After just about thirty years of using a personal computer, this is the great technical wisdom that I have gained: most of the glitches that I encounter with software, and even with the machine itself, can be remedied by re-starting the computer.
Looking back over 2012 and ahead to 2013 — halfway through my 20th year in this post and completing my 40th in Jewish journalism — I sometimes grow weary, feeling that, to paraphrase King Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “There are no new headlines under the sun.”
What Peter Beinart doesn’t lack is attention—what he lacks is friends. That’s the conclusion you can draw from New York magazine’s lengthy profile of Beinart, the fiery liberal Jewish journalist who recently published his jeremiad warning of Israel’s imminent demise. In “The Crisis of Zionism,” Beinart’s much bally-hooed new book, he argues that if the state continues to hold
Shame on me for not knowing that May was Jewish American Heritage Month. To be sure, it lacks the profile of Black History Month, but apparently in Washington it’s a big deal. I was reminded of that when I read about Obama’s closing remarks at the White House on Wednesday, when he took pains to highlight the central anecdote of historian Jonathan Sarna’s new book, “When General Grant Expelled the Jews.”
The tales of Caligula’s reign over Rome are so rich with gore, sadism and opulence that few bother even to check if they’re true. That blithe disregard for factual accuracy is hard not to excuse, what with stories like this: one contemporary, writing in the first century A.D., wrote that the Caligula once had the father of a man he was executing watch his son die. Then, he had the father eat with him at dinner. Other contemporary sources tell of Caligula’s alleged madness: he is said to have talked to horses, and insist that his own be installed in the Senate.
In this Sunday’s New York Times, you may have seen the Week in Review front-cover essay by Daniel Smith. With the header, “Do the Jews Own Anxiety?” it was low-hanging fruit for the paper’s editors to play up on the page 1, given that anything with Jews in the title is almost guaranteed to make the “Most Emailed” list. (Sure enough, on Monday, it broke the Top 10.)
Hofesh Shechter often gets annoyed when people only see Jewish or Israeli references in his choreography. “It’s a very interesting, conflicted way the world sees Jews,” he told me a while back. “People [in England] refer to me as Jewish rather than Israeli. There’s this pigeonhole, this file that says ‘Jewish’ on it.”