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People & Places


Old-New Leonard Old-New Leonard
Friday, March 9, 2012 by Peodair Leihy | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

After 60 years of publishing and recording, seventysomething Leonard Cohen has something else to say; and, lo and behold, the "Camp"—the Bergen-Belsen of the remembered newsreels of his childhood—comes up. He also gets the "Eye"—Jerusalem's Eye of the Needle—in there, a Jewish metaphor from the Talmud and the New Testament.
Hitting the Jackpot Hitting the Jackpot
Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Who doesn't like Purim? Besides the costumes and candy, the story itself has all the politics, sex, and violence of a juicy HBO series. In case you missed it: "Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted to destroy the Jews, and had cast a pur—that is, a lottery—with intent to crush and exterminate them."
Cyrus, Ahmadinejad, and the Politics of Purim Cyrus, Ahmadinejad, and the Politics of Purim
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At this week's pre-Purim meeting in Washington between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran's nuclear threat to Israel, Netanyahu gave Obama a present: the book (or m'gilah, scroll) of Esther, which tells how the Jewish heroine foiled Haman's plot to kill the Jews of ancient Persia.
A Convenient Hatred A Convenient Hatred
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

With some 1,000 books currently in print on the subject, does the world desperately need another tome on anti-Semitism? What difference will it make, when anti-Israelism provides only the latest justification for Europe's persistent prejudice against Jews and anti-Semitic views are shared by 15 percent of Americans and 90 percent of Muslims worldwide?
What Would Ariel Sharon Do? What Would Ariel Sharon Do?
Monday, March 5, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Biographies of father by sons are an uncertain genre. Closeness necessarily entails distortion, positive or negative. But at a time when the vast majority of Israeli and world leaders seem strikingly small, it is worth considering the portrait of Ariel Sharon provided by his youngest son.
Footnotes to <i>Footnote</i> Footnotes to Footnote
Friday, March 2, 2012 by Michael Fagenblat | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Director Joseph Cedar's film Hearat Shulayim (Footnote) takes place in the Hebrew University Talmud Department, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the (unnamed) Shalom Hartman Institute—the Jerusalem cloisters of the small network of Israel's talmudic academic elite.
Jews, Damned Jews, and Sociologists Jews, Damned Jews, and Sociologists
Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What is this thing called Jewishness? What does it look like? What are its boundaries? Even the most neutral-sounding answer reflects some position on one side or the other of the crazy-quilt of conflicts that have defined and continue to define Jewish life over the last 200 years.
Gertrude Stein, Fascist? Gertrude Stein, Fascist?
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 by Eitan Kensky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Does it say something that the most indelible portraits of Gertrude Stein come from the outside? Or, to frame the question a different way: what does it say when our most lasting impressions of a writer are based not on her words, but on the visions and appropriations of others?
Jazz, <i>Piyyut</i>, and Jewish Identity Jazz, Piyyut, and Jewish Identity
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by Omer Avital and Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Israeli-born, New York-based Omer Avital is both a world-class jazz musician and a master of classical Arabic music. He recently visited the Tikvah Fund, oud in hand, for an evening of music and free-flowing discussion about jazz, piyyut [liturgical verse], and Jewish identity.
Order in the House Order in the House
Monday, February 27, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On a bad day, Israeli parliamentarians have been known to hurl water at political adversaries, denigrate immigrant MKs' Hebrew accents, and even bow their heads in the memory of Palestinian suicide bombers. On a good day, they mostly go about the nuts-and-bolts crafting of bipartisan legislation for the benefit of all Israelis.
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Editors' Picks
Non-Arab Spring Emanuele Ottolenghi, Times of Israel. Analytic focus on the Arabs misses the real beneficiaries of the ongoing Middle Eastern revolutions: the non-Arab minorities who have gained autonomy and, in some cases, even statehood.
Opportunity for Reform Shmuel Rosner, Jewish Journal. Now that Israel's courts brought non-Orthodox denominations one step closer to equality, those denominations must prove that they can connect with Israel's public, not just its courts.
Trippingly on the Tongue Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz. In one day, Obama aroused public ire by referring both to "Polish death camps" and to his superior knowledge of Judaism. He might tackle shmirat halashon as his next area of Jewish study.
Abundant Harvest Tamar Snyder, Rachel Light, Bikkurim. What's happening as the Jewish start-up sector matures? A study finds that communal support drops off just as budgets and potential for impact are greatest. (PDF)
Proliferation Problem Chemi Shalev, Haaretz. Dennis Ross confirms that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah told him years ago that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, the kingdom would seek them too.
A Life in Rock, and Writing Greil Marcus, Los Angeles Review of Books. "I told my wife about [a conversation with the editor of Rolling Stone] in great detail. And Jenny said, ‘Greil, you've just been fired.' I said, ‘I have?!?'" (20,000-word interview by Simon Reynolds; here, part II, part III, and part IV)
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? AlphaGalileo Foundation. The discovery of a Hebrew inscription from the fourth century in Portugal is not only the earliest evidence of Jews in Iberia, but also testifies to a close relationship between Jews and Romans.
Halcion Days Joseph O’Neill, Atlantic. What happens if you misdiagnose Philip Roth, whose novels proceed like legal arguments with an eye toward personal pathology? You'll get a legalistic argument about the author's personal pathology.
The Immigration Consensus Noam Sheizaf, +972. While Israeli Arab MKs may never accept the Jewish claim to the land, when it comes to the claims of African illegal immigrants, they stand with the government.
The New Egypt Ariel Blumenthal, Jewish Journal. That Egypt's leading presidential candidates entertain the idea of annulling their country's peace treaty with Israel is chilling—but it's an annulment that 61 percent of their countrymen favor.