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Arts & Culture

Hear, O Friends of Israel Hear, O Friends of Israel
Thursday, February 2, 2012 by Daniel Johnson | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In 1987, exactly a quarter-century ago, the appearance of a work of Jewish history caused a stir. For one thing, the author was not Jewish; for another, the book was unashamedly supportive of the State of Israel, which even then was enough to provoke hostility, especially on the Left.
Celebrity Politics, Israel-Style Celebrity Politics, Israel-Style
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Just two weeks ago, the always-excitable Israeli political world was abuzz with the news of two famous new Knesset candidates. One of them was a famous son—journalist Yair Lapid, whose father, Tommy Lapid, served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice under Ariel Sharon.
Bloomsbury’s Rabbi Bloomsbury’s Rabbi
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 by Matthew Ackerman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A translator stands between two languages and between the two worlds that the languages represent. If he does his job well, he may belong in neither place. Such was the fate of Samuel Koteliansky, an emigré Russian Jew who translated Chekhov, befriended D.H. Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield, and circulated on the fringes of the Bloomsbury group.
Whose Holocaust? Whose Holocaust?
Friday, January 27, 2012 by Margot Lurie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For much of Europe, today is the UN-designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has dedicated his address this year to children murdered by the Nazis, with the message that "the best tribute to the memory of these children is an ongoing effort to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust, so that no such horror is visited upon future generations."
Trotsky Eats and Runs Trotsky Eats and Runs
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by Micah D. Halpern | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

I first heard the name Trotsky when I was seven years old. My grandfather, a Jewish tailor from Belarus who arrived in the goldene medine and pulled himself up by his bootstraps to own a men's suit factory in New York, had just gotten a swept-back haircut. He called it a Trotsky.
Siren Songs Siren Songs
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by Shlomo Zuckier | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"For your voice is sweet and your appearance pleasant" (Song of Songs 2:14). On the basis of this verse, Jewish law prohibits a man's listening to kol ishah, a woman's voice in song. Unlikely as it may seem, this prohibition has sparked a controversy that could shake the foundations of Israel's self-defense and self-definition.
A Very English Institution A Very English Institution
Monday, January 23, 2012 by Simon Gordon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last week some 600 Jews converged on the hamlet of Kerhonkson in upstate New York for Limmud NY, a three-day "marketplace of Jewish ideas." Now in its eighth year, the volunteer-run Limmud NY is open to professional teachers and amateurs alike.
Whither the Alawites Whither the Alawites
Friday, January 20, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Time does not appear to be on the side of Syria's minority Alawite-led regime. President Bashar Assad has reportedly been offered asylum in Moscow, which wants an orderly transition that will preserve Russian strategic interests. Other stories have Assad and his loyalists preparing mountain strongholds for a last-ditch stand.
Jerusalem’s Ego and Id Jerusalem’s Ego and Id
Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Biography is not the same as history. Biography charts the outer and inner life of a person—character, spirit, morality, emotion, perhaps even soul. History, by contrast, incorporates different narratives and pieces of evidence, seeks out new data, then rises above all the fragments with a synthesis.
America the Biblical America the Biblical
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Greeks did not invent equality. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and the gang famously believed that the rich are different from you and me—not merely because they are shaped by their privileges but because they are actually, literally made of superior stuff.
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Editors' Picks
Rochl and the World of Ideas Sheindl Franzus-Garfinkle, Jewish Fiction .net. Rochl’s mother laments the perils of study: “Your brother convinced himself he had to study in America.  Now he’s there working like a dog.  See what comes of your enlightenment!” (Fiction)
Movies and Monotheism Julian Levinson, Jewish Review of Books. For fifty years, Herman Wouk had dreamed of writing a book about Moses.  Now, at the age of 97, he has finally admitted defeat—in his latest novel.
Jew? Or Not A Jew? Robert Low, Standpoint. For all the Christian echoes in Leonard Cohen's music, and his personal commitment to Roshi, his Buddhist Master, "one feels that deep down he is just as influenced by Rashi as by Roshi."
Holocaust Tourism Wolfgang Höbel, Spiegel. Tuvia Tenenbom’s raucous but disturbing travelogue of modern Germany, rife with accusations of anti-Semitism, shocked the country’s press last year.  Now it has been translated into German.
Why Darwinist Materialism is Wrong Alvin Plantinga, New Republic. Philosopher Thomas Nagel rejects the naturalistic conception of the world as "a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense."  But he still stops short of believing in God. 
Solomon Remembers Andrew McCulloch, TLS. The poet Mick Imlah on King Solomon’s efforts to recollect and depict his “world of wives”—700 of them, not to mention the 300 concubines. (Poem)
Dumbing Down the Holocaust David Herman, Jewish Chronicle. Middlebrow fiction about the Holocaust not only reduces a serious subject to melodrama and kitsch but consigns the truly great literature to obscurity.
The Crypto-Jews of New Mexico Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times. Few American Jews know about world of the “crypto-Jews” described in this graphic novel.  But, as one character says, “A Jewish soul is a Jewish soul.”
Questions for the Critics Erika Dreifus, “Would you be satisfied, then . . .” (A poem)
Cut-Flower Ethics and Jewish Culture David Wolpe, Weekly Standard. Amos Oz might imagine there is a large coterie of “atheists of the book,” waiting to be swept up in the vast sea of Jewish literature.  But is this actually the case?