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Arts & Culture

Kiefer’s Challenge Kiefer’s Challenge
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by Richard McBee | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The German artist Anselm Kiefer has once again taken New York by storm. Ensconced at the prestigious Gagosian Gallery, Next Year in Jerusalem, his latest show, has met with reviews ranging from the gushing to the grudgingly respectful.
Christopher Hitchens’s Jewish Problem Christopher Hitchens’s Jewish Problem
Monday, December 13, 2010 by Benjamin Kerstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

It has been an open secret for years that the celebrated columnist and author Christopher Hitchens has a problem with the Jews. No one much likes to talk about it, and for various reasons his journalistic peers have remained silent on the subject. But it is nonetheless the case.
The Mood of the Oud The Mood of the Oud
Friday, December 10, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Arab elements continue to animate many forms of Jewish expression that, originally rooted in Arab countries, have been transplanted into Israeli society.
Sin City on the Sea? Sin City on the Sea?
Thursday, December 9, 2010 by Hillel Halkin | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Tel Avivians are rubbing their eyes these days. Until lately so little thought of by the world that many tourists to Israel never bothered to visit it at all, their city is suddenly high on the places-to-be lists.
Soulmate Wanted Soulmate Wanted
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Slowly but surely, the divide between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Israeli society is ebbing. But in one sector it continues to stand fast.
Fire and Resilience Fire and Resilience
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Along the flanks of Israel's Carmel range, just below the scene of the past days' cataclysm, it is possible to see, in ancient caves whose ceilings are caked with millennia of soot, some of the earliest evidence of the human use of fire.
Counting Jews Counting Jews
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A newly-released World Jewish Population Report has been making waves. Some critics, especially in Israel, charge that the report, in claiming the existence of a non-Jewish majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, is both slanted and unduly pessimistic. Other critics, especially in the Diaspora, complain that the report is too old-fashioned in its definition of Jewishness.
Taking Sides Taking Sides
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the publisher's materials that accompany her new book, the novelist Cynthia Ozick is described as having written a "photographic negative" of Henry James's great 1903 masterpiece, The Ambassadors. Her Foreign Bodies is said to offer a "reversal of [James's] meaning." But what is her meaning?
Summoned Home Summoned Home
Thursday, November 18, 2010 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In June 1934, the celebrated American Yiddish poet Jacob Glatstein (a/k/a Yankev Glatshteyn, 1896-1971) received an urgent summons to return to his native Lublin, Poland, where his mother lay at death's door. At the precise moment when so many Jews were desperately trying to make the reverse journey, Glatstein found himself on an unanticipated and almost certainly unwanted return home.
A Jewish Renaissance? A Jewish Renaissance?
Monday, November 15, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In recent years Israel has become a vast open-air laboratory for experiments in Judaism, re-fashioning rituals, reading old texts through new lenses, scrambling and fracturing familiar dichotomies between secular and religious. Secular yeshivot, mainstream performers singing medieval Hebrew hymns, non-denominational "prayer communities" in hip Tel Aviv, kabbalistic therapy movements, Judaism festivals on once-socialist kibbutzim—something is going on here, but what?
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Editors' Picks
The Exodusters Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press. Three of the Founding Fathers proposed a U.S. seal depicting Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, with the inscription: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God."
Messiah 2012 Moment. Twenty-two Jewish figures speak about Obama, utopia, apocalyptic Judaism, psychological rescue, and the concept of mashiah today—and one names the man whom he believes to be Judaism's messiah-in-waiting.      
And It Came to Pass at Midnight Michael Pitkowsky, Menachem Mendel. Audio and video of several renditions of "Karev Yom," a Byzantine-era piyyut sung at the end of the seder.    
How the Left Turned against the Jews Nick Cohen, Standpoint. As Communism gave way to anti-colonialism, Israel remained a target for special rage on the Left, even though Zionism was both a settler movement and an anti-colonial movement.
A Vast Right-Wing Jewish Conspiracy? Rafael Medoff, Jerusalem Post. Hearing a prominent Jewish historian claim that criticism of FDR's inaction during the Holocaust is the handiwork of disgruntled Likudniks, a leftist blogger took it upon himself to prove her wrong.
The Book That Drove Them Crazy Andrew Ferguson, Weekly Standard. Twenty-five years ago, a studious manuscript called Souls Without Longing was given a more commercial title and a print run of 10,000 copies.  It soon was selling 25,000 copies a week, and its author was the most famous professor in the Western world.
After Grant Expelled the Jews Lawrence Grossman, Forward. We'll probably never know how much of Grant's change-of-course was sincere and how much politically expedient. But he was not the last president "good for the Jews" to hold paradoxically prejudiced views about them.
Philanthropy Nation? Suzanne Last Stone, Hartman Institute. For a philanthropic culture to develop in Israel, the traditional American-Israeli partnership model requires serious retooling.
Cave Canem Nicolas Brulliard, Washington Post. Amid Israel's ambitious program to bring back "the animals of the Bible to the land of the Bible," why is the Canaan dog—Israel's indigenous breed—receiving so little support?
What Passover Sounded Like 370 Years Ago Fred MacDowell, On the Main Line. Musical notation for two end-of-seder songs in a 17th-century Haggadah is brought to life in a Toronto Jewish high school. (Video)