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Arts & Culture

The Jewish Samuel Menashe The Jewish Samuel Menashe
Monday, August 29, 2011 by David Curzon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The poet Samuel Menashe, who died on August 22 at the age of eighty-five, grew up in Queens, New York. His poems have always been appreciated by other poets; but, until late in his life, his poetry did not receive the attention it deserved.
Hidden Master Hidden Master
Thursday, August 25, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The saddest saga in Jewish literary history involves some 500 Soviet Yiddish artists who were stolen away by Stalin's henchmen in the late 1940's. They met a tragic fate after twenty years under a relentlessly repressive regime whose creation they had greeted with utopian fervor.
Too Many Museums? Too Many Museums?
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Although the paint is still wet on Philadelphia's National Museum of American Jewish History, an announcement has just been made of a planned National Museum of the Jewish People in Washington, D.C., steps from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and not far from two other Jewish museums.
Islamism and Western Art Islamism and Western Art
Friday, August 19, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Osama bin Laden will forever be remembered spending his last days like a common shlub: sitting on the floor, wrapped in a blanket, remote control in hand, watching TV. Unlike most other shlubs, however, bin Laden just happened to be contemplating his own image on the boob tube.  
The Night of the Murdered Poets The Night of the Murdered Poets
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by Nahma Sandrow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On August 12, 1952, thirteen major Soviet Jewish figures were executed for espionage, bourgeois nationalism, "lack of true Soviet spirit," and treason, including a plot to hand the Crimea over to American and Zionist imperialists.
Mourning, Memory, and Art Mourning, Memory, and Art
Monday, August 8, 2011 by Richard McBee | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

David Roberts (1796–1864) was a Scottish painter who in the late 1830's traveled extensively in the Levant and Egypt documenting "Orientalist" sites in drawings and watercolors. Among Roberts's paintings was a massive 1849 work, The Destruction of Jerusalem.
John Lennon and the Jews John Lennon and the Jews
Friday, August 5, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"It's not cool to be Jewish, or Negro, or Italian. It's just cool to be alive, to be around." So said Aretha Franklin. I know, because my father used to have the soul diva's wisdom hanging on the wall of his study at home. He also used to walk around in a t-shirt with "Miscegenate" emblazoned across the chest.
Reconstructing Judaism Reconstructing Judaism
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by Joseph J. Siev | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At a time when all three major Jewish denominations in America—Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform—find themselves in a state of deep internal fracture, a fourth and much smaller movement, Reconstructionism, has just voted to create a unified body to coordinate the activities of its lay and rabbinical arms.
Lives of the Ex-Haredim Lives of the Ex-Haredim
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by Joshua Halberstam | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Juliet calls out in pristine Yiddish from the heights of her fire escape.  Melissa (Malky) Weisz, who plays Juliet in the recent film Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish, probably asked the same question in a more vernacular Yiddish—and with very different expectations—in her earlier life.
Radio Israel Radio Israel
Monday, August 1, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Radio in Israel is as ubiquitous as hummus, falafel, and politics. During their morning and evening commutes, motorists as well as bus passengers (captive to the listening tastes of their drivers) are likely to be hearing either one of seven Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) affiliated stations or one of two Army Radio outlets.
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Editors' Picks
Howard Jacobson Makes Havdalah Adam Kirsch, Jewish Review of Books. "Keep the meat from the milk, keep the holy from the profane, keep the living from the dead. And the goyim from the Jews? As an incorrigible mixer, with the bruises to show for it, I am still thinking about that."
Tied Together and Distinct D. G. Myers, Commonplace Blog. Jeffrey Eugenides’s Marriage Plot suggests that in our age of moral confusion, marriage is a lesser problem.  In Hillel Halkin’s astonishingly rich first novel, marriage is the moral problem.  
Attacking Israel Online Ben Cohen, Commentary. Ironically, charting both the writings and the career trajectories of devoted anti-Zionists makes a uniquely strong case for the continued existence and protection of the Jewish state.
Irwin Isaac Meiselman Joseph Epstein, Standpoint. “I should have said, ‘Of course I don't want to read your chapter. Why the hell would I want to do that?’  Instead I hear myself saying, ‘Sounds interesting. I'd very much like to read it.’” (Fiction)
Nora Knows What to Do Ariel Levy, New Yorker. “Those endless women-in-film panels. It’s, like, just do it! Just do it . . . It’s my ongoing argument with a whole part of the women’s movement.”  A profile of Nora Ephron, who died yesterday at age seventy-one. (2009)
Wrong on Wagner Norman Lebrecht, Jewish Chronicle. The decision by Tel Aviv University to ban a private performance of Wagner’s music is a sign of increasing hysteria in Israel - not to mention artistic deafness. 
A People of One Book Walter Arnstein, H-Net. Timothy Larsen aims to demonstrate the immense religiosity of Victorian England—but, if anything, he understates the case.
Confessions of a Narcissist David Rieff, Nation. Claude Lanzmann's memoir is a self-indulgent failure.  But Shoah is a work of genius, and that does indeed justify a life.    
The Maturation of Etgar Keret Bezalel Stern, The Millions. While other Israeli authors write about the country's political or social problems, Etgar Keret focuses on the futility of the human condition. Israel just brings that condition into stark relief.      
Anglo-Jewry: A Contradiction in Terms? Linda Grant, New Statesman. If Jews are, in the words of literary critic Leslie Fiedler, the natural voice of modern America, Jewish writers in Britain remain the voice of the permanent counter-culture.