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Loving the Jews Loving the Jews
Thursday, April 28, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Five years before Theodor Herzl published The Jewish State in 1896, an American Methodist lay leader named William Blackstone dreamed of the Jewish people's returning to their ancestral homeland and rebuilding their ancient country. Blackstone translated his dream into a petition signed by 400 prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and a future president, William McKinley.
Not Marc Chagall Not Marc Chagall
Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In the annals of modernist art, three European Jewish names stand out: Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, and Amedeo Modigliani. A fourth should be added. This is Emmanuel Mané Katz. Born in 1894 to a traditional Jewish family in the Ukraine, he moved to Paris at the age of nineteen to pursue a career as a painter, and there joined the three more fabled artists named above. Together, they have been loosely called "the School of Paris."
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 New Germany? A New Germany?
Thursday, April 14, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At a joint press conference in Berlin on April 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the atmosphere of mutual trust and friendship in which their just-concluded talks had taken place. Germany, he averred, was "a great friend" of Israel. Yet any sober assessment of the Germany-Israel relationship would have to come to a different conclusion.  
Jewish Studies in Decline? Jewish Studies in Decline?
Monday, March 28, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Reports prepared recently for Israel's Council of Higher Education have brought despairing news about the condition of the humanities in the country's universities. Especially dispiriting is the report on Jewish studies, once the crowning glory of Israel's flagship Hebrew University—and, in the report's inadvertently nostalgic words, "an investment in the nurturing of the deep spiritual and cultural structures of Israeli public and private life." That investment has been producing ever smaller returns.
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 Odessa File The Odessa File
Friday, March 4, 2011 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Undoubtedly the most searing image of the port city of Odessa on the Black Sea is Sergei Eisenstein's reconstruction of a bloody massacre on its famed "Potemkin Steps" in his epic silent film, Battleship Potemkin (1925).
The Virtuoso of Judaism The Virtuoso of Judaism
Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Religious virtuosity comes in many forms. One of them is the ability to reconcile seeming irreconcilables, like faith and freedom, piety and intellect, revelation and science. The dream of synthesis has lured many in the past two centuries. One who seemed to live it was Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
The Athens & Jerusalem Two-Step The Athens & Jerusalem Two-Step
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The eastern Mediterranean is in a state of serious flux. Historically, under such volatile conditions, old bonds tend to dissolve and new partnerships to emerge. The present is no exception. One example of this is Greece's surprising new friendship with Israel and its outreach to the American Jewish community.
Ladino! Ladino!
Thursday, January 13, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Long overshadowed by its Yiddish cousin, Ladino—the "other" modern Jewish language, also known as Judeo-Spanish—has increasingly benefited from new waves of scholarly and cultural retrieval.
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Editors' Picks
Higher Standards Douglas Murray, Jewish Chronicle. Israel's defenders often rebut criticism by contrasting its conduct with that of its authoritarian neighbors. But even when the metric is the conduct of other democracies, Israel fares well.
Wishful Thinking Walter Laqueur, World Affairs. From the European Union to the Arab Spring, predictions of a bright future have been confounded by sober reality. Yet still few are prepared to listen to the prophets of gloom.
Building Bauhaus Elizabeth Zach, New York Times. As the Bauhaus school of architecture fell afoul of Nazi aesthetic diktats, its adherents were left looking for new pastures in which to build—and many found them in Mandate Palestine.
Ghost Train Benjamin Ivry, Forward. Over seventy years after the fact, and in spite of pressure from American legislators, the French national rail company still refuses to admit its role in transporting Jews to concentration camps.
Nesting Dolls Alina Dain Sharon, Jewish Journal. Twenty years after their Russian exodus, the lives of Jews who emigrated to the U.S., Israel, and Germany differ markedly from those who stayed in Russia.
Détente in Dresden Raphael Mostel, Forward. Although Dresden, leveled by Allied bombing, remains a rallying point for neo-Nazis, its citizens have created a culture which mourns its wartime destruction without eulogizing the Third Reich.
Purimspiel Jasminka Domaš, Jewish Fiction. "After some time she said her name was Soumia . . . she made her way straight to the kitchen, and by the evening she had baked ten trays of cakes, and told everyone, offering them in the ashram, to help themselves to the hamantaschen." (Short story; translated from the Croatian by Iskra Pavlović)
Forked Tonge Howard Jacobson, Independent. Dismissed from the UK's Liberal Democrat party for an apparent longing for Israel's extinction, Jenny Tonge cried foul. But hating Israel doesn't grant automatic immunity from the charge of loathing Jews.
On the Record eJewish Philanthropy. Which organization brought the first John Deere tractor to Ukraine? What killer disease was eradicated in Ottoman Palestine by a Jewish doctor? A unique chronicle of Jewish life abroad comes to the web.
Vanished Vienna Giles MacDonogh, Standpoint. For all its dryness, Georg Gaugusch's extraordinary new tome captures the meteoric rise of Jews into Austrian high society and their precipitous fall.