, Queen Cleopatra. Famous for her beauty, wit and passionate love affairs with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, she is also famous for her death, by her own hand by a poisonous snake bite. Melvyn is joined by Catharine Edwards, Professor of Classics and Ancient History at Birkbeck, University of London; Maria Wyke, Professor of Latin at University College London; and Susan Walker, Keeper of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford.
(review, feed)

Radio Open Source
Mark Blyth on Ireland: The Circle will not be Squared
It was never a “Celtic Tiger,” in the first place, in the Blyth telling. “It was a small ocelot with a roar.” A population the size of Brooklyn, NY, producing about 2 percent of the European GDP. And now, in deep pain of cuts in education and health services, it’s having an utterly illusory shouting match, not so unlike ours in the US of A.
(review, feed)

TED Talks
Why not eat insects? - Marcel Dicke (2010)
Marcel Dicke makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone's diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and eco-friendliness.
(review, feed)

Torah threads

Thanks to the podcast Forgotten Classics where the book of Genesis is being read in the translation by Robert Alter, I was directed to a new podcast: Torah Threads. On a weekly basis, Rabbi Paula Jayne Winnig delivers a podcast which discusses the coming week's parasha (Torah Portion) going over the entire text of the verses, in English, and giving some interpretation and food for thought. (feed)

As you can guess from Paula (a woman) being a Rabbi, she comes from a reformed background. A little bit more from her outlook on Judaism can be felt when one listens to the ninth podcast in the series, the one about parashat Vayetzei. She tells of her commitment to ecology, of her spiritual visits to Israel and pleas her support for another Jewish woman who was arrested at the Western Wall for carrying a Torah Scroll. She reveals she was herself once harassed at the Wall for wearing a tallit - Torah Scrolls and talliot are according to Orthodox views to be worn by men only.

So this where Rabbi Paula comes from, but even you do not identify with feminism, ecology and Reformed Judaism, she is still very instructive. First of all, she tends to give the entire portion, so on a basic level you get what the story is. This can be quite a lot and it explains why some other podcasts on the parashot make selections from the text. From there Paula takes the elements from the text that appeal to her most and enters a discussion about meaning and background that varies in its extent. Sometimes it is very tentative and short and sometimes she digs deeper. All in all a very nice podcast to get to know the Torah portions and keep up with them in their proper weeks.