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Arts & Culture

Come Swing with Me Come Swing with Me
Friday, May 31, 2013 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the last of our highlights, Aryeh Tepper introduces the jazz-fueled piyyut of the New Jerusalem Orchestra; first published June 17, 2010.  Rejoin us on Monday for Mosaic's inaugural essay: Leon Kass on the Ten Commandments. 
Secularism and Its Discontents Secularism and Its Discontents
Thursday, May 30, 2013 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In an essay first published December 17, 2010, Yehudah Mirsky examines a defense of Jewish secularism and finds it—and Jewish secularism itself—wanting.
Christopher Hitchens’s Jewish Problem Christopher Hitchens’s Jewish Problem
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Benjamin Kerstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In another highlight from our archives, Benjamin Kerstein inquires into a revered writer's virulent hostility toward Judaism (December 13, 2010).
Good Girl Gone Bad Good Girl Gone Bad
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Margot Lurie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Among the highlights from our archives is this reflection on Herman Wouk's "plucky, unlucky" heroine Marjorie Morningstar by former editor Margot Lurie, first published October 18, 2010.
Rousseau, Melody, and Mode Rousseau, Melody, and Mode
Friday, May 17, 2013 by Ben Elton | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Though best remembered today for his political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also a careful student of music.  But his conclusions are undermined by the liturgical music of Ashkenazi Jews.
High Concept in Dialogue With Tradition High Concept in Dialogue With Tradition
Thursday, May 9, 2013 by Diane Cole | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The artifacts of Jewish cultural history have never looked so freshly inviting or unexpectedly contemporary as in a provocative new exhibition at New York's Jewish Museum.
The Last Books The Last Books
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by Jonathan Brent | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The invisible structures created by the Jewish people of Eastern Europe over a thousand years were given shape and transmitted through the books and the documents collected by YIVO.  These structures still move us.  If we do not know what they are, we do not know ourselves.
The Politics of Yiddish The Politics of Yiddish
Monday, April 29, 2013 by Ruth Wisse | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jews who hold on to, or reach back for, the Yiddishkeyt of Yiddish yearn not merely for a declining language but for the social and political ideal that seems embedded in it.  
Not-So-Young Adult Not-So-Young Adult
Thursday, April 25, 2013 by Diane Cole | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

With remarkable sensitivity and clarity, Israeli novelist Nava Semel portrays children in Mandate Palestine working as hard as they can to make sense of a post-Holocaust, pre-state limbo.
<i>The Bible</i>: From One-Reeler to Docu-drama The Bible: From One-Reeler to Docu-drama
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The History Channel's The Bible is a small epic, with editorial choices that produce predictable results.  But some of this smallness yields unexpected insights.
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Editors' Picks
The World's Oldest Torah Scroll , Agence France-Presse. A Torah scroll discovered in a Bologna archive was originally misidentified as a 17th-century manuscript; its true date has now been established as five centuries earlier.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker Jodi Rudoren, New York Times. A new artificial-intelligence system, capable of 4.5 trillion calculations per second, is reconstructing 100,000 fragments from the Cairo Genizah.
The Two Sauls Clive Sinclair, Times Literary Supplement. Like his biblical namesake, Saul Bellow became a monster in his dotage, according to his son's memoir.  But in his writing, at least, Old Saul remained generous.
Kafka on Trial Susanne Klingenstein, Weekly Standard. Two new books show how, and how not, to approach the work of Franz Kafka, now that there is little original left to say.
No Master Builder Michael Sorkin, Nation. A new book resurrects the notion that Nazi architect Albert Speer’s work has artistic merit. It doesn’t.
A Voice from Salonika Nina Caputo, Marginalia. A 19th-century Ladino memoir, published last year, depicts Salonikan Jews tyrannized by a despotic rabbinic ruling class that benefited from exorbitant taxes and fees.
Another Crime of Passion Larry Poland, Abraham Cooper, Yitzchok Adlerstein, First Things. Most of the Jewish characters in the History Channel's The Bible look like "imports from Texas."  But Caiaphas and company are made to appear distinctively Jewish. 
Beef with the Butcher Nic Cavell, Dissent. In 1902, working-class Jewish women in New York rioted to enforce a boycott against price-gouging kosher butchers. A new "street musical" dramatizes their battle.
Nabokov's Jews Benjamin Ivry, Forward. A sympathetic portrayer of Jews in his fiction, Vladimir Nabokov denounced anti-Semitism as "philistinism in all its phases" in both Russia and the United States.
Our Mothers, Our Fathers Thomas Rogers, New Republic. A new German miniseries depicting the cruelty of soldiers during World War II shows that "the crimes of the Wehrmacht are no longer a taboo," but "a well-integrated theme in German history."