As we close out an eventful week, here’s some of the most insightful material we’ve come across. Print it out, share it, and read it during the rabbi’s sermon. Well, except the Christmas stuff. That would be awkward.
* UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has written an extensive but accessible treatise on the religious freedom challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. If you enjoyed Yishai Schwartz’s post on this topic earlier this week, this is a great way to understand its stakes and nuances.
* Walter Russell Mead of Bard College is running his annual Yule blog series, in which he explains the historical origins and contemporary resonance of Christmas. If, like most Jews, you don’t know the difference between the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception (hint: they’re different things), and you’ve always had questions about Christianity that you were too embarrassed to ask, this is a good place to start. Here are the first three installments: “Christmas Gift!,” “Rolling the Credits,” and “Born of a What?”
* Over at Mosaic Magazine, Bar Ilan University’s Joshua Berman tries to explain why it has become difficult for Orthodox halakha to change and how it might adapt once more. He is challenged by the Conservative movement’s Rabbi David Golinkin, Villanova’s Prof. Chaim Saiman, and Rabbi Gil Student.
* Lastly, Foreign Policy reports on a surprising development that will doubtless cause geopolitical shockwaves in the weeks ahead: it turns out that Canada has been naming its warships after U.S. defeats.