Arts & Culture


Before Fusion: A CD Plumbs Statman’s Archives

By Fred Kaplan

Andy Statman is a practicing Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn and a top-notch clarinetist who has spent the past three decades playing klezmer — not, as some have, for irony or wedding gigs or nostalgia, but rather to explore highly personal paths of connection with the music’s spiritual roots. A new CD, “Avodas Halevi: Archival RecordingsRead More


The God In the Translation

By Lore Segal

The sadness of reading Torah without benefit of Hebrew has small compensations: I’m forced to look for — to participate in — the struggle of translators wrestling every last meaning from the original in order not to miss the god in the detail.The first half of the first sentence of this week’s portion offers an example ofRead More


‘Tzir Kissufim* — Route of Longing’

By Ruhama Shapira

Translated from the Hebrew by Toby Klein Greenwald

A felled tree.

Nothing more

Will be as it will be

And the ax that has shattered and will bow

Beneath it, His voice is heard

From one end of the world

To the other.

The waysides are shorn and haunted now

To intensify security

If the Lord protect not the routeRead More


The Year in Pictures

By Leslie Camhi

On the first of March in the year 2005 (or the 20th of Adar I, 5765, according to the Hebrew calendar) some 200,000 Jews filled New York City’s Madison Square Garden and auditoriums around the world to celebrate the reading of the last page of the Talmud. For centuries, Orthodox Jews have studied Talmud daily, but these synchronized readingsRead More


Rethinking the Divine

By Miriam Shaviv

In 1982, noted Israeli thinker Yeshayahu Leibowitz wrote that “the question of women and Judaism is more crucial than all the political problems of the people and its state. Failure to deal with it seriously threatens the viability of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth in the contemporary world.”Despite the passage of 20Read More


The Aphorism Master

By Joshua Cohen

Yes damns no. No postpones yes. Tragic facts don’t exist. The magic of fiction lies in deluding reason that it is fiction.

All ways lead to the wayfarer. The long lineage of literature’s shortest form, the aphorism, extends from the mythical Hippocrates of Greek antiquity, through the Renaissance, Erasmus and Paracelsus, into theRead More


Seeing Gray in a Black-and-white World Francine Prose Turns the Screws on the Self-righteous

By Jenifer Berman

A Changed Man By Francine Prose HarperCollins, 432 pages, $24.95. ——-You’d think that Francine Prose might be losing some steam. After more than a dozen novels and a handful of short fiction and nonfiction works, it would stand to reason that this National Book Award-nominated author might be a prime candidate for writerly malaise,Read More


The Logic of Religious Images

By David Curzon

Close to the end of this week’s portion is the injunction (Leviticus 26:1), “You shall not make idols for yourselves.” The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 2004) annotates this by referring the reader back to an earlier verse (25:42) on the freeing of Hebrew slaves in the jubilee year, which is required because “they are MyRead More


A Theory of Everything

By Jay Michaelson

Franz Rosenzweig is one of the most mentioned and least read of the Jewish philosophers. Everyone with an interest in modern Jewish philosophy includes him in its highest circle, along with Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Emanuel Levinas and, if religious philosophers are included, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rav Kook and Joseph Soloveitchik. But whileRead More


A Critic Hears False Notes in Music History

By Raphael Mostel

One of the liveliest and most remarkable books about music was published this year. In “The Oxford History of Western Music,” iconoclastic University of California, Berkeley, professor Richard Taruskin offers a 4,000-page, six-volume survey of everything there is to know about Western classical music. For one person to encompass the vast rangeRead More





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  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
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