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Arts & Culture

A Real Titanic Love Story A Real Titanic Love Story
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by Philip Getz | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One hundred years ago today, the RMS Carpathia pulled into New York's Pier 54 carrying 705 survivors of the Titanic disaster. Most of the survivors were women and children from first class. But Ida Straus, one of the wealthiest and possibly one of the oldest women on board, was not among them.
Poison Pen Poison Pen
Monday, April 16, 2012 by D.G. Myers | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A Nobel Prize-winning German novelist—a former SS soldier, no less—accuses the state of Israel of seeking to exterminate an entire people, and the literary republic yawns. But when Israel bars its accuser from entering the country, because ex-Nazis have no place in the Jewish state, the cries of "bullying" and "censorship" nearly drown out the original accusation.
Not Everything is Illuminated Not Everything is Illuminated
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 by Ben Greenfield | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Judaism is famously infatuated with text; and the New American Haggadah, with contemporary authors Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander listed as editor and translator, respectively, is the latest in a long line of love letters by Jews to their object of adoration.
Like a Player Like a Player
Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sports fans and religious adherents often speak the same language—of allegiance and passion, drama and catharsis, belief and faith, idols and icons, shrines and cathedrals, curses and blasphemy. When these two empires intersect, it is no surprise that there is often a struggle for primacy.
Reading between the Lists Reading between the Lists
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

As long as humans have been writing, humans have been making lists and ranking things. The new Daily Beast/Newsweek list of "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2012" is, like most American lists, whether of rabbis, cars, or colleges, designed to shape reality as much as reflect it.
Is Football Treyf? Is Football Treyf?
Friday, March 30, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Israeli Football League—American football, not soccer—is a curiosity. For starters, it's popular: While the sport has mostly flopped overseas, the IFL has an invested fan base and committed, reasonably talented players.
Art against History Art against History
Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Antiquity washes away the immediacy of historical pain and injustice.  Our ability to feel suffering is indexed directly to its epoch: the more remote, the more detached we are. Museums play on this—pander to this—and to our forgetfulness. History is softened, elided, or erased.
Ardor, or Architecture Ardor, or Architecture
Friday, March 23, 2012 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A look inside three of the twentieth century's most interesting careers in architecture: the world-renowned Israeli Moshe Safdie, on the verge of shutting down the office he opened in Jerusalem in 1970; the Polish-born, polarizing Daniel Libeskind, now at work on rebuilding New York's World Trade Center; and the mythic postwar master Louis Kahn.
Varieties of Post-Religious Experience Varieties of Post-Religious Experience
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Israel is, on top of everything else, a gigantic open-air laboratory for experiments in Judaism and Jewish identity, mixing and matching old and new forms, deliberately and on the fly. One of the more interesting recent specimens is Religiozionisticus Postreligious.
Mothering and Smothering Mothering and Smothering
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by Brauna Doidge | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

When did "natural" become a synonym for "good" or "better"? Advertisers tell us that everything from our food to our skincare is better when it's used in its most natural state. But haven't the philosophers tried hard to get us out of the state of nature?
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Editors' Picks
In Hemingway's Shadow Heather McRobie, Times Literary Supplement. Although recently overshadowed by her husband, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn was an esteemed writer in her own right—and an important Holocaust novelist.
Paradise Regained? D. G. Myers, Commonplace Blog. Francesca Segal's latest novel The Innocents, a reworking of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence for Jewish north-west London, substitutes tragedy for repentance and redemption.
The Jews of Middle Earth Jeffrey Saks, Torah Musings. "I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews," wrote Tolkien, "at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue."
Beyond the Pursuit of Happiness Emily Esfahani Smith, Atlantic. Psychiatrist Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, wrote that "if there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering."
The Sheikh and I Michael Janofsky, Los Angeles Review of Books. "For the better part of a year, I was the Sheikh’s blogger; or the Sheikh was my avatar. . .  I suppose this is the point where I should say I’m Jewish."
We Shall Overcome: the Prequel Menachem Wecker, Forward. A rare 16th-century painting of everyday life in Lisbon hints at ties between Jews and blacks—freemen as well as slaves—in pre-Inquisition Portugal.
Havah Nagilah: From Niggun To Cliché Chavie Lieber, JTA. Today, it is the clichéd stuff of American weddings.  But it began in Europe as a Hasidic niggun, and picked up its words in 20th-century Palestine.
Not By Bread Alone Caroline Lagnado, Jewish Week. Israel's Nalaga'at is the world’s only deaf-blind theater company.  Later this month, American audiences will have the chance to see their performance—and eat their freshly baked bread.
The Faith Stays in the Picture Yair Raveh, Fathom. Israeli cinema used to be a reliably religion-free zone.  Not any more.
Love Makes the Melody Immortal! Inbal Freund-Novick, eJewish Philanthropy. A recent concert in Berlin, featuring cantors and choirs from across Europe, has brought the music of Louis Lewandowski back home.