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  • Week in Review: August 22, 2014

    by TJC Staff

    Jewish connections to events in Ferguson, MO, including why the situation there is drawing comparisons to Israel’s war in Gaza; how a new smartphone app is bringing young Jews together; and more.

    August 21, 2014 | No Comments »

    Up Close: August 18, 2014

    by TJC Staff
    Play

    This week on Up Close, we look at major Jewish sages, past and present.

    First, renowned scholar, commentator and translator Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz speaks about his work on the Talmud and his book about the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, My Rebbe. Rabbi Steinsaltz is the author of what may well become the most-read commentary on the Talmud in its history, the Koren Talmud, and is a popularizer of the text known for his erudition.

    Then, Dr. Ronald Eisenberg, a physician specializing in radiology, discusses how a side-gig of sorts in digging deep into Jewish studies has yielded his encyclopedic work on Essential Figures in Jewish Scholarship.

    Watch the complete episode on TJC on-demand on cable in the TJC Original Series/Interviews category. You can also watch highlights from the episode in the video above, or listen to the complete audio of this episode at the top of this post or by subscribing to our weekly audio podcast at http://feeds.feedburner.com/tjcupclose or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tjcs-up-close/id807702211.

    August 19, 2014 | No Comments »

    Week in Review: August 15, 2014

    by Steven I. Weiss

    Steven I. Weiss examines the popular claims and rumors circulating in media coverage of the Gaza War, and what is at stake for Israel going forward. Christian Niedan reports on a new photography exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum, “Echoes of the Borscht Belt”, which looks at the current decrepit state of iconic hotels in upstate New York, which housed thousands of Jewish vacationers over many decades. And “Up Close” with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, discussing his book on the Talmud, and another about the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

    August 14, 2014 | No Comments »

    Week in Review: August 8, 2014

    by TJC Staff

    World leaders may be stepping back from their support of Israel in the Gaza conflict, but not Russian Jews in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn: Chris Niedan covers a pro-Israel rally in that community. Also, for the holiday of Tu B’Av, the “Jewish Valentine’s Day,” Meredith Ganzman gets advice from marriage and relationship expert Chana Levitan, author of I Only Want to Get Married Once; and take a peek at Steven I. Weiss’ “Up Close” interview with Judith Frank, author of the novel “All I Love and Know.”

    August 8, 2014 | No Comments »

    That Idiot’s “Genocide” Views Are Repugnant; Times of Israel Is Low-Rent HuffPo

    by Steven I. Weiss

    This horrible piece written by an idiot contains sentiments that should be condemned by every decent person, and especially by members of the Jewish community, who bear responsibility for the actions of our fellows.

    The good news is that there’s no reason to think his views are anything approaching mainstream.

    In specific, many get confused by the title of a website called “Times of Israel,” thinking it’s a legitimate, major news outlet. But it’s not: it’s basically a very-low-rent version of the Huffington Post, where almost anyone can publish almost anything with essentially no editorial filter or control. It’s more or less an open publishing platform, like WordPress or Blogger, with some patina of legitimacy conferred to its random authors by its name and design, and the fact that it does employ some serious and qualified news reporters to craft some of its content in other sections than “Ops & Blogs,” where this piece appeared.

    That’s why I could confidently tweet that “I’m calling for termination of any editorial personnel involved in @TimesofIsrael ‘genocide’ post. As it happens, that’s likely no one.” There are two parts to that: anyone involved in publishing it should be fired, but it’s quite a stretch to think anyone of any significance was involved in publishing that.

    So the Times of Israel is not, as Gawker has it, “an Israeli paper,” nor does the piece qualify as a “column.” It’s repugnant and idiotic, but it’s just one idiot’s opinion that doesn’t rest on the decision-making of any experienced editorial personnel at any significant journalism outlet. Further, to get a sense of how similar views are received in Israel, look at the saga of Rabbi Dov Lior, who was arrested for saying much less.

    Separate and apart from that, one semi-real Jewish newspaper did publish the piece on its website here in the States. That’d be the 5 Towns Jewish Times, whose editor and publisher, Larry Gordon, is the father of the idiot who wrote that post, Yochanan Gordon. The 5TJT is more ad circular than newspaper, with no real investment in original reporting or experienced journalists involved. Nonetheless, this is serious stuff.

    In Atlanta in 2012, when the publisher of the local Jewish newspaper suggested that assassinating President Barack Obama might be a good idea, the local Jewish community forced him to sell the paper.

