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Arts & Culture

One-Step Ethics One-Step Ethics
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 by Gil Student | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For 13 years in the New York Times Magazine, Randy Cohen’s weekly column, “The Ethicist,” posed and answered ethical questions from readers. I turned to the book for a summation of his ethical sensibility—and found evidence of both his decency and the limits of his secular approach, which in turn highlight a danger society currently faces.
Adorno, Butler, and the Death of Irony Adorno, Butler, and the Death of Irony
Friday, September 28, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Irony cannot exist in isolation; something is ironic only in relation to a larger pattern of events or behavior. Every three years, the city of Frankfurt awards its Adorno Prize to honor scholarly achievement in philosophy, music, film, and theater.
The Shofar The Shofar
Friday, September 14, 2012 by Object Lessons with Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a new series, archaeologist and Jewish Ideas Daily contributing writer Alex Joffe presents an annotated slideshow of the history and culture of a material object.  Here, the shofar. 
Jewish Studies, Once and Future Jewish Studies, Once and Future
Thursday, August 23, 2012 by Adina M. Yoffie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

It’s that time of year again—not just the High Holidays but the time when Jewish college students pore over online course catalogues and make their choices for the fall semester. Will they take Jewish Studies courses? If so, does it matter which ones?
The Last Berber Jews The Last Berber Jews
Friday, August 10, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

As a child, the French filmmaker Kamal Hachkar learned the Berber language from his grandparents in Tinghir, a Berber oasis city east of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.  As an adult he discovered that the now exclusively Muslim town once had a substantial Jewish community.
I. B. Singer’s Last Laugh I. B. Singer’s Last Laugh
Monday, August 6, 2012 by David G. Roskies | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Like millions of his fellow immigrants to America, Isaac Bashevis Singer started over. In the beginning, he was a deadly serious Polish-Yiddish writer with world-literary ambitions.
First, Build an Art School. First, Build an Art School.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Before Zionists built Israel’s first kibbutz, first university, or first luxury hotel, they built an art academy. Bezalel opened in 1906, not because the Jewish homeland needed an art school more than it needed a university but because the Zionist leadership thought an art school would be an effective motor of economic growth.
The Artist in the Parking Lot The Artist in the Parking Lot
Monday, July 30, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Once upon a time in a kingdom, in a Middle Eastern democratic country, there was a watchman. The watchman sat for days on end in a booth, in the southern end of a pretty Mediterranean city, in a concrete parking lot . . ."
Ye Sacred Muses Ye Sacred Muses
Thursday, July 26, 2012 by Simon Gordon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Are Jewish mourners forbidden from listening to music?  On the face of it, the prohibition is absolute.  Certainly, it is forbidden for mourners to attend concerts, or performances in general.  But what about liturgical music, the music of the synagogue?
Disturbing the Universe Disturbing the Universe
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 by Daniel C. Matt | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Today, in an exclusive preview from the new issue of the Jewish Review of Books, preeminent Kabbalah scholar Daniel Matt steps away from his Zohar translation for the first time in years to review Lawrence Krauss's New Atheist account of the Big Bang and Alan Lightman's quirky novel about creation. Special to Jewish Ideas Daily readers: Click here to receive a free copy of the whole summer issue!
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Editors' Picks
X-Rated Haggadah Dan Rabinowitz, Seforim. The Prague 1526 edition of the Haggadah is "one of the most important illustrated Haggadot ever published."  But recent reprints have altered the artwork—for modesty's sake.
Schindler's List Turns 20 Tom Carson, American Prospect. The reverence for Schindler's List as "the" Holocaust story "amounts to a posthumous marginalization of every innocent Hitler succeeded in killing."
Art at War Jed Perl, New Republic. "Could it be that artists and intellectuals find it soothing to think that they are the particular enemies of authoritarian regimes?"
Wandering Jew Philologos, Forward. How did Tradescantia zebrina, a purple flower native to Mexico, acquire the nickname "Wandering Jew" in Europe? And, "should we be complaining to the Anti-Defamation League?"
The Dude Still Abides Ashley Fetters, Atlantic. In the 15 years since the release of The Big Lebowski, the Coen brothers' comedy has not only become a cult classic but spawned an actual cult—inspired by kabbalah.
Vienna's Jewish University Cnaan Lipshiz, JTA. To its founder, the Lauder Business School is a first-rate business university for European Jews.  To Austria, it is a chance to "re-establish Vienna as the seat of Jewish intelligentsia."
Believing in the Novel J. L. Wall, First Things. Recently, author Paul Elie sounded the death knell for the "novel of belief."  But did he overlook contemporary Jewish fiction?
The Outsider Joseph Epstein, Weekly Standard. A Jew who dismissed his native Romania as "a sewer," Saul Steinberg became "the only major artist in the United States who is not associated with any art movement or style, past or present."
Investigating the Shiksa Menachem Kaiser, Los Angeles Review of Books. "Who is the shiksa?  Where did she come from?  How did she get to where she is today?"  And "is calling someone a shiksa really a hate crime?"
Collecting the Holocaust Adam Andrusier, Jewish Quarterly. "Anyone like to buy Schindler’s list?  I don’t mean a DVD of the film: I mean Schindler’s list.  It’s available for $1.2 million on a U.S. website, apparently ‘the opportunity of a lifetime.’"