Ari Goldman

God and the NYC terror plot

An absolutely shocking story this morning about plans to bomb two synagogues and shoot down planes in New York. “Chilling Terror Plot Thwarted,” the New York Post headline screams.

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Shameless graduation "naches"

The Columbia University campus where I teach is awash in graduation regalia and good feelings. Students strut about in their caps and gowns as proud parents snap photographs and listen to commencement speakers wish everyone a bright future. As we at the Journalism School send out a new crop of students into a perilous economic and journalistic climate, my mind turns to the students I’ve trained over the last 15 years and the pride I take in their work. It is a special kind of pride known in Yiddish as naches, which I define as the ability to look at someone’s work without a hint of jealousy. It is the pride we take in the work of our children and our students.

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Israel, where religion is always the story

When Pope Benedict visited the Holy Land last week, every religious move he made was analyzed for its political significance. On Monday when Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet President Obama in Washington, just the opposite will be true: the political moves will be analyzed for their religious significance.

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Girls at the altar

It’s just three little paragraphs in today’s Independent under the headline “Women May Join Papal Swiss Guard,” but it contains so many mistakes, both when it comes to religion and when it comes to journalism.

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Ghosts of popes past

Poor Pope Benedict XVI. Wherever he goes he is plagued by the larger-than-life reputation of Pope John Paul II whose legacy keeps growing, perhaps nowhere more so than on the current visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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Time to check your facts

If a mainstream media outlet raves about a movie or a restaurant or a book, you’d expect that its reviewer did due diligence in checking it out. One would hope that the reviewer actually saw the movie or ate the meal or read the book. Why then, I wonder, does Time magazine praise a new religion website that is so essentially flawed?

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Swine flu and the Copts

While the rest of the world seems to understand that swine flu is not really about the swine, Egypt continues its mass slaughter of every pig in sight. It is on a national campaign to rid the country of its estimated 300,000 pigs in the name of public health.

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The return of Jewish prayer

As the perceptive people at the blog Jewschool note, the article in Wednesday’s Washington Post on alternative prayer services was smartly done but it did not advance the story much beyond a New York Times article on the same subject in 2007. Here is the lead of the Post story:

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