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The New Jewish Sound The New Jewish Sound
Friday, November 18, 2011 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Richard Wagner famously dismissed Jewish music as "mongrelized," a musically incoherent product assembled from many disparate influences. But for many modern Jewish musicians, this "mongrel" character is a point of pride, the feature that allows Jewish music to absorb and reflect the musical experience of the world.
Jonah and the Music of Yom Kippur Jonah and the Music of Yom Kippur
Thursday, October 6, 2011 by Michael Carasik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Leviticus 10 tells us that Aaron's sons Nadav and Avihu died for bringing "strange fire" before the Lord in the wilderness. As a result of their deaths, according to Leviticus 16, God instructed Moses to ordain an annual Day of Atonement.
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.
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.
Holocaust without End Holocaust without End
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Sixty-six years after the end of World War II, the Holocaust remains one of the central puzzles of human history. For Jews, the imperative is clear: to remember and to encourage others to remember. But remember what? Has the earnest dedication of both Jews and non-Jews to seek the meaning of the event and absorb its lessons ended by emptying it of meaning and lessons alike?
Mimouna! Mimouna!
Friday, May 13, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What did two million Israelis do when Passover ended this year? As in previous years, they celebrated Mimouna, a Moroccan Jewish holiday that is popularly observed by picnicking, barbecueing, and consuming moufletas (sweet North African pancakes). And what is Mimouna all about? No one really knows.
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. . . . "
The Brothers al-Kuwaiti The Brothers al-Kuwaiti
Friday, March 25, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Remember "Baghdad Bob," Saddam Hussein's information minister? During the Iraq war, as the cameras showed U.S. tanks rolling through Baghdad, he took to the airwaves to assure his fellow Iraqis that not a single enemy tank had penetrated the city's defenses. As it happens, "Bob," whose real name was Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, was a long-time expert in manufacturing absurd lies for domestic consumption.
The Sound of (Classical) Music The Sound of (Classical) Music
Friday, December 24, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 75th anniversary this season, a milestone in a triumphant history linked with the names of famous conductors like Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, and Zubin Mehta. But it faces rough sailing ahead.
The Mood of the Oud The Mood of the Oud
Friday, December 10, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Arab elements continue to animate many forms of Jewish expression that, originally rooted in Arab countries, have been transplanted into Israeli society.
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Editors' Picks
Anti-Jewish Music David Nirenberg, New Republic. In The Music Libel Against the Jews, Ruth HaCohen argues that contempt for "Jewish" musical forms has defined Western music.  That same sentiment pervades the Arab world today.
Cue the Organ Benjamin Ivry, Forward. Once, churches forbade organs because they recalled Jewish Temple music in Jerusalem.  Later, the Haskalah re-introduced the organ to synagogues—partly to drown out the cantor.
Magnitizdat Sophie Pinkham, Paris Review. The samizdat literature that helped undermine the Soviet Union had a musical counterpart: bootlegged prison songs from the gulag, some mythologizing the Jewish gangsters of Odessa.
Brubeck’s Jewish Music Dave Brubeck, Moment. Dave Brubeck, who died this week, was not Jewish.  But through his jazz, he played an important role in healing the rift between Jews and African Americans. (Interview by Howard Reich)
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."
Mr. Berlin Himself John Shaw, Los Angeles Review of Books. If Irving Berlin is usually reckoned among the Great American Songbook composers, two new studies of his life and work show that he was perhaps the greatest of them all.
Poet of the Palmach Sigal Arbitman, Eran Swissa, Yehuda Shlezinger, Israel Hayom. Haim Hefer wrote songs that built Israel’s character and gained the status of national anthems.  He died on Rosh Hashana at age 86. 
The Maestro and the Maestro Jon Kalish, Forward. Few outside the cantorial world know Yitzhak Meir Helfgot.  But when famed violinist Itzhak Perlman listens to him, he gets goose bumps. 
Strange Story Elizabeth Blair, NPR. In 1940, Abel Meeropol was called to testify before a committee investigating Communism in public schools. They wanted to know whether the American Communist Party had paid him to write "Strange Fruit." 
Nostalgia with a Jewish Soul Diane Cole, Jewish Week. Michael Chabon’s latest novel conjures up the alternative reality of a San Francisco unspoiled by the tensions that complicate today’s relationship between Jews and African-Americans.