The Jewish community in Britain represents only one-half of one percent of the population, but Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks believes it need not have a commensurate voice in the "human conversation." Sacks, who is only the sixth person to serve as Britain's Chief Rabbi since the position was formally created in 1845, says that he has worked to carve out an outsize influence for the Jewish community in the media, and is working to make the country's Jewish community "much more
self-confident and willing to engage with the world."
In his Big Think interview, Sacks talks about the state of anti-Semitism in the world, calling it a "virus" and saying we are currently in the "fourth mutation." Anti-Jewish sentiment has taken a number of forms over the years, he says, but it is now transforming into demonic anti-Zionism" that is focused not on Jews as individuals but Jews as a nation in their own sovereign state. Essentially, this new type of anti-Semitism accuses Israel of "every kind of distress in the Universe."
Modern anti-Semitism is one reason that the Jewish voice isn't so confident, says Sacks. Jews are "paranoid," says Sacks, because they have "defined ourselves as the people that dwells alone. We are nature’s victims. Everyone hates us. We always find ourselves alone. When push comes to shove, our friends desert us. Now, that is the negative self-image of Jewish life that has developed since the Holocaust, since 9/11 with the isolation of Israel, the return of anti-Semitism to Europe." Sacks says that the danger of this self-image—which is untrue—is that it has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. "If you think you’re alone, you’ll probably find yourself alone. And I see the Jewish world pursuing these policies and they are disastrous."
Sacks also says that, because of the size of its population, American Jewry is "exciting" in ways that the Jewish community in Britain—or in any European country—can't be. "The sheer scale of Jewry in America is a quantum leap from what it is in any European country and that is... that results in enormous diversity, creativity," he says.
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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