Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What is hot on 4 January 2011

KQED Forum
'All Things Shining': Finding Meaning in a Secular Age
Philosophy professor Hubert Dreyfus's classes on existentialism and phenomenology were long among the most popular classes at UC Berkeley. One of those classes formed the basis of Dreyfus's new book "All Things Shining," co-authored with Harvard philosophy professor Sean Kelly. The authors join us to discuss the book, which deals with moments of meaning and transcendence in great works of Western literature.
(review, feed)

Lyrics Undercover
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye (and more!)
This week on Lyrics Undercover, we’ll look at a Motown breakup song that is a classic. “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” is sung by a narrator who has no clue that his relationship is ending. Only from gossip, ‘through the grapevine,’ does he discover that his partner is cheating.
(review, feed)

Science Times
NYT: Science Times for 01/04/2011
This week: The top science, health and environmental stories of 2010 and research indicating that gay teens are no less likely to be unhappy than straight teens.
(review, feed)

TED Talks
On reading the Koran - Lesley Hazelton (2010)
Lesley Hazelton sat down one day to read the Koran. And what she found -- as a non-Muslim, a self-identified "tourist" in the Islamic holy book -- wasn't what she expected. With serious scholarship and warm humor, Hazelton shares the grace, flexibility and mystery she found, in this myth-debunking talk from TEDxRainier.
(review, feed)

Intermarriage - Kol Hadash

Two months ago I discovered the podcast Kol Hadash and wrote an excited review of it. Last week Kol Hadash came with a new issue that had me even more excited and inspired. It really seems that Rabbi Adam Chalom (pronounce as Shalom) has very similar views that I have. And in this issue also spoke about a subject that goes to my heart. (feed)

Intermarriage is not exactly an easy subject, for Jews nor for any other faith or cultural unity. Chalom describes the various ways intermarriage has been met. From plain rejection (sitting 'shiva' for those who intermarry) to conversion of the other to some half-hearted acceptance (you can be in our synagogue but not rise to the podium on a bar-mitzva). Chalom proposes to do more than that. He proposes to accept and even value intermarriage. He himself takes part in mixed faith ceremonies and reveals how exceptional a rabbi he is in this respect and how large the demand is. He makes his arguments mimicking advertising: why ignore two-thirds of the market?

That is enough for one podcast, but it leaves a couple of fundamental ends unresolved. Much of his talk is still informed by that deep Jewish self-image of being a small community under pressure of assimilation and the main aim of acceptance seems to be to preserve mass. But what does this mean? What kind of a Judaism is his? What kind of a Jewish community does he envision, when more and more non-Jews will become part of it? And what are these Jewish non-Jews in the community; are they real Jews in his view, or do they need conversion? If so, what kind of conversion? And what about the non-Jewish sources the outsiders bring into the mix? Will they receive equal rights? Will Chalom's congregation openly give authority to Greek philosophy or even Gospel? It seems to me that his courageous and laudable approach is opening a box of Pandora. It makes me very curious, again, to find out more and I am waiting for more installments of the Kol Hadash podcast.

More Kol Hadash:
Rabbi Adam Chalom - Kol Hadash Podcast