A couple of items that came my way via Facebook.- Judaism on trial, food again, and humanities degrees.
1] The London School for Jewish Studies -LSJS is having a series of holiday break lectures that will put Judaism on trail against its critics. .Despite the disclaimer, I expect apologetic lectures, except on the issue of evolution. It has been a long time since we have seen this sort of program- 50 years ago we had programs- Judaism versus Freud, Marx, Durkheim, Darwin, and Dewey. People want to put Judaism on trial again.
Judaism on Trial travels the razor’s edge of Jewish tradition and 21st century thinking on: evolution, attitudes to non-Jews, dialogue with other religions, biblical criticism, and much more. This is an open and intensive text based exploration of Judaism in the modern world, warts and all.
20, 21 and22 December Session
Evolution and Torah Dr. Raphael Zarum
Value Clashes in Rabbinic Judaism R. Simon Mandel
Anti-Semitism and the Talmud Richard Verber and LSJS faculty
Who Wrote the Bible? R. Natan Levy
‘The Goyim’: Attitudes to Non-Jews R. Michael Pollak
The Female Jew: No Apologetics Maureen Kendler & Chaplaincy Rebbetzens
2] Steven I Weiss made a good call on Facebook by noting how many of this year’s award winning cookbooks are were written by Jews. Almost all are not observant of the dietary laws but the cookbooks will enter the broader Jewish community and raise the level of being a foodie by yet another notch. Kosher by Design and Spice and Spirit will be considered grandparent or old people cooking. What do you mean they don’t have a recipe for beet Carpaccio with fresh mint or Crevice with mango? How will one make shabbos? This will be a divider in the new configurations like dry wine and sushi used to be. Let us see who puts out a Jewish new cuisine cookbook first?
3] I don’t remember who posted this but humanities have been going up even so slightly but the decline was in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. In 1968, the course with the largest enrollment was religion, in 1978 it was economics. In the nineteen eighties everyone majored in business or economics. People complain about the decline of high culture or humanities since the formation of Centrism, but the very ideology was formulated and works well in a time of no humanities.
in 2007, just 8 percent of bachelors degrees were given to disciplines in the humanities.” So things are getting worse? Really? No, not really,
Compared to 17.4 percent in1967, yow! We are totally in trouble! … except that the decline was entirely a phenomenon of the 1970s and 1980s, when the percentage dropped to about 7 percent. And it’s been 8-9 percent for the past 20 years now.
But I just don’t know of any realm of human endeavor in which a precipitous decline from 1967 to 1987, followed by a couple of decades of stability, counts as breaking news. It’s the equivalent of saying “sales of Sgt. Pepper posters have declined sharply since 1967,”** and trying to pass it off as tonight’s lead story. But for some reason, when it comes to the humanities, it works every time.
The real story should be this: amazingly, remarkably, counterintuitively and bizarrely, humanities majors in the United States, as a percentage of all bachelor’s degrees, have held steady since about 1990—since the onset of the culture wars,
However, because we continually tell ourselves that we have fallen– O how fall’n! how chang’d
Read the rest here at the blog crooked timber.