    Perhaps a similar move would be appropriate here, with the 5TJT, but there are a few reasons that might be uncalled for: Yochanan Gordon, I’ve heard in the past, is just an ad salesperson with little to no involvement in editorial matters; the 5TJT removed the post, seemingly within a few hours of its being posted, and didn’t run the item in its paper; and the 5TJT posted a strongly-worded apology in which it argued that the piece “escaped [editors'] proper attention.” Maybe.

    Gordon’s words deserve the strong condemnation of the entire Jewish community. And those who may have helped him spread those words deserve punishment, as well. But it would be an error to assume that his publishing them where he did means anything significant about Jewish or Israeli sentiment.

    August 1, 2014 | No Comments »

    Up Close: August 4, 2014

    by TJC Staff
    Play

    This week on Up Close, we explore the relationship between justice and the law.

    First, New York Times Op-Ed editor Clay Risen, discusses his book The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act, in which he explores why the Civil Rights Act was necessary and the behind-the-scenes negotiations that allowed it to pass, a feat that seemed unlikely at first.

    Then, Columbia University professor Bernard Harcourt explains the latest, posthumously-published, work by famed 20th century moral philosopher Michel Foucault, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice. Harcourt is the book’s co-editor, along with Fabienne Brion, and developed it from a series of lectures given by Foucault later in his life and which he never had a chance to publish.

    Watch the complete episode on TJC on-demand on cable in the TJC Original Series/Interviews category. You can also watch highlights from the episode in the video above, or listen to the complete audio of this episode at the top of this post or by subscribing to our weekly audio podcast at http://feeds.feedburner.com/tjcupclose or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tjcs-up-close/id807702211.

    August 1, 2014 | No Comments »

    Week in Review: August 1, 2014

    by TJC Staff

    When Israeli officials say the IDF is more moral than any other military, which other military are they referring to? TJC’s Steven I. Weiss shares his analysis.

    Plus, Meredith Ganzman digs in to the new/old takes on bagels popping up in New York City, and get a preview of this week’s “Up Close” interview with Columbia University professor Bernard Harcourt, co-editor of philosopher Michel Foucault’s posthumously published book, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice.

    July 31, 2014 | No Comments »

    Up Close: July 28, 2014

    by TJC Staff
    Play

    On this episode of Up Close, how baseball influences, and is influenced by, the broader American culture.

    First, Sports Illustrated Associate Managing Editor Kostya Kennedy talks about the banning of Pete Rose from baseball and whether he should or should not be eligible for entry into the hall of fame. His book is Pete Rose: An American Dilemma.

    Then, pop-culture historian and journalist Dan Epstein discusses his book, Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ‘76, which looks at the revolutionary changes that happened in baseball that year, as the nation was celebrating the 200th anniversary of its own revolution.

    Watch the complete episode on TJC on-demand on cable in the TJC Original Series/Interviews category. You can also watch highlights from the episode in the video above, or listen to the complete audio of this episode at the top of this post or by subscribing to our weekly audio podcast at http://feeds.feedburner.com/tjcupclose or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tjcs-up-close/id807702211.

    July 28, 2014 | No Comments »

    Week in Review: July 25, 2014

    by TJC Staff

    Is international public opinion in support of Israel more than in previous conflicts with Gaza?; Iranian nuclear talks will proceed despite failing to meet deadlines; two new cases of infants contracting herpes from a controversial circumcision ritual were reported; late Jewish photographer Garry Winogrand’s game-changing pictures are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and a peek at our “Up Close” interview with Kostya Kennedy, author of “Pete Rose: An American Dilemma.”

    July 24, 2014 | No Comments »

    Up Close: July 21, 2014

    by TJC Staff
    Play

    On this episode of Up Close, two very different windows into the Jewish state.

    First, author and lecturer Yael Unterman discusses her first work of fiction, The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longing, which is centered on the Orthodox singles scene in Jerusalem. Why are there so many singles concentrated in such a small area, and what unique challenges do these young (and not so young) people face? Unterman gives her take.

    Then, renowned author and translator Hillel Halkin, whose latest book is Jabotinsky: A Life, corrects common misconceptions about Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a figure who has been misinterpreted, according to Halkin, by both the right and the left of Israeli politics.

    Watch the complete episode on TJC on-demand on cable in the TJC Original Series/Interviews category. You can also watch highlights from the episode in the video above, or listen to the complete audio of this episode at the top of this post or by subscribing to our weekly audio podcast at http://feeds.feedburner.com/tjcupclose or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tjcs-up-close/id807702211.

    July 21, 2014 | No Comments »

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