Category Archives: Certainty, Hatred, and Polarization

Willfully Blinkered: The Case of the Hyper-certain Mind

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April 1, 2012

James Aho In Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (2007), journalist Michelle Goldberg quotes a Christian motivational speaker taking issue with an audience member who was claiming that sex education works to deter unwanted pregnancies: “People of God,” she urgently replied, “can I beg you to commit yourself to truth, not [to] what works? More »

This Is Your Brain on Conflict: The Problem of Polarized Communication

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April 1, 2012

Amy Eilberg The human world is today, as never before, split into two camps, each of which understands the other as the embodiment of falsehood and itself as the embodiment of truth. . . . Each side has assumed monopoly of the sunlight and has plunged its antagonist into night, and each side demands that More »

Whose Certainty? A Response to Shaul Magid

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April 1, 2012

Yehiel Poupko There is another perspective on the criminal behavior of a small group of highly insular Haredim in Beit Shemesh. Traveling to Israel recently on a rabbinic mission of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago were nearly two dozen Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform rabbis. We met with Yair Ettinger, who covers religious affairs for More »

Polarization: Now at the Fringes, but Endangering the Future

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April 1, 2012

Kalman Neuman Gloomy prophecies of polarization are endemic in the Jewish state: The Jewish proclivity for dissent, the transformations that our people have undergone in the past 200 years, the attempt to create a polity from an amalgam of immigrants while undergoing a constant military and political crisis — all make prognostications of schism easy. More »

The Price of Uncertainty

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April 1, 2012

Shaul Magid Many of us were deeply disturbed by the exhibition of Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, zealotry in Beit Shemesh, a bedroom community outside Jerusalem, earlier this year. Many essays were written about the uncouth Haredim and their uncompromising beliefs, about the political ramifications of such egregious behavior in Israel’s public space, and about the decline More »

‘Black Bus’: The Pain of Defecting from the Fold

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April 1, 2012

Toby Perl Freilich Anat Zuria’s spare, eloquent and moving new film, “Black Bus,” is sure to fuel the roiling controversy over extreme gender segregation within Israeli ultra-Orthodox sectors. The conflict has provoked embarrassing comparisons between Jerusalem and Teheran, and sparked a critical debate on the tensions inherent in a free society’s commitment to protect cultural More »