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2012 July-August

Natan Sharansky: Act III, Scene I

Soviet Jewry’s leading man has had a career of many acts: dissident, politician and now, head of Israel’s Jewish Agency. Through them all, he has held on to his belief in peoplehood, an idea he thinks can cure what ails the Jewish world. by Daphna Berman It is a cold night in Washington, DC, and Natan Sharansky is doing what ... Read More »

The Secret Life of Jewish Genes

The question of who is a Jew has become a knot of complexities. I once heard Benjamin Netanyahu say in jest at a lunch at The New York Times—I think he was Israel’s UN ambassador at the time—that the Cabinet had thrown up its hands over the issue: “We have decided to adopt Sartre’s definition instead—anyone whom anyone else thinks is ... Read More »

The New Gene Cuisine

By Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil In Genesis, Jacob asks his father-in-law, Laban, to compensate him for 14 years of unpaid labor. His request is strange: all the speckled and spotted goats and all the dark sheep from Laban’s flock—the least desirable animals. Jacob then peels back the bark of tree branches, making stripes, and places these rods in the animals’ water ... Read More »

Genia Brin’s Double Parkinson’s Mutation

By Nadine Epstein Eugenia Brin was 48 when she first noticed that her left leg was dragging. It took two years for doctors finally to diagnose her with early onset Parkinson’s disease, because she didn’t have tremors or other easily identifiable symptoms. The diminutive Brin, trained as an applied mathematician in the Soviet Union and then working as a meteorological ... Read More »

Jewish Word | The God Gene

By Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil Finding Faith in DNA Why do some people believe in God, while others don’t? Is it a person’s choice, the result of upbringing or simply divine will? Theologians have grappled with this question for centuries, but over the last few years, scientists have jumped into the age-old debate to offer an entirely new explanation: genes. One ... Read More »

Irin Carmon: The Woman Congress Could Not Intimidate

“Find out if your girlfriend is a feminist before you get too far into it,” Phyllis Schlafly told assembled students at The Citadel military academy in April. “Some of them are pretty. They don’t all look like Bella Abzug.” This was April 2012—not, say, 1972, a more likely year to hear the late New York City congresswoman being used as ... Read More »

Eetta Prince-Gibson: Israel’s No-Win African Refugee Situation

In late May, protestors rioted against the tens of thousands of African migrant workers and asylum seekers living in south Tel Aviv. They attacked passersby, smashed cars and vandalized shops. Within two weeks, the government began a brutal campaign to deport refugees from South Sudan. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, orchestrating the expulsion, was widely quoted to have declared that Israel ... Read More »

Clifford D. May: Khamenei’s Sacred Word: Destroy Israel

There’s nothing wrong with negotiating with your enemies. There is something wrong if you don’t know that those sitting across the table from you are your enemies. Too many Americans, Europeans and even Israelis still don’t grasp that Iran’s rulers—not average Iranians, but those who wield power—believe it is their sacred obligation to destroy us. This is not some misunderstanding ... Read More »

Naomi Ragen: Has Israel Lost Control Over the Iranian Situation?

On the sleepy afternoon of March 21, 2012, alarm sirens went off all over Jerusalem, sending me and my racing heart lunging toward our air raid shelter. Squeezed in among my neighbors, bags of old clothes and various bicycles, I found my mind wandering back to elementary school at the Hebrew Institute of Long Island. “Get down beneath your desks ... Read More »

From the Managing Editor

By Sarah Breger I was nervous when I answered the phone call from Bennett Greenspan, president and CEO of the genetic testing company Family Tree DNA. As part of this special issue dedicated to genes and religion, a few of us at Moment swabbed our cheeks and sent off our DNA samples to ascertain our family origins. I already felt ... Read More »