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Arts & Culture

Urban Planning, Hasmonean-Style Urban Planning, Hasmonean-Style
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the early 1990s, construction began on Modi'in, Israel's new "City of the Future." Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie and located mid-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Modi'in is in many ways typical of modern planned communities.
Jerusalem and Athens Jerusalem and Athens
Monday, December 26, 2011 by Leo Strauss | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holiday of Hanukkah is, in part, a celebration of the victory of traditionalist Jews over Jews bent on assimilation to Greek Seleucid culture.  As such, the second-century B.C.E. Maccabean revolt has resonated throughout the ages not only as a key historical contest, but as a wellspring for interpretations of the divergent views of the Hebrews and the Greeks. 
Loof Loof
Thursday, December 22, 2011 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For the millions of Israeli citizens drafted into the Israel Defense Forces over the past 60 years, military service has involved patriotism, community, self-sacrifice—and Loof, Israel's kosher Spam. But a new generation of soldiers is about to experience military service without the familiar pink meat.
In Search of the Moderate Voice In Search of the Moderate Voice
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Rabbi Haim Sabato is a unique figure on the Israeli scene, both head of a yeshiva and a prominent Hebrew writer. His best known work, the novel titled Adjusting Sights, won Israel's most prestigious literary award and was made into a movie.
Orthosexuality Orthosexuality
Monday, December 19, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Talmud tells a story about one Rabbi Kahana who hid under the bed of his master, Rabbi Abba (better known as Rav), as the latter was having sex with his wife. Kahana, shocked at the type of frivolous language used by his mentor, commented that Rav was behaving ravenously.
The Trouble with Hitchens The Trouble with Hitchens
Friday, December 16, 2011 by Benjamin Kerstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

When Christopher Hitchens passed away yesterday at the age of 62, the encomia started pouring in almost immediately. Most of this praise is deserved, as the acumen of Hitchens's muscular criticism and the wit of his ripostes will be with us for a long time to come.
The Stoic Vision of Ludwig Blum The Stoic Vision of Ludwig Blum
Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sometimes an artist is more popular with the public than with critics and fellow artists because the artist appeals to a popular taste that is simply unrefined.  Sometimes, though, the public is on to something that the cultural elites miss.
Full Court Press Full Court Press
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Israel Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, equivalent to the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, recently called the Court's critics in the Knesset "robed Cossacks" waging a "campaign of delegitimation" and "incitement."
Newt and the Palestinians Newt and the Palestinians
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

It was almost inevitable: Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has lobbed a grenade into the Republican nomination race, and the subject is Israel.
Shtik and Sensibility Shtik and Sensibility
Friday, December 9, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Theater can challenge preconceptions or play it safe. Relatively Speaking, a set of one-act plays by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen, rises to the challenge.  The plays are variations on the theme of the Jewish mother, and two are predictable—but one is unusual.
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Editors' Picks
Fearing the Flood Avi Steinberg, New Yorker. Underneath all of the scientific predictions and vast technological apparatus monitoring Hurricane Sandy lay an ancient biblical fear—of the Deluge.
People of the Book, Power of the Tongue Debra Rubin, Huffington Post. The Library of Congress celebrates the centennial of its Hebraica collection with a multifaceted collection, including everything from Bibles to Winnie the Pooh in Yiddish—or Vini-der-Pu.
Lanzmann's Ladies Benjamin Balint, Weekly Standard. The memoir of filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, known for his achievement in Shoah, focuses on other "achievements": "I am the only man with whom Simone de Beauvoir lived a quasi-marital existence." 
The Fall of the House of Wittgenstein Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe. A Beethoven sculpture, a "gift of Paul Wittgenstein," has just arrived at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.  It reminds us of a brilliant family of Secession-era Vienna—and its fall.
Martin Buber and the Holocaust Richard L. Rubenstein, New English Review. Martin Buber was the preeminent Jewish thinker of his generation and the intellectual leader of German Jewry during its darkest hour. So why does his theology ignore the Holocaust?
Any Volunteers? Jonathan Sacks, Telegraph. Since the Babylonian Exile, Jews have maintained an ethos of voluntary collective responsibility to sustain their communities. Now, as the welfare state crumbles, that ethos is as valuable as ever. 
No Child Left Behind Avital Chizhik, Forward. While many Russian Jewish immigrants to America are staunch conservatives, their children’s route to Americanization is through liberal Jewish politics.  
Mr. Berlin Himself John Shaw, Los Angeles Review of Books. If Irving Berlin is usually reckoned among the Great American Songbook composers, two new studies of his life and work show that he was perhaps the greatest of them all.
Mendelssohn Revisited Benjamin Pollock, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. If Moses Mendelssohn is regarded as a significant Enlightenment figure (but not a serious philosopher), then we aren't giving Mendelssohn the credit he deserves.