GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

For next-gen Jews

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With a clean design and sharp writing, Tablet offers thoughtful coverage of Jewish issues for younger believers. A project of Nextbook, a New York-based nonprofit publisher, Tablet is designed as a hybrid of blog, magazine and newspaper.

These guys know what they’re doing, journalistically. The site indexes its four torah05main departments — Arts & Culture, Life & Religion, News & Politics, The Scroll blog — across the top, and gives the top stories for each on the homepage. Each section is further broken down: for instance, Life & Religion includes food, sex and technology as well as the more traditional Ritual & Observance.

Or maybe not so traditional. One piece relates the animated movies G-Force and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs to a Bible lesson on Balaam’s talking donkey.

The news is varied: a money-laundering scandal involving a Syrian-American rabbi, an analysis of a meeting between President Obama and Jewish leaders, pitfalls in a plan to save the shrinking Dead Sea. Some features are predictable: reviews of Kings, the NBC drama on the biblical David; and a profile of Anvil, the Jewish-led rock group from Toronto.

Nor does the magazine avoid squickier topics. One is a porno being shot on gays in Israel. As author Wayne Hoffman notes, most journalists call it the first all-Israeli gay film. “But they’ve missed the larger story: Men of Israel is a landmark because it is the first gay porn film to feature an all-Jewish cast.” Good idea? Good question.

Make sure to check out The Scroll, the brisk-reading blog with several contributors. The amazingly diverse content looks at Jewish billionaires in the Ukraine, the Jewish style of a new song by the Black Eyed Peas, and the new willingness of Netanyahu’s Israel to accept a two-state peace plan.

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Written by Jim Davis

July 26, 2009 at 3:49 am

Posted in jews

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