The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

Andrés Spokoiny is President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. Full bio >>

How Much Can Happen in Seven Seconds: Rosh Hashanah 5777

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel

In 2007, at Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, scientists conducted a troubling experiment. They put people into an MRI machine and asked them to press one of two buttons in front of them. The subjects were told to do this several times, and to choose freely which button to press.

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Shimon Peres z"l

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The Aspen Tree & Funder Collaboration

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel

The aspen tree, from which that beautiful Colorado town takes its name, is a remarkable plant. An aspen forest is, in fact, one single organism. All nearby trees are linked by their roots, making them, de facto, a single plant. It’s said that an aspen forest in Utah is the world’s biggest living organism. The interconnected nature of the aspen trees makes them incredibly resilient. Nutrients and water circulate freely among the trees, and the stronger help the weaker to the entire forest’s benefit.

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Why Elie Wiesel Wasn't a Holocaust Writer: A Personal Remembrance

The first books by Elie Wiesel that I read were not about the Holocaust; they were Spanish translations of his works about the Hasidic masters, given to me as a Bar Mitzvah present by Rabbi Marshall Meyer. In fact, for many years I didn’t even know that Elie Wiesel was associated with the Holocaust in any way.

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Me and Bobby McGee, and Shavuot

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel

In “Me and Bobby McGee,” the famous blues/rock song popularized by Janis Joplin, the narrator expresses a romantic view of freedom that has become definitive for many of us. Maybe age has taken its toll on me, but now I see that beautiful song in a whole new light.

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What We Can Learn From Russian-Speaking Jews Here

The Jewish Week, May 31, 2016.

What impact can Russian-speaking Jews have on American Jewish identity?

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Speaking of Jewish Identity…

eJewish Philanthropy, May 25, 2016

According to cognitive scientist Lera Boroditzky, you and I don’t see the color “baby blue” in the same way. That’s not because we have different eyes, but because we have different tongues. Mother tongues, that is. You see, language shapes perception.

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"Israel" (Jorge Luis Borges, 1969)

Dear friends,

I was working on a message that would express my feelings in relation to Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day. Something that would say that, despite everything, because of everything, Israel is one of the major triumphs of Jewish spirit and human will. And then I came across a poem that my landsman, Jorge Luis Borges—who was not Jewish—had written about Israel in 1969.

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On Persistent Illusions

When medical students in the Middle Ages opened a body and pointed out discrepancies between what they saw in front of them and the traditional descriptions of Hippocrates and Galenus, they were reprimanded by their teachers: “Would you trust more your fallible eyes than the wisdom of the ancients?” It was only in the 16th century that Andreas Vesalius, father of modern anatomy, established the revolutionary medical notion that observed facts should outweigh received beliefs. Thank Vesalaius the next time your doctor prescribes you a pill or an exercise regimen rather than a leech or a purge.

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No, Peter Beinart: Anti-Zionism Is Indeed a Form of anti-Semitism

Haaretz, Apr 20, 2016

Zionism is one of the most inspiring and justice-oriented movements in human history, and we faithful Zionists need to defend its good name.

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