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Pre-Modern & Modern

Easter, Passover, and the <i>West Side Story</i> that Wasn’t Easter, Passover, and the West Side Story that Wasn’t
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 by Elliott Horowitz | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Late in 1948, in the early stages of his collaboration with Jerome Robbins on the musical that would become West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein wrote in his diary: "Jerry R. called today with a noble idea: a modern version of Romeo and Juliet set in slums at the coincidence of Easter-Passover celebrations. Feelings run high between Jews and Catholics. . . . "
Eichmann Goes Digital Eichmann Goes Digital
Monday, April 18, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

This year, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Eichmann trial, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, together with the Israel State Archives, has posted to YouTube an extraordinary series of videos: over 200 hours of courtroom sessions and testimonies in the original Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, as well as a parallel set with English voiceover. What do they tell us?
A Chosen People? A Chosen People?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Within months of Israel's lightning victory in the June 1967 war, French President Charles de Gaulle was asked for his judgment of the dramatically new situation created by the triumph of the Jewish state over its enemies. Still smarting from Israel's refusal to heed his advice and wait passively for the Arab armies to attack, de Gaulle labeled the Jews "an elite people, sure of themselves and domineering."
Clash of Civilizations Clash of Civilizations
Friday, April 8, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The death toll in Afghanistan has passed the two-dozen mark in the riots "inspired" by Pastor Terry Jones's burning of a Quran in Florida. The grisly political theater has served its purpose.
“We Love Death” “We Love Death”
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In 2007, two years before he killed thirteen people and wounded twenty-nine at Fort Hood, Texas, Nidal Malik Hasan prepared a slide show for his fellow Army doctors on the subject of Islam. One of his last points read: "We love death more than you love life!"
Gandhi and the Jews Gandhi and the Jews
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A new book about Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948) has set off stormy protests in India for implying that the country's founding father was bisexual. That's only the beginning of it.
Gaza Endgame? Gaza Endgame?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A March 26 meeting in Ramallah between an unofficial delegation of West Bank Hamas "parliamentarians" and Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the Fatah party, was ostensibly about reconciling the two factions.  Actually it was about much more.
Shakespeare, Much Improved? Shakespeare, Much Improved?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Nahma Sandrow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the few things people think they know about Yiddish theater in America is that once upon a time there was a production, probably of King Lear, advertised as "translated and much improved." Joel Berkowitz's history, Shakespeare on the American Yiddish Stage (2002), quotes the line but never gives an attribution, which suggests that nobody ever actually said it. But someone might have.
The Fate of Muslim Moderates The Fate of Muslim Moderates
Monday, March 21, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The recent uprisings in the Middle East seemed, at least at first, to send a reassuring signal to Western observers: not only did genuinely moderate Muslims exist, and not only were they capable of finding a political voice, but there was reason to hope that, given time to organize and grow in strength, they might succeed in winning out against the voices of repression and Islamist extremism.
Purim Puzzles Purim Puzzles
Friday, March 11, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Purim, Judaism's strangest holiday (which this year falls on March 20), is prescribed by what may be the strangest book in the Hebrew Bible, the scroll (m'gilah) of Esther. Two public readings of the book, one at night and the other in the morning, tell a story of Persian palace intrigue in the fifth century B.C.E., a recitation accompanied by the holiday's decidedly unspiritual noisemaking, tippling, and masquerade.
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Editors' Picks
Mozart's Jewish Opera David P. Goldman, Tablet. Don Giovanni exploits the most common motif in the Western canon; yet few can hear the bitter laughter of Spain's Jews resounding behind the music.
Strange Gods Lee Siegel, Economist. Why did T.S. Eliot, who made anti-Semitism into an art form, have a signed photo of Groucho Marx hanging on his wall?
Otherwise Occupied Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism. Occupy Wall Street protesters are trying to prevent their movement from turning against the Jews—but they may come head-to-head with an old, hard truth about anti-Semitism.
Nature, Nurture, and the Nobel Prize Lazar Berman, American. The case study of Jewish IQ can reveal not only the source and nature of intelligence, but whether we as a society are mature enough to debate these questions honestly.
The Marriage of Semite and Anti-Semite Julie Orringer, New York Times. In Aharon Appelfeld's newest novel, an Austrian Jewish woman's disastrous marriage to an anti-Semite is much like European Jewry's disastrous marriage to Austria and Germany.
Vandalism and Evenhandedness Jonathan S. Tobin, Contentions. Compared to the outcry against the tiny minority of Israelis engaging in violence against Arabs, the fact that Arab violence against Jewish targets is not considered worthy of much indignation is of great concern.
Born Again Kasim Hafeez, Jewish Chronicle. There is pervasive anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on British campuses; just ask a British student, raised to venerate Hitler as a hero, who has now become a Zionist.
Bad Bans Brad Hirschfield, Washington Post. By banning bans on circumcision, California now drives the debate about this issue underground, where it will fester among the most hostile opponents of the practice.
My Summer in Jordan Eric T. Justin, Harvard Crimson. Traveling in the Middle East, an American student expected to encounter anti-Semitism. But he was unprepared to discover how retrograde and pervasive it was.
In Memoriam: Emanuel Litvinoff Judith Burnley, Guardian. The prolific British poet, novelist, and screenwriter raised his voice in protest against the fate of the Jews.